It's a knockout

New York's no-nonsense boutique boxing studio is expanding.

 Shadowbox Flatiron location in NYC

Shadowbox Flatiron location in NYC

Trailblazing boxing studio, Shadowbox, is expanding throughout the US. Now, on top of NYC's flatiron and DUMBO studios, jab, cross, hook addicts will be able to get their gloves on in a new Tribeca studio as well as Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.

The expansion will take place over the next 18 - 24 months. 

Founded in 2015 by Daniel Glazer who saw an opening in the market for a boxing studio that didn't feel overly gritty, male-dominated and intimidating. 

“The Shadowbox brand is built on inclusivity, offering a cathartic sweat to everybody,” said Daniel Glazer, founder and CEO. “We want our growth trajectory to reflect our values, which is why we let current and future clients, not industry expectations, inform where we take the brand next. Markets like Chicago, Austin, and Dallas, are filled with individuals who want and deserve more wellness opportunities in their daily lives. It’s only natural for Shadowbox to serve these places and further our mission of making boxing accessible and rewarding both mentally and physically.”

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Shadowbox caters to all consumers, regardless of experience level. Its meditative, sweat-dripping workouts bridge the gap between fighting and fitness, combining a focus on technique with body-weight conditioning.

Visit Shadowbox online for more info on the expansion and upcoming classes

@sbxboxing

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5 Ways To Avoid Being ‘That’ Co-worker Who Gets Everyone Sick This Winter

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The common cold is the most frequent acute illness in the Western world. About half of us get 1 cold per year1 however, many adults average of 2-4 colds every year, and children may have 5-7 colds every year.2 Recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold can have a significant effect on productivity and quality of life.

If you don’t want to be that co-worker who gets everyone sick this winter, boost your immunity now with these 5 natural strategies.

  1. Boost your immunity with herbs

Herbal medicine can be a powerful way to boost your immunity and vitality during the colder months.

Astragalus is traditionally used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a general tonic and to enhance immune resistance in those experiencing recurrent colds and flu.3

Clinical data supports the use of Siberian ginseng as a preventative and restorative tonic for support of mental and physical wellbeing. Traditionally used in TCM for symptoms of weakness, exhaustion and tiredness, and during convalescence.

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2. Add immune boosting nutrients

Long a winter favourite, vitamin C supports healthy immune function and can aid your chances of avoiding the common cold.4,5 Naturally acidic, high doses of vitamin C supplementation may cause stomach upset so look for a supplement that contains buffered forms of vitamin C such as calcium ascorbate and sodium ascorbate.

Zinc, a mineral found in foods such as meat, organ meats, oysters, shellfish, pumpkin seeds and nuts, has important functions in the body, including immune regulation6.

If your diet lacks zinc rich foods you can choose supplement and opt for an organic form, which is easier to absorb, such as zinc glycinate.7

More than 75% of the immune cells reside in the gut, so make sure you are supporting your gut microbiota (beneficial bacteria) with a healthy diet. You can also choose a high-quality probiotic supplement, with scientifically researched strains of friendly bacteria, which may help support healthy immune function. 8,9

We’re more likely to be low in vitamin D during the winter months and this vitamin has been shown to play a vital role in immunity and protection against colds and flu. Several studies have linked low vitamin D levels with the risk of developing upper respiratory tract infections10. The leading authority on vitamin D, Dr. Holick, recommends 2000-3000IU of vitamin D3 a day from dietary sources, sensible sun exposure and supplements.11  

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3. Recharge

Getting 7-9 hours of good quality sleep may help boost your immune function and reduce your chances of getting sick this winter.12

A recent sleep health survey conducted in Australia showed that up to 45 percent of Australian adults don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours’ sleep.13

If you have trouble sleeping, try a herbal formula with Ziziphus, Passionflower, Albizia and Polygala traditionally used in Chinese and Western herbal medicine to help promote deep, restful sleep14.

