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

 

    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.

     

     

     

     

     

    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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    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

    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!

     

    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

    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.

     

     

     

    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

    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.

    Spring Clean Your Gut

    GUT HEALTH

    By now you know that your gut is queen with comes to overall health and wellness.

    But after winter indulgences, sometimes it's harder to get our digestion back on the right path. So Health Bird spoke to Amy Jordan, a nutritionist at BioCeuticals, and she offered these top five tips to ensure your insides are always doing your outsides a favour. Follow Amy's tips, not only for  inner beauty, but for glowing skin, happier mood, more restful sleep and increased concentration. 

     

     Image: The Nava Center

    Image: The Nava Center

    1. Cut down on caffeine 

    A tough one for most of us, but an excess of caffeine may cause an imbalance in the gut by producing too much stomach acid. Coffee has been known to exacerbate the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – if you're frequenting your local cafe or Nespresso machine more than once a day, try cutting back to one per day and see if this improves your bloating. If you’re struggling with fatigue, instead of reaching for a jolt of java, ditch social media from the bedroom, and instead see your bed as a place of sleep and sex only. 

    2. Go herbal 

    Swap out coffee for herbal tea. There are a number of herbal teas that can do wonders for your gut, particularly if you’re feeling bloated and irritated. Chamomile, peppermint and liqorice root teas all help to reduce bloating and gas, and support the digestive process.

    3. Drink more water

    Our body is more than 60% water, and the gut actually needs this water to keep bacteria and waste travelling through the digestive system, without experiencing unpleasant side effects such as constipation and bloating. While sugary drinks such as soft drinks are accessible and cheap, resist the urge to hydrate with these – all they do is feed the ‘bad’ gut bacteria in the bowel, which is exactly what you don’t want!

    4. Manage stress

    Did you know that your digestion is controlled by your entire nervous system?

    When stress activates your ‘fight or flight’ responses in your nervous system, your digestive process can be halted and can exacerbate other gastrointestinal issues. Adopt a practice like yoga or meditation. Even taking 10 simple, deep breaths a day can help to lower your stress levels by relaxing your body and mind. 

    5. Incorporate probiotics

    If you’ve been on antibiotics throughout winter, or if your immune system has taken a bit of a hit, you may be experiencing an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. If the bad bacteria continues to be present in larger proportions your body may struggle to fight off viruses and gastrointestinal upsets. 

    The good news is, there are plenty of probiotic rich foods that you can add to your daily diet with very little fuss. Yoghurt, fermented vegetables (like kimchi and sauerkraut) and tempeh are just some of these sources. A probiotic rich diet will help ease the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you’re struggling to include probiotic foods in your diet, consider speaking to a healthcare practitioner about adding a high quality, multistrain probiotic supplement to your daily routine. Specific probiotic strains have been shown to benefit in different areas. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilusLactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium breve may provide temporary symptomatic relief of medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium breve and Streptococcus thermophilus may provide temporary relief of diarrhoea. 

     

    Incorporating one, or preferably all, of this tips will have you well on the way to a healthy gut. A healthy gut makes a happy life!

     

    For more strategies on how to improve your gut health, visit http://www.bioceuticals.com.au/education/articles

     

    Mum's Survival Guide to Winter Cold & Flus

    Getting through the colder months without your little one coming down with a bug or two seems to be near on impossible. When children are feeling run down, unwell or generally out of sorts, the days can seem very long and the nights even longer. Fit Aussie Mum, Dani Stevens, gives Health Bird the lowdown on surviving the little one's lurgy. 

    It’s never nice to see your children feeling sick, but I think it’s even harder when they’re very young and struggle to tell you exactly what they’re feeling. These are my go-to tips for handling the littlest members of the household during sick season:

    ·      Steam it out – Create a steam bath over the sink or bowl using steaming hot water, take a warm shower with your little one and sit in the steam for a while or use a steam device or humidifier in your child’s room overnight to help provide some relief; I like to add a few drops of eucalyptus oil

    ·      Dress them up – be extra diligent with keeping extremities warm; have plenty of socks, hats and gloves or mittens around so you can grab them easily, layer outfits with singlets and use slippers for cold floors at home  

