Two new studies – one published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia and one published in Stroke – suggest that excess sugar may damage the brain. Americans consume an enormous amount of sugar; in fact, in 2016, 11 millions metric tons of sugar was consumed, especially in the form of sugary beverages. These two studies show a correlation between sugary beverage consumption and poor memory, a smaller hippocampus (the part of the brain involved in learning an memory), and a smaller overall brain volume. Additionally, those consuming sugary beverages were 3x as likely to develop dementia and strokes. It is important to note that these studies show a correlation, but they do not show a direct cause and more studies are needed. However, it seems obvious that sugar and sugary drinks are potentially very harmful and do not add any nutritional value to our diets. We all should cut back and try to eliminate as sugar from the diet as possible.
Finding sobriety is a personal journey. No one’s path looks the same, and everyone faces different obstacles. For some, the situation becomes so dire that they see no light at the end of the tunnel and submit themselves to a life of addiction, even if it makes them miserable.
According to the addiction survivors we spoke to, entering rehabilitation not only saved their lives, it truly made them better people. They emerged happier, stronger, and confident in their ability to get their lives back on-track. Here are a few of their insights on finding sobriety and joy in life.
Clarity, Happiness, and Freedom
Jesse struggled with substance abuse for two decades. Finally, he said, things got out of control and he knew he needed to seek treatment.
“When I made the decision to come to rehabilitation, my life was chaotic. I had lost things that I love and I was ashamed of that, but at the same time, I knew that I needed to come fix myself so that I could be good for everyone else in my life,” he explained.
Realizing you need to change is one thing, but sometimes the next steps aren’t clear. When addiction has clouded your judgment, it’s easy to lose sight of the right path, or even lose yourself. Going to treatment and finding sobriety turned out to be the light Jesse needed.
“I had lost my spirit, and it helped me find that and helped me find myself and set me free from addiction,” he reflected. “It doesn’t have to define me anymore.”
And those differences among Jesse and others in recovery? He insists they’re beside the point:
“If you’re struggling and you feel alone, you’re never alone. We all have common ground and we all have the same enemy, and [seeking treatment] and being open to everything that they offer will help you defeat that enemy.”
“To be honest, I don’t really know if I ever really knew who I was fully, and now I do,” he went on. “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had to be sober and to be able to have fun and to realize I don’t have to run anymore. I can deal with my problems.”
Fighting Back Despite Reservations
Keisha said her decision to enter addiction treatment didn’t come easily, and even after she arrived, she remained resistant to the idea. But the vigilance of her Choices Recovery counselors didn’t allow her to hide from her issues.
“I was still fighting it,” she admitted. “I was testing my boundaries just like I did on the outside. I wanted to see how far I could push, and instead, they would sit me up and say, ‘We see what you’re doing, and we know why you’re doing it, and it’s not going to work with us.’”
But once she finally opened up, she really opened up.
“As I started letting people in and started sharing parts of my story, I started to actually care about other people,” Keisha explained. “Whenever they were upset, I would want to be there for them, and normally it was just about me.
“I’m excited to see the change in myself and to see other people see it, but most of all, just to know it in my heart,” she added.
In the end, addiction comes down to the individual. You have to want sobriety for yourself, and you have to believe it’s truly possible for you. Though the future may seem uncertain at first, entering addiction treatment can be your route to a better life than you’ve ever known.
I’m excited to just be happy for once instead of always trying to do something to please everyone else,” Keisha concluded. “I’m ready to do it for myself and do what makes myself happy.”
What is DIM and where is it found?
DIM (DIINDOLYLMETHANE) is a phytonutrient derived from cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. It is thought to have cancer-protecting properties and promote a healthier estrogen metabolism.
.What are the benefits?
DIM if often take to prevent colorectal, breast, and uterine cancer. Some use it to treat PMS and to prevent BPH (enlarged prostate).
Are there interactions with food or medications?
A doctor should be consulted before starting DIM if you are taking estrogens, diuretics or CYPA12. There is conflicting evidence if DIM acts like an estrogen or block estrogen, so it should be avoided with hormone-sensitive conditions.
Are there side effects?
As a fellowship trained, board certified orthopedic sports medicine physician who speaks nationally and internationally, I keep myself up to date on what is the newest and greatest treatments available for my patients. I am always reading journals and on-line publications as well as speaking to my colleagues on what is new and innovative. I am a board examiner who certifies other orthopedic surgeons to see if they qualify to be board certified. Part of being a good doctor is not just offering my patients what is available to make them better, but also protecting them from what is a waste of time and money or treatments that may even cause them harm.
