American Diet Lacking Fruits And Vegetables

>Although a diet high in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk for many chronic diseases, Americans just aren’t getting enough. Since 2000, the amount of vegetables Americans are eating has stayed the same and the amount of fruit Americans are eating has gone down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced trends in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults. The CDC has spearheaded efforts with goals of getting 75 percent of Americans to eat two or more servings of fruit a day and 50 percent to eat three or more servings of vegetables a day. Unfortunately, Americans aren’t meeting these modest targets. The CDC found that only about a third of adults were eating their recommended servings of fruit, and just over a quarter of adults were eating their recommended servings of vegetables. So why aren’t Americans getting their recommended servings of fruits and vegetables? It turns out Americans might be spoiled when it comes to their produce. A national survey conducted by Fruit2day reveals that nearly half of Americans leave fruit in their fridge until it rots, with people in Boston among the worst and those in New York and Los Angeles among the best. Most Americans admit to leaving fruit in the fridge for more than a week. Other findings of the study: Americans choose strawberries as their favorite fruit. Bananas come in second. The reason behind the love of strawberries? Americans see themselves as having sweet, caring personalities like a strawberry. Tips to improve your diet: • Buy pesticide-free organic fruits and vegetables. • Reduce foods with added sugars. • Watch your sodium intake. • Avoid trans fats. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Tai Chi For Stress

Tai chi, a low impact martial art, has been associated with reduced stress, anxiety and depression, and enhanced mood, in both healthy people and those with chronic conditions. A review of the health effects of tai chi, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that tai chi does appear to have positive psychological effects. "Tai chi, the Chinese mind-body exercise, has been practiced for centuries for health and fitness in the East and is currently gaining popularity in the West. It is believed to improve mood and enhance overall psychological well being,” says Dr. Chenchen Wang, Associate Professor, from Tufts University School of Medicine. Wang and colleagues pooled results of 40 tai chi studies to assess the mental health effects of tai chi. She found that practicing tai chi was associated with reduced stress, anxiety, depression, and mood disturbance, as well as increased self-esteem. "More detailed knowledge about the physiological and psychological effects of tai chi exercise may lead to new approaches to promote health, treat chronic medical conditions, better inform clinical decisions, and further explicate the mechanisms of successful mind-body medicine,” says Wang. Benefits of tai chi: • Reduces stress. • Improves balance and flexibility. • Lowers blood pressure. • Increases energy and endurance. Tai chi improves cardiovascular fitness and is suitable for all ages and levels of physical ability. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Physical Activity For Weight Maintenance

For long-term weight maintenance, women who are middle-aged or older must exercise daily, incorporating at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity into their schedule, according to a new Journal of the American Medical Association study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. … Read More

Counting Calories May Cause Weight Gain

Reduced calorie diets may make it more difficult to maintain or lose weight. Cutting calories in the diet can increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol can lead to additional abdominal fat. “For the first time in humans, we are finding out that cutting your calories increases cortisol,” says Janet Tomiyama, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of a new Psychosomatic Medicine study examining diet and weight gain. "We think this may be one reason dieters tend to have a hard time keeping weight off in the long-term," she says. Counting calories and reducing calories in the diet leads to the weight retention caused by increased levels of cortisol. "No matter how you cut calories, whether that's doing it on your own, or doing something like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig, it doesn't matter, it's still going to increase your cortisol level," she said. Nearly 65 percent of people gain back more weight than they lost while dieting and nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults are currently dieting. The study examined four groups of women, some assigned to calorie-tracking and reducing their calories. At the start and end of three weeks, cortisol and stress levels were measured. When calories were restricted, cortisol levels increased and calorie-tracking caused higher levels of stress. Burning more calories than you consume is the only way your body loses weight. The most effective way to lose weight is to modify lifestyle habits to incorporate regular physical activity and a healthy diet. Lose weight by: • Eating well and being active. • Joining weight loss support groups. • Avoiding diet pills and diet fads. • Reducing stress with relaxation techniques. … Read More

