By David DeWitt, MD
Text neck describes a repetitive stress injury or overuse syndrome in the neck, caused by prolonged use of mobile devices with the head bent downward and not moving. Also called tech neck, text neck is commonly associated with texting, but it can be related to many activities performed on phones and tablets while looking downward, such as surfing the web, playing games, or doing work.
Head’s Weight Magnified
The weight of the head is a key factor for text neck pain. The neck’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments are meant to support the head’s weight—10 to 12 pounds—in a neutral position balanced atop the cervical spine. When texting on a phone, it is common to bend the head forward and look down at a 45- or 60-degree angle, which places about 50 to 60 pounds of force on the neck. The neck is not able to withstand this amount of pressure over a prolonged period.
The Course of Text Neck
Text neck typically begins as a relatively mild ache in the neck or upper back. It could also present with sharp pain or stiffness in the neck. When text neck is suspected of causing pain, it is typically treated with a combination of:
In some cases, the excessive forward head posture may exacerbate or accelerate degenerative conditions in the cervical spine, such as cervical degenerative disc disease and/or cervical osteoarthritis.
Unique Risks of Smartphones and Tablets to Stress the Neck
Severe neck angle to view the screen. Compared to TVs and personal computers, smartphone and tablet screens are more commonly viewed while flat on a table or lap, which means the screen angle is more severe. As such, the neck and head are typically bent further forward to view smartphones than other screens.
Touchscreen element may bring shoulders and head further forward. Research in the journal Ergonomics found that study participants had more forward head posture while texting compared to other smartphone tasks, such as web browsing or watching a video. One possible reason may be that texting is more likely to involve the use of both hands as well as more time with the fingers touching the screen, which is more likely to require the shoulders to round forward even further.
Some other activities, such as reading a printed book or washing dishes, also prompt people to tilt their heads, but the difference may be that people use smartphones and tablets for a much longer time and are less likely to shift positions.
Impact on Growing Spines Still Being Studied
There is special concern about the potential health impact on teenagers—among the most frequent text message users—whose spines are still developing. Many doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals have reported seeing an increase in neck pain and poor posture among teenage patients due to frequent texting and mobile device use, but thus far the evidence is mostly anecdotal.
While holding the head forward for long periods of time is widely recognized in the medical community as a risk factor for neck pain, there is some debate as to how much of a factor smartphone and tablet use plays in neck pain and poor posture in teens and young adults. While a study of young adults in Sweden found a link between texting time and neck pain, the results appeared stronger in the short-term rather than the long-term. Also, a study of 18- to 21-year-olds in Brazil did not find a correlation between texting and neck pain. More research is needed to determine the long-term impact that texting and mobile device use might have on neck health.
by Mark Hyman MD
Do this for 10 days for a quick, powerful detox.
Make the Decision
Commit yourself to this 10-day detox. These changes will reset your brain and body.
Quit Cold Turkey
Stop all forms of sugar: white flour, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated fats, MSG and pre-packaged foods.
Don't Drink Your Calories
No sweetened teas and coffees, and no juices other than green vegetable juice.
Add Protein to Every Meal
Include eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken or grass-fed meats.
Eat the Right Carbs
Only non-starchy veggies: asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, egglant, and peepers.
Include Good Fats at Every Meal
Go for nuts and seeds, avocado and fish, which offer omega-3 fatty acids.
Manage Your Stress
When you're stressed, your cortisol shoots up. This will drive up your hunger and can fuel sugar cravings.
Quit Gluten and Dairy
It's not easy, but after two or three days, you will have more energy and fewer cravings.
If you get less than 4 hours a night, it can drive you to eat more calories.
by Dana Sparks
Research shows exercise is an effective and free way to get many of the same benefits.
20% Reduction in coronary heart disease risk with vigorous exercise (10% just by walking 3km/wk)
58% Reduction in risk of Type 2 diabetes (along with diet changes), out performing a common drug
24% Reduction in stroke risk from exercising 30 minutes 5 days a week
13 Types of cancer occur at a lower rate in people who are physically active
Regular exercise leads to weight loss and contributes to maintaining a healthier weight
Mental, Emotional and Social benefits
Significantly reduces anxiety
10 days of exercise can reduce depression almost as well as antidepressants
Helps improve self-perception and self-esteem
Can help improve social interactions
Regular exercise by elderly people may help protect against Alzheimer's disease
Exercise can be just what the doctor ordered.
