Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis - What Is It & How To Treat It

Arthritis is a growing and leading public health concern in many developed countries. In the United States, it's the number one cause of disability, and its prevalence is rising due to the increase in obesity and age amongst the population [1]. In fact, data from the CDC found that 22.2% (49.9 million) adults age  18 had self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis. 42.4% of these arthritis sufferers reported limitations in their daily activity level because of the disease.

Arthritis is also an expensive disease, costing a total of $128 billion annually in the United States [1]. Clearly, this chronic condition warrants serious attention in our efforts to prevent, limit, or even reverse the debilitating effects it has on individuals.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - What Is It?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis (osteoarthritis being the other) and is characterized by an autoimmune reaction affecting an individual's joints [2]. This process results in tenderness, pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint(s). Over time, chronic inflammation from RA can lead to destruction of tissue and bone in and around the joint resulting in permanent deformities. A continual reduction in one's quality of life is typically seen as the disease progresses. Some patients with advanced disease even struggle to tie their own shoes or button their own shirt due to the severe pain it causes. Many individuals end up having to quit work and go on disability for the rest of their life. RA literally devastates those it affects.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Food Co-ops - The Smart Buyer's Destination For Locally Grown [Organic] Produce

"But it's too expensive to eat healthy!" If I had a dime for every time I heard this excuse I'd be one of the youngest retirees on the face of the planet. Eating healthy has become synonymous with eating expensively, but it doesn't have to be. It is what you make of it.

You can spend a fortune shopping at the trendiest and fanciest health food store down the block filling your cart full of high end organic produce, or you could accomplish the same by seeking out less conventional routes for grocery shopping. This is where food co-ops come into play.

What Is A Food Co-op?

A food cooperative (or food co-op) is simply a food distribution outlet organized by a group of volunteers working together to meet their common economic and social needs. In other words, it is a member owned "grocery store". This doesn't mean there has to be an actual grocery store to shop at. Many food co-ops simply have pickup sites where once a week members will come pick up their "share" of the crop for that week.

Food co-ops almost always focus on buying from local farms if at all possible. Many will also concentrate on buying organic goods or at least have organic goods available for their members should they choose this option.

Overall, buying the bulk of your fresh produce from a food co-op can save you a lot of money. It's not unheard of to save 50% or more off of regular retail prices at the local supermarket for the same items. Plus, the fruits and vegetables are typically fresher since they've been picked a day or two prior (if not the same day) to you picking them up. You get fresh produce at a fantastic price that's even organic in many cases.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Incredible, Edible Egg or Not?

Eggs have long been part of the traditional American diet especially when it comes to a hearty breakfast. Gym junkies also swear by eggs, highlighting the egg whites as a perfect low-fat, low-calorie source of protein. Others say eggs are an essential food for good health citing the fact they are an excellent source of vitamin A, B-complex vitamins (specifically choline), and two carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) which are important for healthy vision. Along with these health claims proponents also often say you should limit egg consumption. The Mayo Clinic states to consume no more than 4 eggs per week to avoid increasing cholesterol levels.

So are eggs really the perfect food? Are there any downsides to eating eggs? Should you eat eggs or not eat eggs? What does the science say about eating eggs?

Eggs - The Evidence vs. What They "Say"

Egg advocates often highlight a few vitamins and antioxidants contained in the egg to help boost the case of them being a health food.  The cholesterol and fat content is usually downplayed as a source of concern when it comes to egg's overall effect on health by these same proponents. I believe it's important to look at the actual evidence when contemplating whether or not to eat eggs before making your decision. Relying on hearsay is of little benefit when it comes to your individual health.

Below is a look at the evidence (not funded by the egg industry) on egg consumption and health: