Monthly Archives: April 2016

Midday Naps: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Spain is well-known for its siestas: a period of time when businesses close to allow business owners (and patrons) to take some time off to go home rest. In America, our afternoon naps typically end when we advance from Kindergarten to first grade, but maybe that’s part of the problem. Research shows that taking a short nap during the day may increase both alertness and productivity. However, the key is to make sure the nap is neither too short nor too long. To reap the most benefits, your nap has to be the Goldilocks of naps: just right.

napping

Benefits of Napping

Think of yourself like a computer. When a computer is running slowly or making a number of errors or just not functioning up to par, what do you do? You shut it off, give it a few minutes to rest, and then you reboot it. Nine times out of ten, this reboot is just what the computer needs to start working properly again.

This same logic can be applied to the human brain. When the brain is overworked and over-tired, it doesn’t function properly. Sometimes it’s necessary to shut your brain down, allow it to rest, and then give it a reboot. Naps can boost both alertness and energy; improve your ability to remember things like facts, faces, and names; and increase creativity.

The key to getting the benefits from a nap, rather than waking up feeling groggy and “out of it”, is how long you sleep.

How Long Should You Nap?

According to research, different nap lengths provide different benefits. When compared to not napping at all, a short 5 to 20 minute nap has been shown to increase cognitive ability and alertness. When you nap for this short period of time, it keeps you in the lighter, non-rapid eye movement, type of sleep and makes it easier for you to jump back into the day when you wake up.

A 60 to 90 minute nap is best for memory improvement and boosting creativity. This is where you’ll have to play around with it a little bit to find your sweet spot. Research shows that a 60-minute nap is followed by some grogginess – or what is called sleep inertia – while a 90-minute nap allows you to go through a cycle of rapid eye movement (or REM) sleep, which results in no sleep inertia, making it easier to wake up.

If you’re looking to reap the benefits of napping, but want to avoid grogginess, you’ll have to make sure that your nap doesn’t last for a total of 30 minutes. At this point, naps have been shown to cause sleep inertia and a hung-over, groggy feeling without providing any real benefits.

Healthy Recipe: Homemade Nutrition Bars

In the beginning of the month, we discussed nutritional bars and how you can navigate the health food aisle to choose the best one for you. Finding a healthy bar with minimal ingredients and a small amount of sugar is possible, although it does take a good amount of detective work. On the other hand, if you want full control over what’s in your bar, you can make your own.

oats

Now before you look at us like we’re crazy, give this recipe a try. It contains only five ingredients that you can easily find in any grocery store. It’s also quick and easily adaptable to your tastes.

What You Need:

  • 1 cup packed, pitted medjool dates
  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped roasted, unsalted almonds
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup almond butter

What To Do:

  1. Process dates in a food processor for one minute – or until it resembles a dough-like texture.
  2. Combine oats, almonds, and processed dates in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Place a small saucepan on medium-low heat, and add honey and almond butter. Stir until heated and combined.
  4. Pour honey and almond mixture over oat mixture and use a spoon to combine ingredients.
  5. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment and transfer mixture into dish. Press the mixture into the pan until flat and uniformly dispersed. Cover with plastic wrap and let harden in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or until hardened.
  6. Once hardened, chop into evenly-sized bars. Store in an airtight container.

Make It Your Own:

This is just a template for a basic nutrition bar, but you can make it your own by swapping the almond butter for peanut butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter. You can replace the honey with maple syrup or agave syrup to make it vegan-friendly. If you want to ensure that it’s gluten-free, choose certified gluten-free oats. You can also add raisins, peanuts, banana chips, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, or shaved coconut.

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency: Are You at Risk?

Vitamin B-12 is often referred to as the “energy vitamin” and rightfully so. Your body requires this water-soluble vitamin every day for a number of its functions, including energy production, creation of new blood cells, DNA synthesis, and the creation of myelin – the protective covering that surrounds your nerves and allows them to communicate properly with each other.

