In this blog we will cover ways to help your diet and understand what nutritional benefit some foods can play in helping you build a stronger immune system.
So here are some important areas of your diet to focus on and potentially increase:
Vitamin D: Over the past few years, the information around Vitamin D has greatly increased. Vitamin D has been shown to protect against respiratory diseases, flu development, depression and cardiac disease markers. But how can we increase our intake? Sun exposure is the best source of Vitamin D, but you can also find it in salmon, egg yolks, milk and cereals. But as we’re in Ireland it can be useful to supplement your diet with Vitamin D because of the weak strength of the sun and now winter is closing in. So a simple Vitamin D supplement from your local health store can be greatly beneficial to your health.
Protein: Protein can help your body build lean tissue and also help build antibodies. Protein is arguably the most important macronutrient for your immune system. Whether animal or plant-based, aim for the best quality available to you that you can afford. Recommended amounts are different for everyone due to body weight and the amount of activity you are doing.
Zinc: Zinc is very important to the immune system by effectively activating T-Cells. T-cells job is to attack infected cells and will help regulate your immune response. Ways to increase the amount of Zinc in your diet is to eat foods such as scallops and oysters. Also, high-quality whole grains are good food sources for Zinc.
Vitamin C: If you want a great micronutrient for an immune boost, Vitamin C will do that job for you. It’s a powerful antioxidant that can help your body produce lymphocytes and phagocytes. These are vital for your immune system to help protect you against infections. Where can you find Vitamin C? Citrus fruits, broccoli and bell peppers are great for this. But similar to the other Vitamins mentioned above it can be useful to supplement these in your diet as well.
Sleep: Sleep is one of the most important good habits you can develop. This is because it affects everything we do and how our body functions the next day. What do you do with your phone at night? Charge it. Otherwise, you are not going to be using it at its full capacity the next day. It is the same with your body. Give it the recharge it needs. To help increase your sleep try these tips:
Aim to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted time in bed. Put your phone away before bed as this will help reduce distractions.
Stick to a consistent bedtime so your body gets used to going to bed at a certain time.
Precede bedtime with some deep breathing work to engage the parasympathetic nervous system which is the relaxing part of your nervous system.
These habits and diet tips might be basic, but that does not make it easy. Your day can change without you expecting it and throw a spanner in your new routine. But building good habits can provide you with some flexibility when your day gets out of control. So give these tips a go this week and see how you feel.
If you have any questions and want to improve your health from diet advice to decreasing aches and pains you may have contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
In the last blog article we covered a number of different topics related to concussion and its management. We will focus on nutrition and sleep in this article.
Post Concussion Signs & Symptoms:
Difficulty in remembering things or people
Lack of Focus
How to Improve Recovery with Nutrition:
Omega 3 Fish Oils are important in cognitive function of the brain, they will also act as anti inflammatories for the brain during the recovery phase of the concussion
Creatine helps to increase water retention in the body which will in turn increase fluid levels supporting the brain during healing.
Turmeric is a powerful natural anti inflammatory which can also aid in the recovery phase
The majority of post concussion patients will need to increase their number of hours of sleep as this is essential for the brain to recovery from injury. It is also important to decrease the time spent on mobile devices as the blue light from the screen can have an effect on melatonin levels which help to regulate sleep cycles. Most devices and computer now come with blue light filter or apps can be downloaded if not included on your phone, tablet or computer.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome marked by widespread muscular tenderness and pain. Those with FM commonly experience disturbances in sleep, mood, and cognition, as well as having neural symptoms also.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by 18 tender points (9 pairs) throughout the body. These tender points are located in the hips, neck, chest, elbow and knee.Fibromyalgia sufferers will have at least 11 tender points and will have had symptoms for >3 months.
It is accepted that the treatment of Fibromyalgia is multimodal. Generally, this encompasses relaxation, meditation, exercise, physiotherapy, acupuncture, nutrition, medication and laser therapy.
Resistance training is a great way to build up muscle strength, power, and endurance. Studies have shown that after 16-21 weeks of beginning a resistance training programme, the tenderness and pain levels in female Fibromyalgia sufferers reduced. The training helped to improve overall well-being, physical function, and muscle strength.
After 12 weeks of beginning a flexibility programme, overall muscle and joint pliability and flexibility improved. And, doing 20-30min walks @ approx. 60-70% max heart rate has been shown to improve mood and sleep patterns.
Evidence suggests that acupuncture can provide short term benefits to Fibromyalgia patients, generally up to one month within treatment. The acupuncture needles are placed on the 9 pairs of Fibromyalgia tender points. Its effects have been further enhanced when combined with other modalities, like exercise or laser therapy.
Laser has many benefits for those with Fibromyalgia. It is a painless intervention for those with Fibromyalgia. Laser stimulates cell growth, increases cell metabolism, invokes an anti-inflammatory response, promotes oedema reduction, stimulates nerve function, reduces the production of substance P, and stimulates the production of endorphins. Laser is applied to the area of pain and/or the 9 pairs of tender points for 20-30seconds per point.