In the 1800s before we had many real medicines, people would buy snake oil that they were told would cure everything from arthritis to constipation. Caveat Emptor (buyer beware in Latin) means that patients should know what they are getting before they agree to a surgery or medical treatment. However, it is also the responsibility of the doctor who recommends the treatment as a licensed professional to protect his/her patients from the wrong treatments.
For the past 10 years, many people have received treatment using PRP. This is Platelet Rich Plasma which is obtained from the patient’s blood, spun down in a centrifuge to separate the blood with part of the PRP being injected into damaged tendons or even joints to assist in healing. Many studies have shown success with this treatment, but many have also shown failures. In my practice, I use PRP sparingly and charge very little for this treatment as insurance does not cover it. I feel bad for patients having to pay out of pocket when I know how much we all have to pay for health insurance. However, I am truly disappointed by so many doctors in the city and even some in Westchester who charge up to 5x what I charge and consider that to be a reasonable price. Some of these doctors don’t even try proven treatments first such as physical therapy for tennis elbow before selling their patients on the idea of PRP injections. I am truly disappointed in these few but truly unethical doctors.
If you are considering treatment that is not covered by insurance such as PRP, stem cells or other treatments that have been suggested, do your own research first. If you have arthritis, have you tried weight loss, muscle strengthening and stretching? Have you tried cortisone and Hyaluronic Acid injections that have been show to work and are covered by insurance? Be smart with what treatments you are receiving. Protect your health and your money from useless or harmful treatments.
It is critical to have a doctor you trust. Some surgeons are too eager to cut and some too eager to suggest the most profitable treatment. Talk to friends and colleagues about the doctors they trust. Don’t go blindly into any treatment (ophthalmology treatments excluded!) and have a real conversation with your doctor about all the options first. Be the smart patient and have a smart doctor who puts your interest first.
By: Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA
If you’re like me, you probably spend most of your day exhausted and chugging coffee just to function. One bad night of sleep turns into two…and before you know it you’ve barely slept all week. You think to yourself, I’ll catch up on sleep this weekend – but when the weekend comes, family obligations and household errands take the lead and all of a sudden it’s Monday again. Sound familiar? Well, turns out we aren’t alone…but this is a much bigger problem than we all realize.
Studies show that over 40% of Americans get less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is a basic human need, much like eating and drinking, and is crucial to our overall health and well-being. It’s important to every aspect of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being to get enough sleep.
Getting enough sleep won’t just invigorate you; it could also help control how much you eat. A lack of sleep is linked to overeating—especially the overconsumption of junk food—which can lead to weight gain. It also has an impact on hormonal balance. Two hormones that help regulate hunger—ghrelin and leptin—are affected by sleep. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin decreases it. When the body is sleep-deprived the level of ghrelin spikes, while the level of leptin falls. This leads to an increase in hunger. Not only does a lack of sleep interfere with hunger signals, but there’s also the problem that less time in bed simply gives you more hours of the day to eat.
In addition to weight/metabolic issues, a lack of sleep also will cause more long-term and serious health problems. Some of the most serious potential problems associated with chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Some research has linked a lack of sleep to an increase of the stress hormone, cortisol in the body and it’s now believed that people who experience short-term sleep deprivation are not able to process glucose as efficiently as those who get eight hours of sleep. This means that they have an increased likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
If a person is lacking rest but has continuous muscular activity, other issues such as cramping arise. Muscle fascia tears, hernias, and other problems usually associated with physical overexertion have also been reported in extreme cases of sleep deprivation.
Besides the many physical consequences of insufficient sleep, perhaps the most important consequences of sleep deprivation are deficits in working memory and attention. Lapses in ordinary day-to-day tasks can cause worrying results; from missing words or sentences while taking notes to omitting important ingredients while cooking. It appears that carrying out these tasks which require attention is in direct correlation to the number of hours the person sleeps each night.
As hard as it may seem, we need to make time for ourselves and for sleep. Doing this will ensure that you lead a much more productive and healthier life.
By: Gina Stallone
Imagine yourself reaching an old age, seated by the fireplace, and taking a moment to look back at your life only to conclude, with little remorse, that you achieved what you set out to accomplish. What do you think it will feel having lived your life with little regrets? When successful people are asked, what prevents people from achieving their best, they point out to fear. Fear can become a paralyzing emotion, which is often dictated by negatively painting the outcome of our immediate future goals. Fear can be portraited in many different shapes and forms. We can be fearful of our own abilities to achieve a goal, not meeting other’s expectations, feeling rejected or being not good enough.
