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Functional Medicine

Back Clinic Functional Medicine Team. Functional medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

By changing the disease-centered focus of medical practice to this patient-centered approach, our physicians are able to support the healing process by viewing health and illness as part of a cycle in which all components of the human biological system interact dynamically with the environment. This process helps to seek and identify genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that may shift a person’s health from illness to well-being.

The Importance of a Healing Diet After Food Poisoning

The Importance of a Healing Diet After Food Poisoning

Can knowing which foods to eat help individuals recovering from food poisoning restore gut health?

The Importance of a Healing Diet After Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning and Restoring Gut Health

Food poisoning can be life-threatening. Fortunately, most cases are mild and short-lived and last only a few hours to a few days (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2024). But even mild cases can wreak havoc on the gut, causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Researchers have found that bacterial infections, like food poisoning, can cause changes in gut bacteria. (Clara Belzer et al., 2014) Eating foods that promote gut healing after food poisoning may help the body recover and feel better faster.

Foods to Eat

After food poisoning symptoms have resolved, one may feel that returning to the usual diet is fine. However, the gut has endured quite an experience, and even though acute symptoms have subsided, individuals may still benefit from foods and drinks that are easier on the stomach. Recommended foods and beverages after food poisoning include: (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2019)

  • Gatorade
  • Pedialyte
  • Water
  • Herbal tea
  • Chicken broth
  • Jello
  • Applesauce
  • Crackers
  • Toast
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes

Hydration after food poisoning is crucial. Individuals should add other nutritious and hydrating foods, like chicken noodle soup, which helps because of its nutrients and fluid content. The diarrhea and vomiting that accompany the illness can leave the body severely dehydrated. Rehydrating beverages help the body replace lost electrolytes and sodium. Once the body is rehydrated and can hold down bland foods, slowly introduce foods from a regular diet. When resuming the usual diet after rehydration, eating small meals frequently, every three to four hours, is recommended instead of eating a large breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal daily. (Andi L. Shane et al., 2017) When choosing Gatorade or Pedialyte, remember that Gatorade is a sports-rehydrating drink with more sugar, which could irritate an inflamed stomach. Pedialyte is designed for rehydrating during and after illness and has less sugar, making it a better option. (Ronald J Maughan et al., 2016)

When Food Poisoning Is Active Foods To Avoid

During food poisoning, individuals typically do not feel like eating at all. However, to avoid worsening the illness, Individuals are recommended to avoid the following while actively ill (Ohio State University. 2019)

  • Caffeinated drinks and alcohol can further dehydrate.
  • Greasy foods and high-fiber foods are hard to digest.
  • Foods and beverages high in sugar can cause the body to produce high glucose levels and weaken the immune system. (Navid Shomali et al., 2021)

Recovery Time and Resuming Regular Diet

Food poisoning doesn’t last long, and most uncomplicated cases are resolved within a few hours or days. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2024) Symptoms depend on the type of bacteria. Individuals may become ill within minutes of consuming contaminated food up to two weeks later. For example, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria generally cause symptoms almost immediately. On the other hand, listeria may take up to a couple of weeks to cause symptoms. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2024) Individuals can resume their usual diet once symptoms are gone, the body is thoroughly hydrated and can hold down bland foods. (Andi L. Shane et al., 2017)

Recommended Gut Foods Post Stomach Virus

Gut-healthy foods can help restore the gut microbiome or all the living microorganisms in the digestive system. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for immune system functioning. (Emanuele Rinninella et al., 2019) Stomach viruses can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria. (Chanel A. Mosby et al., 2022) Eating certain foods may help restore the gut balance. Prebiotics, or indigestible plant fibers, can help break down in the small intestines and allow the beneficial bacteria to grow. Prebiotic foods include: (Dorna Davani-Davari et al., 2019)

  • Beans
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Honey
  • Milk
  • Banana
  • Wheat, barley, rye
  • Garlic
  • Soybean
  • Seaweed

In addition, probiotics, which are live bacteria, may help increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut. Probiotic foods include: (Harvard Medical School, 2023)

  • Pickles
  • Sourdough bread
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt
  • Miso
  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh

Probiotics can also be taken as a supplement and come in tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids. Because they contain live bacteria, they need to be refrigerated. Healthcare providers sometimes recommend taking probiotics when recovering from a stomach infection. (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2018) Individuals should consult their healthcare provider to see whether this option is safe and healthy.

At Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic, we treat injuries and chronic pain syndromes by developing personalized treatment plans and specialized clinical services focused on injuries and the complete recovery process. If other treatment is needed, individuals will be referred to a clinic or physician best suited to their injury, condition, and/or ailment.