4. Eat for better immunity

If there’s one thing you can improve right now, it’s your diet, so include immune-boosting superfoods such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, shitake mushrooms and fermented vegetables. These ingredients can help keep winter bugs away but also promote the health of the good bacteria in the gut.

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5. Keep Moving

Regular movement and moderate levels of exercise, on most days, have a number of health benefits that include boosting your immunity.

During the colder winter months opt for exercising outdoors as much as possible to increase your exposure to sunlight for the extra vitamin D boost.

Speak to your healthcare professional before taking any herbal products or supplements. Always read the label and use only as directed.

Erika 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 especially passionate about empowering and supporting women to live a nourished, fulfilled life.

 

References:

  1. Kirkpatrick, G. The Common Cold. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. Science Direct. Volume 23, Issue 4. December 1996.
  2. Turner, R. B. The Common Cold. Paediatric Annals. December 1998- Volume 27.12: 790-795
  3. Available upon request
  4. Available upon request
  5. Van Straten M, Josling P. Preventing the common cold with a vitamin C supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. (PMID: 12201356)
  6. Rerksuppaphol S, Rerksuppaphol L. A randomized controlled trial of chelated zinc for prevention of the common cold in Thai school children. Paediatr Int Child Health. 2013 Aug; 33(3):145-50.
  7. Available upon request
  8. The role of intestinal microbiota and the immune system. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Feb; 17(3):323-33.
  9. Available upon request
  10. Vitamin D Council 2014, https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/respiratory-infections/, last visited 07/05/1018
  11. Holick, M.F. Vitamin D Deficiency. New Engl. J. Med. 2007. 357:266-81.
  12. Opp, M. R. and J. M. Krueger (2015). "Sleep and Immunity: A Growing Field with Clinical Impact." Brain, behavior, and immunity 47: 1-3. (PMID: 25849976)
  13. Sleep Foundation 2015, https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/public-information/fact-sheets-a-z/230-how-much-sleep-do-you-really-need.html, last visited 07/05/1918
  14. Available upon request

 

    Fix Fussy Eating Habits

    Got a fussy eater? Read on!

    #in association with Blackmores

     Photo: Today.com

    Photo: Today.com

    Mini-mindfulness: Four ways to get ‘Ommm” with your Little Well Being
    By Bianca Slade, Blackmores Superkids Cook

    Think it’s impossible to get your kids to sit still, let alone meditate? Think again. Blackmores Superkids Cook, Bianca Slade (aka. Wholefood Simply) shares her tips on how the whole family can find inner and outer peace.

    Taking some time each day to sit calmly and focus on breathing deeply and slowly has numerous benefits for you and your children. Research shows (https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/mental-health-matters/mindfulness) regular mindfulness or meditation sessions can help improve attention, memory processing and decision making abilities. It may also help improve children’s self-awareness and self-confidence, as well as awareness of others. 

    So, what are you waiting for? Here’s four ways to introduce a little ‘Ommm’ into your family’s daily routine.

    1.     Set a mindfulness alarm

    It is easy for the days to slip away in to-do lists, extra-curricular sports and commitments. But regular mindfulness practice should become as frequent and common in the house as brushing your teeth or making your bed.

    Ideally, set the time for some mindfulness aside before bedtime, as this will help calm busy minds and get the kids ready for sleep. At the same time every day, turn off all devices and aim for ten minutes of mindfulness practice.

    2.     Eat mindfully

    Children who eat dinner with their parents are more likely to have strong lines of communication with them and may even be less fussy about their meals. Research shows that children who eat dinner with their parents experience long-term physical and mental health benefits (Harbec & Pagani, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214092322.htm). Eating mindfully, whereby there’s no distractions, such as television or devices, can ensure everybody appreciates their meal and savours each bite.

    3.     Be grateful

    Tonight at dinner, try this mindfulness exercise: each person around the table shares one reason why they’re feeling grateful today. It’s an ideal way to allow children to express what they enjoyed about their day, and to bring them back to the present by communicating it with everybody.

