Sometimes it feels like I’m drowning.
Sometimes your memory might not feel as good as it once did; you’re constantly forgetting to grab some groceries from the supermarket, or mixing up appointments – nothing too big.
This doesn’t mean you have to resort to extreme measures to refresh your memory! Try just a few of our tips on how to boost your memory the natural way – through your diet.
This powerful plant contains vitamins and minerals that are used to treat people suffering in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Sage has been used for over 1000 years as a natural alternative to traditional western medicine.
Delicious avocados are easy to incorporate into your diet and can be found at any green grocer or supermarket. Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats which actually increase blood flow to the brain, they are the perfect pick-me-up if your mind is feeling a bit groggy.
The darker, the better! Dark chocolate is known to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the brain, which diminishes the chances of any neurological diseases. Just a few pieces a day could really change your life, and the way you think.
Doesn’t matter if they’re Fuji, Pink Lady, or even Granny Smith varieties, apples are a great afternoon snack if you’re feeling under the weather. Apples in general help to fight Alzheimer’s which is the leading cause of neurological illness in Australia.
Just one cup of green tea a day is enough to decrease high levels of protein in the brain, which can potentially build-up and cause memory loss. If you don’t like the bitter taste of green tea, just one teaspoon of honey will make it so much sweeter.
Blueberries help to delay any age-related problems which can directly disrupt healthy brain function, motor skills, and even vision. Keep a pack of blueberries in your freezer so they’re always fresh for you to snack on.
Essential oils such as lavender and rosemary are important if you want to get your memory back on track. Although it might be one of the most expensive options on the list, rosemary also helps to improve your mood and keep your brain focused on the tasks ahead.
Foods which are high in Vitamin E are packed with antioxidants which help protect nerve cells in the brain. Cook your food with olive oil or sprinkle it over your salad to keep your brain feeling active and healthy.
Avoid trans fats
Too many fatty foods packed with trans fats can actually destroy your brain one bite at a time. Keep to a balanced diet, and refrain from eating too many sweets which are only harming your body.
Enjoy leafy vegetables
Packed with antioxidants which are good for your entire body, leafy vegetables should feature in your diet at least once a day. Enjoy a fresh salad, sandwich or stir-fry and cook your meals from scratch as much as you can.
Avoid saturated fats
Saturated fats don’t look or sound too appealing once you realise they have absolutely no nutritional content. If your diet still relies heavily on these meals, try and substitute them for a healthier alternative before going cold-turkey.
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Ever find yourself devouring a packet of chips before you have any idea how it made it’s way into your house in the first place? Binge eating is a serious problem, and doesn’t discriminate between women, men, or even children. But is it actually possible to stop binge eating altogether, without going cold-turkey?
Try these tips the next time you’re craving something sugary or sweet – and want to break out of this vicious cycle.
Substitute with healthy snacks
Keep a variety of healthy snacks in the fridge and pantry. This will make it so much easier to avoid grabbing the naughty food in times of need. If you can’t get enough of dry chips, why not snack on some cucumber and carrot? The crunching sound makes it feel like you’re eating chips, without the extra calories.
Don’t buy fatty snacks
The best way to avoid eating bad food starts in the supermarket. If you have enough willpower to avoid buying the food yourself, then it’s not likely that you’ll eat it anyway. If you find yourself feeling excited at the prospect of the chocolate and chips aisle, then it’s best to avoid it altogether. Take another route around the supermarket, and only buy the things you actually need.
Make a shopping list
A shopping list will help you stick to what you know, and avoid walking aimlessly around the aisles looking for your next sugary fix. Keep the shopping list short and sweet, and you’ll avoid making unnecessary purchases later on.
Don’t eat after 8pm
You can change the time according to your nightly routine, but it’s best not to eat late at night since the food is stored as fat. Keep yourself occupied and most importantly keep your mind occupied – since this (and not your stomach) is telling you that you’re hungry.