If exercise could be bottled, its effectiveness treating a range of conditions would likely make it the most prescribed medicine in the world. You don't need a prescription, but a doctor or fitness professional can help you get the most out of an exercise plan.
Make sure you're ready
Talk to a doctor or trainer to avoid injury
Account for any pre-existing conditions
Consider High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Short periods of high-intensity exercise followed by recovery
A time efficient way to get significant health benefits
by Betty Gold
America has been deeply entrenched in a love affair with sushi for quite some time, and for good reason. When properly prepared, the traditional Japanese dish is a delicious form of art. But is sushi good for you? Fish is bomb for your body, yes, but what about mercury? And white rice? And those fancy rolls that come with all the elaborate ingredients and sweet, salty sauces?
To boil down the nutrition facts on sushi—and whether or not it should be our go-to healthy date night dinner dish—we spoke with Rebekah Blakely, RDN, a registered dietitian and nutrition expert for the Vitamin Shoppe. Unsurprisingly, the answer isn’t quite black and white.
Is sushi healthy or not?
“A lot of people think of sushi as one of the healthiest options when eating out—and it can be,” says Blakely. “However, not all sushi is food for you. It depends a lot on the ingredients used and how it’s prepared.”
While fresh fish is a great protein source and can supply healthy fats the body needs, many of the things we put with or around it can really add up, calorie- and sodium-wise, for little nutritional value.
For example, the most common sushi item is a sushi roll. Sushi rolls are usually seafood and vegetables wrapped in white rice. The rice is mixed with vinegar and sugar and packed tight. “Just one sushi roll can contain a half cup to one cup of rice and usually 300 to 500 calories (for most specialty rolls), and a lot of people order two or three rolls. “Studies have shown a connection between high intake of refined carbs—like white rice—and increases in blood sugar and insulin, which can in turn increase risk of diabetes and heart disease.”
When you add mayonnaise-based sauces, fried sides, and/or sake, you’ve likely come close to your calorie needs for the day. If you dip your rolls in soy sauce you might save on calories, but just one tablespoon has almost 900 milligrams of sodium (almost 40 percent daily recommendation), not to mention the extra sodium in the sushi itself. Oof.
Health benefits of sushi
There’s always an upside. Studies have shown that those who adhere to the Japanese food guidelines have a 15 percent lower mortality rate. “This would include eating foods like sushi, fish, pickled vegetables, miso, and seaweed,” explains Blakely. All of the above offer many health benefits, from iodine in seaweed (it improves thyroid health) to plenty of vitamin A (for glowing skin and a stronger immune system). “Just keep in mind that eating high calorie sushi rolls a couple times per week with no other changes will not produce the same results.”
Many studies also point to the benefits of regularly consuming fish and getting adequate omega-3 fatty acids (including decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, autoimmune issues, and depression).
What about mercury?
Another concern for those eating sushi regularly is mercury content. Some fish—including king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, ahi tuna, and bigeye tuna—are a lot higher in mercury than others. “High exposure to mercury can lead to health issues including fatigue, depression, weight loss, memory loss, and more serious neurodegenerative issues,” Blakely says. There are multiple studies exploring the detrimental effects of mercury toxicity. Tuna is the most common source of mercury exposure in the country, so keep that in mind as you place your sushi order.
How can we make our sushi order healthier?
Choose low mercury fish, like salmon, shrimp, eel, crab, and trout—and avoid the high-mercury fish types we mentioned above.
Order one roll. If you like rolls, choose just one, then pair it with other options lower in carbs and calories like edamame, miso soup, or a side salad.
Skip the rice. Instead of a sushi roll wrapped in rice, request it be wrapped in cucumber. Or skip the rice all together and order sashimi. If you keep the rice, request brown rice for more fiber and nutritional value.
Load it with veggies. The more veggies you can load in your roll, or on the side, the better!
by Ruth D’Alessandro
The link between sitting and illness was made in the 1950s by Professor Jeremy Morris who found that the physically active London bus conductors had a lower incidence of coronary heart disease than the sedentary bus drivers.