Learning About Food Substitutions


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2024). Food poisoning symptoms. Retrieved from

Belzer, C., Gerber, G. K., Roeselers, G., Delaney, M., DuBois, A., Liu, Q., Belavusava, V., Yeliseyev, V., Houseman, A., Onderdonk, A., Cavanaugh, C., & Bry, L. (2014). Dynamics of the microbiota in response to host infection. PloS one, 9(7), e95534.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2019). Eating, diet, & nutrition for food poisoning. Retrieved from

Shane, A. L., Mody, R. K., Crump, J. A., Tarr, P. I., Steiner, T. S., Kotloff, K., Langley, J. M., Wanke, C., Warren, C. A., Cheng, A. C., Cantey, J., & Pickering, L. K. (2017). 2017 Infectious Diseases Society of America Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Infectious Diarrhea. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 65(12), e45–e80.

Maughan, R. J., Watson, P., Cordery, P. A., Walsh, N. P., Oliver, S. J., Dolci, A., Rodriguez-Sanchez, N., & Galloway, S. D. (2016). A randomized trial to assess the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status: development of a beverage hydration index. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 103(3), 717–723.

Ohio State University. Kacie Vavrek, M., RD, CSSD Ohio State University. (2019). Foods to avoid when you have the flu.

Shomali, N., Mahmoudi, J., Mahmoodpoor, A., Zamiri, R. E., Akbari, M., Xu, H., & Shotorbani, S. S. (2021). Harmful effects of high amounts of glucose on the immune system: An updated review. Biotechnology and applied biochemistry, 68(2), 404–410.

Rinninella, E., Raoul, P., Cintoni, M., Franceschi, F., Miggiano, G. A. D., Gasbarrini, A., & Mele, M. C. (2019). What is the Healthy Gut Microbiota Composition? A Changing Ecosystem across Age, Environment, Diet, and Diseases. Microorganisms, 7(1), 14.

Mosby, C. A., Bhar, S., Phillips, M. B., Edelmann, M. J., & Jones, M. K. (2022). Interaction with mammalian enteric viruses alters outer membrane vesicle production and content by commensal bacteria. Journal of extracellular vesicles, 11(1), e12172.

Davani-Davari, D., Negahdaripour, M., Karimzadeh, I., Seifan, M., Mohkam, M., Masoumi, S. J., Berenjian, A., & Ghasemi, Y. (2019). Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 8(3), 92.

Harvard Medical School. (2023). How to get more probiotics.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2018). Treatment of viral gastroenteritis. Retrieved from

Peppermint: A Natural Remedy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Peppermint: A Natural Remedy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

For individuals dealing with digestive issues or bowel disorders, can adding peppermint to a nutrition plan help manage symptoms and digestion?

Peppermint: A Natural Remedy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome


First grown in England, peppermint’s medicinal properties were soon recognized and are cultivated today in Europe and Northern Africa.

How It Is Used

  • Peppermint oil can be taken as a tea or in capsule form.
  • Consult a physician or licensed healthcare professional to determine the proper dosage for the capsule form.

For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Peppermint is taken as a tea to treat general digestive problems. It is known to reduce the production of gas in the intestine. Today, researchers recognize peppermint as effective for irritable bowel syndrome when used in oil form. (N. Alammar et al., 2019) Peppermint oil has been approved for use by IBS patients in Germany. However, the FDA has not approved peppermint and oil to treat any condition, but it has listed peppermint and the oil as generally safe. (ScienceDirect, 2024)

Interactions With Other Medications

  • Individuals who take lansoprazole to reduce stomach acid may compromise the enteric coating of some commercial peppermint oil capsules. (Taofikat B. Agbabiaka et al., 2018)
  • This can happen using H2-receptor antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, and antacids.

Other potential interactions include: (Benjamin Kligler, Sapna Chaudhary 2007)

  • Amitriptyline
  • Cyclosporine
  • Haloperidol
  • Peppermint extract may increase serum levels of these medications.

It is recommended to discuss medication interactions with a healthcare provider before starting supplements if taking any of these medications.


  • Peppermint is not recommended for use during pregnancy or by nursing individuals.
  • It is unknown if it could affect a developing fetus.
  • It is unknown if it can affect a nursing baby.

How To Use The Herb

It is not that common, but some individuals are allergic to peppermint. Peppermint oil should never be applied to the face or around mucous membranes (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. 2020). Using more than one form, such as tea and oil, is not recommended because it could lead to side effects.

  • Because the FDA does not regulate supplements like peppermint and others, their contents may be varied.
  • Supplements may contain harmful ingredients or not contain the active ingredient at all.
  • This is why seeking reputable brands and informing an individual’s healthcare team of what is being taken is highly recommended.

It has the potential to worsen certain conditions and should not be used by:

  • Individuals who have chronic heartburn. (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. 2020)
  • Individuals who have severe liver damage.
  • Individuals who have inflammation of the gallbladder.
  • Individuals who have obstruction of bile ducts.
  • Individuals who are pregnant.
  • Individuals with gallstones should consult their healthcare provider to see if it is safe.

