November 27, 2007 [Volume 1, Issue 24]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
Living With Arthritis Without Resorting to Drugs or Surgery
Healthy Habits 101
Catch Some Zzzzs

Time for a Spinal Tuneup

Arthritis is one of the oldest known afflictions and can affect virtually every part of the body, from the feet to the knees, back, shoulders and fingers. More than 50 million (about one in six) Americans suffer from arthritis. The most common types are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gouty arthritis.

There are natural ways to improve your arthritis symptoms. Dairy products, caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco and sugar should be reduced or eliminated from your diet, as these foods may increase joint inflammation. Additionally, nightshades (e.g., red, green and yellow bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, white flesh potatoes) should be avoided because they have a tendency to intensify arthritic symptoms. Foods containing sulfur, such as asparagus, eggs, garlic and onions, are important for the repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage and connective tissue, and also aid in the absorption of calcium. Other good foods include green, leafy vegetables (which supply vitamin K), fresh vegetables, non-acidic fresh fruits, whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice and fish. Fresh pineapple contains bromelain, a powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent, which works by stimulating the body's production of prostaglandins.

One of the most overlooked approaches to improve the discomfort associated with arthritis is hydration. Depending on your level of activity, a good rule of thumb is to drink half of your weight in ounces. Thus, if you weigh 180 pounds, you should consume 90 ounces of pure, filtered water per day.

Arthritis in any form can be a debilitating condition that prevents you from living the life you want. Rather than immediately accepting the dangerous side effects of drugs and risky surgeries, talk to your doctor about natural alternatives to keep your muscles and joints in optimal condition.

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Healthy Habits 101: 10 Ways to Teach Your Children the Value of a Healthy Lifestyle

1.Practice what you preach. It's considerably easier to convince your children to adopt healthy habits if you're doing the same.
2.Involve the whole family. Establishing a regular pattern of exercising as a family accomplishes two important things: It keeps everyone in shape and serves as important bonding time.
3.Limit screen time. Too much time watching television or playing video/computer games can lead to excessive snacking and a sedentary lifestyle.
4.Make it fun. Let your children discover which specific healthy activities they truly enjoy. If they don't like it, they won't stick with it.
5.Focus on the positives. Celebrate your children's successes and help them develop a healthy self-image. Low self-esteem can lead to poor eating, exercise and lifestyle habits.
6.Set goals and limits. If goals are excessively restrictive or vague, children are less likely to rise to the challenge. Establish clear nutrition and exercise goals (dessert two times a week; a half-hour walk five times a week, etc.).
7.Reward wisely. Rather than rewarding children with desserts or sugary snacks (a common tactic), find healthy ways to show a job well done.
8.Turn them into chefs. Get your children involved in planning and preparing meals; then sit down at the dinner table together and enjoy the healthy meal you've created together.
9.Knowledge is power. Teach children the value of reading food labels and being aware of the healthy (and not so healthy) ingredients in the foods they eat.
10.Don't pass the buck. You're the parent – that means it's up to you to teach your children about good health. School and health care providers can only do so much.

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Catch Some Zzzzs

Experts generally recommend that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night – a goal most people fail to achieve. What about your children? How much sleep should they be getting?

In a study that followed nearly 1,500 Canadian children from birth to age 6, researchers discovered that those who slept less than 10 hours per night in their preschool years were more likely to show problems with their verbal and spatial skills when they entered school. They also tended to be more hyperactive and impulsive than their less sleep-deprived peers.

Overall, children who persistently underslept were three times more likely to score poorly on a standard language test than children who consistently slept at least 10 hours nightly. Even if children increased their sleep time as they got older, the risk of hyperactivity and poor visual/spatial skills remained. Thus, experts recommend that preschool-age children sleep 11 to 13 hours per night; children ages 5 to 12 years should sleep 10 to 11 hours; and teens should get 9 hours per night.

Sleep has the power to refresh and restore, and it can help keep you and your family functioning at your best. Make sure your children are ready for life's challenges by ensuring they sleep at least 10 hours per night, particularly if they are age 3 or younger.

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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.