Thursday, November 19, 2009

Olive Oil is Good for Your Health

Olive oil, commonly referred to as Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), has become popular in the US due to its ability to help raise HDL and Lower LDL cholesterol.

Evidence shows that replacing commonly used hydrogenated and saturated fats with olive oil, which is a monounsaturated fat, decreases LDL cholesterol and lowers blood sugar. Futher more, olive oil is resistant to oxidative damage which in turn protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation, and protects the endothelial lining of the artery walls (which is what the plaque sticks to if it's damaged). This protection allows the arteries to relax and dilate as they should, preventing hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis.

The anti-inflammatory effects of virgin olive oil not only help the arteries and cholesterol levels, it also has been shown to reduce blood pressure commonly referred to as hypertension. It may even work similar to ibuprofen if used regularly. No it won't cure a headache, but continued use reduces inflammation and is much safer than long term pain reliever usage, considering the damage that over the counter pain meds do to the liver and kidneys.

Many books have been written about the Mediterranean diet and the french paradox, raving about how these groups of people are more healthy even though they consume more fats than the standard American diet. The difference is in the olive oil. Olive oil contains polyphenols which increase HDL cholesterol (the good or heavenly cholesterol), and allow the HDL to help recycle the LDL cholesterol therefore lowering the LDL in the blood.

Oleic acid in olive oil has been found to reduce breast cancer risk by reducing the chemicals that cause aggressive tumor growth. This is why the Mediterranean diet is touted to reduce risk factors for breast cancer.

Olive oil can also prevent and repair bone loss in osteopenia cases.

How to use and store Olive Oil!
  • Olive oil should be purchased as a "cold pressed" extra virgin olive oil and sold in dark containers. (cold pressed means that minimal heat was used in processing)
  • Store it away from heat.
  • Keep it in a dark area to preserve its taste and nutrient content. Do not use as kitchen decor.
  • Purchase in small containers that you can use in a few months. Longer storage can reduce its viability and it could go rancid.
  • Extra virgin olive oil has a milder taste than virgin, but virgin olive oil has more of the oleic acid, which is the compound mentioned above in regards to reducing risk factors for breast cancer. It also has a slightly higher acid content.
  • To receive the best health benefits from Olive Oil, do not cook it. Use it as a drizzle or dressing or dip your bread in it.
  • Using broth instead of oil to saute vegetables is recommended, but if you do use olive oil use a low heat and fry for the shortest amount of time possible. Olive oil cooked at high temperatures loses its nutritional value. It is not recommended to use olive oil for foods that must reach a temperature over 250 degrees. Which means its not recommended for baking, or deep fat frying. You might try safflower oil as an alternative for these methods.

Bottom line... olive oil when used to replace other fats, will reduce cholesterol, help control blood sugar, promote arterial health, reduce inflammation and overall health. A couple of tablespoons a day is all that is needed to get you on the right track.

Replace the butter or margarine on your bread with olive oil, add some oregano or rosemary or balsamic vinegar to the mix and dip your bread in it. Be creative!!!

Use it as a drizzle over steamed vegetables or salads. There are many uses for olive oil, do some research, locate some recipes and have fun with healthy alternatives to saturated fats!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stop Smoking with HBOT - Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Smoking causes several different reactions once it enters the body.
  1. Nicotene reaches the brain in about 10 seconds, and is found in every cell in the body; including breast milk.
  2. Carbon Monoxide adheres itself to the oxygen receptors of red blood cells and causes them to carry less oxygen than a normal red blood cell.
  3. Smoking also causes oxidative stress, which has been shown to increase aging, promote atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and damages the lungs.
  4. Smokers immune systems are at constant battle with the carcinogens and chemicals in cigarette smoke. This causes chronic inflammation, and lower levels of antioxidants.
There are many reasons that smoking is not a healthy choice, and many people want to stop smoking. For those of you who have tried every method available to stop smoking, there is still hope.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy forces oxygen into places where red blood cells can not reach, and oxygenates the entire body. For a smoker who already has depleted oxygen, a "dive" in the chamber can bring about an exciting change. Dr. Jay likes to say "it makes your body fall in love with oxygen again. " Oxygen is required for life, but not only life, it is required for vitality. HBOT slows the aging process, oxygenates the blood and plasma, heals sore muscles, expands and regrows damaged capillaries, revitalizes damaged tissue and much more... Many who have used HBOT to stop smoking say that their cravings are nearly gone almost immediately.