Managing Your Seasonal Allergies

Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is caused by airborne pollen and mold spores, and is experienced by over 35 million Americans. Symptoms often include runny nose, stuffiness, itchiness, watery, red eyes, and sneezing. These symptoms are caused by your immune system, which recognizes pollen and mold as allergens, and produces antibodies that release chemicals to combat them, leading to an allergic reaction. Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis are often caused by grasses during the late spring and early summer. Certain nutrients can help to ease symptoms. The flavonoid quercetin can aid in controlling the release of the histamine that causes the allergic response. Foods containing quercetin include broccoli, red onions, citrus fruits, red grapes, tomatoes, apples, and berries. Tips to manage your seasonal allergy symptoms: • Limit exposure to pollen and molds by staying indoors when the pollen count is high. • Close car windows when driving. • Avoid mowing the lawn or raking leaves. • Keep home windows closed and use air conditioning to limit pollen in the house. • Avoid line-drying laundry to limit exposure to pollens. Conventional therapies for seasonal allergies often include medications or allergy shots. Using holistic therapies, like acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, can aid in symptom management. Acupuncture can be used as a primary or complementary therapy for seasonal allergies and produces no adverse side effects. … Read More

Fitness And Fatness Increase Cardiovascular Risk

Obesity and physical inactivity are both associated with major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol, according to a recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Both overweight and physical inactivity are independently associated with cardiovascular risk even in healthy women, suggesting that both “fitness” and “fatness” matter for women’s health. Women with a high body mass index (BMI of 25 or greater), or a low level of physical activity (less than 30 minutes per day of moderate activity), are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. However, women at any weight, or with any BMI, have lower cardiovascular risk with higher levels of physical activity. “A woman’s best preventative tool for lowering her cardiovascular risk is to maintain a normal BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 and to meet the current CDC guidelines of two and a half hours of physical activity per week, which could be a brisk walk 30 minutes most days of the week,” says study author Samia Mora, M.D. “A woman’s weight is more closely associated with cardiovascular risk as reflected in cholesterol levels, and as your weight increases, so does your risk.” “However, women who are thin but unfit or have low levels of physical activity may still have high risk. This means that women may significantly improve their cardiovascular risk profile by increasing their level of physical activity, and women who are physically active can lower their risk by maintaining an optimal weight.” Fitness matters for those who are thin as well as those who are overweight. It’s not only weight but exercise that matters. Cardiovascular risk can be reduced by: • Quitting smoking. • A diet low in sodium. • Reducing stress. • Regular exercise. • Maintaining a healthy weight. … Read More

Heart Health Benefits of Positive Emotions

Being happy may be good for your heart. Positive emotions, such as joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm, and contentment have an association with cardiovascular health, according to a new Columbia University Medical Center study. The first of its kind to show a relationship between positive emotions and coronary heart disease, the observational research examined a trial population that had suffered cardiac events. Findings indicate that heart disease may be prevented by enhancing people’s positive emotions. Over a 10-year period, researchers discovered that increased experience of positive emotion was associated with less risk of heart disease by 22 percent. “We also found that if someone, who was usually positive, had some depressive symptoms at the time of the survey, this did not affect their overall lower risk of heart disease,” says Karina Davidson, Ph.D., lead author and associate professor of medicine and psychiatry. Emotions may affect heart health in several ways. Individuals experiencing positive emotions may have longer periods of rest or relaxation physiologically and may recover more quickly from stressors that can cause physiological damage. Positive emotion can have an influence on heart-rate variability, sleeping patterns and smoking cessation. There is increasing evidence that positive emotions are associated with beneficial physical and psychological health outcomes, such as: • Improvements in immune system functioning. • Better coping ability with stressful situations. • Improved recovery from illness or surgery. • Fewer physical complaints. • Greater protection against physical disability. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

One in four Americans experiences chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). CFS is a disorder characterized by debilitating fatigue and a variety of associated physical, constitutional and neuropsychological symptoms. Symptoms include unexplained prolonged fatigue lasting six months or longer, muscle and joint pain, headaches, cognitive impairment, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, post-exertional fatigue, and unrefreshing sleep. About half of adults with CFS seek medical help. This condition can become prolonged over several years if left untreated. The cause of CFS is unknown. Research indicates that over 75 percent of individuals experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome have sought complementary and alternative medicine as either a primary or complementary therapy for their condition. Acupuncture and massage therapy can aid in alleviating many of the symptoms associated with CFS, including: • Fatigue. • Unrefreshing sleep. • Memory or concentration difficulties. • Headache. • Generalized muscle pain. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome as well as a wide range of other health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

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