The Hunt is On: Chicken or the Egg Regarding Health Matters

By Martha Michael

Chicken or the Egg Regarding Health Matters

Whether you’re a basket half-empty or basket half-full kind of person, life is a mixed bag of sweet and sour even where your health is concerned.

Some diseases and conditions occur regardless of your efforts, while others are very much in your control. How can you be proactive to impact your health against some of life’s biggest opponents? It might be easier than you think.

Hypertension

When it comes to high blood pressure, the egg doesn’t fall far from the chicken. Your genetic makeup is a large determiner of the challenges you face in lowering hypertension and reducing your risk of heart disease. But there are steps you can take.

The Mayo Clinic offers a list of ways to avoid high blood pressure without the use of medications. Maintaining a healthy weight is high on the list because there’s a direct correlation between a rise in blood pressure and a rise in pounds on the scale. Sleep apnea can also result from weight gain, and it raises your risk of heart damage as well.

Too much sodium in your diet can contribute to high blood pressure. Even reducing your sodium intake by 5-6 mm Hg can produce notable improvements. Most adults should limit their daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day, but a lower level is ideal.

Cancers

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, or AICR, approximately 50 percent of cancers can be prevented. The agency launched a campaign in 2018 to motivate United States citizens to learn about cancer prevention and take necessary steps to minimize their chances of contracting various forms of the disease.

The aim of the campaign is to communicate to the public that scientific research links lifestyle to cancer risks and that prevention is possible with conscious changes. There are obvious culprits -- tobacco and the sun -- but half of Americans don’t realize there’s a link between obesity and cancer. The country can eliminate an estimated one-third of cancers by simply increasing exercise and eating right.

Cancer doesn’t just happen to you -- human behaviors contribute to them, which means changes to the egg should produce a healthier chicken. Some facts to incorporate are:

  • Keep your weight down. Smoking cessation and reducing obesity are keys to lowering your risk.
  • Eat plant foods such as grains, beans, vegetables and fruit. Limit your red meat intake and eliminate processed meats from your diet.
  • Pick up the pace. Moving your body burns fat and regulates hormones, which prevents obesity.

Osteoporosis

The National Osteoporosis Foundation website lists many diseases and conditions that contribute to increased bone loss, some of which are within your power to avoid. Your food intake is a key factor as malnutrition, eating disorders, and weight loss surgery are a few of the factors leading to osteoporosis. Eating calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and green vegetables provides your body with enough of the mineral to strengthen bones, making them harder to break. And because your body can’t produce calcium on its own, you need to nutritionally replenish what you lose through skin, hair, nails and sweat.

Although you may associate prevention of osteoporosis with calcium supplements, there are other oral substances that increase your risk. Of course, you need to have medical advisement before ceasing oral therapies, but you may not be aware of the potential damage done by not taking seriously the overuse of medications.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the following drugs may cause bone loss:

  • Thyroid hormones
  • Steroids
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Heparin
  • Gonadotropin releasing hormone

Healthier Treatment Options

While the use of medicines should be discussed with a medical professional, you can help avoid such side effects as bone loss with drug-free alternatives such as chiropractic care, exercise and diet. As licensed healthcare professionals, chiropractors can easily note the signs of osteoporosis and other changes in bone health, and advising you on proper nutrition and potential medical intervention.

Also, there are other ways a decision for routine chiropractic treatment is a direct boost to your health. Ongoing support from a professional is a stress reducer, and chronic stress is linked to everything from high blood pressure to cancer. Time spent sharing the burden of challenges to your health and creating solutions with the help of a chiropractor is a form of taking control of outcomes.

Putting down the chocolate Easter bunny for an apple is a start, but further improvement to your diet will impact your health in a myriad of ways -- and it’s all up to you. In general, choosing less meat and more fruits and vegetables are a best bet for combating a host of health problems. But depending on your genetics and lifestyle up until now, you may need to tackle specific behaviors.

The Mayo Clinic’s ideas for reducing sodium intake include avoiding processed foods, reading food labels on groceries and refraining from added salt during meals.

Limit alcohol intake, which has both positive and negative qualities. If you do imbibe, moderation is key, according to most research. The website suggests one glass per day for women and two for men as a guide.

You don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket to create a healthier profile. But you can hunt for proactive methods for improving it rather than accepting your health condition like a sitting duck.

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