Junkfood is Addictive. We knew it!

Eating junk food programs your brain to want more.

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

The more junk you eat the more you want. The struggle is real! And, real bad for you.

New research that was presented at the Australasian Neuroscience Society Annual Scientific Meeting in Sydney is showing that a high-fat, high-sugar diet decreases self-control with food choices, affects memory and increases vulnerability to anxiety.

Dr Ian Johnston, of the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology led a study that gave rats everyday junk foods and found that they instinctively sought out more junk food to eat once they’d gotten a taste for it.

Like a drug, that first taste changes your brain instantly in that it just wants more of it. It wants to get the sugar high back again!

The good news about this type of addiction though, is that you don’t suffer withdrawals without it. In fact, once the rats went on a six-week detox, they were back to seeking out and eating healthy food.

“Self-control is the flip side of impulsivity,” Dr Johnston said. “This is how dieting works: delaying immediate gratification now for a long-term gain. This feeds into the idea that if we want people to lose weight, then we really need to make it harder for them to access junk food.”

So Birds, keep your unhealthy choices in check if you don’t want them to spiral out of control. But you already know ice-cream is just an occasional food, right?

 tay healthy

The two best sex positions for conception success

The best part about falling pregnant? The sex! The worst part? The waiting.

Speed up the process with the best positions to for making a baby.

Image: Stocksy

Image: Stocksy

For the sperm to find the egg you need deep penetration and this isn’t just a theory, researchers have put the positions under an MRI scanner to confirm the tip of the penis reaches the cervix in your everyday missionary and doggy style positions.

A team from CMC Beau Soleil in France took MRIs of couples in the missionary position, which discovered it allows the penis to reach the area at the front of the cervix.

They also found that the rear entry position allows a man to reach the area at the back of the cervix. Hint – doggy style gives sperm a head-start.

There’s also advice out there about getting into some upside down yoga positions after sex – not always what you feel like doing. Well, thankfully Dr James Goldfarb, director of the infertility service at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, says it’s not really necessary. (Great, cos we’d rather cuddle!)

But Dr Goldfarb does advise against gravity-defying positions that involve sitting, standing or, umm, swinging, during intercourse when you’re hoping to conceive. He also recommends not jumping out of bed straight away after you’ve done the deed.

“It's good advice to lay in bed for 10 to 15 minutes after intercourse, but you don't need your feet in the air,” he says. “Your pelvis does not move when you put your legs in the air.” And hold on for the bathroom too… “If you wait 10 to 15 minutes, the sperm that is going to get into the cervix will be in the cervix.”

Sperm are quick little suckers and you don’t want them scampering off in the wrong direction because you’re desperate to pee.

So there you have it, mums-to-be, the two perfect positions that prime sperm for take-off. But if you have a few other styles in your repertoire too, keep it up, because what really makes a baby is sex. Lots of it at the right time of the month.  



 

What your vagina is telling you...

Five Things Your Vagina Knows that You Don't

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Being uncomfortable ‘down there’ is not as uncommon or embarrassing as you might think. We  get vaginal flora imbalances from time to time, and for varying reasons that are not always due to sex. The tricky thing is figuring out what's caused the discomfort or infection, and whether there is a more serious health issue underlying.

We spoke to Integrative Medicine Expert, Dr Cris Beer, to find out five things your vagina is trying to tell you – and why you should be listening!

1.     Your diet is poor

If you’re grazing on a diet high in foods like bread, sugar and MSG, and drinking a little too much and too often, then you’re likely to be fuelling your body with yeast.

“Not only are you spurring the production of yet more yeast, but you’re also being unkind to your body. Cut back on processed foods and sugars and ensure you’re eating a mix of nutritionally-dense foods – including fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, protein and fibre, to give it the best cover against bugs, infection and other nasties,” says Dr Beer.

2.     You’re stressed

Stress not only brings tension and unease, but it can release stress hormones called corticosteroids, which can suppress certain cells in the immune system, inhibiting our body’s ability to fight infection.

“To help manage and cope with daily stressors, it’s vital to ensure that you are getting enough sleep – minimum 7 hours each night, are exercising moderately for at least 30 minutes a day, and are being mindful of caffeine consumption (no more than 2 cups of coffee) to help reduce anxiety and tension,” suggests Dr Beer.

3.     You’ve been on a course of antibiotics

“Women can often get thrush after a course of antibiotics, due to the loss of good bacteria from the vagina, so I always recommend supplementing with a good quality probiotic both during and after the antibiotic course, to help keep the good bacteria in-check.

“Opt for a probiotic with clinically-trialled strains and one specifically designed for women’s health, as this will help to treat the specific condition, and also consider fuelling your body with powerful prebiotic foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi, and a full-fat yoghurt.”

4.     You’re ovulating

Do you notice that you have more discharge than usual at certain times of the month? It’s probably just a sign that you’re ovulating.

“Normal vaginal discharge is a healthy way for your body to get rid of fluid and old cells, and it’s not uncommon to have a little more than usual during ovulation. However if you notice that the discharge starts to change in texture or colour, and has a powerful odour, it’s worth speaking to your health practitioner to check it isn’t something more serious,” recommends Dr Beer.

5.     You need to up your hygiene!

Women are more prone to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) than men, which refers to a bacterial infection in the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. Therefore it’s crucial that good hygiene is adhered to, particularly after sexual intercourse.

“Urinating after sex can help to flush out bad bacteria before it has time to travel to your bladder, helping to minimise the risk of an infection,” Dr Beer adds.

