Exercise is Medicine by ACSM

June 2023 // Archive

Date based archive
28 Jun

Avocado is the main ingredient found in guacamole, a topper for salads, on a sandwich or wrap, and even in smoothies. The Hass is the most common variety in the U.S. Each serving is packed with 20 vitamins and minerals, potassium, folate, and lutein. Potassium helps control blood pressure, folate is needed for cellular repair, and lutein is good for the eyes. These green fruits also contain vitamins B, C, and E. Vitamin B helps fight off infection, while vitamins C and E have been found to help fight cancer. They’re low in sugar and high in fiber. Sounds too good to be true, and the catch is that avocados are high in fat. However, this is the good type of fat called “monosaturated” which helps lower bad cholesterol. The problem is that one serving of avocado is 1/3 of a medium pick. This small amount has 50 calories with 4.5 grams of fat. Doesn’t sound like much but the reality is that this is a mere one or two dips in the guacamole bowl. Moderation is not avocado’s strong suit.

Too much of anything of course catches up with the body. The plus side is that avocados have so many positive benefits. Avocados contain vitamins A, K, C, E, B, iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and folate. This fruit may help reduce inflammation in the body. Avocados may help the body absorb nutrients from other foods. They have been linked to cancer prevention because they contain phytochemicals that prevent the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells. Avocados are also high in fiber which helps with digestion. One serving contains 2 grams of fiber, which means they also help the body feel fuller.

Yes, avocados are healthy. However, that doesn’t give the green light to have as much as desired. Extra pounds will accumulate if eaten in excess. Avocados are a great alternative to other condiments and sauces. The key to recognize is that 77% of the calories in avocados are composed of fat. This is the very healthy type of fat, the same found in olive oil. Avocados fit nicely into a healthy diet but sticking to reasonable portions is the key. It’s too easy to eat too much without noticing. The whole avocado is just too much…. sadly. Avocados can be part of an effective weight loss approach, but when eaten in the proper amount. That means some chips will have to spare the dip.

25 Jun

Eventually, all of us will get gray hair. More friendly terms are silver, salt and pepper, or charcoal. We associate graying with aging or a phenomenon that occurs only in the elderly. That is not the case for all people, in fact some can gray at early as in their 20s. The reason that hair goes gray is because the color-producing cells stop making pigment. The color becomes naturally bleached and hydrogen peroxide actually builds up in the hair. The pigment in our hair is called melanin which is released by melanocytes.  As we age, our hair follicles and hair shaft wear down. The melanocytes don’t work as efficiently. Almost half of all people have some amount of gray hair by age 50. However, Caucasians start to go gray in their mid-30s, African-Americans in their late 40s, and Asians in their late 30s. If a Caucasian person goes gray before age 20 and an Asian or African American before age 30, then they are considered to have premature gray hair.

This is not classified as a medical problem, rather more of a vanity concern. There is not scientific proof that stress causes gray hair. Although we have watched each of our president’s hair turn grey while in office, this wasn’t the result of their chronic stress. Genes play a major role. Problems with the thyroid or low vitamin B-12 levels can cause graying. Inadequate levels of vitamin C, D, and E can also cause graying. Sun damage and smoking have been linked to graying.

There are of course ways to cover the gray or rather, to just embrace it. Stars such as Steve Martin and Anderson Cooper wear their gray with pride. Unfortunately, you can’t really escape graying. Antioxidant rich foods can slow the process of aging. Great foods to consider are vitamin B-12 (eggs, fish, poultry, milk), vitamin A (eggs, carrots, dark leafy greens), vitamin C (citrus, berries, sweet potatoes), vitamin E (nuts, seeds, green vegetables), iron (leafy green and red meat), and antioxidants (berries, onion, garlic, and legumes). Hormonal problems should be treated. Stopping smoking will reduce the rate at which gray hair produces. You may just have the DNA for graying. You might just have the same gene that causes the lighter hair in Europeans (IRF4).

Gray can be sophisticated so don’t always say you are getting old. Graying means you have experienced life. Just like your age, your number of grays is only part of your timeline. You are as young as feel. Most importantly, take care of your health and your body will take care of you. Just be glad you still have hair gray or not.

