In this issue of To Your Health:
The Key to Perfect Posture / Finding the Right Balance
Keeping Your Body Energized
Bursting the Diet Soda Bubble
     September 18, 2007 [Volume 1, Issue 19]
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The Key to Perfect Posture / Finding the Right Balance


Your mother always told you, "Stand up straight." Although no one has perfect posture, slouching is an all-too-common state that may point to deeper spinal issues. The path to strengthening posture consists of three steps:

Step 1: Posture Consciousness
Have a friend take a picture of your posture. Alternatively, stand straight in front of a mirror with your eyes closed and then, without moving, open them. Take a conscious look at your posture. Observe what is level, what is not, and what is different from one side to the other.

Step 2: Wrong vs. Strong Posture
Here is a simple balance test you can use to test yourself: Simply stand on one foot for 30 seconds. If you cannot balance on one leg for 30 seconds, or if you flail about, your internal perception of where your body is in space does not agree with true reality. As a result, when you move or exercise, your motion is not symmetrical and you will compensate by working some muscles more and others less.

Step 3: Retrain Your Body
By strengthening your posture with 10 minutes a day of posture exercise, along with regular chiropractic care, you can stand taller, with less pain, and actually age better. Daily posture exercise creates an awareness of body placement, helps stretch shortened muscles and ligaments, and gives people the ability to stay active.

Talk to your chiropractor about how posture exercises can help you breathe deeper, reduce stress and give you more energy.

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Keeping Your Body Energized

Healthy eating is more complex than adopting a low-carb, low-fat or high-fiber diet. It's important to understand how the food you eat affects your body, so you can provide balanced, sustained nutrition to keep going strong.

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on glucose (blood sugar) levels. Glucose is assigned a value of 100, while other carbohydrates are ranked relative to glucose. Essentially, carbohydrates that break down rapidly during the digestive process have the highest GI values. The blood glucose response is fast. On the other hand, carbohydrates that break down slowly and release glucose gradually into the bloodstream have low GI values.

The GI index is an important consideration for a number of reasons, particularly with respect to the benefits of consuming low-GI foods:

Low-GI foods keep you fuller for longer.
Low-GI foods cause a smaller rise in blood glucose levels following meals.
Low-GI diets can help you lose weight.
Low-GI diets can improve the body's sensitivity to insulin.

And according to the authors of a 2002 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "sufficient, positive findings have emerged to suggest that the dietary glycemic index is of potential importance in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases."

Healthy eating requires consideration of much more than just high- and low-GI foods – but the underlying premise is important: providing balanced, sustained nutrition that the body can utilize effectively to generate energy, build muscle, repair tissue, fight infection and perform a host of other vital functions.

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Bursting the Diet Soda Bubble

Regular soda is bad for you – it's full of sugar and is packed with empty calories. What's more, consumption of soda has been linked to heart disease, among other conditions. Think the answer is switching to diet cola? Think again.

Results from the Framingham Heart Study, reported in the research journal Circulation, indicate that even diet sodas increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Of the 6,000 healthy, middle-aged men and women who participated in the study, those who drank at least one soda (diet or regular) per day had about a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome (a cluster of cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors). Compared to participants who drank less than one soda per day, those who drank at least one soda also had a 31 percent greater risk of becoming obese, a 30 percent higher risk of developing increased waist circumference, a 25 percent higher risk of developing high blood triglycerides and high blood sugar, and a 32 percent greater risk of low "good" cholesterol levels.

Although more research on the topic is in order, for now, experts advise that you limit your intake of all soft drinks – including diet sodas. Now that's a recommendation to take to heart.

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