Archive for cold

Healthy Ginger Vegetable Congee

With winter upon is, it’s important to have plenty of nutritious, healthy food to support your immune system. Enjoy this great recipe we found on foodandwine.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3 cm knob of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • Protein of choice (eg fish or tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Sliced green onion, for garnish

How to Make It

Step 1    

In large pot add stock, rice, salt and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally so that the rice doesn’t clump or stick at the bottom.

Step 2    

While the congee is simmering prep the celery, broccoli and carrots: peeling, cutting, and dicing, as needed.

Step 3    

Simmer the congee for about 30 minutes then add the celery, broccoli, carrots and protein (fish or tofu – if using red meat or chicken ensure it is cooked separately before adding).

Step 4    

Continue to simmer until the congee is thickened and creamy, the vegetables are tender, and the protein is cooked through. Add soy sauce. Garnish with the sliced green onion and serve hot.

 Notes

As the congee cools, it will become thicker. Add additional stock or water if necessary to make the congee to your desired thickness. Serves 4.

Three ways to boost your immune system this flu season

With concerns about a second wave of COVID-19 during the current cold and flu season, it’s more important than ever to protect and boost your body’s immune system.

Just like a three-legged stool, your body’s nervous, endocrine and immune systems are linked. Therefore, it’s important to take a holistic approach to your health. Here are three ways you can help boost your body’s immune system during this flu season.

  • Reduce stress

There is much scientific evidence that shows long-term exposure to stress negatively impacts the immune system. Cortisol in particular is a hormone that can boost your body’s immune system when released in short bursts but ongoing stress can cause you to have too much cortisol in your blood, which can then inhibit the immune system over time. Now is the time to focus on reducing stress levels through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga and pilates.

Chiropractic and massage treatments can also help reduce stress by unblocking the nervous system, clearing message pathways between the brain and body, and reducing muscle tension and pain.

  • Increase blood circulation

Even though it’s cold outside, it’s important to keep your blood circulating through exercise. Your blood is important for transporting oxygen around your body and helping to remove toxins.  Both of these functions are vital in protecting and boosting the body’s immune system.

Chiropractic adjustments can also help improve blood circulation by removing pressure from nerves, allowing blood to flow more freely.

  • Nourishment

With more bugs in the air, it’s important to ensure your body has the right nourishment for its defence systems.  This means plenty of leafy green vegetables – the more colour from natural foods in your food bowl even better! There are many fantastic and easy-to-make soup and casserole recipes available. Make a big pot of nourishing food and freeze the leftovers for use throughout the week.

For more information about how to keep your body healthy contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

Does cold and rainy weather cause back pain?

Often my patients tell me that they feel more aches and pains as the weather turns cooler and I am regularly asked if pain is linked to a drop in temperature.

With the cooler weather approaching and some much needed rain in northern NSW, you may find that you get a few more aches and pains. This is because when the body is faced with low temperatures, blood vessels narrow in your extremities and divert that extra blood to vital areas like the brain, heart and lungs to keep them warm.

When muscles, tendons and ligaments have less blood, they become stiff. It’s the same with the structures supporting your spine. When the weather is cold, there is less blood flow to the structures supporting your spine and they become naturally stiff which, in turn, places extra strain on the back. Additionally, if joints are already inflamed, a drop in barometric pressure or temperature can cause swelling and subsequent pain.   

It’s important to note that the majority of spine pain is caused, not by a problem with the spine itself, but by strain or injury to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that give it support. If these tissues are stiff and pull on the sensitive nerve endings in the spine—which is common—it can feel like your back is hurting despite the fact that the source of the pain is not the spinal structure. On top of this, tight or cold muscles, tendons or ligaments are much more susceptible to strain or injury.

Metal implants can further exacerbate the condition because metal implants react differently to human tissue. If they get cold, they can start lowering the temperature of the tissue and nerves surrounding them, which can lead to back pain. People whose device is simply covered by skin or a thin layer of soft tissue are much more likely to experience aches and pains in cold weather. 

