The addition of artificial additives, preservatives, flavours and colours to food is not new. In fact people have been adding preservatives and supplements to food for centuries. What is new however is the amount of these additives we are consuming, this is concerning not only for ourselves but for future generations as well.
In the 1960′s we each consumed 1.36kg of artificial additives, in the 70′s this reached 2.72kg, in the 90′s it was 4.52kg and today it’s greater that 5kg per year! Wow! So if the amount of additives we’re eating has almost quadrupled, what effect has this had on our health?
The problem with food additives is there are literally thousands of them, presently there’s about 3794! So researching each one effectively is extremely time consuming. So really the long term and combined effects of these additives on our health is not well known, and to complicate things further, the research tends to contradict itself with some studies claiming there are no negative effects, while others link additives to specific reactions and disorders.
Here I’m going to cover some of the more well researched additives:
Tartrazine – Termed an anti-nutrient, this additive is normally used as a dye for soft drinks. In aspirin and allergy sensitive individuals tartrazine can cause asthma, hives, a runny nose, heart palpitations, itching or weakness. Hyperactive children are thought to be particularly sensitive, with ingestion causing abnormal behaviour patterns and high levels of zinc loss. Zinc is vitally important as in plays a role in both physical growth and neurological development so for growing children it is best to avoid this additive.
Benzoates – these preservatives are found in fruit based fillings, jams, soft drinks and beer. It has been known to cause hives, swelling and asthma symptoms. And has been directly linked to childhood hyperactivity.
Saccharin – is one of the oldest and most contentious artificial sweeteners. Used in sweetening tablets, diet soft drinks and lollies. The battle over saccharin has been bitterly fought with countries barring and then reinstating its use. The point of contention lies in studies which show saccharin can cause cancer and congenital malformations in animals, while other studies say its poses no risk to humans. until research can be clear on the implications of this additive, my advice is to avoid it.
Aspartame – The most widely used sweetener, has been linked to hyperactive and aggressive behaviour. Concerningly it may also be linked to the steep rise in brain cancer over the past 4 decades. In people with a history of depression, consumption of aspartame resulted in such severe m odd reactions that the study had to be halted. Considering this is the most popular food sweetener, these studies are alarming.
To avoid food additives follow these simple rules:
*Avoid the centre of the supermarket – stick to the outside where the produce is fresh
* Chose food as close to nature as possible because it means little if anything is added
“90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by movement of the spine”
Dr. Roger Sperry, Nobel prize recipient for brain research
* If your child is studying ensure they take micro breaks every 15 minutes to stretch their back, shoulders and wrists. Getting out of the chair every 1/2 hr and moving about will help reduce muscle strain.
* Schedule time at home to be active. Kids spend a lot of time sitting at school and on the way to and from. Before getting stuck into homework, take some time to get moving!
* Your child should avoid studying with a laptop on their lap. This causes the neck to be bent awkwardly for long periods and flattens the low back. keep laptops on a desk or table and use an external mouse, rather than a track pad to reduce shoulder tension.
* The abovc point also applies when using Nintendo DS, iPhones, iPods etc. Try to prevent your child sitting with their head bent forward toward the screen. Sit tall, with the screen at eye height to prevent neck strain.
Backpacks should be:
* No more than 10% of childs weight
* No wider than the chest, or lower than the hollow of the back
* always worn with straps over both shoulders
* packed with teh heaviest items closest to the spine, at the bottom of the bag and lighter items on top
* As light as possible. Lockers should be used to reduce the load in your child’s school bag as much as possible
* Put on the ground if it doesn’t need to be carried. If it doesn’t need to be on your child’s back then it shouldn’t be!
* Sit with the point of your buttocks in the back of your chair
*Maintain the curve of your low back with adequate lumbar support
*Centre your computer monitor at your nose height
Your elbows should be at 90 degrees, shoulders relaxed and wrists straight, NOT bent at the keyboard
*Avoid everything below!
Most people have heard that sitting for extended periods is bad for your spine. In fact around 30% of office workers experience low back or neck pain every year!! So why is it that this seemingly simple activity is causing so many back problems?