If you’re feeling “off”, or even dealing with some chronic symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, difficulty balancing, memory loss, shortness of breath, numbness and/or tingling in your extremities (hands and feet), you may be dealing with a vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Research shows that one in four American adults currently have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, and nearly half have blood levels that are considered lower than optimal.

Who is Most at Risk?

Vegans and vegetarians are at the highest risk of developing a vitamin B-12 deficiency because the vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products, like beef, lamb, salmon, scallops, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Plant foods don’t typically contain vitamin B-12, but most commercial breakfast cereals are fortified with the vitamin.

Other factors that put you at risk of developing a Vitamin B-12 deficiency include previous weight loss surgery, advanced age, and digestive conditions, like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease. Heartburn medications that lower acid production in the stomach can also decrease your ability to properly absorb vitamin B-12.

Vitamin B-12 Supplementation

Because there are not a lot of foods that naturally contain vitamin B-12, and because deficiency is so common, supplementation is generally a good idea. That being said, not all vitamin B-12 supplements are created equal. Some, like the sublingual vitamin B-12 spray we carry at Valley Medical, are more readily absorbed than others.

Sublingual means that you take the supplement by putting it under your tongue. Sublingual supplements may be in drop, spray, or tablet form, but the idea behind them is the same. When you absorb a vitamin under your tongue, the vitamin gets absorbed directly into your bloodstream through the skin on the bottom on your tongue, bypassing the digestive system. This is extremely helpful for those with digestive issues and those with severe vitamin B-12 deficiencies.

What are the Possible Benefits of B-12 Spray?

b12

At Valley Medical, we offer L.A. Naturals Raspberry-Flavored Liquid B-12 sublingual spray at a great price of $12.00. The spray is free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, egg, and fish/shellfish and contains no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or colors. It’s also a suitable vitamin B-12 source for vegetarians. One bottle is about a month’s (30-day) supply.

Vitamin B-12 spray is likely to:

  • Boost energy production*
  • Assist in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins*
  • Aid in maintenance of skin and mucous membranes, the cornea of the eye, and nerve sheaths*
  • Contribute to normal blood cell formation and DNA synthesis and repair*
  • Help with neurotransmitter (brain) function*
  • Promote a lower incidence and rate of cognitive decline in older adults (Clarke et al., 2007) *
  • Support healthy eyesight*
  • Contribute to cardiovascular health*

Who can Benefit from B-12 Spray?

Many people can benefit from the use of B-12 Spray, including:

  • Those who feel depleted of energy
  • Older adults
  • Those who do not like injections or have trouble swallowing pills
  • Those with acid reflux

How Should I Take B-12 Spray?

The manufacturer recommends that you shake well before using and spray 3 times under the tongue two times per day; however, you should always consult your doctor before taking supplements and take them exactly as recommended by your doctor. Six sprays provides 1,000 micrograms of vitamin B-12.

What are the Possible Side Effects of B-12 Spray?

Most people do not experience side effects with B-12 Spray use.  If you do experience adverse side effects, contact your physician immediately.

Certain medications may deplete the ingredients in B-12 Spray, including but not limited to:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-hyperglycemic
  • Corticosteroids
  • Diuretics
  • NSAIDs
  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors & H-2 Blockers
  • Statins

You should not take vitamin B-12 spray in conjunction with any of these medications. Always consult your doctor before use, especially if you’re on medication.

 

DISCLAIMER * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

How Can I Prevent Sagging Skin While Losing Weight?

There are countless reasons why getting to a healthy weight should be one of your top priorities. Losing weight can lower the risk of heart disease, decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, increase mobility and energy, and boost self-esteem and confidence – just to name a few. That being said, if you are significantly overweight, there’s a chance that your weight loss may leave you with some sagging skin, although it doesn’t happen in all cases.

SKIN

The possibility of sagging skin should never stop you from working toward a healthy weight, but as you’re losing weight, there are some things you can do to lessen the likelihood that you’ll end up with sagging skin.