Speak to your healthcare practitioner if symptoms persist. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate.

For more information, visit www.blackmores.com.au

Fertility tests are a waste of time and money, says new study

Tick tock. There’s no way to predict your biological clock.

This article first appeared on Body+Soul

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If you're a woman eager to know how much time you have left on the biological clock, you may have thought about ovarian reserve tests designed to tell you the quantity and quality of your eggs.

From a blood test, the AMH (antimullerian hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels have long been used as a way to predict fertility treatment success. (You produce less AMH as eggs start to decline, and FSH rises as you near menopause, FYI).

In recent years, this “egg timer” test has gained popularity as a way to predict just how much longer you have before you think about combining the corporate ladder or jetsetting the globe, with motherhood.

But according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, these costly tests are a total waste of time.

The study of 750 women aged 30 to 44 years old, who had no history of infertility and had been trying to conceive for less than three months, showed that a low AMH or high FSH had no bearing on your chance of falling pregnant.

Researchers said: "Among women aged 30 to 44 years without a history of infertility who had been trying to conceive for three months or less, biomarkers indicating diminished ovarian reserve compared with normal ovarian reserve were not associated with reduced fertility.

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“I definitely was surprised by the findings,” said Dr Anne Steiner, a reproductive endocrinologist of the University of North Carolina, who led the study.

“Women that had signs of diminished ovarian reserve when their lab tests suggested they had a low number of eggs remaining, they were just as likely to get pregnant in six months or 12 months as a woman with a higher ovarian reserve.”

As Mother Nature would have it, you're born with all the egg cells, or oocytes, that you will ever have. Over time, oocytes mature and deteriorate, or are reabsorbed into your body. What’s left is called “ovarian reserve” and by your late 30s, your reserve is generally on the low side, and the quality of what’s left is often inhibited by age.

It was once thought that you should find out all you can about your fertility to take control of your future. But despite the voice inside your uterus reminding you it’s there and ready to grow a tiny human, the advice now for those worried about having a family? Cross these tests off the list of life’s to-dos - and avoid the added anxiety that comes with it. Not to mention that a snapshot of your ovarian reserve today has no bearing on what it might be tomorrow. So, really this test has no business masquerading as a family planning tool.

Caveat: The study focussed on women getting pregnant, not carrying a healthy pregnancy to term.

Sugar OK for kids before bed. No, really.

A new study finds that kids can consume high amounts of sugar without their sleep being affected.

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Sugar before bed has long been blamed for disrupted sleep, decreased attention, memory problems, bad school performance, hyperactivity, aggression, and mood problems in growing children.

But a new University of South Australia study led by sleep expert Dr Emily Watson found children slept an average of nine and 11 hours each night and their sugar intake had no baring on behavioural problems.

The study did find that kids are consuming above average amounts of sugar which comes with its own range of concerns. 

Results were based on 287 South Australian schoolchildren aged from 8 years old to 12, who completed a food eating questionnaire with the help of their parents.

“While a high proportion of children consumed above the recommended amount of daily total sugar, which is problematic for other health reasons, total sugar consumption was not related to behavioural or sleep problems,’’ said Dr Watson.

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“This study demonstrated for the first time that diets containing a high proportion of total sugar do not exacerbate the relationship between parental reported sleep and behaviour.’’

The World Health Organisation recommends children consume only 20 per cent of their energy through sugar. But this study found that the average was 134grams a day which equals 26 per cent. Time to quit the fizzy drinks and sugary snacks.

A diet high in sugar poses significant health risks regardless of age, but as it turns out red cordial before bed doesn't affect shuteye. Not that that makes it a good idea!

 

This entrepreneur is taking the toxic out of nail salons

SUNDAYS SALON

In the heart of Manhattan, a well-polished nail salon, sundays, has opened its doors to manicured applause.

The sundays Salon in New York - in Manhattan’s Nomad neighbourhood - is a zen environment featuring non-toxic nail treatments. The sophisticated lifestyle brand puts user’s health, happiness and wellbeing first with 10-Free Nail Polish - the non-toxic nail polish line that doesn't compromise on a bright, brilliant finish.

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Founder of sundays, Amy Ling Lin, was inspired to create the line after launching a chain of nail salons four years ago. Realising that the salon environment is filled with harmful chemicals, Amy developed the sundays line of 10-Free nail polishes to enhance a health conscious environment for both talon technicians and polish connoisseurs alike.

Sundays founder, Amy Ling Lin

Sundays founder, Amy Ling Lin

Embracing the less-is-more philosophy, each polish promises purity in a bottle, and every brush stroke delivers an all-natural, unparalleled manicure-pedicure experience.

What is 10-FREE?

sundays professional 10-Free Nail Polish means it’s formulated without the nine hazardous chemical additives commonly used in nail polish. And it’s completely free of animal by-product, making the brand proudly cruelty-free and vegan.

Boasting one of the most pure and simple formulas on the market, 10-Free Nail Polish delivers rich, luxurious color with stunning shine in a variety of timeless hues and fashionable colors. 

“I wanted to create a warm and friendly place for every guest to feel as though they are within a relaxing, cozy home,” says owner and entrepreneur Amy Ling Lin, referencing Hygee – the Danish word for cozy. “It also means enjoying the good things in life with good people,” she says. “We can be most at ease when we are home, and I hope our clients feel this way at our studio.”

In place of the usual padded massage chairs with inbuilt foot baths are the timeless comfort of Blu Dot Chip chairs and oxDenmarq Rama chairs constructed from bull leather and oak wood. As clients recline to the calming sounds of classical music a white spiral stair case, that leads to a second-floor chill-out hideaway, comes into view.

