Archive for June, 2010

Fruit Dangerous…Surely Not?

Peaches, blueberries, grapes, apples, strawberries… the five-a-day you should avoid!

The health risks of non-organic fruit and vegetables could be far worse than previously feared. The pesticide used to protect fruits and vegetables from premature deterioration is actually causing more harm than good, – something I thought you all needed to know as the summer season hits and the fine British public start to consume more fresh fruit!

The worst offending fruit and veg are the heaviest pesticide-contaminated foods – these include peaches, celery, apples, strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale/collard greens, cherries, potatoes, grapes, and lettuce. I suggest that any of these foods should only be eaten in organic form, especially if they are are eaten on a regular basis.

Pesticides found in non-organic fruit and vegetables have been found to disturb normal nerve function, interfere with normal sexual development, as well as causing thyroid malfunction. They contribute to the obesity epidemic, increase the risk of cancer, and can even contribute to mild mental retardation in growing humans. Pesticides are far more of a human health hazard than governments acknowledge, primarily because if they did admit to the seriousness of the problem then people would demand to know why they had allowed the public to be exposed to unremitting low-grade poisoning for more than the past half century.

New research also suggests that there is a link between ADHD and pesticides in children. This research proposes that when children are exposed to high levels of pesticides, it could increase the odds of their developing ADHD.** In the study data was collected and analysed from more than 1,100 children in the U.S. with age ranges of 8 to 15. The researchers examined the data and determined, based on their analysis, the children who possessed higher levels of pesticide in their urine were more likely to have ADHD. The salient point is that most pesticides are neuro-toxins and statistics show us that the neuro-toxins are especially problematic for pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as to foetuses and infants.

So, fruit, dangerous? Could be – so better to be safe than sorry! If you would like any more advice then please contact me through my website http://www.drgaier.com, or follow me on twitter for top health tips http://www.twitter.com/DrGaier.

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Wear and Tear of Joints

Now that summer is here and the sun is starting to show its face once again, more people are venturing outdoors to make the most of that lovely weather we see only too rarely. Whether it be for gardening or exercise this is when we can put sudden and unnecessary strain on our bodies so it’s important to take simple steps to avoid long term problems.

Wear and tear on the joints of the body is one of the reasons why many of us feel old and creaky as we age. It might start with a painful twinge in the knee – or perhaps some stiffness in your fingers.

In healthy joints, cartilage acts as a cushion or shock absorber, providing a smooth surface between the bones. However, with wear and tear, the cartilage starts to wear away, leaving the ends of the bones exposed. They then grind against each other causing pain.

Genetics, nutrition and illness all have a role to play in how long our cartilage lasts but how you use your joints – and the muscles, ligaments and tendons around them is also vital. Here I will look at four of the main joints which are prone to wear and tear and recommend how to avoid damage suggesting which exercises can safely help to put the spring back in your step.

THE HIP
The hip is the ball and socket joint, which means that of all the main weight-bearing joints, it has the widest range of motion. Therefore it is the joint that suffers the most wear and tear. When walking and standing, not only does the weight of the upper body push down on the hip, but the weight of the leg, you might say, pushes up.

HOW TO AVOID WEAR AND TEAR
It’s essential to keep the supporting muscles strong to support the hip and keep it stable with non-impact exercise like yoga and Pilates.

Before exercise it’s essential that the body is prepared in the right way. The muscles need to be strengthened and the joints made supple before you start any activity.

Firm cushioning in the shoe will reduce the shock suffered by the bones of the leg from each step but they won’t reduce the weight of the body, which the hip joints have to bear.

KNEE
As another weight-bearing joint, the knee is the second most likely to receive wear and tear throughout life.
The body relies on the muscles of the leg to play a major role in reducing the shock to the knee from exercise. So if the muscles are allowed to waste away, the joint becomes repeatedly jarred and the cartilage gradually wears away.

HOW TO AVOID WEAR AND TEAR
Some of the kind of activity that is helpful in the maintenance of the knee includes water exercises, treadmills, and cross-country skiing. High stress activities such as jumping, downhill or slalom ski racing, repeated sideways and twisting movements are not recommended.

Stretching can also keep the ligaments around the knee supple and wearing cushioned footwear can minimise the impact. In more extreme cases, occasionally taping the knees or using supports can help stabilize the bones of the knee and reduce any eccentric pressure on sections of the knee joint.

Obesity still remains the major cause of wear and tear on the knees and until recently doctors were unsure which came first – obesity or wear and tear on the knee leading to a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain.

SHOULDER
The shoulder is less likely than the hip and knee to suffer wear and tear on the cartilage in the joint because it carries no body weight. However, repetitive actions involving some recurrent lifting may wear away cartilage in the shoulder.

Instead it’s more prone to strains of the ligaments, muscles and other structures around the shoulder, leading to conditions such as bursitis or rotator cuff tendinitis, which may sometimes be provoked by sudden lifting above head height or throwing.

HOW TO AVOID WEAR AND TEAR
Many people start to feel pain in their shoulder as the soft tissues around the joint start to contract because they are not used due to the restriction of movement that will have set in.

As a result, the ball and socket start to get closer and bones start to rub against each other and the bone thickens outwards, causing bone spurs.

The first signs are usually when patients have trouble performing tasks like washing their hair or reaching up behind their back while dressing.

The best way to protect your shoulder is to keep it supple with stretching and with moderate over-head weight exercises.

THE ELBOW
The elbow is a complex joint made of three bones to allow the hand to be as dexterous as possible. It’s designed to bend and straighten so you can bring your palm to your face and it also allows you to roll your forearm as well as some side to side movement.

HOW TO AVOID WEAR AND TEAR

Most problems with the elbow happen when it’s being extended and rotated at the same time, putting a huge amount of pressure on the joint.

If you’re gripping a club, racket, gardening or DIY tool too hard or for a long period, you risk either golfer or tennis elbow, which can both wear down cartilage. Both happen when the forearm tendons, which stretch over the elbow joint, get sore and tender. The difference is that golfer’s elbow affects the tendons on the inner arm, while tennis elbow affects those on the outside.

Among the best way to reduce the wear and tear is to make grip handles larger so your grip is not so tight. Splints, which also support the tendons, will also protect the elbow from damage.

It is important to look after your joints from an early age to avoid future wear and tear. This problem is not preventable however it can be helped by looking after yourself and taking the above steps to reduce the strain on the body. If you would like more information please contact me through my website (www.drgaier.com).

Top Energy Boosting Tips

I am offering tips on improving energy to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your health.

Physical activity has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety as well as decreasing the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes and can even improve sexual performance.

Here are my ten top tips to add that wow factor to your overall health and wellbeing.

Water: Being dehydrated can sap your energy, even slight dehydration of 1 or 2 % of your body weight can make you feel tired. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.
Yoga: Instead of the usual cup of coffee in the morning why not add a 10-15 minute yoga session to your morning routine, this will speed up your metabolism and has the potential to work out every muscle in your body. A great way to bring a burst of energy to your morning!
Keep the weight off: Obesity is a growing concern within the UK with nearly half the population being obese. Often this can be the cause for a lack of energy, as people don’t realise how much extra weight they have to carry around on a daily basis. This excess weight can slow you down and leave you feeling drained, tired and not to mention lowering your sexual self esteem.
It’s good to nibble: Its important to maintain a normal blood sugar level, in order to do this you should eat every few hours. This will help you maintain muscle tissue, which burns more calories than fat tissue, whilst putting the much-needed skip in your step. But don’t overdo it. Overeating can be just as bad as starvation.
Embrace Carbohydrates: carbohydrates is considered a dirty word these days, but they provide us with the much-needed energy to power us through the day; they release energy slowly into your body to keep you going for longer.
Sleep: The body requires 8 hours sleep in order to fully rejuvenate. Most people only get between 5-6 hours sleep, meaning that your body isn’t fully alert which then lowers your stamina.
Avoid quick fixes: Many people believe that when they are tired a sugary snack will give them a boost, however this isn’t the case. The body will waste copious amounts of energy turning the sugar in the snack into energy to use in your body and the boost will be short lived, and inevitably leaving you more drained as it imbalances your blood sugar. The best things to snack on are fresh fruit or whole grain products.
Exercise: A good way to become energised is to keep yourself active. Exercise gets your heart pumping and increases your metabolism, but more importantly it releases endorphins which gives you that same happy sensation you get when you have sex or eat chocolate, for this reason your brain begins to crave it more.
Detox: Throughout your daily life we ingest things that pollute our bodies. These are called toxins and they can make us ill, depressed, lethargic and bloated. It is good to flush these toxins out of our bodies every so often. There are many diets available however certain fruits such as cranberries and pomegranates are a good way to flush the bad toxins out.
Laugh: Laughter is undoubtedly the best energiser. Laughter generates chemicals in the blood that boost well-being. Laughter gives an over-all feeling of relief. Enjoy a good, hearty laugh every day, and increase your energy and your feeling of happiness.
If you would like any more information on how to improve your health visit http://www.drgaier.com. I will also be offering advice via my twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/drgaier.