COLD, DARK DAYS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO DEPRESSION, WHICH CAN AGGRAVATE BACK PAIN

Just as importantly, research has shown that cold weather and dark days can contribute to what is known as seasonal depression, which can cause or aggravate back pain. 

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression that typically occurs yearly, starting in autumn and lasting through the winter months.

There are a number of factors that can cause seasonal depression such as the decreased amount of sunshine throwing off your body’s circadian rhythm and causing a drop in serotonin levels in the brain.

Seasonal depression can also cause fatigue, increased perception of pain and decreased interest in daily activities that can prevent people from exercising and strengthening the muscles supporting the spine, which in turn causes back pain.

How to avoid back pain in cooler weather

The key to reducing back pain in cool and rainy weather is to make every effort to keep yourself warm and ensure that you do daily low-impact exercise such as walking, swimming, bike riding, yoga or indoor aerobic exercise.

Our muscles need continued exercise to remain strong and if you are neglecting to work out when it’s chilly, you are opening yourself up to injury further down the line. 

Regular exercise is also a great way of releasing endorphins, those natural mood lifting hormones that help reduce depressive symptoms.

Overall, it’s important to know that daily back or neck pain is not normal. If this is something you’re experiencing or if you need advice about a winter exercise program to suit your needs, contact me, Bruce Lane at Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

Seven Reasons to Exercise When it’s Cold

The cooler weather is here and even though many of us would love to hibernate, it’s really important to keep up physical activity when the temperature drops. Here are the top 7 reasons why we need to keep exercising during the cooler months.

1. THE SUN IS MORE OF A FRIEND THAN YOUR HEATER

There’s a reason it’s called the sunshine vitamin. While there are a limited number of foods that can provide your body with vitamin D, the easiest source is from exposure of bare skin to sunlight.

During summer a short exposure of 10-15 minutes is plenty, but in winter, sunshine can be harder to come by, especially if you are snuggled up indoors. So that’s why it’s important to get outside, get moving and smile at the sun!

Sunshine makes strong bones, and keeps your immune system strong. It can also boost positivity and help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

2. KEEP WARM

Save electricity and an expanding waistline by heating your body up naturally with a workout. The rise in your body temperature during a workout has a soothing, calming effect on your body, not unlike a long soak in a warm bath or lying in front of the heater.

Yes, it’s cold when you first step outside but if you layer up (daggy doesn’t matter) and get moving you will be hot within no time at all.

3. STAY HEALTHY

Research has shown that regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. This becomes particularly important in winter when colds and flu rear their ugly heads.

When you exercise and get your blood pumping, immune cells circulate through your body more quickly helping them seek and destroy infections. But this boost only lasts for a few hours, so exercise needs to be regular for long-term effects.

4. BEAT THE WINTER BLUES

A daily workout releases feel-good, de-stress brain chemicals, gives you a break from the daily grind and helps ease depression. If you combine exercise with the great outdoors you can cheer yourself up even more.

We know that after exercise the brain releases the “feel-good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which can help to reduce anxiety and depression while boosting wellbeing.

5. TAKE A DEEP BREATH

Being cooped up with nothing but heaters to keep the air moving means fresh air is much harder to come by in winter. Generally, the air outside is healthier than air inside so going for a walk or run outside gives your lungs a chance to detox and breathe deeply without concern for breathing in other people’s bugs at home or from the office.

6. AVOID WINTER WEIGHT GAIN

In the colder months it is so easy to turn to comfort food because it’s so satisfying and it makes us feel good. It’s so easy to become a hibernating bear! No wonder it’s known as the ‘winter weight gain’ period. The average person puts on up to 4 kg! The only way to make up for those added treats is to increase the amount of exercise you’re doing. Try and balance your energy in and energy out then the shredding of clothes in spring won’t be such a shock.

7. ENABLE GREATER SPINAL MOVEMENT FOR LESS ACHES AND PAINS

When we exercise we mobilise our spine and help reduce restrictions that can cause headaches, backaches, neck pain and other aches and pains. Having greater spinal mobility is important to a healthy and happy life.