 

 

World Mental Health Day

Take a moment today to check in on someone, and that includes yourself, who might be having a tough time, struggling with their emotions, experiencing inner turmoil, overwhelmed by stress...

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In Australia one in five are affected by mental illness yet they don't seek help because of the stigma attached to it. Whereas they'd have no issue going to their GP to treat a common cold or other illness. 

It's time to shed a positive light on the issues that are swirling around inside people's heads and let them, or let yourself, know that you're not alone if you feel confused, experience paralysing thoughts, or are suffering from depression or anxiety... Did you know that some 2 million Aussies suffer from anxiety every year? And that around 8 Australians take their lives each day. The statistics are devastating.

Let's not shy away from seeking help, or recognising that others need help. And if someone asks you how you're feeling, don't be afraid to tell them the truth. Life is not a popularity contest. It's survival, and we need support, community, and physical and mental health to survive at our best. 

Help is out there, and talking to someone and sharing your story is often the first step to getting better. 

Many neighbourhood community centres are offering workshops to help people understand mental health issues. Visit Mental Health Australia for more information. 

Feeling mentally unwell is NOT hopeless. You can get better. 

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If you or someone you care about needs help don't suffer in silence - contact one of these National 24/7 Crisis Counselling Services.

Lifeline

13 11 14

www.lifeline.org.au

 

Suicide Call Back Service

1300 659 467

www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

 

beyondblue

1300 22 4636

www.beyondblue.org.au

 

MensLine Australia

1300 78 99 78

www.mensline.org.au

 

Kids Helpline

1800 55 1800 (27/7 crisis support)

www.kidshelpline.com.au

 

headspace

1800 650 890

www.headspace.org.au (direct clinical services)

 

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service

1800 011 046

www.vvcs.gov.au

Activate your pregnancy

Activated nutrients - how to get the best for you and baby.

The word 'activated' has been bandied around the health world for a while now, (activated almonds, anyone?!) but how exactly do “biologically active” nutrients benefit pregnancy?

Health Bird spoke to BioCeuticals dietitian and nutritionist and mum, Belinda Reynolds, about vitamins and their active counterparts...

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There's a particular buzz right now about activated B vitamins

•   Vitamin B2 - riboflavin sodium phosphate

•   Vitamin B6 - pyridoxal-5-phosphate

•   Vitamin B9 or folate - folinic acid or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (also known as 5-MTHF or MTHF)

•   Vitamin B12 - mecobalamin (also known as methylcobalamin or methyl-B12)

•   Coenzyme Q10 - ubiquinol

These vitamins exist in foods and supplements in many different forms. When you consume the “inactive” vitamin, your body has to work harder to convert that nutrient into the “active” form so it can function and support your health.

These activation steps often require other nutrients, certain enzymes and the absence of specific imbalances. For example, as a mama to be, when you take folic acid (the inactive, synthetic form of folate), there are multiple reactions that take place to convert it to 5-MTHF (“active” folate), and these steps need healthy levels of active vitamin B6, vitamin B2 and amino acids, while active vitamin B12 is needed for active folate to then carry out its roles.

Sound like a whole lot of B.S? It's not.

If you are low in any of these supportive nutrients, or have inflammation in your body or any genetic variations that prevent the enzymes involved in these steps functioning at their peak, then the benefits you can expect for you and your babe may be reduced.

Most mums to be know about the importance of folate, so they might take a folic acid supplement or consume foods fortified with folic acid (e.g. processed breakfast cereals). Folate is involved in supporting many functions in the body, including DNA health, brain, nervous system and mood health, and immune and liver function just to name a few. But because folic acid is a synthetic, non-active form of folate, simply consuming more folic acid without supporting its use with good nutrition can mean that you don’t achieve the full benefit that you would otherwise. That's when the active 5-MTHF or folinic acid form is a more desirable option, as it's supporting the folate’s function a little more efficiently without the extra nutrients mentioned earlier. In addition, it can also be a good idea to take the other supportive B vitamins together with folate as part of a pregnancy multivitamin, rather than just a single supplement on its own (unless of course you have been recommended otherwise by your healthcare practitioner).

It's vital to remember too that healthy foods such as green leafy vegetables provide active forms of nutrients. To continually support each other during pregnancy, opt for a diverse diet providing many different coloured vegetables and fruits, plus raw nuts, seeds, wholegrains, legumes and lean protein.

 

 

Health Tips for the Jet Set

FIVE tips for a healthy trip

from naturopath Teneille Newton

There’s no greater feeling than travelling to a new city or country. The excitement, anticipation and joy of discovering a new town, new people and new food. There’s so much to see and do – so many places to go – so there’s no time to get bogged down on the toilet with a dodgy tummy. Many adventurers experience traveller’s diarrhoea, naturopath Teneille Newton shares tips on how not to.

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1.     Don’t touch a drop

While water is the source of life, when travelling, water could be the source of the end of your holiday. Tap water in regions such as southeast Asia, South America and Africa may contain bacteria that can have you running for the loo, and staying there for the rest of your trip. Avoid tap water at all costs, even while brushing your teeth. It may seem annoying to have to buy water every time, but you’ll save yourself from illness which is a big payoff.  Also avoid ice in your drinks, salad that may have been washed in tap water, and fruit you cannot peel. Water safety is paramount to a happy and healthy holiday.