14 Jun

Whiplash is caused by a forward or backwards jerking of the head. The most common cause is from being in a car accident. Symptoms don’t always immediately present themselves but tend to surface at least within 24 hours of the trauma. Soft tissue becomes damaged from the jerking motion to areas such as discs and other muscles and ligaments. The injury may not be detectable on a standard X-ray, but a doctor can perform CT scan or MRI (magnetic imaging imaging) to diagnose whiplash.

Some of the most common symptoms include the following:

  1. Headaches
  2. Stiff neck
  3. Dizziness
  4. Low back pain
  5. Numbness in the arm of hand that can be painful
  6. Fatigue
  7. Sleep disturbance
  8. Irritability

Patients are all affected differently, therefore, there is no one single treatment that works for everyone. Treatment has become more progressive. In the past, immobilization was the number one recommendation which involved making sure the cervical collar did not move. Now, doctors are recommending limited range of motion to the injured areas. Pain medication can be prescribed or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) can be used to help. Heat and ice are readily recommended. Physical therapy and messages can be used as well. Ultrasound and injections can be done.

The pain and resulting stiffness from whiplash can remain chronic. For most patients, symptoms remain for at least 6 months. This can result in time lost at work, multiple appointments like physical therapy to attend, and inability to perform activities once enjoyed.

Whiplash doesn’t just result from car accidents. A person can fall from a bike or horse. It can also occur from being hit from the side not just forwards or backwards. Just because an injury isn’t visible doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t always surface right away. It also is most prevalent in woman than in male. This trauma is classified using a grading scale:

Grade 0: No physical signs of injury or patient complaints.
– Grade 1: No physical signs, but neck pain.
– Grade 2: Patient experiencing neck pain & signs of a musculoskeletal injury.
– Grade 3: Patient experiencing neck pain & signs of neurological impairment.

Whiplash is the body communicating that trauma has occurred and attention is needed. Being slowed down can be frustrating, especially if the accident was not your fault. Treat the symptoms, don’t ignore the pain, and be sure to wear your seatbelt, a helmet, or whatever type of protective gear can be worn that could potentially save your life and whiplash.

07 Jun

The musical fruit. Beans are a very healthy type of food that is affordable and versatile. Different types are enjoyed by different cultures. Beans are classified as legumes and grow in pods that have beans inside. These pods come from flowers. Some of the most popular types of beans include black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, red beans, black-eyed peas, soybeans, and kidney beans. There are a number of reasons why beans can be part of a healthy diet.

  1. Protein: Beans are high in amino acids. Soybeans are actually a complete source of protein, meaning they contain all 9 amino acids. Beans are a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
  2. Antioxidants: Beans contain antioxidants which are the free radicals that help with processes in the body, help with physical aging, and can help reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation.
  3. Nutrients: Beans are full of folate which is very helpful for the fetus during pregnancy. Folate is important for everyone to have and not having enough of it can lead to fatigue, loss of appetite, weakness, heart palpitations, and irritability. Beans have fiber, zinc, magnesium, and iron.
  4. Heart health: Eating beans can help reduce the risk for stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems.
  5. Beans can help lower cholesterol.
  6. Diabetes and glucose metabolism: Beans can help stabilize blood glucose levels. This can help prevent diabetes. Because beans are high in fiber which means they can help lower blood glucose.
  7. Appetite control: Because beans are high in fiber, which means a person can feel fuller longer and avoid overeating.
  8. Liver health: Beans can preserve liver health and reduce the risk of fatty liver.

There are a couple down sides to eating beans. Eating too many, much like having too much of any food, can lead to gastrointestinal problems. These might include gas, diarrhea, blocked intestines. Beans also contain a lot of carbohydrates and depending on a person’s body type and metabolism, this may not be conducive to their waistline. For example, one cup of black beans has about 660 calories and 121 grams of carbohydrates. That might take almost an hour of running to burn off. When compared to a piece of chicken, the pros and cons speak for themselves when looking for a protein source. Moderation is always the principle. It can be hard not to get carried away when someone has a great recipe with beans. They can top a salad, fill a burrito, be in a soup, or just stand alone. About ¼ cup is one serving, meaning a little has to go a long way.