Side Effects

  • The oil may cause an upset stomach or burning.
  • Enteric-coated capsules may cause a burning sensation in the rectum. (Brooks D. Cash et al., 2016)

Children and Infants

  • Peppermint was used to treat colic in infants but is not recommended today.
  • The menthol in the tea may cause infants and small children to choke.
  • Chamomile could be a possible alternative. Consult a healthcare provider to see if it is safe.

Beyond Adjustments: Chiropractic and Integrative Healthcare


Alammar, N., Wang, L., Saberi, B., Nanavati, J., Holtmann, G., Shinohara, R. T., & Mullin, G. E. (2019). The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 19(1), 21.

ScienceDirect. (2024). Peppermint Oil.,as%20safe%E2%80%9D%20%5B11%5D.

Agbabiaka, T. B., Spencer, N. H., Khanom, S., & Goodman, C. (2018). Prevalence of drug-herb and drug-supplement interactions in older adults: a cross-sectional survey. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 68(675), e711–e717.

Kligler, B., & Chaudhary, S. (2007). Peppermint oil. American family physician, 75(7), 1027–1030.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2020). Peppermint oil. Retrieved from

Cash, B. D., Epstein, M. S., & Shah, S. M. (2016). A Novel Delivery System of Peppermint Oil Is an Effective Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms. Digestive diseases and sciences, 61(2), 560–571.

Khanna, R., MacDonald, J. K., & Levesque, B. G. (2014). Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 48(6), 505–512.

Acupuncture for Eczema: A Promising Therapy Option

Acupuncture for Eczema: A Promising Therapy Option

For individuals dealing with eczema, can incorporating acupuncture into a treatment plan help manage and reduce symptoms?

Acupuncture for Eczema: A Promising Therapy Option

Acupuncture for Eczema

Eczema is a chronic skin disorder that causes intense itching, dry skin, and rashes. Common treatment options for eczema include:

  • Moisturizers
  • Topical steroids
  • Prescription medications

Some research suggests that acupuncture may also help individuals with eczema. In recent years, researchers have looked at acupuncture as a possible treatment option and found that it can reduce symptoms.


Acupuncture involves inserting thin metallic needles in specific acupoints in the body. It is believed that by stimulating specific points, the body’s central nervous system activates and releases certain chemicals designed to enable healing. Ailments that are treated using acupuncture include: (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2024)

  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Asthma
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fibromyalgia


Studies have found that acupuncture could be a treatment option depending on the severity of the condition and the intensity of the itching sensations. (Ruimin Jiao et al., 2020) The needles are placed at various points associated with relieving the condition. These points include: (Zhiwen Zeng et al., 2021)


  • Located at the base of the thumb and index finger.
  • It has been shown to help reduce inflammation and irritation.


  • This point is located within the elbow to reduce itchiness and dryness.


  • Located on the top of the foot, this point reduces stress on the nervous system.


  • The SP6 is on the lower calf above the ankle and can help reduce inflammation, redness, and skin irritation.


  • This point is located adjacent to the knee and reduces itchiness and inflammation.


  • This point is located below the knee on the back of the leg and is used to improve overall well-being.


There are various benefits of acupuncture, including (Ruimin Jiao et al., 2020)

  • Dryness and itchiness relief.
  • Itchiness intensity reduction.
  • Affected area reduction.
  • Improved quality of life.
  1. Eczema flare-ups are also linked to stress and anxiety. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, which can also help relieve eczema symptoms (Beate Wild et al., 2020).
  2. Acupuncture helps repair skin barrier damage or the outer part of the skin designed to protect the body. (Rezan Akpinar, Saliha Karatay, 2018)
  3. Individuals with eczema tend to have a weakened skin barrier; this benefit can also improve symptoms. (National Eczema Association. 2023)
  4. Individuals with eczema often have an overactive immune system contributing to the disorder.
  5. According to research, acupuncture can also help in regulating the immune system. (Zhiwen Zeng et al., 2021)


Acupuncture is generally considered safe, but there are some risks to be aware of. These risks include: (Ruimin Jiao et al., 2020)

  • Swelling where the needles are inserted.
  • Red spots on the skin.
  • Increased itchiness.
  • A rash known as erythema – occurs when small blood vessels are injured.
  • Hemorrhages – excessive bleeding.
  • Fainting

Individuals Who Should Avoid Acupuncture

Not all individuals can be treated with acupuncture. Individuals who should avoid acupuncture treatment include individuals who (National Eczema Association. 2021) (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2024)

  • Are pregnant
  • Have a bleeding disorder
  • Have an increased risk of infection
  • Have a pacemaker
  • Have breast implants


Most studies on acupuncture for eczema show positive results that prove it can aid in relieving symptoms. (SeHyun Kang et al., 2018) (Ruimin Jiao et al., 2020) However, individuals should talk to their healthcare provider to see if it’s a safe option.

Unlocking Wellness


Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2024). Acupuncture (Health, Issue.

Jiao, R., Yang, Z., Wang, Y., Zhou, J., Zeng, Y., & Liu, Z. (2020). The effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for patients with atopic eczema: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupuncture in medicine : journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society, 38(1), 3–14.

Zeng, Z., Li, M., Zeng, Y., Zhang, J., Zhao, Y., Lin, Y., Qiu, R., Zhang, D. S., & Shang, H. C. (2021). Potential Acupoint Prescriptions and Outcome Reporting for Acupuncture in Atopic Eczema: A Scoping Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2021, 9994824.

Wild, B., Brenner, J., Joos, S., Samstag, Y., Buckert, M., & Valentini, J. (2020). Acupuncture in persons with an increased stress level-Results from a randomized-controlled pilot trial. PloS one, 15(7), e0236004.

Akpinar R, Karatay S. (2018). Positive Effects of Acupuncture on Atopic Dermatitis. International Journal of Allergy Medications 4:030.

National Eczema Association. (2023). Skin barrier basics for people with eczema. What is my skin barrier?

National Eczema Association. (2021). Get the facts: acupuncture. Get the facts: acupuncture.

Kang, S., Kim, Y. K., Yeom, M., Lee, H., Jang, H., Park, H. J., & Kim, K. (2018). Acupuncture improves symptoms in patients with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis: A randomized, sham-controlled preliminary trial. Complementary therapies in medicine, 41, 90–98.

Unleash the Power of Nopal for Health and Wellness

Unleash the Power of Nopal for Health and Wellness

Can incorporating nopal or prickly pear cactus into one’s diet help individuals trying to lower blood glucose, inflammation, and risk factors associated with heart and metabolic diseases?

Unleash the Power of Nopal for Health and Wellness


Nopal, also known as prickly pear cactus, is a versatile vegetable that can be added to nutrition plans to increase fiber intake, vitamins, minerals, and plant-based compounds.  It grows in the U.S. Southwest, Latin America, and the Mediterranean. The pads, or the nopales or cactus paddles, have a texture like okra and slight tartness. The prickly pear cactus fruit, referred to as tuna in Spanish, is also consumed. (University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, 2019) It is often used in fruit salsas, salads, and desserts and is available as a supplement in tablet and powder form.

Serving Size and Nutrition

One cup of cooked nopales, around five pads, without added salt, contains: (U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central, 2018)

  • Calories – 22
  • Fat – 0 grams
  • Sodium – 30 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates – 5 grams
  • Fiber – 3 grams
  • Sugars – 1.7 grams
  • Protein – 2 grams
  • Vitamin A – 600 international units
  • Vitamin C – 8 milligrams
  • Vitamin K – 8 micrograms
  • Potassium – 291 milligrams
  • Choline – 11 milligrams
  • Calcium – 244 milligrams
  • Magnesium – 70 milligrams

It is generally recommended that most individuals consume 2.5 to 4 cups of vegetables per day. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, MyPlate, 2020)


Nopal is highly nutritious, low in calories, free of fat, sodium, or cholesterol, and full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and betalains. (Parisa Rahimi et al., 2019) Betalains are pigments with anti-inflammatory properties. The variety of fibers creates a low glycemic index (measures how much a specific food raises blood sugar levels after consumption) of about 32, a recommended addition to a diabetes-friendly diet. (Patricia López-Romero et al., 2014)


  • Nopal contains a variety of beneficial carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Nopal has soluble and insoluble fiber, which benefits blood sugar.
  • It also contains vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin C, calcium, and plant-based compounds like phenols and betalains. (Karina Corona-Cervantes et al., 2022)

Blood Sugar Regulation

Research has evaluated regular nopal consumption and supplementation for blood sugar control. A study on blood sugar evaluated adding nopal to a high-carbohydrate breakfast or a breakfast high in soy protein in Mexican individuals with type 2 diabetes. The study found that consuming nopales, about 300 grams or 1.75 to 2 cups before a meal, could reduce after-meal/postprandial blood sugars. (Patricia López-Romero et al., 2014) An older study had similar results. (Montserrat Bacardi-Gascon et al., 2007) Individuals were randomly assigned to consume 85 grams of nopal with three different breakfast options:

  • Chilaquiles – a casserole made with corn tortilla, vegetable oil, and pinto beans.
  • Burritos – made with eggs, vegetable oil, and pinto beans.
  • Quesadillas – made with flour tortillas, low-fat cheese, avocado, and pinto beans.
  • The groups assigned to eat nopales had reductions in blood sugar. There was a:
  • 30% reduction in the chilaquiles group.
  • 20% decrease in the burrito group.
  • 48% reduction in the quesadilla group.

However, the studies were small, and the population was not diverse. so further research is needed.