Laser helps to improve sleep, improve physical function, increase mobility, reduce pain, muscle spasm and fatigue.
Nutrition is vital in managing Fibromyalgia. Various studies have connected Fibromyalgia to bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and a compromised gut function as a result. There are a variety of ways to help cleanse your gut and improve your digestive function. For example: ultrainflamx, omega 3 fish oils, probiotics, turmeric, and vitamin D3 are all very effective in creating a healthy gut. It is also beneficial to either cut out dairy or wheat, depending on which is more sensitive to your gut.
Meditation has been shown to improve mood and sleep patterns in individuals with altered sleep and mood swings. Try to find a quiet room, darkly lit, for 10-15mins twice daily to listen to some relaxing music. Focus on taking deep, slow breaths and try focussing on something that makes you happy. The HeadSpace App is very effective in instructing meditation too.
As you can see, Fibromyalgia must be approached using a variety of different interventions. In our clinic, we have expert medical professionals who have experience in dealing with Fibromyalgia. If you think you suffer with this condition, or know of anyone that does, book an appointment today and let us help you get on the road to managing this condition and getting back to your life!
To date, Fibromyalgia is still a misunderstood condition. There are many theories as to what causes it, what can trigger it, and what can help with the pain. But we don’t know for sure. As you can imagine, that can be very frustrating for someone who has been diagnosed with this condition, not knowing what to do about it. Lets learn a little more about this common condition.
1. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes wide spread muscular pain, it is more common in women than in men, and can run in families. Fibro= fibrous tissue, myo= muscle and algia= pain.
2. The newest theories on the causes of it are leaning towards a dysfunction in the nervous system. Something triggers the nervous system and the persons pain response is altered. Or how the brain is interpreting the pain is altered.
3. There are many other symptoms associated with this condition besides muscle pain, some of these include: fatigue, muscle weakness, poor concentration, brain fog, headaches, and anxiety, just to name a few.
4. There is no specific test for fibromyalgia. It cannot be detected in a blood test or scan. The best way to diagnose it is from the persons specific history. Guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology state that the person must have : ” widespread pain lasting more than 3 months, and other general physical symptoms including fatigue, waking unrefreshed, and cognitive (memory or thought) problems.”
5. There is also no specific treatment for fibromyalgia. Common is for patients to be put on pain killers, or anti-inflammatories, and sometimes anti-depressants.
You may be feeling quite grim right now, because we don’t know what causes it, and it can be hard to treat. So what can we do?
Exercise – regular exercises seems to be one of the biggest things that helps to keep fibromyalgia manageable. Not only is this shown in the research about the condition, but in our experiences here in the clinic.
Chiropractic treatments – chiropractic care can help relieve muscle tension and pain that comes along with fibromyalgia.
Laser – our class 4 laser is also a great tool at helping ease the pain of those tender points associated with this condition.
Dry needling/acupuncture- another one that our fibromyalgia patients feel the benefits from.
Nutritional supplementation- more research needs to be done, but there is some evidence to support certain supplements and their role in helping this condition, including vitamin D, co-enzyme Q10, probiotics, and trace minerals magnesium and zinc.
So you can see, there are things that you can do to actively work on taking control of this condition. Our best advice, find a provider who will work with you, looking at the whole picture and incorporating some of the things above, and help you to stay consistent.
Have fibromyalgia? Book an appointment today and let us help you get on the road to managing this condition and getting back to your life!
Some of you will be aware that we welcomed our son 3 months ago now, a beautiful bouncy baby boy Davin, weighing in at 8lb 2ozs. At the moment I am on maternity leave and enjoying every moment watching Davin grow up, granted it has been testing at times, particularly when bleary eyed in the early hours, but it has all been worth it.
Back early last year when we found out we were going to be parents we were so excited, with a level of nervous anticipation. It would be our first child.. would we make good parents, would it be healthy and oh how was the pregnancy and actual labour going to go? I have treated many pregnant patients and children in my years as a chiropractor and now it was my time.
I wanted to share a few of the things that I found important and beneficial throughout my 40 weeks (+10 days!!) which will hopefully help other mums to be.
Prenatal vitamins, fish oils, super greens and a probiotic where my daily go to after brekie to help me stay healthy and do the best for my little one. I had a pretty clean diet as it was but it was even more important now. Thankfully i had no cravings good or bad. I did force myself to drink more water throughout the day to stay hydrated, which is essential.
Prior to pregnancy I was running several times and week, long distance mainly with a marathon and half marathons,and regular strength training, so I was pretty active. I wanted to maintain a level of fitness throughout my pregnancy, as it was what made me. It helped me stay healthy and relaxed, and a happy healthy mammy makes for a happy healthy child.