Why Does Skin Sag?

Skin contains collagen and elastin – two proteins that are responsible for its elasticity and its ability to “bounce back” after being stretched. As you age, you naturally lose some of this collagen and elastin, which is part of the reason wrinkles start to develop and skin begins to sag.

Collagen and elastin can also become damaged over time and lose their ability to bounce back. Think of it like a rubber-band. If you stretch out a rubber-band, and leave it like that for an extended period of time, eventually, it won’t be able to retain its original shape. This is what happens with skin. If skin becomes stretched out due to weight gain, sometimes it can’t return to its original shape, especially if you’ve been overweight for a while. Another thing that affects skin’s elasticity is yo-yo dieting – or repeatedly losing weight, gaining it back, and then losing it again. When the skin is constantly under those varying degrees of pressure, eventually the collagen and elastin fibers begin to break down and skin may start to sag.

What You Can Do About It

Here’s the good news: although you may not be able to avoid sagging skin completely, there are some things you can do to decreases your chances of experiencing it.

  1. Lose weight responsibly. Crash diets aren’t just bad for your health; they’re bad for your skin too. The elasticity of your skin cannot keep up with rapid changes in your body size. It’s best to lose weight at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week to allow your skin time to shrink back down with changes in your body size.
  2. Stay hydrated. Your body is composed of about 60 percent water – and the elasticity of your skin is strongly dependent on how hydrated you are. People who stay hydrated during weight loss maximize their skin’s elasticity and decrease the chances that they’ll experience skin sagging as they begin to lose weight. On the other hand, skin that is dehydrated has less recoil – meaning it doesn’t bounce back as easily during the weight loss process.
  3. Incorporate resistance training into your exercise routine. Resistance training – also called strength training – doesn’t target the skin specifically, but it can help “fill out” loose skin and reduce the appearance of sagging. The American Council on Exercise recommends adding two or three days of resistance training to improve the appearance of skin and build muscle mass.
  4. Take supplements. Your skin’s needs access to many different nutrients in order to stay elastic and supple. B-vitamins maintain the integrity of the skin, while collagen supplements can help improve elasticity. In most cases, taking a good multivitamin along with a high-quality collagen supplement provides the right balance of nutrients that you need to keep your skin healthy.

Losing weight is an amazing accomplishment. It takes grit and dedication – and it’s not always an easy road. If you’ve lost weight and you’re left with sagging skin, don’t let it take away from the sense of accomplishment you feel. You’re beautiful and no matter what, love the skin you’re in!

Navigating Nutrition Bars: How to Choose the Best Option

Because they are so portable, which happens to make them extremely convenient, nutrition bars (or energy bars or protein bars – it doesn’t matter what you call them) are often a staple for dieters. They seem like an easy and healthy option to stave off hunger in between meals and after a workout, but don’t believe all the hype just yet. Some of these chocolate-covered “nutrition” bars are just candy bars in disguise.

protein bar

It’s true that some nutrition bars can be a great option, but most are backed by outlandish claims that grossly misrepresent what’s actually in the product. We know that it’s hard to separate fact from fiction, especially when there are literally hundreds of bars lining the grocery store shelves, but we’re going to help you narrow it down with four key areas that you should be paying attention to when choosing a nutrition bar.

It’s All about the Ingredients!

Most of the nutrition bars available are loaded with chemicals and artificial ingredients that result in a good taste, but aren’t necessarily good for you. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t pronounce it or your grandparents wouldn’t recognize it, don’t eat it! Instead, choose nutrition bars that are made from natural, wholesome ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. As a general rule, the fewer ingredients, the better.

Use Caution with Calories

Nutrition bars serve different purposes, and because of this, the calorie counts can vary significantly between bars. Some bars are meant to be a meal replacement, while others are supposed to be a quick snack to hold you over until you can enjoy your next meal. If you’re looking for a snack bar, check out the calories and stick to one that contains only 100 to 200 per bar. If you’re planning to eat the bar as a meal, choose one that packs around 300 calories and has at least 10 grams of protein – you’ll need it to help hold you over!