2.     Avoid runny for your tummy

Eggs – a versatile food that can be fried, poached, boiled, scrambled – you name it! While you might be a fan of a runny yolk at home, do not try this on holiday! Eggs are a product of chickens and may contain salmonella. Improperly cooked eggs may result in an improperly fun holiday – stick to well done.

3.     Wash and go

The humble sink and soap are your best friends on your overseas adventure. When travelling to a new country you are exposed to thousands of new bacteria and viruses. Riding the crowded train and squeezing into packed buses with locals is an exciting adventure, and shouldn’t be missed! Always wash your hands before meals or to protect yourself against bacteria that may make you ill.  

4.     Slip, slop, slap and wrap!

You may think holidays are all about getting a tan but, after experiencing the true wrath of the sun and spend the rest of your trip soaking in aloe vera, your mindset may change. Sunburn is serious, and can result in dehydration, sunstroke, and a lot of pain. Protect yourself with a barrier sunscreen containing zinc, a hat, sleeves and sunglasses. There’s nothing healthy about a tan, and there’s nothing good about a ruined holiday that could have been avoided.

5.     Protect yourself

While on your trip you’ll be trying amazing new foods with flavours your tastebuds have never experienced before – and same goes for your stomach. New foods with rich ingredients may not be welcomed by your digestive system and you may experience some diarrhoea. Supplements containing probiotics and vitamin A may help to reduce the occurrence of traveller’s diarrhoea and support the gut in providing a barrier to infection.

For more information about healthy travel visit www.eaglenaturalhealth.com.au/health-wellbeing

 

 

Naturopath Teneille Newton

Naturopath Teneille Newton

Breast is Best

WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK - AUGUST 1 – 7

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrating 25 years

#WBW2017

I love breast feeding. Truly I do. But that’s now. It was so hard at the beginning – as many friends had warned me it might be. I thought my baby and I would take to it like, well, a baby to a boob. But it wasn’t quite like that. When my newborn finally latched on, she’d stay there for 40, 50, even 60 minutes. So why wasn’t she putting on weight? Over a period of eight weeks I had so many questions for our pediatrician and lactation consultants. I was told she was tongue tied, a ‘snacker’, this that and the other. All the while I was supplementing with formula (against my best wishes) and pumping morning, noon and night in a bid to increase my supply.

What I worked out, during this time of bewilderment, bottle sterilizing and sleep deprivation, was that there was no right answer as to how breastfeeding should work, except that it’s what works for you and your baby. And, that I was not alone in my struggles.

For Wren, my daughter, and I, the uh-huh moment came at 12 weeks. It just started ‘working’. Whether my supply increased, or my sweet little babe had mastered the mechanism, I don’t know. But I was so pleased I’d persevered through tears and frustration and formula feeds, to get to where we are now at six months old.   

Nursing Wren, 5 weeks old. 

Nursing Wren, 5 weeks old. 

For many, nursing their little one comes so naturally, with no issues whatsoever. But for others, the statistics tell the story.

An American study showed that while 3 out of 4 mothers started with breastfeeding, only 36 percent of babies were fed from the breast through to six months.

The top reasons women stop is due to worry about the infants’ ability to latch on, concerns over their own milk production, breast pain, and returning to work.

In no way, would I ever judge a mother for breastfeeding, or not. But I do believe that all these reasons could be negated with support and knowledge. I was so grateful that NYU where I gave birth provided ‘Latch Hour’ for the first four weeks after Wren’s birth. I went as often as I could with a long list of questions for the lactation consultants. From this and from sharing with other moms came information.

Support also came from my pediatrician, who gave me the best advice when I was reluctant to introduce formula. ‘Feed your baby’, she said. I did just that, with both formula and pumped breastmilk so I could monitor how much she was getting.

It really does take a village to raise a baby, so find your village. That’s one of the messages put out through World Breastfeeding Week, which is not just about encouraging, protecting and supporting breastfeeding, but raising awareness of nutrition and food security the Western world and in developing communities.

The event is recognized by more than 170 countries and this year focuses on “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together.”

The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, with continued breast-feeding alongside solid foods up to at least 12 months of age. Unicef has published articles talking about the benefits from birth to 2 years and beyond.

 

For me, now that I’ve made it to six months, I’ll move towards 12 and continue breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by my daughter and I. The connection it provides is tremendously beneficial both on a health and emotional level, not just for her, but for me too.

 

Colostrum – what’s that?

The first milk or ‘colostrum,’ a sticky, yellow transparent liquid, is crucial for babies. Loaded with antibodies, it acts as a natural vaccine. It builds your little one’s immunity and fights against viruses and infections thanks to a high level of leucocytes (white blood cells). It also prepares your baby’s immature intestine for more mature milk and aids digestion and passing of meconium (their first stool). Rich in vitamins and nutrients including calcium, zinc, Vitamin A, K, B6 and B12, colostrum aids babies growth and development.

 

 

 

 

FOODS THAT CLEANSE

Summer is the perfect time to do your detox, because there is an abundance of different organic fruits and vegetables. Additionally, when it’s warm outside it’s easier for your body to enter the natural detox process that will make you feel healthy, energized and ready to enjoy summer to the fullest.

Angela Berry, Editor of Ripped me knows all bout the natural way you can cleanse your body of toxins that accumulate during the winter. Here's to looking fresh and healthy.

Detox foods - There are foods that make your liver work at peak efficiency and clean your body from the inside out. Eating a variety of these foods daily will do your body a great service. 

