Nutrition may sound like a complicated subject, but it’s really quite simple. Basically, nutrition describes how the food choices that you make affect your overall wellness. This includes how your body functions at the level of your cells, tissues and organs.

Overview of Nutrition and You

In order to stay healthy, you have to eat foods that provide your body with the energy and nutrients that it needs to work optimally. These include:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water
  • Other nutrients from plants (phytonutrients)

Eating healthy can be easy. The key is to keep in mind these basic guidelines, which never go out of style:

  • Eat many different healthy foods, including a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains
  • Choose lean protein sources such as beans and peas, fish, lean meats, poultry and low-fat dairy products
  • Limit your intake of sugar, salt and trans and saturated fats
  • Use alcohol in moderation
  • Drink plenty of water (You will also get water from fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables.)
More Detailed Nutritional Information

The basics of nutrition will go a long way to keeping you healthy. However, knowing more about what’s in your food will help you make smart choices about what to eat. Here is a little more information on nutrition.

Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Healthy foods contain a wide number of nutrients that keep you healthy. Both vitamins and minerals are needed by your body to grow and develop normally. These include, but are not limited to, vitamins C and D, and the minerals calcium and iron. Plants also contain other nutrients (phytonutrients), some of which may have cancer-fighting properties or other benefits.

Superfoods. These special foods contain nutrients that are above and beyond what’s needed to simply keep your body going. Superfoods include leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), tomatoes, chocolate (i.e., dark chocolate with at least 70-percent cacao), blueberries and certain spices, such as turmeric. Each superfood has its own benefits, so be sure to eat a wide variety of them, as often as possible.

Whole grains. Whole grains include wheat, oats, brown rice, barley, cornmeal and others; they are not processed, or refined. Processed foods may include grains, but they typically include refined grains from which the nutritional value has been leached. Examples of processed foods with refined grains are breads, pasta, cereal, white flour, white rice and cookies. In contrast, whole grains contain important nutrients, including fiber. To get the most health benefits, make sure at least half of your grains — and the foods that contain them — are whole.

Lean protein sources. Your body needs protein-rich foods to build muscle and carry out many functions in the cells and tissues. Some protein sources, though, contain high levels of saturated fat that can be bad for your health. To boost your health, look for lean protein sources such as lean cuts of meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas (legumes) and nuts and seeds.

Sugar, salt and trans and saturated Fats. Many processed foods contain things that can damage your health if eaten in large quantities. Some of these, such as salt, sugar and trans fats, are added to processed foods to change the flavor. Others, such as saturated fats, occur naturally in foods such as meat and eggs. To stay as healthy as possible, limit your intake of these, opting instead for foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Vitamins and Nutrients

We all need vitamins and minerals to sustain good health and keep our bodies functioning properly. These nutrients are what our bodies need to grow, repair, heal and sustain our body’s cells, systems, organs and skeleton. The problem is that many of us do not consume enough to maintain optimal health, and, as a result of this deficiency, experience illness, fatigue and disease.

Throw in an injury like an automobile accident or certain medical conditions, and symptoms such as pain, loss of mobility, muscle weakness, nerve damage and joint problems can be made worse by this shortage. Not only this, but recovery can be hampered. This is why your chiropractor may suggest that you consume micronutrients, either through your diet or supplements — they will allow treatment to work more effectively.

More About Vitamins & Minerals

There are 13 essential vitamins. They are organic substances that are categorized as fat soluble and water soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins — including vitamins A, D, E and K — attach to fat in the stomach and are stowed away in the body, where they can be used for later. Water-soluble vitamins — including biotin, vitamin C, folic acid and B complex vitamins — are taken in directly by cells. However, because they are easily flushed out by our system, they need to be restored more often.

Minerals, on the other hand, are inorganic substances, and are grouped as macrominerals or trace minerals. Macrominerals are what the body needs in large amounts while trace minerals are only required in minute doses. Like vitamins, they are necessary for function, growth and development.

Vitamins and Minerals to Discuss With Your Chiropractor

Here is a list of some vitamins and minerals you should talk to your chiropractor about incorporating in your treatment.