Throughout the 9 months I continued to run albeit shorter distances and in the later weeks I walked daily and swam several times a week. After 12 weeks I started Pregnancy Yoga, which was fantastic for overall pelvic and core preparation for labour. It was also a great chance to make new friends. I would recommend this to every new mum as the information and support in these classes from all the ladies was invaluable. All of this I believe helped with my relatively smooth and quick labour and speedy recovery.
I heard of Hypnobirthing before being pregnant but wasn’t fully aware of what it involved exactly but I did know that it promoted a more natural and relaxed birth experience. So we decided to sign up to a course of classes locally and found them to be very informative. Afterwards we both felt more prepared mentally for what lay ahead. It definitely reinforced that we were in control of how labour would go and try to make it as positive an experience as possible. We would both definitely recommend these classes.
Acupuncture & Reflexology:
Having gone 40 weeks + 10 days I had been scheduled to be induced by day 10 but thankfully I didn’t need it. Those last 10 days were the toughest part of the pregnancy altogether as I was getting increasingly anxious as the lil one wasn’t going anywhere, he had his own agenda obviously. In that last week I had a few acupuncture and reflexology sessions to help encourage labour and to ease my own anxiety, which I found fantastic. I only wish I had attended throughout my whole 9 months and not just at the end.
The perks of owning your own chiropractic clinic with associates and having a husband who is also a chiropractor meant that I was fortunate to have weekly treatments throughout my pregnancy to keep my pelvis in the best possible state for carrying an ever growing child and childbirth. These sessions were essential in keeping my little one in the correct position and reducing any symptoms from the muscle and ligament changes that your body goes through.
I really hope that by reading this even one person gains something that they can do during their 9 months and even before, to help make their journey to motherhood as smooth and amazing as mine was.
Below are a few links to some of the people who helped us on our journey:
Supplements are an important aspect for reaching optimal health and well-being as most of us are not intaking adequate nutrients on a daily basis. Our diets have changed over the years, we have gone from eating whole food sources to more foods that are pre-prepared and pre-packaged, which usually means less nutritional value. Supplementation is not meant to replace eating healthy, but meant to be an addition to healthy eating habits, to help us get all the nutrients we need. Here is our list of the most important you should be taking:
Probiotics– more research keeps coming out about how many different conditions are affected and prevented by having a healthy micro biome in our guts. Even if you haven’t been on antibiotics recently, but especially if you have, make sure to get good bacteria into your system. Outside of supplementation you can get bacteria through fermented foods and yogurts as well.
Vitamin D– this is a common deficiency to have, especially in places where daylight and sunshine is limited. It is not just for bone health, but can impact a number of systems in the body, contributing to: fatigue and achy muscle pains. Make sure to get it in D3 form with supplements.
Omega oils– you can get these from animal sources such as fish oil or krill oil, but they can also be obtained from plant sources such as flax, chia, and hemp seeds, and spirulina. They help with heart and brain function, and can also be beneficial in certain conditions such as ADHD and autism.
Magnesium– is used throughout the body in different systems. It can lead to symptoms such as: fatigue, muscle cramping, and numbness/tingling.
Zinc– we don’t store it in the body, so its important to get this one daily. It helps to ward off colds and keep your immune system strong among other things.
Everyone is different and their nutrient needs are also different, but this can be used as a guide to help you make sure you are including these important substances into your daily routine.
Autism is a neuro-developmental disability that affects the development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication. The disorder affects about 1 in 100 children in Ireland according to recent studies.
While there are a number of resources for Autism which discuss the possible causes of the disorder we would like to look at the things that you as a parent might able to introduce to your child life that may benefit them.
Cleaning Up Diet: Many who have autism suffer with digestive issues. Cleaning up the diet and supplementation can help significantly with this. Removal of gluten, diary, processed foods, food additives and the reduction of sugar in the diet can have a profound effect on your child’s behaviour as well as.
Supplementation: Addition of high dose fish oils which are rich in Omega 3 are great at supporting the brain’s neurotransmitters. As well as a probiotic to help balance the gut bacteria, which can also help with digestive issues. This is especially important if your child has been on antibiotics at some point. Other vitamins/minerals that have been shown to be beneficial are: B6, C, and zinc.
Daily Exercise and Balance: Daily movement and balance work is essential for for the brain, Exercise can help with the dopamine levels in the brain.
Listening Therapy: This therapy has been around since the 1970’s but is not very well known in Ireland. Listening therapy has shown to be a very effective neuroplastic technique to cause changes within the child’s brain. Paul Madaule, one of the world’s leaders, has seen improvements in two thirds of the children that he has seen at his centre.
These are a few of the many options out there for parents of children with Autism. Don’t let a diagnosis dictate the future of your child and know that there are things you can do to empower your child and help ease some of the symptoms associated with this disorder.
Yours in health
The Lawlor Clinic
Chiropractic | Mums & Babies | Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization