Wellness

Why I’m Making My New Year’s Resolutions All About My Partner

Because what’s more important than your relationship, really?

December 22, 2016

The Dangerous Rise Of The Wannabe Health Guru

Here’s why you can’t trust your nutritionist.

April 18, 2016

7 Surprisingly Healthy Vending Machine Snacks

Because sometime chips are the only dinner option.

November 12, 2015

7 Healthy Habits Of Naturally Energetic People

Some people are naturally energetic – they bounce out of bed in the morning, don’t rely on caffeine to power through the day and are generally optimistic. Then there’s those people, like most, who snooze their alarms, drink coffee like it’s on its way out and moan and groan all day about being exhausted. Interestingly, it doesn’t have to be like this – with the right habits in place we too can be overflowing with energy.

RELATED: Top 10 Energy Boosting Foods

We chatted to Stephen Eddey, principal of Health Schools Australia and qualified nutritionist and naturopath to find out how.

1. Listen to your body

The key to feeling energetic is knowing your limits and making healthy choices, he says. If you’ve had a stressful day and are feeling run down, spending the night tucked up on the couch might be just what the doctor ordered. Don’t “push yourself to run errands that really can wait,” he urges. “Relaxing when you need to will assist with a deeper sleep and see you waking up the next day refreshed rather than drained.”

2. Plan your snacks

We’ve all heard the saying that if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Stephen agrees with this: “You will feel much more energised during the day when you sustain your body with the right food. You may aim to have healthy meals but often when that mid-morning or 3pm craving hits, people reach for the most convenient – often a highly processed and packaged – option.”

Instead, pack some fruit and a handful of nuts to eat when you’re feeling peckish rather than reaching for that convenient packet of chips or chocolate bar, he insists. “You will feel the difference.”

3. Get enough sleep

We’re forever being told to get enough sleep, however a lot of us tend to ignore it then wonder why we’re always so tired. “It’s important to be getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night,” encourages Stephen. “Waking up well rested makes it easier to get out of bed without hitting the snooze button three times, and that motivation and enthusiasm will continue throughout the morning if your body has had the time it needed to rejuvenate.

If you struggle to unwind at night, it might be worth considering a bedtime routine such as relaxing with a warm chamomile tea or switching off electronics an hour before you go to sleep. Creating positive feng shui within your home is also another option that’s often overlooked.

4. Set goals

When we’re productive, we’re generally a lot happier – and when we’re happier, we tend to be more energetic. Therefore, Stephen recommends that you give yourself something to work towards. “It’s much easier to stay energised when you’re busy and to stay busy in a productive way you need to set goals.”

The naturopath/nutritionist says your goals can be anything that you want to achieve, so maybe it’s getting up early once or twice a week to do a morning yoga class, or “hitting a sales target at work.” Regardless, ticking things off your to-do list provides a big rush of energy. Stephen explains: “Once you set these goals you can take small steps throughout the day to help make sure you achieve them and the sense of reward when you do can be an excellent energy booster.”

5. Load up on antioxidants

Antioxidants have a multitude of health benefits and getting your dose via a healthy diet can boost your energy levels. Health professional Stephen recommends eating foods rich in nutrients; so lots of dark leafy greens, berries, green tea and even some dark chocolate. Another powerful antioxidant the he suggests is Ubiquinol – the active and more bioavailable form of CoQ10. Found naturally in our bodies, Stephen says Ubiquinol helps to power the body’s cells and supports overall energy, however when we’re stressed these levels can decline and result in fatigue. The solution? “You may want to consult your healthcare professional and check your Ubiquinol levels.”

6. Walk more

Sometimes the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling exhausted is to do any physical activity, but Stephen says getting your blood pumping, even a brisk 10 minute walk will leave you feeling refreshed and better able to concentrate. “If you find yourself holding off yawns and staring at the clock, have a break and go for a quick walk.” He also recommends taking the stairs whenever possible and to “stand up and stretch your legs every hour or so.” Think of all that unintentional exercise you’ll be getting!

7. Get some sunshine

Vitamin D contributes to balancing mood and fatigue. While we do get it via some foods, the majority of it comes from sunlight. According to Stephen, Vitamin D is an important energy boosting vitamin that many of us are now deficient in. Spending a few minutes sitting in the sun and getting some fresh air will ultimately “boost your mood and revitalise your mind,” he says. Remember your sun safety however, ladies – always slip slop, slap!

Image via Shutterstock

August 17, 2015

The Lost Practice Of A Rest Day

“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” – Benjamin Franklin.

When was the last time you committed yourself to a lazy Sunday? Kicking back in your pj’s with a good movie is not only relaxing, it also works wonders on our health. Our commitments take up a lot of our time, we work, study, exercise, clean, garden and socialise and then we spend our weekends racing around doing errands. Seven days are never enough to get everything done and as such we’ve opted out of having a rest day. The problem with this is, in the midst of our busy lifestyles, we’re the ones that are left suffering because at the end of the day it’s our bodies that will pay the consequences.

RELATED: How To Be More Positive

It’s never easy taking a step back from our goals, ambitions, or commitments to say no, I need a day off. It takes a well-adjusted, realised person to understand how essential it is to drop everything and lounge around on the couch. Your life isn’t going anywhere if you sit down for a few hours, but your health just might.

Any physician will tell you that rest is essential for physical health. Any athlete will tell you our bodies need time to repair themselves and regenerate. Even some of mankind’s greatest philosophers would tell us our minds need rest.

Leonardo Da Vinci once said: “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.” And Ovid, the Roman poet, said, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

Our muscles need time to repair themselves so they can strengthen, our minds need time to relax if we want to achieve greatness and our bodies need rest if we want to prevent ourselves from getting run down.