Figure Out Fiber Content

One of fiber’s claims to fame is that it helps keep you full. It’s slow to digest, so it stays in your system longer and it absorbs water, so it expands in your stomach, literally filling it up. If you want a bar that’s going to keep you full, choose one that offers at least 2 to 3 grams of fiber per day.

Say Sayonara to Sugar

One of the things that you’ll want to pay really close attention to when choosing a nutrition bar is the amount of sugar. This one can get tricky because many of the healthy options contain dried fruits, so a lot of the sugar content comes from natural sources. Because of this, you’ll have to look past the nutrition facts label at the ingredient list. Avoid bars that contain added sugars like cane juice, rice syrup, sucrose, fructose, honey, molasses or corn syrup. These added sugars not only increase calories (in the form of empty calories), but they also contribute to systemic, or widespread, inflammation, which is a known risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.

If you want to be sure that you have full control over your nutrition bars and the ingredients in them, you can also take a look at this list of homemade energy bar recipes. The Chocolate, Cashew, and Almond Bars are our favorite!

Product of the Month! Integrative Therapeutics 7-Keto Lean

It’s a brand NEW month, so you know what that means – a new product to go along with our monthly special, which includes:

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
MetaBlast Supplements
Crave-Away Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

And for April: INTEGRATIVE THERAPEUTICS 7-KETO LEAN!

7 Keto

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed above for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200) – and we’ll throw in the 7-Keto Lean for FREE!

Integrative Therapeutics 7-Keto Lean is an all-natural weight loss supplement that helps boost weight loss mainly by acting on your thyroid gland, which controls a wide range of functions in your body — one of the most notable being your metabolism.

7-Keto Lean controls your metabolism by activating certain enzymes called thermogenic enzymes, which help burn fat, increase metabolism, boost energy levels, and support your thyroid health – all of which promotes weight loss*.

The main ingredient in 7-Keto Lean is 7-Keto (its namesake) a form of DHEA, or Dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone that’s found naturally in the body. DHEA is made by your adrenal glands – the glands that sit right by each kidney – and your brain. As you age, your natural production of DHEA goes down, which can throw off your hormonal balance. Taking DHEA in supplemental form helps restore this balance and can boost weight loss*.

DHEA is not the only beneficial ingredient in 7-Keto Lean, though. It also includes L-tyrosine, asparagus extract, choline, inositol, copper, manganese, and iodine, which all have their own, important roles.

7-keto DHEA Acetate A safe and improved form of DHEA. Clinically shown to enhance weight loss and reduce body fat by supporting healthy thyroid function, thyroid hormone biosynthesis, and fat metabolism.  Also helps increases thermogenic enzyme activity
L-Tyrosine An essential nutrient required for thyroid hormone formation.
Asparagus Extract A potent metabolic detoxifier that supports healthy fluid balance.
Choline A nutrient involved in many important metabolic functions, including fat transport and metabolism.
Inositol Another nutrient which promotes the transport and metabolism of fat.
Copper An essential trace mineral and cofactor of enzymes involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
Manganese An essential mineral required for healthy thyroid hormone metabolism.
Iodine Another essential nutrient found in high concentrations in the thyroid gland. Required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, which are important in regulating cellular metabolic rate.

It DOES NOT Contain any:

  • Artificial coloring
  • Artificial flavoring
  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Preservatives
  • Salt
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • Wheat
  • Yeast

Unlike many other metabolism-boosting supplements on the market, 7-Keto Lean doesn’t raise your heart rate or blood pressure and it will NOT keep you awake at night!

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this special offer and signing up for our monthly special, drop in or call us at either one of our locations to find out more!

Phoenix: 602-374-3374
Tempe: 480-968-5673