To Support Cellular Function

  • Biotin. Found in salmon, eggs, avocados and whole grains, biotin is fundamental to cell growth. It also helps our bodies transform the food we eat into energy, which, in turn, influences our body’s abilities — from thinking to movement.
  • Iron. This mineral is important, as it helps distribute oxygen to our cells and aids in the production of neurotransmitters. It can be found in red meat, leafy green vegetables, some beans and potatoes.

To Support Bone Development

  • Calcium. Found in milk, yogurt, tofu, cheese and spinach, calcium does more than aid in bone development. Calcium is a mineral that is also essential for blood clotting, muscle function, hormone secretion, stabilizing blood pressure and ensuring nerves are signaling properly. Try partnering calcium with magnesium for an added punch. This macromineral helps in many of the same ways as calcium. It is found in oat bran, spinach and bananas.

To Support Nerve and Muscle Function

  • Choline. This water-soluble B vitamin can be found in eggs, milk, beef, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. It is a building block of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that is vital for brain and nerve activities, particularly those that regulate muscle movement and memory. Those who are deficient may be at greater risk of atherosclerosis and neurological disorders.
  • Copper. When you think of copper, you might visualize the pennies in your purse or pocket, but this trace mineral — found in oysters, nuts and raw mushrooms — is essential in the development of red blood cells, and is important for immunity and proper nervous system function. A deficiency can lead to bone deterioration, anemia and a low white blood cell count.
  • Potassium. This macromineral and electrolyte has a host of benefits. Not only does it help steady your heartbeat, transmit nervous system signals and aid in proper muscle function, it is important for kidney function, lowering your blood pressure and strengthening your bones. Those with deficiencies may experience muscle weakness, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, fatigue, bloating and constipation.

To Support Wound Healing

  • Manganese. This trace mineral — found in pecans, oatmeal, green tea and brown rice — is also an antioxidant. It’s not only useful for wound healing, but it aids in bone development and metabolism.

Before taking vitamins and minerals — especially supplements — be sure to speak with your chiropractor or nutritionist first. While getting nutrients is important for your health, taking them in excess can lead to adverse effects like toxicity. Remember: everything in moderation. Your chiropractor or nutritionist, should they suggest these or other nutrients, will discuss how and when they should be taken.

Superfoods

Prior to the word “superfood” perfectly embedding itself in our vocabulary after Dr. Steven Pratt coined the term in 2004, we didn’t have such a distinction when it came to the foods we ate. Fruits and vegetables have long been known to have health benefits and are a part of our daily diet — or at least they are supposed to be. However, we didn’t give them a greater nutritional value and consider that some may be better for our wellbeing than others.

What Makes a Food Super?

According to Pratt, a superfood must meet three criteria:

  • It’s nutrient-dense and is known to improve longevity
  • It’s easily available to the public
  • Peer-reviews and scientific studies back up its health benefits

Still, generally speaking, nutritionists and dietitians more simply refer to superfoods as nutrient powerhouses that contain lots of polyphenols, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. In addition, eating them serves a purpose: to prolong life, minimize your risk of chronic disease and help you to maintain a healthy weight.

What Are Some Top Superfoods, and What Makes Them Special?

If you go online and do a search, you will find websites that highlight a plethora of superfoods — and it seems the list grows every day. Here are some of the top superfoods recommended by Pratt that may complement your chiropractic treatment:

  • Yogurt. We are learning more and more about how yogurt is good for digestive health, but this food, which is produced by bacterial fermentation of milk, is capable of so much more — it can strengthen your bones (even those associated with your spine), prevent high blood pressure and help you to recover after a workout. Think working out isn’t important in chiropractic care? Well, it is. Certain low-impact activities can improve mobility and flexibility — two consequences associated with many spinal injuries.
  • Dark chocolate. Once considered a guilty pleasure, dark chocolate (with at least 70-percent cacao) has proven in later years to be an asset to our health. Packed with copper, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus and selenium, dark chocolate can promote blood flow. Blood flow is crucial because our cells, nerves, joints, muscles and organs require it — and the oxygen they get from it — to function properly. This sweet treat can also reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure and boost brain function.
  • Onion. Let’s face it: Onions won’t win you any points in a fresh breath competition, but it can win you points with your chiropractor because it can decrease inflammation and strengthen your immune system. It may also lower your cholesterol and chance of developing heart disease.
  • Pomegranate. This gorgeous fruit contains potassium, vitamin B6, polyphenols and ascorbic acid. What does this mean for your health? It means this softball-sized fruit can prevent abnormal platelet accumulation, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, protect against osteoporosis, correct atherosclerotic plaque and boost your immune system.
  • Berries. The next time you grab a handful of blueberries, consider that they contain nutrients such as ascorbic acid, folate, salicylic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids and polyphenols — all of which help with coordination and balance, brain function and cellular communications. They also help to prevent certain cancers and can slow down the signs of aging.
  • Cinnamon. If you’ve had an injury stemming from a car accident, or are suffering from a condition like vertebral subluxation complex, you may have inflammation. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that can work with the treatment you receive from your chiropractor. Even better: It helps regulate glucose levels in those with diabetes, lowers cholesterol, boosts cognition and may reduce your risk of heart disease.

All of these fares contain large concentrations of nutrients that are vital to our health, and they are low in calories. Low-calorie foods can aid in weight loss, which, if you are overweight, will ease pressure on the body’s joints / bones, lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

What It Boils Down To

A chiropractor can do much to resolve your physical ailments — within reason, of course — but when you add in superfoods that are packed with the vitamins and minerals needed to grow, repair, heal and sustain our body’s systems, cells, organs and skeleton, they allow treatment to work more effectively and may drastically reduce recovery time.

Talk to your chiropractor about the benefits of combining superfoods with your treatment.

Whole Grains

When you reach for that bowl of whole grain cereal or a slice of whole grain bread, consider the health benefits. Those who eat whole grains as part of their diet are at a reduced risk for some chronic conditions. This is because they contain nutrients that are vital to optimal health, and that includes how well our bodies function.

What Makes Whole Grains Beneficial to Your Health?

Grains have fiber, thiamin, folate, iron, selenium, riboflavin, magnesium and niacin.

  • Fiber. Not only can fiber be used to treat constipation and diverticulosis, it decreases blood cholesterol levels and lower one’s risk of obesity, heart disease, colon cancer and type-2 diabetes.
  • B vitamins. These vitamins play various roles in our health. In general, they are critical for maintaining a healthy nervous system. However, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin, in particular, are all B vitamins that help the body convert food into energy. Folate, also a B vitamin, assists the body’s development of red blood cells.
  • Iron. Our blood requires oxygen, and iron is a mineral our body uses to transport oxygen in the blood.
  • Magnesium. This mineral is one of the building blocks for strong, healthy bones and muscle function. Those who have had a spinal injury — say due to an automobile accident or vertebral subluxation complex — can benefit from magnesium, as it, along with chiropractic treatment, will help fortify the bones and strengthen the muscles that support them.
  • Selenium. A healthy immune system is one that can fight off disease and repair itself — selenium can aid in this way. It also helps guards our cells from oxidation (loss of electrons).

Additional benefits include:

  • Weight management
  • Lower chance of gum disease and tooth loss
  • Improved blood pressure levels
  • Reduced risk of colorectal cancer and inflammatory disease
  • Healthier arteries
  • Less risk of asthma

How Much Whole Grains Do You Need, and by How Much Are Your Risks Reduced?

Getting at least one serving of whole grains per day — from wheat, rice, oats, rye, corn, barley, sorghum, spelt or quinoa — may be enough to reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases, but according to the Whole Grains Council, consuming at least three servings a day is even better. While percentages may vary, studies show that by making whole grains part of your daily diet, you can reduce your risk of:

  • Stroke by up to 37 percent
  • Type-2 diabetes by up to 30 percent
  • Cardiovascular disease by up to 36 percent
  • Cancers that affect the digestive system by up to 43 percent
  • Hormone-related cancers by up to 40 percent

Talk to your chiropractor today about combining a diet rich in whole grains with your treatment.