Increased Fiber

The combination of soluble and insoluble fiber benefits the gut in various ways. Soluble fiber can act as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial bacteria in the gut and assisting in removing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from the body. Insoluble fiber increases transit time, or how quickly food moves through the digestive system and promotes bowel regularity. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022) In a short-term randomized clinical control trial, researchers found an improvement in irritable bowel syndrome symptoms in individuals supplemented with 20 and 30 grams of nopal fiber. (Jose M Remes-Troche et al., 2021) For individuals not used to consuming fibrous foods, it may cause mild diarrhea, so it is recommended to increase intake slowly and with adequate water to prevent gas and bloating.

Plant Based Calcium

One cup of nopal provides 244 milligrams or 24% of daily calcium needs. Calcium is a mineral that optimizes bone and teeth health. It also assists in blood vessel contraction and dilation, muscle function, blood clotting, nerve transmission, and hormonal secretion. (National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements 2024) Individuals who follow diets that exclude dairy products can benefit from plant-based calcium sources. This includes cruciferous vegetables like kale, collards, and arugula.

Other Benefits

Studies done in animals and test tubes suggest that fresh nopal and extracts may assist in reducing triglycerides and cholesterol in metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease or when unhealthy amounts of fat accumulate in the liver. (Karym El-Mostafa et al., 2014) Other potential benefits with limited evidence include:

Consult a Dietician or Healthcare Provider

Unless individuals are allergic to it, most can eat whole nopal without a problem. However, supplementing is different because it provides a concentrated source. Individuals taking medication to manage diabetes and consuming nopal regularly may contribute to an increased risk of developing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Dermatitis has also been reported from contact with the cactus spines. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central, 2018) There have been rare reports of bowel obstruction in individuals who consume large amounts of the seeds found in the fruit. (Karym El-Mostafa et al., 2014) Ask a registered dietitian or primary healthcare provider if nopal can provide safe benefits.

Nutrition Fundamentals


University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. Hope Wilson, M. W., Patricia Zilliox. (2019). Prickly pear cactus: food of the desert.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. (2018). Nopales, cooked, without salt. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Agriculture. MyPlate. (2020-2025). Vegetables. Retrieved from

Rahimi, P., Abedimanesh, S., Mesbah-Namin, S. A., & Ostadrahimi, A. (2019). Betalains, the nature-inspired pigments, in health and diseases. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 59(18), 2949–2978.

López-Romero, P., Pichardo-Ontiveros, E., Avila-Nava, A., Vázquez-Manjarrez, N., Tovar, A. R., Pedraza-Chaverri, J., & Torres, N. (2014). The effect of nopal (Opuntia ficus indica) on postprandial blood glucose, incretins, and antioxidant activity in Mexican patients with type 2 diabetes after consumption of two different composition breakfasts. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(11), 1811–1818.

Corona-Cervantes, K., Parra-Carriedo, A., Hernández-Quiroz, F., Martínez-Castro, N., Vélez-Ixta, J. M., Guajardo-López, D., García-Mena, J., & Hernández-Guerrero, C. (2022). Physical and Dietary Intervention with Opuntia ficus-indica (Nopal) in Women with Obesity Improves Health Condition through Gut Microbiota Adjustment. Nutrients, 14(5), 1008.

Bacardi-Gascon, M., Dueñas-Mena, D., & Jimenez-Cruz, A. (2007). Lowering effect on postprandial glycemic response of nopales added to Mexican breakfasts. Diabetes care, 30(5), 1264–1265.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Fiber: the carb that helps you manage diabetes. Retrieved from

Remes-Troche, J. M., Taboada-Liceaga, H., Gill, S., Amieva-Balmori, M., Rossi, M., Hernández-Ramírez, G., García-Mazcorro, J. F., & Whelan, K. (2021). Nopal fiber (Opuntia ficus-indica) improves symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome in the short term: a randomized controlled trial. Neurogastroenterology and motility, 33(2), e13986.

National Institutes of Health (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplements. (2024). Calcium. Retrieved from

El-Mostafa, K., El Kharrassi, Y., Badreddine, A., Andreoletti, P., Vamecq, J., El Kebbaj, M. S., Latruffe, N., Lizard, G., Nasser, B., & Cherkaoui-Malki, M. (2014). Nopal cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) as a source of bioactive compounds for nutrition, health and disease. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 19(9), 14879–14901.

Onakpoya, I. J., O’Sullivan, J., & Heneghan, C. J. (2015). The effect of cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 31(5), 640–646.

Corona-Cervantes, K., Parra-Carriedo, A., Hernández-Quiroz, F., Martínez-Castro, N., Vélez-Ixta, J. M., Guajardo-López, D., García-Mena, J., & Hernández-Guerrero, C. (2022). Physical and Dietary Intervention with Opuntia ficus-indica (Nopal) in Women with Obesity Improves Health Condition through Gut Microbiota Adjustment. Nutrients, 14(5), 1008.

Mayonnaise: Is It Really Unhealthy?