WATERMELON

Watermelon is probably the best food for a summer detox. It contains high amounts of citrulline that help create arginine which flushes out ammonia and other toxins from the body. It’s also rich in fibbers that keep the colon clean. It can improve your liver and kidney function with glutathione and potassium, and it reduces inflammations across the body. Also, one cup of watermelon contains less than 50 calories, so it’s great if you want to lose a couple of kilograms while still enjoying something sweet. 

CUCUMBER

Cucumber is a highly alkaline-forming food with a high water content that gets your kidneys and urinary system moving. Additionally, a cup of cucumber has less than 20 calories, so dig in and start detoxing. 

RASPBERRIES

Raspberries are a very low-cal food that’s ideal for people who want to lose weight. They have a low glycemic index which means they have almost no effect on your blood sugar. They're also packed with antioxidants and polyphenols such as anthocyanin, flavonols, and ellagitannins, that have the power to decrease free radical damage.

MINT

Mint is not only a great way to cool in the summer, but it also aids digestion by improving the flow of bile into the gallbladder and to the small intestine where the dietary fats are digested. 

WATER

Water flushes out toxins, hydrates your cells and helps the weight loss. In the summer, your body needs water even more than during the rest of the year, so hydrate often. Water itself is a great way to rejuvenate and cleanse your system, but if you add detoxifying ingredients to it, it becomes even more effective. You can boost your detox and add some extra flavour to your water by infusing it with different herbs and fruits. Detox water recipes are quick and easy to make, and they will not leave a hole in your wallet.

SMOOTHIES

Smoothies are healthy, refreshing, low-cal and you can drink them in any situation. If you mix your fruit with some greens, such as baby spinach, the result is a drink that will nourish and detoxify your body for the summer. You can try making a green detox smoothie with baby spinach, pineapple and celery, or a mango blueberry protein smoothie with chia seeds that are full of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Blend all the ingredients and you’re ready to go. There are many different blenders on the market today, but I swear by my Kenwood Australia blender that has been my faithful companion through many recipes. Smoothies are really easy to make, so there are no excuses! 

 

 

 

Stay Energised Under Pressure

Four ways to stay energised throughout the day

In today's digitally connected world, we're always 'on', and if we don't occasionally hit the off button, energy levels soon find their way to ground zero. If only we had a payroll of assistants on hand, then we could take on the world like Beyoncé. Well, if you're tired of being tired, and want to give Queen Bee a run for the money (as if it's not motivation that her and Jay Z are now  worth a billion dollars!) then these tips from Eagle Natural Health naturopath Teneille Newton for maximising all the 24 hours you have in the day might be just the solution. 

Cut the caffeine

Sounds counterproductive doesn’t it? But your morning or afternoon coffee may actually be making your more tired. Research indicates having caffeine even six hours before bedtime can disrupt sleep – meaning you may wake up tired, craving a coffee – continuing the cycle. Cutting caffeine will help you sleep more deeply, and keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Skipping coffee may also help to reduce anxiety and stress levels.

Go for H2O

Dehydration results in fatigue and takes away vital energy required for regular body functions. Staying hydrated will keep you feeling alert and awake and feeling energised. Staying hydrated will also help you digest food, resist unhealthy foods, and keep headaches at bay.

Say om

Meditation is a calming activity that can help minimise stress, improve sleep quality, and fight fatigue. In our modern lives stress from work, finances, and family can result in our body producing the stress hormone cortisol. Practicing meditation, mindfulness, or yoga can help to relax the mind and release stress and anxiety from your day, and prepare yourself for a restful sleep. If you’re not one to roll out the mat or play calming rainforest sounds with your eyes closed, studies have shown spending time with friends and family, and listening to music are also beneficial. 

Bring in the experts

If you find it difficult to maintain a balanced diet due to allergy or intolerance, nutritional supplements can support energy levels and help to maintain vitality. Energy supplements using natural ingredients and containing important vitamins and minerals such as activated B vitamins, zinc, iodine and potassium may help to support healthy energy production in the cell’s mitochondria. Supplements may also help to improve healthy mental and physical performance, and help to relieve stress and physical and mental fatigue. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

For more information about maintaining energy levels visit www.eaglenaturalhealth.com.au/health-wellbeing

The Period Talk...

The Period Talk... here's how

Siobhan Komander, founder of organic tampon subscription service Liverpool St, shares her top five ways to make the conversation with your daughter about impending puberty as comfortable as possible.

1)    Don’t procrastinate – “Talking about menstruation with a nine year old child is unlikely to be fun – but it is necessary. Research shows that girls are starting puberty younger than the previous generation, which means you shouldn’t leave it until your daughter is 11 or 12 before initiating the conservation. Many parents actually find it easier to bring up periods earlier in life before the 'uncool' factor becomes part of the equation and the conversation is more open.

2)    Normalise – “Periods are normal. 50% of the population have them and they’re essential for the continuation of humanity, so they’re actually pretty damn important. Use first-person language when talking about your period. For example, “I freaked out the first time I got my period too, but it got a lot easier”. It’s also essential to stress that although periods may seem strange and inconvenient or a topic to blush at, there is nothing shameful about them.”

3)    Don’t dance around the facts – “One of the traps a lot of parents fall into is using ‘kid language’ to explain what menstruation is or they avoid an in-depth explanation altogether. By giving them all the facts, you’re arming them with information and ensuring they have the confidence to know what they're talking about in front of more knowledgeable friends or peers in the future. The sooner young people can communicate about periods in a mature way, the better. It is also useful for kids to fully understand the purpose and biological purpose of a period if they choose. And explain that they need to change their pad or tampon regularly to avoid blood seeping through their clothes or more serious issues such as Toxic Shock Syndrome.”