Lean Protein Sources

If you’ve been in a car accident or have a condition that affects the spine, such as vertebral subluxation complex, the muscles can spasm, stiffen, weaken or waste away. In addition, if scar tissue develops, muscle tone can change. All of this can affect your mobility, comfort and ability to perform certain functions and movements. More importantly, the muscles surround and give the body’s skeleton its support. When muscles are compromised, bones — including the spine — can lose their natural alignment.

Why Are Lean Proteins Important to Your Chiropractic Treatment?

Proteins are our body’s building blocks for strong and healthy bones, skin, muscles, cartilage and blood. They are also the building blocks of vitamins, enzymes and hormones.

So, what does this mean in terms of chiropractic care?

When protein is properly synthesized by the body, it speeds up tissue repair, prevents atrophy caused by immobilization and fortifies connective tissue, which can expedite your recovery time when combined with chiropractic treatments such as spinal adjustments and soft tissue work.

As an additional benefit, lean proteins can help you feel fuller longer. This can lead to weight loss as you are more likely to minimize the number of calories consumed. Weight loss helps to relieve stress on the body’s skeleton, so, if the bones are out of alignment, avoiding this added pressure can reduce pain. In addition, if spinal adjustments have been performed to bring the spine into line, weight management can help prevent the spinal bones from slipping out of place again.

What Are Some Additional Benefits of Lean Proteins?

Aside from the advantages aforementioned, proteins can aid in heart health. This has been examined in studies, including one conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine. They found that participants who removed 10 percent of their calories from carbohydrates and replaced them with protein experienced a 21-percent deduction in their risk for cardiovascular disease. Their blood pressure and cholesterol levels lowered as well.

Which Lean Proteins Should You Choose?

Not all proteins are created equal. Some protein-rich foods contain large amounts of saturated fat, which can cause cholesterol levels to spike and boost your chance of developing heart disease. For this reason, you should avoid or minimize your consumption of full-fat dairy, hot dogs, processed lunch meat, fatty cuts of meat, bacon and regular ground beef. Instead, your choices should include:

  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Legumes, including beans
  • Turkey
  • Round steak
  • Top sirloin
  • 90-percent lean ground beef
  • Fish

To learn more about how lean proteins can help with your chiropractic treatment, speak with your chiropractor today.

Sugar, Salt and Trans and Saturated Fats

The Scoop on Sugar, Salt and Trans and Saturated Fats

Salt, sugar and fats have long gotten bad raps. It is true that adverse effects can occur if they are consumed in large amounts, but the keyword is “large.” When taken in the right amounts, our bodies can reap several benefits.

The Low-Down on Salt

Salt can do more than flavor your foods, it’s essential to our wellbeing. Not only does it play a role in muscle contraction and water retention, it has nutrients that are vital to digestion.

Muscle Contraction

As you will read below, salt is an electrolyte our body needs to carry out the nerve impulses that control many bodily functions, including muscle contraction. This mineral can also keep the muscles from cramping.

Water Retention

You hear “water retention” and probably think of swelling and weight gain. However, the volume of water our bodies retain aids in kidney function and affects our blood pressure. Salt is an electrolyte our body needs to perform the electrical impulses that regulate certain functions. This means that in order for our body to function properly, we need an appropriate amount of electrolytes. Because electrolytes activate our thirst mechanism, we tend to consume more water as a result. This water, in turn, allows our kidneys to maintain electrolytes in our bloodstream. Additionally, water helps our bodies stabilize blood pressure.

Digestive Health

Salt triggers salivary amylase, an enzyme in the mouth that aids in digestive processes. Specifically, it helps salt carry out its part in digestion by assisting with the breakdown of food. Salt also generates a digestive secretion called hydrochloric acid, and it coats the walls of the stomach. This secretion aids in the breakdown of food too.