Invite a friend over, hang out with your family, or even read a book and watch your favourite program on television.
Ask yourself these questions
The next time you find yourself heading over to the fridge or pantry, ask yourself these questions before digging in:
- Do I need this?
- Am I really hungry?
- Can I only have just a bit?
You will often find that the answer to these questions are usually no. But if the answer is sometimes a yes, snack or fruit or nuts which are a much healthier alternative.
Drink water and green tea
Try a glass of water the next time you’re feeling the urge to snack on something sweet late at night, and in most cases this will curb any cravings. Your stomach will feel full, and probably won’t be able to eat anything else if you tried. If that doesn’t work, enjoy some green tea instead.
Green tea is packed with so many vitamins and nutrients that actually keep your body busy, and taste great as well!
Image via iStock
Most of us worry about ageing by focusing on how our face will look. But as we age, so does your body – your muscles shorten, your bones weaken and you repair from injury more slowly. It is important to not only look after your skin, but your body as well. The healthier you are on the inside, the healthier and more youthful you will look on the outside.
Jason T Smith, renowned physiotherapist, founder of the Back In Motion Health Group and author of Get Yourself Back In Motion shares his five secrets to help you age gracefully.
1. Walk everyday
Walking every day is one of the easiest ways to maintain fitness and keep you looking and feeling younger. The motion your body goes through when walking is similar to the motion you go through as when you run; your arms and legs move simultaneously together. The benefit of walking over running is that you’re not putting as much stress on your joints and therefore minimising the risk of damage.
You can walk for much longer periods of time than you can run (unless you are super fit!), and it is easy to incorporate into your everyday activities as incidental exercise. Walk up the stairs, walk to the train station or even walk to work if you live close enough.
2. Focus on your abs
As we age, that fit toned tummy seems to almost disappear. Sagging stomach muscles are one of the first signs of ageing. A strong core helps your posture and balance, which can make you look and feel younger. One of the main reasons for back pain is bad posture. If you strengthen your stomach muscles, your posture will improve and back pain can be better managed. Your abs are also important for your balance as they are the centre of your core. I would recommend exercising your core 2-3 times per week. Sit on a physio ball and see how well you can balance by drawing your stomach in and moving your pelvis side to side.
3. Eat healthily
A diet that lacks in nutrition will age you both internally and externally, with obesity proven to accelerate the process of ageing. Eating a healthy, balanced diet low in sugar is the best anti-ageing medicine! Eat plenty of whole foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables and lean meat. Avoid highly processed foods as these are high in fats, sugars, salts and plenty of other nasties that may accelerate the ageing process. Drinking 1-2 litres of water a day is beneficial to help eliminate the toxins in your body.
Squatting isn’t just a great thigh and buttock toner; it’s one of the most natural human movements – think of how many times a day you stand up from a seated position. If done properly, squats help stimulate muscle growth and develop muscle mass throughout your whole body. This movement also spreads nutrition from foods your body has processed into your organs and glands. Squats help to keep your body healthy on the inside, whilst keeping your youthful look on the outside. Start with 10 squats a day, and increase over time, for health and body benefits.
5. Moving regularly
Consistency is key! Start small and increase your exercise weekly as your fitness levels improve. However many times you exercise per week, keep it consistent. You won’t see results if your exercise regime is irregular.
Jason Smith is the founder of Back In Motion Health Group, Australia’s leading provider of physiotherapy and related services. Jason’s new book Get Yourself Back In Motion is available at Back In Motion practices around Australia, major book retailers and online bookstores, RRP $34.95.
When we think summer, we think lighter eating and doing more exercise than winter, but actually, it’s very easy for the weight to creep on during the warmer months. Holiday parties, after-work cocktails, indulgent get-togethers…the calories add up quickly.
To top it off, SumoSalad have conducted their annual lunchtime survey and found that a shocking 70% of Australians eat an unhealthy lunch 4-5 times a week!
