For all San Ramon Patch Readers, here are a few, quick tips to make life healthier and easier:
Kids and Candy: Ok, we all know how fun Halloween can be for our youngsters (and some early teens who haven't grown out of it). But have you stopped to think how harmful eating a whole bag of candy is to your children? Refined sugar wreaks havoc on insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone that moves glucose (blood sugar) into cells for energy. Long term consumption of sugary foods keeps blood insulin levels high, and over time, cells become insensitive, i.e. unresponsive to insulin. Why is this bad? Because if your insulin won't work, your blood sugar(glucose) will get dangerously high as none or very little of it gets into your cells (muscles, brain, etc) where it is needed for energy. Excess sugar in the blood binds to nerves and amino acids, essentially deforming them. In response, your body senses the lack of sugar in the muscles and will make more insulin, thinking it will fix the problem, but it only makes matters worse. High blood insulin levels shut off fat metabolism. The result: frequent consumption of sugary foods is a countdown to obesity and Type II diabetes.
Clinical nutritionist Nancy Appleton, PhD, warns of 146 reasons how refined sugar can harm your health that is worth reading. Among them, she believes that sugar impedes the production of growth hormone, weakens eyesight, and "feeds" cancer.
The bottom line, let the kiddies do their trick or treating, but talk to them about how too much candy is bad for them, and be specific. We know from our dentists that the chewy variety sticks to teeth and increases the chances of cavities. Warn them that too much candy may necessitate a trip to the dentist's drill and cause them to be sick when they are older.
Rain and Car Accidents. The forecast calls for rain. This is a bit early for the Bay Area, but weather patterns these days have been really out of whack, so it's no surprise. When rain first starts to fall after a long summer, it loosens all the built up motor oil on the streets, making them slimy and slippery. People are still used to driving at speeds on a dry road, so we see more rear-end collisions at stop signs and traffic lights. This can cause whiplash, neck pain, and back pain, which can put a damper on your holiday season. Make sure to check your tire treads; change them if the outer treads are worn down. Drive slower in the rain; give yourself more reaction time to stop when in traffic. Get new windshield wiper refills if they aren't doing the job.
Keep moving frequently. Don't forget, staying active is one of the best ways to fight aging. As the days get shorter and night comes sooner, people are less likely to go to the gym after work. If you find yourself sitting in your car commuting, then sitting for hours and hours at work, then sitting in your car driving home, followed by sitting at your home work station surfing the web, you are setting yourself up for a breakdown somewhere in your body, and pain. All it takes is a couple of minutes a day to make a significant difference. If you're too lazy for the gym, go in your garage and do the following: 50 jumping jacks, 20 push ups, 20 squats; running in place for three minutes; dumbell exercises (curls, military press, arm raises 10x each) and if you have one, throw and catch an 8 lb medicine ball 10 times (straight up). You will notice how good you will feel afterwards.
Make sure to use all your employer Health Savings Account funds before the end of the year. Many people have flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts (HSAs) for out of pocket health expenses. You can contribute a certain amount of your pay, pre-tax, for these expenses, and use them for deductibles, co-pays, and non-covered services such as massage therapy, chiropractic, and acupunture; as long as you have a medical note from the provider. Typically, it's use it or lose it for HSA. So, as the year winds down, make sure you use the rest of your HSA funds, and get healthier in the process.
Till next time,