Additional Benefits

Other than the key benefits discussed above, salt can:

  • Help the body retain calcium and other minerals in the bloodstream
  • Fuel the adrenal glands
  • Prevent sunstroke and overheating

The Scoop on Sugar

Get the white table sugar in your cabinet out of your head for a moment, because the sugar we are talking about is naturally occurring and can be found in fruits. The sugar your body gets from fruit helps the enzyme sucrose — found in your small intestine — assists in breaking sucrose down into fructose and glucose. The body then absorbs them and hauls them to the liver, where they are processed and distributed throughout the body. Insulin, a hormone, then accelerates the uptake of glucose into the cells, allowing it to be converted into energy and immediately used by the body.

Glucose that is not used is stored as glycogen, a compound. Through glycogenesis, the liver generates glycogen chains connected via chemical bonds. The body then breaks down glycogen into single glucose units so that they can be used when primary sources of energy are not accessible — while sleeping, between meals and during exercise, for example. This prevents drops in blood sugar.

The Facts on Fats

There are two types of trans fats: artificial trans fats and naturally-occurring trans fats. Those that are naturally-occurring are manufactured in the gut of some animals, as well as in the foods crafted from these animals (e.g., meat and milk products). Artificial trans fats, on the other hand, are developed industrially in a process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil in order to make them denser.

Artificial trans fats are bad for our health, but those that are naturally occurring can have health benefits. A study conducted by the University of Alberta found that a diet containing natural animal fat found in dairy and some beef products (known as vaccenic acid) may reduce an individual’s risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The theory is that vaccenic acid is capable of minimizing the production of chylomicrons (particles of cholesterol and fat that develop in the small intestine after a meal).

Saturated fats also have their place in our diet. They may play a role in:

  • Cardiovascular health. It reduces lipoprotein levels to reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Immunity. Saturated fats found in coconut oil may help the body’s white blood cells function properly by more efficiently seeking out and destroying bacteria and viruses.
  • Liver health. Saturated fat provides a coating that helps guards the liver from the effects of medication and alcohol.
  • Hormones. Saturated fats may increase testosterone levels. This hormone helps sustain muscle, repair tissue and boost sexual function.

Before incorporating salt, sugar and fats into your diet as a means of achieving the above health benefits, talk to your nutritionist or dietitian first to determine what your intake should be, and then speak with your chiropractor about how nutrition can aid in your chiropractic treatment.

About the Functional Medicine Approach

With functional medicine, the physician treats the mind and body as a whole, and collaborates with the patients’ other healthcare and wellness practitioners, for a comprehensive treatment approach. For instance, instead of simply prescribing pain relievers to address a painful symptom, the functional medicine practitioner strives to diagnose and treat the root cause of the pain. A functional medicine practitioner understands that the mind, body and spirit are connected and that each component must be functioning well for the body to function well overall.

To learn more about taking a functional medicine approach to chiropractic care, please visit the pages below.

We Offer the Following Services

Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

Here is a brief overview of the array of specialized services offered by our clinic. Please take some time, and explore what we have to offer.

Chiropractic Manipulation San Antonio
Functional Integrative Medicine San Antonio
Acupuncture Services San Antonio
Massage Therapy San Antonio

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Meet Our Team
Dr. Lara Sweeney, DC
Dr. J. Lara Sweeney, DC IFMCP

Dr. Lara Sweeney has an impressive array of training, education, and certification. More ...

Dr. Jay Sweeney, DC
Dr. Jay Sweeney, DC DABCA

Dr. Jay Sweeney has an impressive array of training, education, and certification. More ...

Michelle Anderson
Michelle Anderson, LMT

Michelle has over 19 years massage & soft-tissue experience & is versed in a wide range of techniques More ...

Amanda Hughes
Amanda Hughes

Amanda is our "Go-to" person for all things "food"; whatever you might need from the world of diet and nutrition, she is eager to help.

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1931 NW Military Hwy.
Suite 204
Castle Hills, TX 78213

Our building “The Pavilions at Castle Hills”, is located at the corner of NW Military Hwy. and Sunflower in Castle Hills. It’s a two-story brown brick building; “First Serve Tennis”, “Bicycle Heaven”, and “Hearing Aid Labs” occupy the front. Our office is located on the second floor, on the back side of the building. Plenty of parking is available in both the front and rear lots. There are stairways located at either end of the building; and for your convenience, there is an elevator located on the back side of the building, at the end of the south tunnel.