Fear prevents us from taking action. Rarely, we admit feeling fear. Often, we point to life circumstances as culprits for our failures. But, at the end of the day, it was mainly us who found “obstacles” that interfered from achieving success. For some of us, these “obstacles” are so credible that we become very good at convincing ourselves and others for not achieving our goals. However, if we looked very closely, it was mostly us who got in our own way from reaching our goals.
We do not just feel fear all of the sudden. Perceptions feed emotions. Our five senses gather information from our environment, which are absorbed in electrical signals that remain stored in brain. If electrical signals are linked to an event connected to fear, its simple recollection or perception will trigger fear responses. For example, a golf player needs to hit a shot over water. Looking at the water triggers electrical signals stored in the brain, which are connected to the emotion of fear. This emotion will then travel inside the body by tensing up our muscles and tendons. As the golfer swings the club, the body will be constricted from its normal fluidity and, most likely, cause the swing to be flawed enough to increase the chances of landing the ball in the water.
How often has it happened to you that you are planning an event and your body is already responded to it? If you are walking into your unreasonable bosses’ office, your body will tense way before you make it there. If you are a tennis player and compete versus a much talented opponent, you will most likely play with little pressure. However, if you find yourself going ahead in the score, suddenly the fear of not wanting to lose will appear.
Three tips to overcome fears:
- Successful individuals are driven to achieve specific goals. Gold medalist gymnast, Nadia Comaneci, said, “I do not run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.” They thrive to achieve a goal that keeps them motivated more so than focusing on the prize or trophy. As Brian Moran said, “when you focus on changing your actions, you experience incremental performance. When, however, your thinking shifts, everything changes.”
- Equally important, when our passion becomes the motivating drive toward success, a mental shift takes from that of paying too much attention to mental distractors to focusing on achieving our dreams. Having passion makes us more determined. We are more likely to overcome challenges rather than succumb to obstacles.
- Controlling the controllable. It may sound like an old cliché, but how true it still is. We can only manage what is in from of us. To overcome fear, focus needs to be placed to those factors that we do have control over. Positive thinking processes, using visualization before and during performance, applying breathing techniques that trigger relaxation and surrounding ourselves with encouraging people are all under our control.
Managing fear creates a multiple domino effects. It enhances trust, lifts confidence, and builds self-belief.
Alex Diaz, PhD
Sports Mental Edge
Getting a massage used to be thought of as a luxury – something only to be done on special occasions as a rare treat in spas. However, massages are now being offered in a variety of settings such as offices, hospitals, airports, and clinics, due to their profound benefits.
Massage is defined as the manipulation of soft body tissues through pressing and rubbing. There are many different types of massage, which range in the amount of pressure given. Some common types are Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, and trigger point massage.
Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage. It is gentle with soft, long, deep movements and tapping, which focuses on the top layers of muscles. It is energizing & relaxing and can also help relieve muscle tension. Another type of massage is a deep tissue massage, which targets the deep layers of muscles, tendons, and connective tissue. The strokes are more forceful and slower than a Swedish massage and it helps with chronic tension and injuries as well as painful, stiff muscles. Sports massage is similar to Swedish massage however, it is aimed at preventing and treating those involved in sports. Trigger point massage focuses on a specific tight muscle, which is often the result of overuse or injury.
There are many benefits to massage including stress release, relaxation, muscle tension release, and pain release. Additionally, massage has been shown to treat anxiety, digestive disorders, headaches, fibromyalgia, joint pain, insomnia, and injuries. It can also boost immune function, reduce chemotherapy-related nausea, and improve cardiovascular health. Some people also appreciate the massage experience because it creates a mental relaxation and a feeling of comfort.
It is important to note that massage may not be appropriate for everyone. Those with fractures, deep vein thrombosis, bleeding disorders, severe osteoporosis, and burns or wounds should discuss massage with their doctor. Additionally, women who are pregnant and individuals with cancer should consult their physician before getting a massage.
A massage should never hurt or be uncomfortable. Make sure to communicate your goals for the massage, the areas to concentrate on, and the type of pressure you are comfortable with to the massage therapist. Massages can be performed lying down or in a chair. When having a full body massage, undress to the point where you feel comfortable. Also, remember to breathe during the massage so that you don’t tense up and make the muscles more difficult to tackle. Drink plenty of water after a massage in order remove waste and rehydrate the muscles. Heating the muscles, either through a sauna, steam, or hot shower will help relax the muscles and relax your mind as well as help the therapist get out those stubborn knots. If you are going to exercise on the day of a massage, it is better to exercise before the massage so that you don’t strain something that has just been relaxed.