With our lives spent sitting at desks, in front of screens, on sofas and pretty much anything we want being delivered to our doors, we’ve become sedentary. Excessive sitting is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and premature death.
Stuart Biddle, Professor of Physical Activity and Health at USQ says: ‘The very common working environment these days is to be sitting down and to be not at all physically active, and that compares very dramatically with what we did many decades ago when we moved in our jobs, and the health consequences of that are pretty dramatic.’
So how can we sit less and move more, particularly at work? Here are our 10 tips:
1. Do a 'getting to work' workout
Treat your daily journey to work as an opportunity to move more. Ideally, walk or cycle, but most of us use public transport or drive. Stand on the bus or train rather than taking a seat and get off a few stops early to walk the rest of the way. If you drive, park a distance from your workplace and walk. And make use of the free treadmills available at most stations – the stairs and escalator!
2. Stand up every 30 minutes
The Department of Health’s paper Sedentary Behaviour and Obesity advises us to ‘take an active break from sitting every 30 minutes’. Set a phone reminder to get up and move every half an hour: take a coffee break, nip to the loo, go and talk to a colleague rather than emailing them, or just walk up and down the stairs.
3. Schedule regular physical activity breaks
You schedule everything else into your busy day, why not ten minutes for exercise mid-morning and mid-afternoon? Use the time to walk to another department, run an errand or make a phone call during which you can stand and do some stretching exercises. Professor Biddle stresses it’s important to ‘take little breaks so you’re more alert when you come back to work.’
4. Ramble on your lunch break
Clear your head and get some exercise by going for a brisk walk at lunchtime; there’s probably an office dog somewhere who’d love to join you for walkies. You could organise an office walking group to encourage each other to leave your desks and get moving.
5. Change meeting styles
Hours spent sitting around a boardroom table are doing nobody’s health any good. Research shows that walking has a positive effect on creative thinking and wellbeing, so have some of your meetings on the hoof. Stand-up meetings (being mindful of wheelchair-using or disabled colleagues) tend to be 34% shorter than sit-down meetings - and produce no worse decisions. And if you ever have the opportunity to use a conference bike for a meeting, embrace its potential for exercise and creativity.
6. Forget the traditional desk and chair
What do Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Philip Roth, and Ernest Hemingway all have in common? They wrote standing up apparently! Follow the example of these creative titans and elevate your laptop on an adjustable desk or simply a box to work standing up. Professor Biddle agrees: ‘a good example is to use one of these elevated desks so you can stand. You may be moving a bit more but you’re continuing to work.’ If you must sit, ditch the creaky chair and sit on an exercise ball – the small movements you use to stay on it give you a mini abdominal workout.
7. Build some stretching exercises into your day
Learn some yoga or Pilates stretches for shoulders, legs and abs that you can do in moments of downtime: waiting for the kettle to boil, at your desk during a conference call or standing after you’ve finished a piece of work. Professor Biddle is unequivocal: ‘The bottom line is we do need to move more and sit less at work for health’.
8. Make TV time the solution, not the problem
A Japanese study found that ‘prolonged television viewing was associated with an increased risk of pulmonary embolism death’. Instead, make your television time work for you. Resist the temptation to fast forward through the ads or go straight onto the next episode of Orange Is The New Black and instead, whizz round and do a chore: cleaning the bathroom, folding clothes, emptying the dishwasher or putting out the recycling can all be achieved in five minutes. You could even watch your favourite TV programme while on an exercise bike, ironing, or preparing dinner.
9. Do a housework workout
Who says housework must be done on one day? Instead of one concentrated weekly sweep, do one room or chore each day and treat it as a daily 15-min workout: put on some energetic music to up your pulse rate and really go for it. There are plenty of videos online to give you inspiration.
10. Switch to manual
Tempting as it is to opt for grocery deliveries, online shopping and sitting in an automatic car wash, you can build extra movement into the day by walking to the shops and cleaning the car yourself - and you may save money at the same time.Professor Biddle’s sage advice is simple: ‘even though 30 or more minutes a day of exercise are extremely important for health and well-being, don’t forget to sit less and move more throughout the day. Look for opportunities to be active: climb stairs, walk and talk, ditch the car where possible’.
For the plank exercises, start by holding them for 15 seconds to 30 seconds. For bird dog and scissors, try three sets of eight or 10 repetitions. For upward dog, do one set of 10 repetitions.
Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are a tasty vegetable that can be enjoyed either cooked or raw. One red bell pepper contains more than 100% of your daily vitamin C needs. It also contains significant amounts of dietary fiber and vitamin B6. Moreover, it is rich in carotenoids that can help prevent wrinkles and increase blood circulation to your skin, helping it look more youthful. Due to their carotenoids, red bell peppers are also great to fight acne.
This is one of my favorite foods to eat every day for perfect skin! Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and flavanols that promote glowing skin. The antioxidants in dark chocolate will help reduce roughness in your skin and protect it against sun damage. Moreover, cocoa relaxes arteries, increasing blood circulation that leads to healthier skin.
Salmon is an excellent food to fight stress, anxiety, and depression. Salmon also provides most of your daily vitamin D needs. And as you may already know, Vitamin D is responsible for keeping your heart, bones, colon and brain healthy. It also helps prevent colon cancer, anxiety, depression, heart disease and bone disease.
Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat with about 90 percent of calories as saturated fat. It contains lauric acid, a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent that keeps away viruses, infections, inflammation and acne. Coconut oil is also rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which are perfect for keeping your skin moist, soft, and wrinkle-free.
Well, so I know green tea is actually a beverage, but tea leaves come from a plant! Even though I love black tea, I drink green tea every day because I know that it is a great source of antioxidants and a unique amino acid, L-theanine that helps relax your body and lower stress.
Spinach is a healthy and nutrient-rich food you should certainly include in your everyday diet. You may hate spinach, but it is a wonderful source of iron, folate, chlorophyll, Vitamin E, magnesium, Vitamin A, fiber, plant protein, and Vitamin C. Due to their antioxidant abilities, Vitamins C, E, and A are especially great for your skin
Chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds are all great for your skin. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are both rich in selenium, Vitamin E, magnesium and protein. Selenium and protein keep all wrinkles away, Vitamin E enhances moisture in your skin and magnesium lowers your stress levels. The healthy Omega 3 fatty acids in flax, chia and hemp seeds are perfect for fighting wrinkles and acne. Plus, these seeds are rich in protein.
Another food to eat daily for perfect skin is celery. Many of us underestimate this veggie, but celery contains Vitamin K that keeps the blood circulation healthy and helps to reduce high blood pressure. This can reduce your stress level, and as you know stress can cause bad skin, migraines and even cancer.
Papaya is a wonderful fruit which has a rich history and numerous nutritional benefits. It is very low in calories (only 39 calories per 100 g!) and also contains no cholesterol. So if you are trying to lose weight, consider eating papaya every day to maximize its health benefits.
Carrots are good not only for your eyes, but also for your skin. They are especially good for clearing up breakouts. Carrots are rich in vitamin A and they help prevent the overproduction of cells in the outer layer of the skin. That’s where excess sebum combines with dead cells and clogs pores
BY LINDSAY MOYER
This year marks an early return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, the Starbucks fan-favorite seasonal drink that first debuted in 2003. How sugary is it? Plenty.
A grande (16 oz.) hot Pumpkin Spice Latte made with 2 percent milk has 380 calories—more than a Starbucks Chocolate Croissant (340 calories).
But only about half of the Pumpkin Spice Latte’s 380 calories come from the milk and espresso you’d get in a regular latte (190 calories). The rest comes from pumpkin spice syrup—with more sugar and condensed milk than actual pumpkin purée—vanilla syrup, and whipped cream.
All told, the PSL packs 50 grams of sugar. Some of that sugar occurs naturally in the latte’s milk. But we estimate that about 7 teaspoons (29 grams) are added sugar, from the PSL’s syrups and whipped cream. That’s more than half a day’s max.
Originally Published by Harvard Health Blog
By now, you've probably run into a product containing cannabidiol, also known as CBD. It's in everything from drinks and pet products to lotions and chewable gummies. Even major drugstore chains have announced they will start carrying CBD products in certain states.
But many people still don't really know what CBD is. Is it marijuana? Is it legal? Does it actually work? Is it safe?
The answers to those questions aren't necessarily straight-forward. The only thing that is clear at this point: "The marketing has gone way ahead of the science and the law when it comes to CBD products," says Donald Levy, medical director at the Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and assistant clinical professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
That said, CBD is thought to be a safe and effective option for certain conditions. Below, we sort through the confusion by answering some of the most common questions about CBD.