Dietician Georgina Moore and health and fitness coach Amelia Burton share their best tips to stay healthy and trim in summer.
Stay fuller for longer
To keep you feeling fuller for longer, choose foods that are high in protein, such as tofu, salmon, eggs and lean beef. Adding foods that are low GI into your diet such as vegetables and legumes, will also keep you satisfied throughout the day.
Did you know three 10-minute workouts are just as effective as a 30-minute workout? Try these simple exercise tips at lunchtime, or even at your desk. 10 squats, 10 push-ups and 10 tricep dips – repeat four times non-stop.
End the 3pm sugar binge
To help maintain blood sugar levels, avoiding the large spikes and troughs that lead to 3pm sugar binges, snack on foods that have a low glycemic index, such as unsalted mixed nuts, hummus or low-fat yoghurt.
Tone first, cardio after
To improve fat burning, always try to do the toning component of your workout before your cardiovascular workout. Therefore, push-ups before you run.
Load up with veggies – veggies provide a whole host of nutrients and fibre without being energy dense.
Become a morning person
Try to get up a little earlier for a morning workout. Blood sugar levels are lower in the morning, which helps burn body fat. Getting up early will also jump-start your metabolism and set you up for the rest of the day.
Keep up your lean protein
Eating chicken, salmon, turkey and Greek yoghurt after a workout will help build your muscles as they are more receptive to the effects of protein.
Avoid unwanted weight gain
To avoid unwanted weight gain and foods that have empty calories with no nutritional benefits, opt for foods that are low in fat (especially saturated fat) and low in salt.
How do you stay trim and healthy in summer?
It’s National Organic Week from 4-13 October, so we chat with Sophie Speer, marketing manager at five:am organic yoghurt, about why eating organic is important.
five:am was founded by surfer, long-time yogi and successful entrepreneur David Prior with the help of Gippsland Organic Dairy Farmers Cooperative farmers Peter and Wendy Wallace. None of their organic milk products contain any nasties, meaning no chemicals, pesticides, preservatives, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics and hormones.
The five:am philosophy is that you get a unique view of the world at 5am. There’s those who embrace this time – to cycle, surf, do yoga – or otherwise greet the new day with a purity of mind, body and spirit. Ever employee lives by this philosophy, kick-starting each day with either yoga, meditation, gym, a wee-hours surf or a bike ride to work – don’t you wish your workplace embraced this philosophy?
Why is eating organic so important?
There are so many reasons but it all boils down to organic food being better for the environment, better for our bodies and ultimately our health. Organic farming restores the earths nutrients and keeps toxic chemicals out of our soil and water ways. Eating organic means we’re keeping all sorts of nasties out of our bodies; not just chemicals but artificial colours and flavours, hormones and antibiotics too. If you’re eating any animal products, organic is also a guarantee that the animals have been treated humanly.
What do you say to people who think organic is too expensive?
It’s true, generally organic products do come at a premium. I think we’ll see this price gap reduce over time though as more farms convert to organic techniques and the industry manages to achieve greater economies of scale. But if you weigh up the costs of eating conventional food on your long term health, organic doesn’t come up as more expensive at all! What’s more, having seen first-hand the lengths organic farmers go to achieve and maintain organic certification and their dedication to producing the highest quality produce, I think organic is worth every cent.
What are your favourite ways of eating yoghurt (apart from straight out of the tub!)
I love a breakfast (or dessert) parfait with layers of fruit, yoghurt and nuts. Smoothies are another great way to get a few dollops of calcium and protein rich yoghurt goodness into your day. I blend protein powder, almond milk, frozen fruit and five:am natural no added sugar yoghurt. Yoghurt is also great as a base for dips. I just add some finely chopped cucumber and mint plus a squeeze of lemon juice to some five:am greek style yoghurt and drizzle it over meat or fish.
What are your best tips for living a healthy lifestyle?