Mayonnaise: Is It Really Unhealthy?

For individuals who want to eat healthier, can selection and moderation make mayonnaise a delicious and nutritious addition to a low-carbohydrate diet?

Mayonnaise: Is It Really Unhealthy?

Mayonnaise Nutrition

Mayonnaise is used in various recipes, including sandwiches, tuna salad, deviled eggs, and tartar sauce. It is often considered unhealthy, as it is mostly fat and, as a result, calorie-dense. Calories and fat can quickly add up when not paying attention to portion sizes.

What Is It?

  • It is a blend of different ingredients.
  • It combines oil, egg yolk, an acidic liquid (lemon juice or vinegar), and mustard.
  • The ingredients become a thick, creamy, permanent emulsion when blended slowly.
  • The key is in the emulsion, combining two liquids that would otherwise not naturally come together, which turns the liquid oil into a solid.

The Science

  • Emulsification happens when an emulsifier – the egg yolk – binds the water-loving/hydrophilic and oil-loving/lipophilic components.
  • The emulsifier binds the lemon juice or vinegar with the oil and does not allow separation, producing a stable emulsion. (Viktoria Olsson et al., 2018)
  • In homemade mayonnaise, the emulsifiers are mainly the lecithin from the egg yolk and a similar ingredient in mustard.
  • Commercial mayonnaise brands often use other types of emulsifiers and stabilizers.


  • It contains health-promoting properties, such as vitamin E, which improves heart health, and vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. (USDA, FoodData Central, 2018)
  • It can also be made with healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which maintain brain, heart, and skin health.
  • It is mostly an oil and high-fat calorie-dense condiment. (H R Mozafari et al., 2017)
  • However, it is mostly unsaturated fat, which is a healthier fat.
  • To maintain nutrition goals in mind when selecting mayonnaise.
  • For individuals on a low-fat or low-calorie diet, portion control is important.


  • Almost any edible oil can be used to make mayonnaise, making the oil the biggest factor in the recipe’s healthfulness.
  • Most commercial brands are made with soy oil, which some nutrition experts believe can be problematic because of the high levels of omega-6 fats.
  • Canola oil has a lower omega-6 content than soy oil.
  • Individuals who make the mayonnaise can use any oil, including olive or avocado oil.


  • The concern about bacteria comes from the fact that homemade mayonnaise is usually made with raw egg yolks.
  • Commercial mayonnaise is made with pasteurized eggs and is produced in a way that keeps it safe.
  • The acids, vinegar, or lemon juice can help keep some bacteria from contaminating the mayonnaise.
  • However, a study found that homemade mayonnaise may still contain salmonella bacteria despite the acidic compounds. (Junli Zhu et al., 2012)
  • Because of this, some prefer to pasteurize an egg in 140°F water for 3 minutes before making the mayonnaise.
  • Regardless of the type of mayonnaise, food safety guidelines should always be followed (United States Department of Agriculture, 2024).
  • Mayonnaise-based dishes should not be left outside refrigeration for more than two hours.
  • Opened commercial mayonnaise should be stored in the refrigerator after opening and discarded after two months.

Reduced-Fat Mayonnaise

  • Many nutritionists recommend reduced-fat mayonnaise for individuals on a low-calorie, low-fat, or exchange diet. (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Dietary Guidelines Implementation, 1991)
  • While reduced-fat mayonnaise has fewer calories and less fat than regular mayonnaise, the fat is often replaced with starches or sugar to improve texture and flavor.
  • For individuals watching carbohydrates or sugar in their diet, check the nutrition label and ingredients before deciding on the right mayonnaise.

Body In Balance: Chiropractic, Fitness, and Nutrition


Olsson, V., Håkansson, A., Purhagen, J., & Wendin, K. (2018). The Effect of Emulsion Intensity on Selected Sensory and Instrumental Texture Properties of Full-Fat Mayonnaise. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 7(1), 9.

USDA, FoodData Central. (2018). Mayonnaise dressing, no cholesterol. Retrieved from

Mozafari, H. R., Hosseini, E., Hojjatoleslamy, M., Mohebbi, G. H., & Jannati, N. (2017). Optimization low-fat and low cholesterol mayonnaise production by central composite design. Journal of food science and technology, 54(3), 591–600.

Zhu, J., Li, J., & Chen, J. (2012). Survival of Salmonella in home-style mayonnaise and acid solutions as affected by acidulant type and preservatives. Journal of food protection, 75(3), 465–471.

United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety and Inspection Service. (2024). Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics. Retrieved from

Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Committee on Dietary Guidelines Implementation., Thomas, P. R., Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation., & National Cancer Institute (U.S.). (1991). Improving America’s diet and health : from recommendations to action : a report of the Committee on Dietary Guidelines Implementation, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. National Academy Press.

The Role of Acupuncture in Managing Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

The Role of Acupuncture in Managing Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

For individuals dealing with ulcerative colitis, can acupuncture treatment benefit those with UC and other GI-related issues?