Part of the reason is that sittng itself is not an activity but actually a period of inactivity. Why is this important?
The bones of your spine are seperated by spongy, water filled discs that cushion the spine. Discs require water for both nutrition and hydration, without water the discs dry out and spinal degeneration begins. The only way fo rdiscs to be filled and flushed with fresh water is to keep your spine moving!!
In fact sitting for just 3 minutes (!) with poor posture is enough for the discs to begin loosing water and strains teh muscles and ligaments in your back. Can you imagine teh damage done after an entire day of desk work!!
So we know that sitting is bad, but is there any way to make it better? YES!
Firstly that old chestnut POSTURE – imagine the discs in your spine like water filled balloons. When you stand your discs are under pressure like a water balloon sandwiched between teo books. When you sit the weight of these books is increased and so is the pressure on the balloon. When you sit and slouch, you’ve just replaced these books with oxford dictionaries and made the balloons much more liekly to burst and cause and injury.
By far the best thing you can do for your spine is MOVE. Never sit for longer than 30 minutes without getting out of your chair. A quick walk to the water cooler is enough to refresh your spine.
Take micro breaks every 15 minutes. Take a moment to assess your posture, quickly stretch your shoulders, wrists, neck and back and resume your work in a better position.
Do some activity when you get home. Walk, run, kick a ball or play with your kids. Anything that gets you moving will make all the difference!!
Parents often ask me if it’s a good idea to get their children’s spines checked, and my answer is, of course, YES!
But why is chiropractic important for kids? Because taking care of yor spine is like aking care of your teeth. Would you wait until your child developed cavities before teaching them to brush their teeth or going for a dental check-up? Of course not! Oral health is about prevention and developing healthy habits for later in life, spinal health is the same.
Just as cavities develop over time, so does spinal degeneration. Back pain in adults is often the result of years of spinal neglect and poor postural habits, which may have been prevented with timely intervention.
Think about what your child’s spine has already been through. Birth itself is often traumatic for the newborn and can lead to spinal misalignments. Then, when toddlers learn to walk, they fall on average 17x per hour! Children go to school carrying heavy backpacks and sit for long periods of time (generally with poor posture). They often take up a sport, whether it’s hockey, soccer, football or dancing and more often than not they’ll take some hits along the way.
“But my child’s not in pain”. That’s right, and just like a cavity, in the initial stages spinal misalignment may not be painful.
Prevent spinal stress and dysfunction and help your kids develop healthy spinal habits that they’ll carry into adulthood
What do IBS, acne, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis and asthma have in common? They can all be linked to a disorder called leaky gut syndrome.
Most people don’t realise how important their digestive systems are. Your gut has the enormous responsibility of absorbing all the fluids and nutrients we need to live, whilst eliminating the things we don’t. Digestion is a complex process that begins in the mouth and goes through many stages on its way through the stomach, small and large intestines and colon. Think of it like a well-oiled machine that needs every part to be working for it to function effectively.
In leaky gut syndrome, part of the gut known as the small intestine begins to fail. The job of the small intestine is to absorb carbohydrates, fats, protein and minerals but at the same time prevent unwanted particels passing into our blood. How does it do this? The small intestine is covered with tiny pores. These pores are just big enough for the good stuff (nutrients) to get through but too small for the bad guys – unwanted toxins, bacteria, chemicals and undigested food.
in leaky gut syndrome these tiny pores expand and allow the bad guys to move into your blood stream. What happens now? Basically your body attacks the bad guys with white blood cells which is good, BUT the battle itself causes inflammation.
This means the more bad guys that get through the more inflamed your body will become. Why does this matter? Because inflammation plays a key role in disorders like eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, allergies, acne, IBS, ulcerative colitis and many, MANY more!!
So how do you prevent leaky gut syndrome? By having a healthy digestive system! alcohol, processed foods, sugar, salt, parasites, steroids, antibiotics and undigested food all irritate the lining of the small intestine causing the pores to expand. Avoid these nasties and your digestive system will thank you!!