    4.     Go for a walk

    A mindful walk is not just great exercise, but it’s a wonderful way to help calm busy minds. Keep chatter to a minimum, pay attention to the sounds you can hear, the smells in the air and any other feelings you experience. On the way back, you can discuss anything you felt or experienced to bring your selves back to the present.

    Nutrients are important to support kid’s healthy growth and development. Children’s potential also comes from physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. For more information, recipes and activities to help grow your little Well Being’s full potential, visit www.blackmores.com.au/superkids

    ABOUT BIANCA SLADE

    Bianca Slade is a mum of three (aged 10, 6, and 2), a recipe creator and owner of healthy cook blog site, Wholefood Simply. Bianca is passionate about creating whole foods that the entire family can enjoy, as well as recreating traditional treats and sweets to suit her family’s whole food ways. Bianca has published 10 cookbooks under the Wholefood Simply umbrella, including her most recent book Wholefood Simply: Natural Indulgence. Bianca has teamed up with Blackmores as their Superkids Cook.

     

    BEAT PERIOD PAIN NATURALLY

    Period Pain? Try These Herbal Remedies First

    For generations women have experienced period pain and, in many cases, they’ve sought out traditional herbal remedies for pain and discomfort, writes Erika Morvay at Fusion Health.

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    Period pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, is commonly experienced by women during the reproductive stages of their life and can be divided into two broad categories:1

    1.     Primary dysmenorrhea: occurring in absence of pelvic pathology, and

    2.     Secondary dysmenorrhea: caused by an underlying medical condition

    Period Pain – Underlying Causes

    A naturopathic doctor specialising in women’s health and author of the ‘Period Repair Manual’, Lara Briden explains how normal period pain is caused by the release of prostaglandins from the uterus and usually gets better as you get older. Some mild pain on the first or second day is normal, however more severe pain should always be investigated as it can be caused by an underlying medical condition and can worsen with age.2

    Period Pain – Herbal Remedies

    A qualified holistic health care practitioner can help guide you through specific recommendations to help ease period-related pain.

    According to Chinese medicine theory, pain is related to stagnation of Qi (energy) and blood in the body. Herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therefore mostly rely on ‘invigorating Qi’ and blood in the channels that will move stagnation to address pain and the symptoms associated with it.

    Turmeric has been used for its culinary and therapeutic properties in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It contains an active compound curcumin, which provides anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and pain-relieving actions.3  In traditional Chinese medicine terms turmeric invigorates the blood and Qi to ease pain due to stagnation.3 

    Ginger has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine to help relieve pain, including period pain and reduce inflammation3 while Willow Bark has been traditionally used in Western herbal medicine as an analgesic (pain-relieving) herb for centuries. It is the active compound salicin, produced in Willow bark responsible for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions.5

    Tienchi Ginseng is traditionally used in TCM to dispel blood stagnation and reduce bleeding, including heavy menstrual bleeding4 and can be combined with other anti-inflammatory herbs such as Turmeric, Ginger or Willow bark.

    White Peony In TCM it’s said to nourish the blood and is an important herb to regulate menstruation and alleviate pain from menstrual cramps.6 Ligusticum and Angelica are also used in TCM to invigorate the blood and promote the movement of Qi – commonly used in the management of menstrual disorders including period pain and dysmenorrhea.6

    If symptoms of pain persist, and before taking any herbal products or supplements, seek advice from your healthcare professional. Always read the label and use only as directed.

     

     

     

     

     

    Best Aussie Beaches

    This Australia Day, discover more of this Great Southern Land with our hitlist of the best beaches Down Under. 

    Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island, QLD

    This former nudist beach in FNQ was named number one by beach specialist Brad Farmer. We can see why!

     Nudey Beach, QLD

    Nudey Beach, QLD

    Dreamtime Beach, Fingal Head, NSW

    This little hideaway in Northern NSW won't stay a secret for long. Isn't it just.. dreamy!