The Role of Acupuncture in Managing Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

Acupuncture For Ulcerative Colitis

Acupuncture has been used to treat symptoms related to pain and inflammation. Studies suggest it may help reduce inflammation and symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain, which could benefit individuals with inflammatory bowel disease. Individuals with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease/IBD affecting the large intestine, may find acupuncture beneficial in managing symptoms, including pain and gastrointestinal symptoms. (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, 2019)

  • There are 2,000 acupoints in the body connected by pathways known as meridians. (Wilkinson J, Faleiro R. 2007)
  • The pathways connecting the acupoints generate energy, which contributes to overall health.
  • A disruption to the energy flow can cause injury, illness, or disease.
  • When acupuncture needles are inserted, energy flow and health are improved.


Acupuncture can be used for the relief of various conditions. Studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce inflammation and disease activity in individuals with an IBD, like UC and Crohn’s disease. It can help with: (Gengqing Song et al., 2019)

  • Pain symptoms
  • Gut microbiome imbalances
  • Gut motor dysfunction
  • Intestinal barrier function
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Studies suggest the use of acupuncture with heat, known as moxibustion, can improve several GI symptoms including (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, 2019)

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

It is effective in the treatment of digestive issues that include: (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2024)

  • Gastritis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome/IBS
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hepatitis

Reduces Pain and Inflammation

  • Acupuncture treatment works by releasing endorphins, which help reduce pain. (Harvard Medical School. 2016)
  • Applying pressure to acupoints triggers the central nervous system.
  • This is believed to cause the release of chemicals that stimulate the body’s healing mechanisms. (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2024)
  • Studies have also found acupuncture can trigger the production of cortisol.
  • This hormone helps control inflammation. (Arthritis Foundation. N.D.)
  • Studies found the use of acupuncture along with moxibustion reduced inflammation in individuals with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, 2019)

Stress and Mood

Chronic conditions like ulcerative colitis can cause feelings of depression and/or anxiety. Acupuncture may be used to address symptoms related to stress and mood and can benefit emotional health issues that include: (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2024)

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Neurosis – mental health condition characterized by chronic distress and anxiety.

Side Effects

Acupuncture is considered a safe practice. The most common side effects are: (GI Society. 2024)

  • Bruising
  • Minor bleeding
  • Increased pain
  • Fainting can occur due to needle shock.
  • Needle shock can cause dizziness, feeling faint, and nausea. (Harvard Medical School. 2023)
  • Needle shock is rare but more common in individuals:
  • Who are regularly nervous.
  • Who are nervous around needles.
  • Who are new to acupuncture.
  • Who have a history of fainting.
  • Who are extremely fatigued.
  • Who have low blood sugar.

For some, GI symptoms may worsen before they improve. It is recommended to try at least five sessions as this is part of the healing process. (Cleveland Clinic. 2023)  However, individuals should contact their doctor if symptoms become severe or last more than two days. (GI Society. 2024) Individuals considering acupuncture to help manage symptoms of ulcerative colitis should speak with their healthcare provider to help determine the appropriate treatment and where to start.

Gastro-Intestinal Dysfunction Treatment


Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. (2019). Acupuncture in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. IBDVisible Blog.

Wilkinson J, Faleiro R. (2007). Acupuncture in pain management. Continuing Education in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain. 7(4), 135-138.

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2024). Acupuncture (Health, Issue.

Song, G., Fiocchi, C., & Achkar, J. P. (2019). Acupuncture in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflammatory bowel diseases, 25(7), 1129–1139.

Harvard Medical School. (2016). Relieving pain with acupuncture. Harvard Health Blog.

Arthritis Foundation. (N.D.). Acupuncture for Arthritis. Health Wellness.

Harvard Medical School. (2023). Acupuncture: what is it? Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School Blog.,injury%20to%20an%20internal%20organ.

Cleveland Clinic. (2023). Acupuncture. Health Library.

GI Society. (2024). Acupuncture and Digestion.

The Benefits of Moderate Exercise for Body and Mind

The Benefits of Moderate Exercise for Body and Mind

“Can understanding moderate exercise and how to measure the amount of exercise help expedite individuals’ health goals and well-being?”

The Benefits of Moderate Exercise for Body and Mind

Moderate Exercise

Various physical activity guidelines recommend regular, moderate exercise for achieving and maintaining health and wellness. Getting the minimum, moderate weekly physical activity can help prevent disease, increase mental well-being, support weight loss and maintenance, and improve quality of life.

What Is It?

  • Anything that gets the heart pumping and beating faster is considered moderate exercise. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018)
  • Moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise includes – brisk walking, yard work, mopping, vacuuming, and playing various sports that require consistent movement.
  • When engaged in moderate exercise, individuals should breathe harder but still be able to carry a conversation. (American Heart Association, 2024)
  • The talk test is a way to monitor whether the exercise is at moderate intensity.