    ·      Visit the pharmacistI always keep a few bottles of kids cough relief liquid in the medicine cabinet to help soothe a chesty cough, which can often keep the whole house up at night

    ·      Try to limit the damage – when anyone in the household comes down with a bug, be extra diligent with things like handwashing, not sharing utensils and avoiding kissing on the mouth so you can minimise the spread of infection or reinfection

    ·      Food and fluids – of course what we give our kids to eat and drink is important all year round, but even more so when they’re run down; keeping up the fluids is so important especially if their bug has left them without an appetite; I reach for lots of water and milk – and even add bananas or berries to the milk to make a nutrient-rich smoothie

    ·      Be prepared – use a thermometer to keep an eye on their temperature and have the numbers for your GP, their after hours support service or emergency services easily to hand if you suspect there is something more to your little one’s illness than a basic cold or flu

    Dani Stevens, health and fitness personality and mother and four, http://danistevens.com/ on behalf of Demazin Kids

    Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare practitioner. 

     

    The latest Aussie Superfood unearthed!

    Guradji (ger-ra-je) is a previously undiscovered superfood that's recently been launched into Australia’s health and wellness scene. Guradji is a native Australian wonder plant used by indigenous people for thousands of years.

    Gurạdji was traditionally used for its analgesic properties: chewed to relieve toothache, and brewed to calm pain or nausea. And also made into a paste to apply to cuts and scrapes for it's ability to reduce inflammation and speed up healing. 

    But this miracle plant can also be used everyday as a great alternative to tea or coffee. Guradji is caffeine-free and loaded with incredible antioxidants and bitter compounds (similar to those found in green tea and cacao) shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and beneficial to gut health. 

    So you can start sipping your way to health and mental clarity, LORE Australia has released it as a tisane, or a tea-like herbal infusion, that can be brewed hot or cold. 

     

    LORE Australia founder, Jesse Gurujirr, learned about the Australian bush plant from his Aboriginal elders. "The plant gets its name for the 'Guradji Men' who dispensed the leaf. They were the holders of knowledge tradition and rules: The lore," he explains. "Guradji was shared as a way to welcome others and create a sense of community between clans."

    In stark contrast to the regular Australian diet of today, Indigenous Australians utilised over 200 local and seasonal bio foods.

    The cleansing and refreshing tisane is hand-picked from wild harvest and naturally sun-dried to preserve the health properties.

    Eat Like An Olympian

    Eat Like an Olympian- Genevieve La Caze

    When you think about the diet of an Olympic athlete, I’m sure you’re thinking of whole chickens, powders and carb loading pastas and breads, but the fuel an elite athlete needs to perform at peak condition isn’t always as it seems.   

    Australian steeplechaser Genevieve La Caze gives us a sneak peek at her menu, which is surprisingly normal considering the training she does. As an added bonus, all of the below is easily accessible and affordable!

    Genevieve trains every day of the week except for Fridays, and genuinely loves racing and competing for the steeplechase.

    The steeplechase isn’t just your average athletic event. While competitors do run on a track, to complete the race they also have to clear 28 fixed barriers, and seven water jumps. This adds quite the unique twist to an already gruelling event!

    Here are five things that Genevieve always includes in her diet on an average day.  

    1.    Peanut Butter- I have this with a banana, and include a coffee as well before I start my training at 9.30am

    2.    Greek Yoghurt- This is always a quick, easy, and healthy snack to prepare when I’m on the go

    3.    Veggies- Plenty of those in the diet! I include veggies in both my lunch and dinner meals each and every day

    4.    Soft Boiled Eggs- This is another inclusion in my main breakfast/lunch that I have after finishing my morning training session. I have this with some cottage cheese, 2 slices of ham, ½ avocado, ½ tomato all on a bed of spinach

    5.    Cereal- I usually eat gluten free cereal as a snack, sometimes pairing it with the Greek yoghurt mentioned above

    About Genevieve

    Genevieve La Caze is representing Australia at this year’s Rio Olympic Games in the Steeplechase event, and has been setting a string of personal bests in the lead up to the big event. Genevieve is currently working with Flexiseq, a topical gel to help ease joints, and regularly uses it after training sessions.