4)    Pick your moment carefully – “Pick a time when you have privacy and you’re not rushed so you can have a productive one-on-one (or one-on-two) discussion. The car is a good place as you have their undivided attention, or even in the kitchen, cleaning up after a meal. It's likely your young person will appear embarrassed, so you have to rise above it and keep the conversation going as you would any other topic. Reiterate that periods are absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about.”

5)    Communicate openly – “Often parents will ‘shush’ children who bring up inappropriate topics of conversation in front of others. Instead, parents should encourage open discussion. If a child brings up her period in front of her father, it shouldn’t cause an uncomfortable silence. Dads should be just as much involved in the education process as mums are. They can shed light on what it’s like for their daughter’s male peers who might be going through puberty at the same time.”

Liverpool St let's you have your tampons delivered, cos it sucks to run out! 

MEDITERRANEAN DIET BOOSTS IMMUNITY

How the Mediterranean Diet Can Boost Your Immunity Through Winter

I was thrilled when Naturopath and Herbalist and Organic Food, Health and Lifestyle Educator, Anthia Koullouros offered to write this piece for Health Bird. Anthea has a Greek/Cypriot background and knows all about the healthy (and tasty) benefits of a Med diet...

With a Greek-Cypriot background, I have grown on a Mediterranean diet, (what my grandparents ate) - plenty of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, plant foods such as vegetables, fruit and some nuts and seeds and pulses, pastured lamb and wild fish and seafood and pastured dairy yogurt, cheese, butter, poultry and eggs.

Several epidemiological studies have evaluated the effects of a Mediterranean Diet as protective against diseases such as obesity, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome and cognition disorders.

Why? Because the Mediterranean diet is considered rich in nutrients necessary for a thriving healthy human being and is generally free from industrialized processed vegetables oils, refined salt and sugar, artificial additives and farming chemicals - ingredients and products shown to be detrimental to health. 

Photo from the Mother Nature Network

Photo from the Mother Nature Network


Winter can be a time of illness, fatigue or just feeling ‘under the weather’, a Mediterranean Diet may be helpful for supporting your immune system in the cooler months.

Some of the specific foods that make up a Mediterranean Diet include:

· Extra virgin olive oil. Possibly the most widely studied source of polyphenols in the Mediterranean Diet is extra virgin olive oil. Mostly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids, extra virgin olive contains a high phenol content which offers many health benefits. It’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have a positive effect on certain physiological parameters, including plasma lipoproteins, oxidative damage, inflammatory markers, platelet and cellular function, and antimicrobial activity – all important for building immunity.

·   Olive leaf extract.  As mentioned above, olive oil is considered an excellent source of both beneficial fats and polyphenols. However, due to the fact that many polyphenols are water soluble and not fat soluble most of the olive tree’s polyphenols are lost during the oil making process. Olive Leaf Extract however contains Oleuropein, a powerful antioxidant that provides immune support. Traditionally used in Western Herbal medicine to support the immune system and relieve symptoms of coughs, colds & flu, sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections, olive leaf extract is a winter pantry must-have.  Look for an olive leaf extract that is Australian made and ‘fresh-picked’ to ensure it is as close to nature as possible by retaining all of the plant’s phenolics that occur naturally in the olive leaf.

·   Fresh Vegies. Home grown or naturally grown vegetables (organic or free of chemicals), including fresh herbs such as parsley and oregano, weeds or wild greens such as nettle and rocket. Greens are rich in antioxidants and vitamins and minerals and bitters which enhance digestion. Lemon juice and lemon zest are rich in vitamin C and antimicrobial properties known to support the immune system. Mediterranean food is often drenched in lemon juice. Vegetables are consumed in abundance and served with every meal, raw in a salad or boiled or steamed and served with lots of olive oil and lemon juice.

·   Wild fish and seafood. Wild caught over farmed is preferable as this offers higher amounts of omega 3, and essential fats which have anti-inflammatory and protective properties for the heart, brain and nervous system. Whole fish is preferred over fillet of fish which offers a higher nutrient content derived from the fish fat, bones and organs. Be sure to consume fish during the winter months to ensure you’re receiving a high dose of nutrients.

·   Pastured lamb. A typical staple, lamb, that is grass fed is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), omega 3, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 and other healthy fats. These healthy fats enhance the immune system, reduce inflammation and keep winter weight stable. Only minimal amounts of healthy fats are found in grain fed industrialized farmed animals. Lamb also offers complete protein making it a great winter meal option.

 

 

 

Souped Up

Time to rug up and warm up with this delicious winter recipe that features multiple health benefits. Loaded with fibre, antioxidants, folate, iron and vitamins A, C, and K, you won't just be satisfying that cold-weather appetite, you're helping to keep your skin glowing and hydrated, you immunes system strong and your digestive tract on track.

CARROT AND LENTIL SOUP

Ingredients:

·       1 onion, chopped

·       2 cloves garlic, crushed

·       1 teaspoon grated ginger

·       3 cups vegetable stock

·       1 cup red lentils

·       1 carrot, chopped

·       3 tomatoes, chopped

·       2 teaspoons ground coriander

·       1 teaspoon ground cumin

·       ½ teaspoon turmeric

·       ½ cup light coconut milk (optional)

·       ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped

·       Vegetable salt, if desired

·       Black pepper

 

Directions:

1.     Place brown onion, garlic and ginger in a non-stick saucepan.

2.     Add stock, lentils, tomatoes and spices

3.     Bring to boil and simmer for approximately 45 minutes

4.     Add coconut milk and heat through.

5.     Season to Taste

6.     Garnish with Coriander Leaves

 

 

IsoWhey has some wonderful recipe ideas that will keep your readers warm throughout the rainy season while also tackling the age old issue of weight gain in winter.