Massage is a great tool to improve mental & physical health along with fitness. While some massages can be costly, there are a variety of less expensive options available for all budgets. Massage is an all-around great therapy and treatment for many ailments. Don’t think of it as a special treat but rather think of it as a necessary part of your health regime.
By Denise Groothuis
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is one of the most common health concerns facing Americans today yet it’s one of the least discussed. Many people who have this condition suffer in silence due to it being somewhat of a “taboo” subject or just for not knowing that there is an actual problem. April is IBS awareness month and with it we aim to shed light on a condition which plagues thousands of people every single day.
The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract and relax in a coordinated rhythm as they move food from your stomach through your intestinal tract to your rectum. If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the contractions may be stronger and last longer than normal which will cause gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea. The opposite can also occur with weak intestinal contractions, slowing food passage and leading to hard, dry stools. Abnormalities in your gastrointestinal nervous system also may play a role, causing you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can make your body overreact to the changes that normally occur in the digestive process. This overreaction can cause pain, diarrhea or constipation.
As many as 1 in 5 American adults experience signs and/or symptoms of IBS. There are two common forms of IBS – IBS-C, with constipation, and IBS-D, with diarrhea. It is unknown what causes IBS but there are many factors, including family history, which are considered to be a trigger for those suffering with this illness.
One of the biggest triggers for IBS is a person’s diet. Many people have more severe symptoms when they eat certain things. Some doctors will recommend doing an elimination diet to pinpoint what the exact trigger food(s) could be. Some other recommendations include: eliminating high-gas foods such as carbonated beverages, vegetables (especially cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower) and raw fruits, eliminating gluten (wheat, barley, and rye) or avoiding refined (not whole) grains, eliminating FODMAPs, avoiding high protein diets, limiting or eliminating caffeine (such as coffee), and experimenting with fiber intake. A person suffering with IBS should eat smaller meals and drink plenty of liquids, especially water! It’s also important to note that a person with this illness should be careful with their dairy intake, regardless if they are lactose intolerant or not.
Another common trigger for IBS sufferers is stress. Many people find that their symptoms are worsened or brought on during periods of increased stress. While stress certainly will aggravate your symptoms, there has not been any research found to cause them.
Women, especially under the age of 45, are twice as likely to develop IBS. Researchers believe that this is due to hormonal changes. Many women find that their symptoms are more prevalent during or around their menstrual cycle. IBS worsens as hormone levels fall. As hormone levels fall to the lowest point during menstruation, symptoms such as stomach pain, discomfort, and constipation or diarrhea become more common and intense. What’s worse, those who suffer from painful periods, are twice as likely to have an increase in symptoms.
Even though the signs and symptoms are uncomfortable IBS, unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (which are forms of inflammatory bowel disease), doesn’t cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk for colorectal cancer. Some symptoms that may indicate a more serious condition include rectal bleeding, abdominal pain that progresses or occurs at night, and/or weight loss.
While there is no cure for IBS, there are certain things that have been proven to alleviate some of the symptoms. One easy remedy is to exercise regularly. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine will not only help you to look & feel better about yourself, it will also help to stimulate normal contractions in your intestines. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you exercise. If you have other medical problems, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Another form of therapy, while non-traditional, is the use of herbs such as peppermint. Peppermint is a natural antispasmodic that relaxes smooth muscles in the intestines. It’s important to note that while it may ease your IBS symptoms, peppermint may increase heartburn. Before taking any herbs, check with your doctor to be sure they won’t interact or interfere with other medications. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that normally live in your intestines and are found in certain foods, such as yogurt and in dietary supplements. It’s been suggested that if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you may not have enough good bacteria so by adding probiotics to your diet, you may ease your symptoms.
IBS can be a long-lasting problem that can impact how you live your life. Many people with IBS miss work or school more often and they may feel less comfortable taking part in daily activities. If you feel that you may have IBS, contact your doctor for further testing.
By Gina Stallone
On Saturday April 29, The Bronx Zoo will be hosting their Run for the Wild 5K & Family Fun Run. THE ARENA will be on hand giving away free massages & stretching all runners post-race! Other activities that day will include rock climbing, beer garden, music, face painting, and much more! There will also be free general admission to the zoo for all participants & their families! The festivities kick off at 7 am, with the actual run set to begin at 8 am.
Register today & join us for a day filled with fun for the entire family! Use our coupon code RFTW5OFF to get $5 off your race admission when you register at wcsrunforthewild.org
For more information visit the following links:
Please be advised, in observance of Easter Sunday THE ARENA will be opened from 8am to 2pm on Sunday April 16th
Hours of Operation
8 am – 2 pm