     Dreamtime Beach, NSW

    Dreamtime Beach, NSW

    Seal Rocks, Central Coast, NSW

    A favourite for Sydneysiders seeking a weekend away. And surfers searching the perfect break. 

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    Binalong Bay, Bay of Fires, Tasmania

    Just south of the spectacular Bay of Fires is this former fishing hamlet is now a cosy village perfect for holidaymakers. 

     Binalong Bay, Tasmania. 

    Binalong Bay, Tasmania. 

    Yallingup Beach, Margaret River, WA

    Famous surfer Taj Burrow hails from here and is often found at the equally famous Caves House where locals and visitors down brew in after a salty swim. 

     Yallingup, WA

    Yallingup, WA

    Milk Beach, Sydney, NSW

    A favourite Harbour beach amongst Sydney's cool set that is at is most popular on Australia Day. 

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    Tallebudgera Beach, Gold Coast, QLD

    A haven for families, the Tallebudgera creek and beach is bordered by the Burleigh Heads national park. 

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    Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, QLD

    Seven kilometres so spectacular it's won awards. You can take tours here by boat, chopper or seaplane and wander the pristine white sands. Heaven. 

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    Here's how to boost your energy in 2018

    Energy-Boosting Ingredients and Natural Supplements you should consider for 2018

     Photo: iStock

    Photo: iStock

    Summer brings with it many advantages – the warmer weather, the festive and celebratory season, beach swims and more. But it can also be a very draining time for many of us, and the heat can often sap energy levels. Here are some of my favourite, natural energy-boosters for summer. By naturopath Stephen Eddey.

    1.   Lemons

    Not to be underestimated, simply adding some fresh lemon juice to water transforms your drink into an energy boosting (and tasty) beverage packed with natural electrolytes. Electrolytes are important as they are critical for cells to produce energy and are responsible for keeping the body properly hydrated. Sipping on lemon water often will also help to avoid dehydration.

    Tip: Add some lemon into your water bottle the night before you plan on taking it with you for your morning jog/work commute/gym session to save time.

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    2.   Beets

    Red root vegetables such as beetroot contain high amounts of nitrates, converted to nitric oxide in the body, and have been associated with increasing endurance and exercise tolerance during high-intensity workouts by increasing blood flow and oxygen availability to muscles. Rich in B vitamins, niacin, pyridoxine and pantothenic acid and also containing potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese, beets are a good choice before exercising because of their high carbohydrate content, with some research suggesting that they may improve muscle performance and power.

    Tip: Why not try adding beets to your daily juice, a beets powder to your protein shake or adding beets to your salads.

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    3.   Ubiquinol

    Season-to-season we continually push ourselves and while our bodies might secretly be hoping for a rest this silly season, the heat and exertion may end up pushing our bodies into overdrive - resulting in a lack of key antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants such as Ubiquinol are vital for energy production and the repairing of cells, helping to reduce inflammation caused by free-radical release during exercise. Although naturally produced in the body, Ubiquinol levels decline as we age, so it’s worth a daily supplement to help assist with enhanced physical performance, reduced fatigue and improvement in muscle repair.

    Tip: Consider a Ubiquinol supplement as part of your daily routine to reap the benefits of this antioxidant.

    4.   Protein

    Simple but sometimes easily forgotten, protein is essential for muscle growth, repair and maintenance - and that doesn’t change through the seasons. Whether your focus is strength or endurance, consuming a high protein meal after a workout can help to provide slow-burning energy and support the recovery of strained and tired muscles. Whey protein, a soluble protein, is rich in branched chain amino acids and permits faster digestion, however there are many options for vegetarians and vegans who may consider pea protein or consumption of complete-protein foods such as soy and quinoa. Or for an even more natural approach, look no further than full-fat yoghurt, eggs or almonds as the perfect protein snack.

    Tip: The process of muscle recovery continues for approximately 12 hours after you've trained, and therefore regular consumption of protein can be useful in maximising that recovery.