Is CBD marijuana?
Yes and no. Cannabidiol is one of the two best-known active compounds derived from the marijuana plant. The other is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the substance that that produces the "high" from marijuana.
CBD does not get you high, but Dr. Levy says the idea that it's not psychoactive is something of a misconception in his opinion. "It does change your consciousness. You feel mellow, experience less pain, and are more comfortable," he says. In addition, some CBD products do contain small amounts of THC.
While CBD can come from marijuana, it can also be derived from hemp. Hemp is a related plant with 0.3% or less of THC. This plant is often used to make fabrics and ropes. As of 2018, Congress made hemp legal in all 50 states, and consequently CBD derived from hemp is also legal. The rules around marijuana-derived CBD, however, are far less clear.
Is marijuana-derived CBD legal?
Again, yes and no, depending on where you live. In some states marijuana is legal for both recreational use and medical use. In other states, it's legal only for medical use. And in some areas, it's not legal at all. When it comes to CBD products, the FDA is still trying to get its arms around the issue. The agency is just starting the process of hashing out some rules regarding CBD sales. Officials recently formed a working group to create guidelines that could allow companies to legally market CBD products. Currently, CBD products are considered supplements, which aren't FDA-regulated, and it is illegal for companies to make health or therapeutic claims about the products in their marketing. In announcing its effort to set CBD marketing rules, the FDA also signaled that it is cracking down on CBD companies that are using "egregious and unfounded claims" to market their products to "vulnerable populations."
Currently there is only one CBD product that has FDA approval: a prescription medication called Epidiolex, used to treat two severe seizure disorders in children. The bottom line is that in order to understand whether CBD is legal where you live, you'll need to consult your state health department website or professionals in your community.
Does CBD work?
Yes, there is evidence that CBD works for some conditions, but certainly not all the conditions it is being promoted for these days. There's no evidence, for example, that CBD cures cancer. There is moderate evidence that CBD can improve sleep disorders, fibromyalgia pain, muscle spasticity related to multiple sclerosis, and anxiety.
"The most benefit I have seen as a physician is in treating sleep disorders, anxiety, and pain," says Dr. Levy. "Many people report a definite response when it comes to anxiety." CBD also appears to have fewer side effects than other anxiety medications. However, the same may not be true for a host of other CBD products on the market today, in particular those that are rubbed on the skin. It's hard to know whether these have any clinical benefit, because they haven't been tested sufficiently, says Dr. Levy. Testing also shows that many products don't contain what's claimed on the label. For example, they may have less CBD than advertised. So, buyer beware.
Where should you purchase CBD products?
If you are interested in trying a CBD product, it's best to seek one through a dispensary, which is an establishment legally licensed to sell marijuana, if they are available in your state. Dispensary products must be labeled so you can see exactly how much CBD is in the product and whether it also contains THC. A small amount of THC in a CBD product isn't typically problematic. But larger amounts could cause a "high" and may present a risk if you are going to drive, says Dr. Levy.
Also, keep in mind that CBD products aren't standardized and will vary. It helps to keep a journal recording what type of CBD product you took, how much, and your response to it. This will help you track what works and what doesn't for your condition, he says.
The safest way to take CBD is orally, as a tablet, chewable, or tincture (a concentrated liquid typically administered with a dropper). "I never recommend smoking any product," says Dr. Levy. Steer clear of any illegally sold synthetic CBD products, sometimes called "spice" or "bath salts." These products have induced psychotic reactions in some people and pose a major health risk.
Is CBD safe?
For adults, CBD appears to be a very safe product. CBD does produce side effects for some people, including nausea, fatigue, and irritability. It may also interact with certain medications, so always check with your doctor before use.
But for children under age 21 it's a different story. "I don't suggest that anyone under age 21 use marijuana regularly," says Dr. Levy. "It's also not clear what the appropriate CBD dose is for children, and more research is needed in this area."
Evidence regarding CBD is still building. Now that some states have legalized recreational and medical use of marijuana products, including CBD, scientists are finding it easier to conduct research. More will be known in the next 10 years, including whether there are yet undiscovered problems associated with long-term use.
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