Phytochemicals: A Healthy Bonus

You are probably thinking: “What the heck are phytochemicals?” Even if you are not connecting the dots right now, I’m sure you’ve heard of them before. Many articles have been written recently emphasizing the potential benefits of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are a relatively new class of nutrients. Technically, phytochemicals are not considered nutrients per se, because they don’t provide energy or building blocks to the body. They aren’t considered essential either. However, these substances are believed to have health-protective properties. Recent research suggests that these compounds can perform fundamental protective roles, reducing the risk of developing many diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

From Disordered Eating to Eating Disorders

Eating is an instinctive behavior that is easily affected by one’s psychological, social, and cultural environment. I would say that it is hard to find someone nowadays who eats with the sole purpose of nourishing the body. Yes, we still eat to fuel ourselves, but we also eat to celebrate special occasions or when we are feeling the blues, for instance. Another example of how external factors can influence our eating behaviors is the current “diet mentality.” The constant exposure to society’s stereotype of the “ideal body” creates the illusion that thinness will bring happiness, love, and success. In the name of “health,” many people end up engaging in unhealthy eating practices. Unfortunately, this social pressure may ultimately lead to pathological weight-control measures, fear of becoming fat, and distorted body image.

What Is Binge Drinking and How May It Harm You?

Binge drinking is defined as having more than four alcoholic drinks (for women) or five alcoholic drinks (for men) in one sitting. Even though it may sound strange to most people, it is a common behavior among college students. You probably had at least one episode of binge drinking in your lifetime: a bachelorette celebration, a college party or a “girls’ night out.” I’m sure you still remember how bad you felt the day after. Headache, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to sound and light, dry mouth, and irritability are a few symptoms of a hangover. Besides causing serious temporary impairments, consuming large amounts of alcohol at once may also lead to alcohol abuse and addiction in the long run.

Diabetes Unveiled

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects 8.3% of Americans[1]. It is a serious disease that if left untreated, can cause cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, and death. Diabetes is more prevalent in certain populations such as Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans.

Taking Care of Your Feet and Ankles – Part II

In the last article, we discussed how muscle imbalances may cause ankle and foot misalignments. These misalignments can then produce erroneous biomechanics which may result in injuries. When muscles are activated through abnormal patterns, they may lead to inflammation and tenderness in body tissues such as fasciae, tendons, and muscles, which results in painful conditions and joint instability. Many people know what I’m talking about. Foot and ankle impairments such as plantar fasciitis[1], Achilles’ tendinopathy[2], shin splints[3], and ankle sprains are usually associated with lack of flexibility of the ankle and hyperpronation of the foot (flat foot), conditions caused by local muscle imbalances.

Understanding High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition in which blood pressure is chronically elevated. Blood pressure is defined as the force exerted by the blood against the walls of blood vessels. During a heartbeat, the heart muscle contracts, expelling blood into the arteries. The pressure against the arteries’ walls at this point is known as systolic pressure. When the heart is relaxed, the blood pressure is usually lower and is known as diastolic pressure. For adults, blood pressure is considered normal when systolic pressure is lower than 120 mmHg and diastolic pressure is lower than 80 mmHg.

Preventing Muscle Loss

Our body is composed of over 600 skeletal muscles, which may contribute from 40% to 50% of total body weight. Most skeletal muscles are attached to bony structures and are under our conscious control. These muscles perform essential tasks such as movement and breathing, postural control and body alignment, and heat production.

Heart-Healthy Habits

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The term cardiovascular disease (CVD) encompasses several ailments affecting the heart and blood vessels such as hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease (heart attack and angina), heart failure, stroke, and congenital cardiovascular defects.

Osteoporosis: The Silent Disease

Osteoporosis is characterized by the progressive loss of bone mass, which increases susceptibility to fractures, especially in the hips, spine, and wrists. It is considered a silent disease because most people won’t feel their bones getting weaker and will only discover the disease after experiencing a fracture caused by a minor fall or sudden movement. However, as the disease advances, structural changes occur, causing a permanent deformity of the spine known as dowager’s hump. This deformity causes muscle fatigue and pain, and limits activities of daily living. It is also associated with the loss of 15% of one’s height.

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