Mother / Daughter Fitness

Like Mother, Like Daughter: 3 Bonding Fitness Breaks for Mother’s Day

My first Mother's Day is approaching and it's got me thinking about the unbreakable bond we all have with our mothers, and our daughters. I'm now in the middle of three generations and hoping we all live happily and healthily for a long time to come. That means staying fit and healthy with workouts and good eats. Feeling good inside and out will bring positivity to all our relationships, including those with our mums. 

That's why this idea of mother/daughter fitness from Health and Fitness Travel, is an ideal post for Health Bird. The leading experts in tailor-made wellness holidays worldwide, shine the spotlight on three unique mother-daughter fitness breaks, which make for the perfect Mother’s Day surprise. From stand-up paddleboarding in Thailand to Bollywood dance classes in India, strengthen your body and your bond on these female-friendly fitness breaks.

Thailand: Amatara Fusion Fitness

Treat mum to a luxury tropical paradise in Phuket, Thailand to give her a complete mind and body makeover. Set by a private beach, allow her to explore breath-taking coastline views in new and exciting ways through yoga, stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. Pamper her with holistic wellness treatments and let her experience optimal relaxation and healing with the state-of-the-art salt relaxation room and the world’s first Thai Hammam. With an extensive variety of healthy gourmet delights to choose from, she is sure to satisfy her taste buds without the guilt and the bloat.

India: Atmantan Fusion Fitness

Escape with mum to a tranquil corner of the Sahyadri Mountains and be truly immersed in the natural healing properties of nature. Mums and daughters can achieve their health and fitness goals with a tailored wellness program, from functional training and Bollywood dance classes to kick boxing and TRX suspension training. Unwind afterward with yoga and meditation, with beautiful views of Lake Mushi to calm the mind and enjoy each other’s company. Indulge with a selection of treatments including deep tissue massages, acupuncture and sleep ritual bath.

Bali: Ocean Soul Retreat

Exclusively for women, bring mum to this luxurious wellness holiday at Seminyak, Bali for a Mother’s day treat. Leave it to the experts to help her pick up healthier habits and de-stress through guided morning beach walks, spa therapies and massages. Boost your fitness with a combination of yoga and Pilates or try something new with surf and SUP lessons. Give her a renewed glow from gourmet whole foods cuisine that gently cleanse and nourish the body from within.

Detox the Natural Way

5 natural anti-inflammatory ingredients for detoxification

As we get older, our immune system starts producing small levels of inflammation in the body. Not only does this inflammation cause painful swelling and tenderness but it can also lower bone density, reduce cognitive function, and create insulin-resistance. Our joints and our intestinal tract are especially sensitive to processed foods with added sugar, salt and artificial flavours.  When your body has been put through stress, it’s a good idea to detoxify your liver with natural anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help to keep arthritis and chronic illness at bay.  

Naturopath, Erika Morvay, recommends these five natural anti-inflammatory ingredients for detoxification:

Ginger
Ginger is bursting with anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Studies have shown ginger may help to reduce inflammation within the intestines, relieving some gastrointestinal issues. Ginger is also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in detoxes. It’s thought to stimulate digestion and circulation. On a side note, ginger may aid in weight loss due to its satiating properties. Ginger is delicious in stir-fries, juices, and tea.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and bok choy all belong to the wonderful family of cruciferous vegetables. These mean greens are rich in antioxidants and are even touted as the most nutrient-dense foods on earth! Veggies such as cabbage, watercress, and cauliflower are rich in sulfur that contains glucosinolates and indole-3-carbinol compounds which support detoxification.  

Cinnamon
Not only is cinnamon delicious, it’s also full of medicinal properties. Cinnamon has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years as an effective anti-inflammatory. It’s also been found to lower blood glucose levels and cholesterol, reduce pain and inflammation, and aid weight loss. Cinnamon also has antibacterial properties that may help reduce symptoms of bloating, aid in digestion, and treat the symptoms of diarrhoea.

Liquorice
Liquorice is one of the most divisive flavours in the world - you either love it or loathe it! Extracted from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, liquorice is used in Ayurvedic medicine for rejuvenation and to soothe inflammation. Liquorice contains glycyrrhetinic acid which protects the liver and helps neutralise the chemical reactions occurring in this vital organ.

 Turmeric
Turmeric is an effective anti-inflammatory that also assists to flush out toxins from our bodies, and contains properties that are thought to help regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric is a great addition to Indian food and also makes a tasty tea or turmeric latte.

 Erika Morvay is a qualified Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist. She has over a decade of experience working within the natural therapies industry and continues to educate herself to grow her expertise. She is part of the technical services team at Global Therapeutics (Fusion Health), providing expert advice to consumers, practitioners and retailers alike. She is also a founder of an online natural fertility coaching business, educating and supporting couples on their fertility journey. She is especially passionate about empowering and supporting women to live a nourished, fulfilled life. She can be contacted at www.erikamorvay.com

The 2017 Superfoods You Need to Kno

5 Antioxidants and Superfoods Trending for 2017

 

Move over kale, quinoa, matcha, kelp and kefir, there’s a new selection of key superfoods and antioxidants on the wellbeing block. Here are 5 ingredients set to soar in the health and wellness space this year.

 

1.    Royal Jelly

Royal Jelly is known to be one of nature’s most nutrient-rich substances. Produced by honeybees to feed their Queen, royal jelly is the reason she lives 40 times longer than worker bees. Royal Jelly contains all three macronutrients; antioxidants; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; minerals; and essential amino acids. Similar to honey, Royal Jelly is used for a number of health reasons including; healthy bone development, immunity support and when applied topically it can help to transform dull skin into a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. You can try using Royal Jelly in its purest form, or if you’d prefer to use it in your beauty products, try Burt’s Bees new Skin Nourishment collection.

2.    Watermelon Water

On the subject of Queen Bee, Beyoncé has invested in a new watermelon water start up. Produced from the fruit's flesh and rind, watermelon water is set to be as popular as coconut water and a major beverage of choice this summer. High in lycopene (a powerful and protective antioxidant found in plants), potassium and electrolyte minerals, watermelon water has numerous health benefits which include regulating digestive health, reducing inflammation and improving circulation and heart health.

3.    Ubiquinol

Ubiquinol is the active (more readily absorbed) form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a powerful antioxidant that is found naturally in the body. Its role is to assist in powering the body’s overall energy levels as well as supporting the health of major organs, including the heart. If you’re feeling drained, Ubiquinol supplements can actually help to support your natural energy levels to function at your prime. Speak with your healthcare practitioner first to discuss your supplement needs.

 

4.    Milk Thistle

Fusion Health Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist, Erika Morvay, says Milk Thistle is one herb to keep an eye on in 2017. The super-herb contains silybin and other antioxidant compounds that support the health of the liver and may help to protect it from free radical damage.

5.    Hemp

Predicted to be the superfood of 2017 – hemp is a plant-based, rich source of Omegas, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and is also free from soy and diary. Hemp seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids than any other food and are the only food to contain Omega 3 and 6 in just the right amounts to meet our nutritional needs. You might have seen your favourite foodie blogger sprinkling hemp onto smoothie bowls or salads on Instagram, however strictly hemp is still not permitted for human consumption in Australia. If legalised in April this year, Australia will join a legion of other countries already chomping down on hemp, including the UK, the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. For now, you can make good use of hemp in body scrubs and facials as a powerful antioxidant for your skin. 

Valentine's Fitness Getaways

For the Mind & Body Conscious Couple - SUP & Yoga:

Amatara SUP & Yoga, Thailand

Set on the south-eastern peninsula of Phuket in Thailand, Amatara is an ideal wellness escape for couples looking to either deepen their practice or try something new. Boost your yoga practice whilst increasing feelings of sensuality, then inject some fun into your active holiday with stand-up paddle boarding. Return home stronger and revived, having experienced the benefits of healthy cuisine, as well as having been led through the depths of yoga and the highs of SUP by expert practitioners. 

 

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights in Thailand from $2,100pp. Price includes accommodation, full board, a SUP & Yoga program, and transfers.

 

For the Zen & Active Couple - Boxing & Mindfulness

Atmantan Fusion Fitness, India

They say variety is the spice of life. So, if you’re the kind of couple who likes to mix up high intensity with deep relaxation, why not combine them with an exclusive Fusion Fitness holiday at Atmantan in India. Indecisive couples can choose from a range of options to bring variety to their workout. After you’ve challenged yourselves with Bootcamp training and group hiking, why not silence your mind with private meditation classes. If you’ve pushed each other to the limit with a kick boxing workout, then reward yourselves with invigorating massages for a much-deserved treat.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights in India from $2,835pp. Price includes a Fusion Fitness program, accommodation, full-board, and transfers.

 

For the Outdoor Couple – Hiking & Mountain Biking:

Discover Recover, Morocco

Experience Morocco with your loved one on an outdoor adventure wellness holiday and explore a world filled with untouched landscapes, ancient cities, centuries-old customs and an inescapable air of uniqueness. Choose from a selection of exceptional tours like hiking trips to the Atlas mountain, city tours, cooking classes and mountain biking. Then recover together on a wellness holiday where you can unwind and recharge with daily spa treatments, yoga classes on the beach, surf lessons and a variety of activities from paddle boarding to group exercise classes.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 10 nights in Morocco from $5,170pp. Price includes a Discover Recover program and transfers.

 

For the Super Fit Couple - Bootcamp:

Marbella Club Bootcamp, Spain

Work up a sweat at the luxurious Marbella Club in southern Spain, where you and your partner will have fun whilst exercising in the beautiful outdoors. This comprehensive Bootcamp includes a healthy Mediterranean diet and individual support ensuring you and your loved one maximise your fitness goals. Twice daily personal training sessions and group classes help you learn invaluable information on continuing your training at home. Then relax together as you soothe your muscles with a variety of re-energising spa treatments and embrace the luxury Thalasso Centre.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights in Marbella from $4,735pp. Price includes accommodation and breakfast.

 

For the Spa & Fitness Couple – Fusion Fitness

Shanti Maurice Fusion Fitness, Mauritius

From strength training and coastal running to tennis lessons and paddle boat yoga, you and your loved one will never get bored on this exclusive Fusion Fitness holiday at luxury retreat Shanti Maurice in Mauritius. A tailored wellness program offers you both the flexibility to choose exactly what you want. At the end of the day, calm your mind and strengthen your bond with yoga and guided meditation overlooking the beautiful turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Then indulge in a selection of spa treatments from Swedish, Balinese or the signature Shanti Fusion massage, facials and reflexology to soothe your muscles and ensure you both return home fully rejuvenated.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights in Marbella from $2,840pp. Price includes accommodation, return transfers and half board.