If you look at the processes related to how your body reacts to invaders like smoke, or food sensitivities it may help explain why its so hard to stop. When you take in something that is a foreign substance, or in the case of food sensitivities "something your body views as a foreign substance," it is treated like an invader. Your body recognizes it as an enemy and starts to build up its defenses against the invaders. This causes adrenaline and other chemicals to increase in your blood stream causing a "rush" of good feelings. Of course, we as people enjoy the burst of excitement that is caused by these invaders, and since they don't normally cause a severe reaction... we crave that sensation again, and again.

You may know someone who will say, "Every time I eat ____ I feel bad, but I like it so much I eat it anyway. "As if it's worth the pain to get the rush they receive from eating it. Smoking and other addictions are very similar.

What if you could get your body addicted to OXYGEN? Using HBOT to stop smoking increases your oxygen levels immediately. As time goes on you feel better, have more lung capacity and more energy. You might even start a new hobby, like walking, to increase your oxygen levels daily. Which in turn will reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other common ailments.

It's never to late to stop smoking, and the benefits are definitely worth it!!!

Visit our website and our HBOT locator for friends and family in other areas...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal Decompression Therapy (DTS) is the most comprehensive program available, allowing the safe delivery of this (previously hospital based) procedure in our office. DTS treatments are one of the most gentle and comfortable therapies available. Patients often report that they fall asleep during treatment sessions. The worlds' largest manufacturer of hospital based rehabilitation equipment, with over 58 years of experience, produces the Spinal Decompression Therapy system.

A DTS treatment is a non-invasive disc therapy with more than 50,000 patients being treated annually. DTS is a comprehensive program of the newest traction techniques with targeted "core" stabilization. This therapy affects the disc as directly as possible without surgery. In the majority of cases, patients experience long-term relief of their pain when they complete the entire program of treatments, which consists of 20 office visits in close succession. In fact, clinical results of this type of therapy have been effective in over 75% of patients treated.
A gradual breakdown to the foundational support of your back is what puts undue stress on the discs and leads to pain and loss of function. The DTS system creates a controlled unloading of the vertebrae to decrease disc pressure, thus increasing blood and nutrient exchange. This exchange of fluids is something that the damaged disc desperately needs to help it heal, from the inside out.

The three phases of Spinal Decompression Therapy are; Treatment, Stabilization and Support. We typically treat three times a week for one month, transitioning from passive to active treatments as you respond. Most patients are released from treatment after eight weeks. The best advantage is that you are able to continue working during the entire treatment program, so there is no loss of income.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Spinal decompression therapy is a non-surgical traction based treatment for pain and/or herniated or bulging discs in the neck and lower back. Anyone who has back, neck, arm or leg pain may be helped by spinal decompression therapy.

How many spinal decompression sessions will be needed and are they painful?
The number of sessions needed and your specific treatment plan will be determined by the doctor after your examination. In almost all cases, the treatments are completely painless. In fact, some patients fall asleep during the spinal decompression session. Individual treatments take about 30-45 minutes. Typical therapy includes daily visits for the first two weeks, 3 times a week for the third week, and 2 times a week for the next couple of weeks, or as recommended by the Doctor.

What type of decompression system is used in spinal decompression therapy?
The doctors at Kessinger Health and Wellness Center carefully investigated several decompression table options. After a significant amount of research, they selected the DOC decompression system. This system is FDA registered and approved.

What Makes Spinal Decompression Therapy so Effective?
Doctor skill combined with the table and computerized traction head are the keys. Proper assessment, correct positioning and the use of preprogrammed patterns of distraction and relaxation may reduce disc pressure allowing necessary nutrients to enliven and accelerate disc healing.

Who can benefit from Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Anyone who has back pain or neck pain caused in whole or in part by a damaged disc may be helped by spinal decompression therapy. These conditions include herniated, protruding or bulging discs, spinal stenosis, and sciatica or even failed surgery.

How long till I see results from Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Most patients report a reduction in pain after the first few sessions. Typically significant improvement is obtained by the second week of treatment.

Are there medical studies that document the effectiveness of Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Yes! One study documented by MRI up to 90% reduction of disc herniations in 10 of 14 cases and other studies reported that the majority of herniated disc patients achieved "good" to "excellent" results after spinal decompression therapy.

Are there conditions where Spinal Decompression Therapy is not indicated?
Spinal decompression therapy is not recommended for pregnant women, patients who have severe osteoporosis, severe obesity or severe nerve damage. Spinal surgery with instrumentation (screws, metal plates or “cages”) is also contraindicated. However, spinal decompression therapy after bone fusion or non-fusion surgery can be performed.

Do most patients receive therapy and rehabilitative exercises in addition to Spinal Decompression Therapy?
To reduce inflammation and assist the healing process, supporting structures are treated with passive therapies (ice/heat/muscle stimulation), chiropractic adjustments (as indicated) and/or active rehabilitation in order to strengthen the spinal musculature.

