April 12, 2011 [Volume 5, Issue 7]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
Putting Natural Health in the Spotlight
Healthy Snacks for Kids: Nuts and Seeds
5 Simple Stress Solutions


Putting Natural Health in the Spotlight

When Chandra Burnham was a teen, she envisioned herself among the beautiful, intelligent, confident women strutting across the stage in the glamorous pageants she saw on television. When the images of shiny gowns, glamour and glitz would flash on the screen, Burnham was inspired and always in awe. This past October, Chandra was able to see her dream come to fruition. Burnham was crowned Miss South Dakota USA 2011 at the Brandon Valley Performing Arts Center in Brandon, S.D. The crown was her golden ticket to compete in the upcoming Miss USA Pageant, scheduled to be held in Las Vegas and air on NBC in June.

The victory meant more than a crown and publicity to Chandra. It also meant a window of opportunity had opened for her to achieve some of her other lofty goals in life – including promoting her passion for chiropractic care. At age 23, she is currently studying to be a doctor of chiropractic at Northwestern University of Health Sciences in Bloomington, Minn. It is a career that will certainly make her stand out among her peers and other pageant contestants.

These days, she is hitting the books with the same determination that got her the reigning crown at her last pageant. "Your reign in pageants is only a year ... but with chiropractic you also get to reach out to a lot of people [for much longer than just a year]. I don't think you can beat that feeling; I think it's going to be even better than winning a pageant," she said.

The pageant winner makes sure she is just as active in chiropractic organizations as she is in pageant events. She is a member of the Student American Chiropractic Association and attends professional events such as the National Chiropractic Legislative Conference, and also promotes the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, a not-for-profit organization that helps increase public awareness of the many benefits associated with chiropractic care.

Even if she doesn't win the top prize – the Miss USA crown – Chandra said the best part for her will be promoting the benefits of chiropractic care as her main platform and knowing that when she becomes a doctor of chiropractic, she will always be a winner in the eyes of her patients.

"People love their chiropractor and what they can do for them," she said. "That's what made me want a job like that. I mean, how rewarding is that?"

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Healthy Snacks for Kids: Nuts and Seeds

Research continues to reveal that nuts and seeds do not deserve their bad reputation. Absolutely, they are high in fat; but it's the good fat, not the bad, and when eaten in moderation, their health benefits far outweigh the dangers of their fat content. The fact is, the more we learn about nuts and seeds, the more we realize that they're one of the best snack-food options for children.

In 1996, the Iowa Women's Health Study found that women who ate nuts four or more times a week were 40 percent less likely to die of heart disease. Since then, similar studies performed by the Harvard School of Public Health and Loma Linda University in California have found the same. And the Physicians' Health Study (2002) determined that men who consumed nuts two or more times per week had a noticeably reduced risk of sudden cardiac death.

Studies performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that three times as many people who were trying to lose weight were able to stick to a diet that included moderate fat content in the form of nuts and seeds. Researchers suggested that the fat, protein and fiber in nuts helped the dieters feel full longer, so many felt less deprived and ate less during the day.

Another study of women by the Harvard School of Public Health reported that there was a 30 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in those women who ate five or more 1-ounce servings of nuts per week as compared with women who rarely or never ate nuts.

Finally, studies published in the Journal of Nutrition and elsewhere have found that seeds, flax seeds in particular, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have proven benefits in the fight against heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases.

Nuts are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, with 1 ounce of Brazil nuts containing 780 percent of the recommended daily intake of selenium, and walnuts providing the most omega-3 fatty acids of any common nut. Almonds are a wonderful source of copper, magnesium and phosphorous, and provide 6 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving. And the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reported that pecans contain the highest antioxidant capacity of all nuts.

In short, the worst thing you can do for yourself and your children is reach for junk foods when you need a snack. Nuts and seeds are a convenient, healthy snack food that takes the edge off hunger without the added carbohydrates and sugar of most other snack food options. Your doctor can tell you more about the health benefits of moderate nut/seed intake.

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5 Simple Stress Solutions

Stress can be a killer - quite literally, research suggests, but it can also make your day-to-day existence miserable. Who wants to walk (or rush) around all day as the oppressive weight of stress takes its toll on your body and mind? Here are five simple strategies to help you deal with stress and get back on the road to health and wellness:

1.Walk it off. There are so many physical and mental health benefits to a good walk; when it comes to stress, it's the perfect opportunity to relax, enjoy the outdoors and reduce your stress, either by forgetting about it for a while or having the chance to process it. In fact, in many cases stress isn't caused by a particular situation, but by the sense that you can't escape your situation – your too-loud, too-hectic, too-frantic, responsibility-filled day.
2.Talk about it. One of the things that makes stress so damaging is that we often keep it to ourselves. Sometimes talking about how stressed you are (and why) with someone else is exactly what's needed to reduce it or at least understand it a little better - and that's half the battle. Your significant other, a family member, a friend or even a co-worker might be just what you need to get your stress (and how it's affecting you) out in the open. And once it's out in the open, it's easier to deal with.
3.Distract yourself. Stress doesn't have nearly as much power over you if you're not thinking about it. That can be a challenge, of course, especially when your every thought is focused on a particular stressor, but it's worth trying something – anything – to take your mind off your stress. True distraction means doing something that forces you to discard your stress to the greatest extent possible – try a baseball game, a night at the movies (particularly pure action or comedy), or even a good book or board game at home. Anything that requires your mind to focus on something other than your stress.
4.Deal with it. How do we "deal" with stress? It can involve any of these suggestions, but there are definitely a whole bunch more. It boils down to a few simple rules: a) Recognize when you're stressed; don't ignore it or pretend you're "fine." b) Understand why you're stressed; identify the source of the stress and think carefully about why it's affecting you. c) Find a way to reduce the stress (or eliminate it entirely); if that's not immediately possible, at least find a way to manage it so it doesn't continue to build.
5.Find the positives. There's a silver lining to every stressful situation or circumstance, whether it's stress about your job or career, your relationship, your family life, your (lack of) free time, your finances or anything else. It might be difficult to see at first, but it's definitely there. Think of stress as an opportunity to explore creative solutions that will not only ease your stress, but also reduce the chance it will return.

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The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

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