Regular moderate exercise can help (American Heart Association, 2024)

  • Decrease the risk of developing conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia.
  • Improve sleep and help with sleep disorders.
  • Improve brain functions like memory, focus, and processing.
  • With weight loss and/or maintenance.
  • Improve bone health.
  • Reduce depression, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms.

How Much Exercise?

The prescription for moderate exercise includes:

  • 30 minutes a day for five days a week, or two hours and 30 minutes per week. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018)
  • Physical activity needs to continue for at least 10 minutes to be considered an exercise session.
  • Individuals can break up their 30 daily minutes into two to three shorter sessions, each 10 minutes long.
  • As the ability to exercise increases, aim to increase moderate activities.
  • Individuals will reap even more health benefits if they increase moderate aerobic exercise time to 300 minutes or five hours weekly. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018)

Measuring Exercise

  • A moderate level of activity noticeably increases heart and breathing rate.
  • Individuals sweat but can still carry on a conversation.
  • Individuals can talk but can’t sing.
  • Individuals will feel the exercise but are not huffing and puffing.
  • Individuals can use different scales to measure exercise intensity.

Heart Rate

  • A moderate-intensity heart rate is 50% to 70% of an individual’s maximum heart rate. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022)
  • An individual’s maximum heart rate varies by age.
  • A heart rate chart or calculator can determine an individual’s maximum heart rate.
  • To measure heart rate mid-exercise, individuals can take their pulse or use a heart rate monitor, app, fitness tracker, or smartwatch to ensure they stay at a moderate intensity.


  • M.E.T. stands for Metabolic Equivalent for Task and refers to the amount of oxygen the body uses during physical activity.
  • Assigning METs to an activity allows individuals to compare the amount of exertion an activity takes.
  • This works for individuals with different weights.
  • During moderate physical activity, breathing and heart rate increase, and the body burns around 3.5 to 7 calories a minute.
  • The actual number burned depends on your weight and fitness level.
  • The body uses 1 MET for basic functions like breathing.
  • Grades of activity:
  • 1 MET – Body at rest
  • 2 METs – Light activity
  • 3-6 METs – Moderate activity
  • 7 or more METs – Vigorous activity

Perceived Exertion Scale

Individuals can also check their activity level using the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion scale/RPE. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022) Using this scale involves monitoring how an individual feels about how hard their body is working during physical activity. The scale starts at 6 and ends at 20. A perceived exertion between 11 and 14 is considered moderate physical activity.

  • 6 – No exertion – sitting still or sleeping
  • 7-8 – Extremely light exertion
  • 9-10 – Very light exertion
  • 11-12 – Light exertion
  • 13-14 – Somewhat hard exertion
  • 15-16 – Heavy exertion
  • 17-18 – Very heavy exertion
  • 20 – Maximum exertion


Many activities are counted as moderate-intensity exercise. Choose some appealing and learn to add them to a weekly routine.

  • Ballroom dancing
  • Line dancing
  • Gardening
  • House chores that get the heart pumping.
  • Softball
  • Baseball
  • Volleyball
  • Doubles tennis
  • Brisk walking
  • Light jogging
  • Walking or jogging on a treadmill
  • Using an elliptical trainer
  • Bicycling under 10 miles an hour on ground level
  • Leisurely swim
  • Water aerobics

Mobility Challenges

  • Individuals with mobility issues can achieve moderate intensity using a manual wheelchair or a handcycle and swimming or water aerobics.
  • Individuals who can use their legs but can’t tolerate walking or jogging can try bicycling or swimming.

Getting More Exercise

There are different ways to incorporate and increase moderate physical activities. These include:

10-minute Activity Bursts

  • Walk briskly for at least 10 minutes at a time.
  • Walk at an easy pace for a couple of minutes.
  • Pick up the pace for 10 minutes.
  • Try to walk during work breaks or lunch and/or before or after work.

Walking Workouts

  • Individuals can walk indoors, outdoors, or on a treadmill.
  • Proper posture and walking techniques make it easier to achieve a brisk pace.
  • Once comfortable walking briskly for 10 minutes, begin to extend walking time.
  • Try different walking workouts that offer fast walks, jogging intervals, and/or adding hills or treadmill inclines.

New Activities

  • Individuals are recommended to experiment with various exercises to find what works for them.
  • Consider roller skating, blading, or skateboarding to increase heart rate.

Moderate physical activity will get and keep the body in shape. Individuals should not become distressed if they can only do a little at first. Allow time to build endurance and gradually make time each day for enjoyable physical activities.

Transform Your Body


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Retrieved from

American Heart Association. (2024). American Heart Association recommendations for physical activity in adults and kids. (Healthy Living, Issue.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Target heart rate and estimated maximum heart rate. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Perceived exertion (Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale). Retrieved from