Dr. Sharman’s Musings

farmers' market

Is the Farmers’ Market Really That Good for You?

Frequenting your local farmers’ market is not only an enjoyable way to spend your morning or afternoon; it’s also great for your health. Being out and about gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing, which contributes immensely to a healthy well being. To help power that well being, you need the right nutrients at the right time of year. Let’s explore how the farmers’ market can provide what your body needs, when it needs it better than a supermarket.

 

Peak Nutritional Value

Buying fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown locally allows you to eat foods that are typically harvested at a more appropriate stage of ripeness. This allows for maximum nutrient content. When a fruit ripens, its starch converts into sugar, making it softer and sweeter, says Joseph Scheerens, Ph.D., a horticulture professor at Ohio State University. “The ripening process is a somewhat oxidatively stressful situation for plants, so they develop antioxidants to defend themselves against that stress,” Scheerens says. That makes it easier for host plant to survive, and even better for your body when you eat the fruit or vegetable.

Produce found in the grocery store often travels many miles – even from other continents. With such a long journey ahead, farmers must harvest the crops long before peak ripeness sets in. The produce also typically goes through some process of gassing, waxing, or irradiation in order to keep it looking good and preserved after finally arriving at a supermarket. All of that processing just adds chemicals with no nutritional value whatsoever. Who really wants that?

 

First-Hand Knowledge

At local farmers’ markets, you can usually speak directly to the farmer or those that work at the farm in order to get more insight into how the crops are grown. This helps you make informed decisions about what to purchase and, ultimately, consume. Perhaps you prefer produce grown with sustainable farming practices? Or, you like heirloom varieties of produce that is not genetically modified? Or, even more importantly, you want to be sure organic practices have been used with no pesticides? You can first-hand knowledge straight from the people who grew the crops. That’s comforting.

 

farmers' market 

Right Food, Right Time

Eating food that is in season is better for your body. Humans have eaten “seasonally” for thousands of years before modern refrigeration technology. The body benefits from eating foods that are in season, such as lighter fruits and vegetables during hot summer months, heartier fruits in the fall, and heartier vegetables during the winter. Plus, as mentioned earlier, seasonally fresh produce is picked when it’s ripe and fully developed. That means it has had maximum time in the sun and soil to gather and produce nutrients which get passed on to you.

 

[Related: What Vitamins Should I Take? Getting the Essentials]

 

Diversity is Good

Generally, farmers’ markets offer a greater variety of fruits and vegetables than supermarkets, allowing for more diversity in your diet. A diet rich in diversity is very good for our bodies. By changing your menu according to what’s available, you are also less likely to develop food intolerances. We humans are complex creatures. We require between fifty and one hundred different chemical compounds and elements in order to be healthy. While we depend on animal products for a tiny handful of these, the vast majority lie within the roots, shoots and leaves of consumable plants. The more you consume, the better!

 

Safer is Better

Most cases of food contamination come from mass produced food in large industrial settings.  Did you know that food from your local farmers’ market is statistically likely to be safer? This is mostly due to local farmers growing smaller quantities of crops and doing it naturally. Doesn’t that just sound better for you?

Knowledge is power, so if you would like to know which non-organic produce has the most pesticides, take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. If you’re interested in the produce with the least pesticides, check out the Clean 15 guide. Of course, if you are at your local farmers’ market you can ask them specifically about what (if any) pesticides they use.

At Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness, we’re all about good nutrition leading to a healthy lifestyle. So definitely start shopping at your local farmers’ market versus the supermarket. The benefits are numerous. If you need some additional guidance on nutrition, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

whiplash

3 Shocking Mistakes People Make When They Have Whiplash

Being in an automobile accident can be a very traumatic experience. While the advanced safety features in today’s cars do a great deal to prevent fatalities, you can still sustain injuries. Whiplash is very common and is caused when the head and neck are forcefully propelled forwards, backwards or sideways. When this sudden force is applied to the neck and back, it generates microscopic tears within the fibers of muscles and ligaments. Inflammation gathers in the soft tissue, stimulating pain fibers, causing that sore feeling.

It’s easy to come out of an accident intact and think that whiplash will not be a problem for you. While it may be the case, as you are monitoring your condition immediately following your accident, here are three major mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

 

Mistake #1: Believing You Will Have No Pain

You may start out after an accident feeling stiff and sore, wondering whether you will ever fully recover and be able to return to your normal activities. For some, though, the adrenaline released by the body just after the accident blocks all or some of the pain. It also takes a while for the inflammation to build up in the tissue. In so many cases, people don’t believe they have any pain – until hours or even days after their accident, when they start feeling it. Monitor your body very carefully in the hours after an accident – and get treatment as soon as pain symptoms crop up so you can be on the path to recovery faster.

 

Mistake #2: Ignoring the Symptoms

You may think that your pain is minor and doesn’t warrant seeing a medical professional. But ignoring the symptoms of whiplash (neck pain and stiffness, loss of range of motion in the neck, headaches, and tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back and arms) or just covering up the pain with medication without any type of therapy can oftentimes lead to greater issues down the road, such as:

  • Migraines or tension headaches
  • Decreased mobility
  • Chronic pain
  • Degenerative changes in the spine

This is why it is important to get checked by a chiropractor after an accident – to fully heal and avoid any residual effects of the whiplash.

 

[Related: Why You Should Care About Neck Posture]

 

Mistake #3: Undertreating Your Condition

Finally, you may acknowledge your pain and do something about it…but it is not enough to give you true healing. For a typical accident, we find three types of therapy are needed:

  1. Chiropractic care to properly align the spine to reduce irritation within the nervous system
  2. Ultrasound and electric stimulation on the injured soft tissue to push out inflammation and reduce muscle spasm
  3. Gentle therapeutic exercise to strengthen and stretch injured postural muscles

Some of our patients also choose to add massage therapy to their treatment plan. This is only when recommended by the doctor and after it no longer hurts to be touched, though. Typical recovery time for most accident-related musculoskeletal injuries can be anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks.

 

Word of Caution: You May Have Issues Beyond a Sprain or Strain

While most people only experience a mild to severe sprain or strain, some patients suffer from more complicated issues, such as concussion, torn ligaments or herniated discs. At Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness, we are prepared to examine, diagnose and treat all of these types of problems.

We hate that any of you go through the experience of a car accident, or any other cause of whiplash: rough roller coasters/amusement park rides, bumper cars, hits/collisions in sports, kids rough-housing and pushing from behind, pillow fights, turbulence on a plane, etc. And, above all, we want you to avoid the mistakes many people make when they have a case of whiplash. Know that we are here to help with everything from understanding how to set up a claim with your insurance company to treating your whiplash with a thorough medical approach.

We strive to make your entire experience as stress-free as possible. We understan that the accident itself has already been a traumatic episode. As always, give us a call if you have any questions – we are happy to help.