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    5.     Berries

    Berries are the ultimate power food all year round – delicious, fresh, bursting with antioxidants and cooling on a hot day. Blueberries in particular have been recognised as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities when compared against other fruits. As an alternative, the acai berry – hailing from the Amazon rainforest region - is gaining a lot of popularity for its antioxidant properties too.

    Tip: Add blueberries or acai berry to your breakfast smoothie, with muesli or oats, or eat raw for a delicious snack!

    About Stephen Eddey: Stephen Eddey is a qualified Chemist, Naturopath and is the Principal of Australia’s longest established natural medicine college, Health Schools Australia where he overseas seminar programs, course structures and the college administration. He has completed a Bachelor of Complementary Medicine as well as a Masters in Health Science and PhD in Nutritional Medicine.

    Speak to your healthcare practitioner to discuss the benefits of Ubiquinol supplementation. Always read the label. Use only as directed.

    For more information, visit https://www.ubiquinol.net.au/

     

     

    Six Tips to Become a Super Work-at-Home Mum

    Working mums - the superheroes of our time! They're the women who manage to have both a family life and a successful career. For some it might sound all too good to be true, but it's totally possible. 

    By Claire Adams

    Don’t forget to relax

    We all need to blow off some steam from time to time, and when you’re a working mum, venting becomes an essential part of your lifestyle. Find what works for you, whether it is spending time with your friends, having a long bubble bath, meditating, or something completely different. It can be anything, as long as it helps you keep your nerves.

     Photo: Instagram @Chrissyteigen

    Photo: Instagram @Chrissyteigen

    Learn how to organise

    Having a plan is essential when there are many things to do and not that much time, which is pretty much always if you are a work-at-home mum. If you learn how to organise well, you’ll never get stuck or lost in all your chores and responsibilities. Also, writing things down will enable you to visualise your goals and manage your time accordingly, so consider getting a simple planner that can help you organise your schedule much more easily. Even if you don’t stick to it entirely, you’ll learn from experience and will surely become much better at planning.

    Mum, TV presenter, dance and founder of Body by Finch - Rachael Finch multitasks by staying organised. Photo: Instagram @rachael_finch 

    Ask for help

    There’s nothing wrong with getting a bit of help when you feel like you need it – nobody can do it all, and the amount of work mums have can often be overwhelming. You might think that asking for help will make you seem weaker, or perhaps you simply feel uncomfortable doing so, but there really is no reason for such worries. It’s completely logical that a person who juggles both work and family does need a little help from time to time, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.

     So we don't all have a glam squad on call like Lara, but seeking the help of friends, family, neighbours & partners can make life that little bit easier.. and maybe leave time for mascara!  Photo: Instagram @laraworthington

    So we don't all have a glam squad on call like Lara, but seeking the help of friends, family, neighbours & partners can make life that little bit easier.. and maybe leave time for mascara!  Photo: Instagram @laraworthington

    Think about the future

    Every parent wants their child to have a nice job and good life, so one of the main things they think about is their children’s education. Education is extremely important, which is why it’s a good idea to start saving up for college in advance. Plus, there are always tuition fees and other potential expenses, so you can never know for sure how much money your child will need. One thing is for sure, though – you can never save too much, so start saving as soon as you can.

     Actress Jessica Alba is the founder of Honest, now a billion-dollar company and has her third baby on the way. But just because you don't have all those zeros in the bank doesn't mean you can't plan to put a little bit away for your little ones.  Image: Instagram @jessicaalba

    Actress Jessica Alba is the founder of Honest, now a billion-dollar company and has her third baby on the way. But just because you don't have all those zeros in the bank doesn't mean you can't plan to put a little bit away for your little ones.  Image: Instagram @jessicaalba

    Stay fit

    Staying physically healthy can make it easier for you to stay emotionally healthy as well. Eating the right food, exercising, and doing sports will keep you strong and energised, which can help you cope with stress and deal with all your obligations. When it comes to staying fit and healthy, it’s also important to get enough sleep. This way, you will have much more energy in the morning, and it will be easier for you to concentrate on your daily tasks.

     Mum-of-four Rebecca Judd mixes family with fitness Photo: Instagram @becjudd

    Mum-of-four Rebecca Judd mixes family with fitness Photo: Instagram @becjudd

    Believe in yourself

    When you are a successful, working mum, there is no room for insecurities and self-doubt. In order to stay focused and on track, you need to actually believe you can do so. The mind can be a very powerful force, and if you manage to maintain a positive and confident attitude, there will be nothing to stop you from achieving all your goals.

     

    Being a supermum can sometimes be very exhausting and demanding – but the rewards are worth it!

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    Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that positive attitude is one of the keys to success. 

    She regularly contributes to High Style Life and you can follow her on Twitter @Adamsnclaire and Facebook.

    Hidden causes of acne

    Seriously, how should you wash acne-prone skin?

    This is probably one of those questions that has been bugging you for quite awhile. And that’s totally understandable, considering that it’s hard to find the best face wash for acne-prone skin.

    Acne-prone skin will greatly benefit from a cleanser that can remove dirt, oil and makeup residues without stripping the skin’s natural oils. Why?

    Well, those natural oils are important for your skin’s protection. If they get stripped away, your skin is forced to compensate by producing more oil - leading to more clogged pores and breakouts.

    So, find a cleanser that doesn’t contain alcohol and harsh chemicals. Skip scented products since artificial fragrance can irritate the skin.

    One thing you can do to find out if a cleanser is stripping your skin’s oil is to feel your face after washing it. If it feels tight, sensitive and taut, consider replacing your face wash.

    Of course using the wrong cleanser isn’t the only thing that can cause acne. There are tonnes of acne triggers hiding in your environment, lifestyle and habits.

    Check out this infographic. 

     

     

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    Healing the gut could be the answer to your baby's eczema

    Could gut health hold the answer to your child’s eczema?

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    If your child has eczema, then you know how powerless you can feel if they’re scratching their skin, in pain, or discomfort. By healing your child’s gut, you may be able to heal their skin problems, says Dr Cris Beer.

    Children’s eczema affects around one in five children under the age of two years of age, with a red itchy rash and dry skin giving discomfort and irritation.[i] It can appear anywhere, although is usually present across the face, ears and neck, behind the knees, in the creases of the elbows and across the ankles.[ii]

    While eczema usually improves as your child gets older, addressing the health of your child’s gut may be the answer in finding relief now.

    The link between the gut and good skin

    A recent study published in the journal Nature may provide some insight into how and why keeping the gut in good condition can help soothe eczema symptoms.

    Why is the gut so important? It’s the body’s wellbeing machine, which supports our overall health, including our intestine, skin and our immune system. When your gut isn’t in sufficient health, your skin will then reflect this imbalance, with a dull appearance, or skin conditions such as eczema can be exacerbated.

    How can you have a happy gut?

    Keeping your child’s gut healthy requires some attention to their diet, to get and keep your gut flora balanced. One study[iii] found that children with eczema contained a different make-up of gut flora, compared to those who don’t suffer.

    Probiotics contain lactic acid-producing bacteria, which is thought to have a positive effect on gut flora, and help to stimulate healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.[iv] It’s been found that found that children with eczema contained a different make-up of gut flora, compared to those who don’t suffer. [v]  

    The study – a round-up of 29 studies[vi] of the effects of probiotics on children with eczema - by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that six to 14 out of 100 fewer children developed eczema by using probiotic dietary supplements.

    It’s thought that probiotics which contain the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnonsus GG and Lactobacillus reuteri, are the most beneficial for those with eczema, particularly if it’s genetic.

    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

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    [i] https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/eczema

    [ii] https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/eczema

    [iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883099/

    [iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072584/

    [v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883099/

    [vi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072584/

    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!