Regular exercise is definitely key but I think the trick is to find something that you enjoy doing and not get hung up about whether you’re really good at it or not. It’s just about getting out there and having fun, if you enjoy yourself you’ll keep going back for more.
When it comes to healthy eating, I like to do a six-week detox every spring. It’s a great way to reinforce healthy eating patterns year round. Generally though I’m not a fan of the extreme fads that encourage people to completely cut things out of their diets. ‘Everything in moderation’ is my mantra.
What is your favourite piece of inspiration?
My favourite piece of inspiration would have to be a graduation speech called ‘This is Water’ written by award winning America writer David Foster Wallace. The speech has been made into a nine minute video that you can check out on YouTube. It’s truthful, funny and so inspiring! One of the main points David makes is that the way we experience our lives is up to us. We have the power to choose how we see the world. He gives a really simple and very funny example of standing in line at a supermarket at the end of a stressful day. He makes the point that in that moment we can be impatient, judgemental and self absorbed or we can choose to see the positives of our situation. We just have to make the conscious effort to see the positives and the more we do, the easier it becomes.
Is eating organic food important to you?
Nutritionist and author of 10-days to a Healthier You Kathleen Alleaume gives us the low-down on raw cacao, how to eat it and why it’s better than chocolate – and shares her raw cacao protein balls recipe.
We all have experienced the positive feelings associated with eating chocolate, but have you tried unprocessed chocolate in the form of raw cacao (pronounced ka·cow) – which essentially is the same bean as cocoa, but in its raw state.
Compared to traditional cocoa found in traditional store-bought chocolate, raw cacao has very little sugar or additives making it a great way to consume something nutritious while still feeling decadent.
Due to its minimal processing, raw cacao retains a potent mineral content and nutrient dense properties, including a rich source of chromium (to help balance blood sugar), magnesium (to help maintain normal muscle and nerve function), and contains nearly twice the antioxidant content of red wine and up to three times the antioxidant content of green tea. Research also shows that cacao promotes cardiovascular health by helping reduce blood clotting, improve circulation, regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart attacks or stroke.
Too much of a good thing
Cacao is very powerful on the central nervous system and over-indulging can inhibit calcium absorption. The recommendation is to have no more than 40g (or four to six heaped teaspoons) of raw cacao a day.
How to eat it
Good quality raw cacao powder is available in most supermarkets and health food shops. Although the taste is very bitter, it’s advised to add a sweetener to it such as honey, stevia or agave. Add 1 tablespoon of cacao to your morning smoothie, make decadent desserts using avocado, or enjoy cacao protein balls as a guilt-free energy-boosting snack.
Recipe: Raw Cacao Protein Balls
Makes about 10 balls
½ cup LSA (linseed, almond and sunflower) meal
¼ cup chia seeds
2 tbsp raw cacao
½ cup tahini
6 dried dates, pitted
1 tbsp honey
1. Combine all ingredients into a food processor and process until well combined and in a crumbly, paste-type consistency. Add a splash of water to make a smoother consistency (optional).
2. These delicious bite size pieces of heaven surely hit the spot. Not only are they jammed packed in protein and good fats, they’re a fantastic grab and go snack that will satisfy that longing for something sweet.
For more nutritious meal ideas, shopping lists and lifestyle tips to help you look feel great and look beter, download a free 3-day sample plan at www.therightbalance.com.au.
An avocado melt is the perfect easy dinner for the start of the week. Try our roasted mushrooms and corn version, or add your favourite vegetarian fillings for a healthy twist.
4 x Panini, cut in half
10 mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 avocados, pip and skin removed, diced
200g creamed corn
2 shallots, finely diced
Paprika / pepper
1. Combine mushrooms, avocado, corn, shallots and egg in a bowl and season with salt. Spread mixture evenly over 8 panini halves.
2. Place on a baking tray in an oven preheated to 180C for 10-15 mins or until golden brown.
3. Sprinkle with paprika or pepper to taste.
What’s for dinner tonight?