How do I get started?
We want to make it easy for you to learn if you are a candidate for spinal decompression therapy. Just call our office at 573-341-8292 to arrange a consultation with one of our doctors.
Please remember to bring any MRI reports so the doctor can review them and best advise you about your treatment options.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What Soft Drinks are Doing to Your Body

Soda, pop, cola, soft drink — whatever you call it, it is one of the worst beverages that you could be drinking for your health. As the debate for whether to put a tax on the sale of soft drinks continues, you should know how they affect your body so that you can make an informed choice on your own.

Soft drinks are hard on your health
Soft drinks contain little to no vitamins or other essential nutrients. However, it is what they do contain that is the problem: caffeine, carbonation, simple sugars — or worse, sugar substitutes — and often food additives such as artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.

A lot of research has found that consumption of soft drinks in high quantity, especially by children, is responsible for many health problems that include tooth decay, nutritional depletion, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Why the sugar in soft drinks isn’t so sweet

Most soft drinks contain a high amount of simple sugars. The USDA recommendation of sugar consumption for a 2,000-calorie diet is a daily allotment of 10 teaspoons of added sugars. Many soft drinks contain more than this amount!

Just why is too much sugar so unhealthy? Well, to start, let's talk about what happens to you as sugar enters your body. When you drink sodas that are packed with simple sugars, the pancreas is called upon to produce and release insulin, a hormone that empties the sugar in your blood stream into all the tissues and cells for usage. The result of overindulging in simple sugar is raised insulin levels. Raised blood insulin levels beyond the norm can lead to depression of the immune system, which in turn weakens your ability to fight disease. Something else to consider is that most of the excess sugar ends up being stored as fat in your body, which results in weight gain and elevates risk for heart disease and cancer. One study found that when subjects were given refined sugar, their white blood cell count decreased significantly for several hours afterwards. Another study discovered that rats fed a high-sugar diet had a substantially elevated rate of breast cancer when compared to rats on a regular diet.

The health effects of diet soda

You may come to the conclusion that diet or sugar-free soda is a better choice. However, one study discovered that drinking one or more soft drinks a day — and it didn’t matter whether it was diet or regular — led to a 30% greater chance of weight gain around the belly. Diet soda is filled with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin. These artificial sweeteners pose a threat to your health. Saccharin, for instance, has been found to be carcinogenic, and studies have found that it produced bladder cancer in rats. Aspartame, commonly known as nutrasweet, is a chemical that stimulates the brain to think the food is sweet. It breaks down into acpartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol at a temperature of 86 degrees. (Remember, your stomach is somewhere around 98 degrees.) An article put out by the University of Texas found that aspartame has been linked to obesity. The process of stimulating the brain causes more cravings for sweets and leads to carbohydrate loading.

Carbonation depletes calcium

Beverages with bubbles contain phosphoric acid, which can severely deplete the blood calcium levels; calcium is a key component of the bone matrix. With less concentration of calcium over a long time, it can lower deposition rates so that bone mass and density suffer. This means that drinking sodas and carbonated water increases your risk of osteoporosis. Add in the caffeine usually present in soft drinks, and you are in for even more trouble. Caffeine can deplete the body’s calcium, in addition to stimulating your central nervous system and contributing to stress, a racing mind, and insomnia.

Skip the soda and go for:
• Fresh water
Water is a vital beverage for good health. Each and every cell needs water to perform its essential functions. Since studies show that tap water is filled with contaminants, antibiotics, and a number of other unhealthy substances, consider investing in a quality carbon-based filter for your tap water. To find out more about a high-performance filtration system, click here.
On the go? Try using a stainless steel thermos or glass bottle, filled with filtered water. Enhance the flavor of your water with a refreshing infusion of basil, mint leaves, and a drop of honey.

• Fruit Juice
If you are a juice drinker, try watering down your juice to cut back on the sugar content. Buy a jar of organic 100% juice, especially cranberry, acai, pomegranate, and then dilute three parts filtered water to one part juice. You will get a subtle sweet taste and the benefit of antioxidants. After a couple of weeks, you will no longer miss the sweetness of sugary concentrated juices.

Tea gently lifts your energy and has numerous health benefits. Black, green, white, and oolong teas all contain antioxidant polyphenols. In fact, tea ranks as high or higher than many fruits and vegetables on the ORAC scale, the score that measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods.

Herbal tea does not have the same antioxidant properties, though it is still a great beverage choice with other health benefits, such as inducing calming and relaxing effects.

If tea doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, try adding cinnamon or a little honey, which has important health benefits that refined sugar lacks. For a selection of healthy teas that promote total body wellness, click here. Drink up!

I hope you find the ways and means to avoid soft drinks. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr Mao