From corporate to political leaders, humanitarians to police officers, successful people know and understand that our bodies are our temples and it’s our responsibility to look after them. Yes we need to eat well, remain physically active, and maintain strong emotional connections but we also need to relax. Everywhere we turn there’s articles and advertisements telling us what we should and shouldn’t be doing. But the simplest thing we can do for our health is the one we all forget.

RELATED: 7 Healthy Habits Of Naturally Energetic People

Traditionally Sunday is a rest day. To give an example of how easy this is to forget, I’m going to give an outline of my Sunday this week. I woke up early and hit the gym. When I came home I scrubbed the house from top to bottom, then I went outside raked up the leaves and mowed the lawn. Then I came inside, had a shower, and spent the rest of the afternoon working on my blog. Then come Monday I’m back at my work desk working 9-5 for the next five days. This week, and pretty much every week that’s passed for months now, I’ve neglected my rest and despite this being perfectly normal in our society, it doesn’t make it right.

This is why I’m challenging myself to rest every Sunday. To take a step back from my busy lifestyle, forget my chores and my ambitions and just relax. I can’t say I will be able to do it straight away, but I’m sure as hell going to try. So what do you say, will you join me in my pursuit for occasional laziness?

Image via www.eligiblemagazine.com 

July 18, 2015

Top Tips For Your Pregnancy Workout

Did you ever watch What To Expect When You’re Expecting? And think, I’m going to be Elizabeth Banks, who has the awful pregnancy experience while Brooklyn Decker is still wearing stilettos and going to pre-natal yoga classes. Everyone’s pregnancy is different, but staying fit and healthy during a pregnancy is good for you and your baby. However, there are certain things that you should take into consideration when you’ve got a bubba growing inside of you.

RELATED: What Dads-To-Be Can Experience During Pregnancy

There’s a certain false impression that working on those abs is going to help you push out the baby when the (terrifying) time comes but accredited exercise physiologist Kate Faber from Precision Physio is here to bust that myth, saying it’s just not going to help in the way you think it is.

kate faber, precision physio

Kate Says, “Many women (and some medical, health and fitness professionals) believe there is great need to strengthen the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, in order to assist in pushing the baby out during delivery. While this may seem logical, the abdominal muscles are not directly involved in delivering the baby – the uterus and pelvic floor are responsible for that!”

And if you’re thinking that’s not a problem, but you’ll continue to do crunches to make it easier to get that flat belly after your pregnancy, you should definitely think again about that one.

“While you may think, “well, it couldn’t hurt, right?” Unfortunately, some women will find the tighter and stronger their abdominal muscles are, the more likely they are to develop abdominal separation (diastasis recti). So it’s not always easy, but you need to find the right balance between maintaining all-over, whole-body strength (which still includes the abdominal muscles), without overdoing it and putting yourself at risk of abdominal separation,” says Kate.

Pregnancy exercise is a great way to keep yourself fit and minimize the extra weight gain that isn’t pregnancy weight but just ‘I can eat whatever I want weight’. Everyone gains weight during pregnancy, but let’s take a tip from Jessica Simpson to put down the deep fried Oreos and Southern spiced wings and keep it healthy for the baby. Eating a healthy diet and engaging in some pregnancy-friendly exercise is a great way to keep yourself fit and not have to shock your system once you’ve given birth and you’re looking to get your pre-baby bod back.

Kate also has some great pregnancy tips for the type of exercise you are looking to do. You should always take your baby’s health into consideration and see your body as a place that you are nurturing a life. Women don’t need to be completely wrapped in cotton wool when they’re pregnant, but there are safety tips to follow when considering how you’re going to work out.

Let’s take a look at Kate’s top pregnancy workout tips:

  1. Include a gradual warm-up and cool-down pre and post exercise.
  2. Exercise at an intensity that is comfortable for you – avoid unsupervised high-intensity exercise during pregnancy if you weren’t doing it before you fell pregnant.
  3. Stay well hydrated and avoid over-heating.
  4. Avoid any activities (e.g. very heavy lifting) which cause you to hold your breath or alter your posture.
  5. Beyond 16 weeks, be careful when lying on your back – you may be more comfortable in a seated or incline position.
  6. Avoid activities which increase the risk of physical injury (e.g. contact sports).
  7. If you do develop abdominal separation, seek guidance around exercises you need to include or avoid.
  8. Get moving – reduce time spent sitting and get regular exercise in!
  9. Maintain good bowel habits – go when you need to go!
  10. Practice safe manual handling techniques – whether it be at work or home.

Keeping it gentle is key and activities like walking, swimming, yoga and pilates are low impact activities that keep your body fit and build a strong cardiovascular system, which makes mum and bub healthier.

For more information about Kate Faber and Precision Physio, you can visit their website.

Images via myrtylebeachbirthservices.com and precisionathletica.com.au

July 17, 2015

Ward Off Winter With This Simple Ingredient

While ginger may be a kitchen staple for its distinct flavour, it’s also an indispensable rhizome that helps to bolster the body’s immunity and support digestion – particularly during the cooler months.

“It’s that time of year when there is less moisture in the air, so we start to experience symptoms of dryness – cracked lips, constipation, dry skin, dandruff and coughs,” says herbalist, naturopath and Lifestream wholefoods ambassador, Janella Purcell. “Ginger is a pungent flavour that has a great effect on the lungs and helps to reduce inflammation.”

But what is the best way to get the most from this often-used, potent herb? While the root in its natural form is undoubtedly beneficial, there are also convenient ways to take ginger to get the most from its warming, circulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.

As peeled ginger loses a lot of its essential oil content, extracts and dried ginger are produced from the dried and unpeeled root or rhizome, which is considered to be the most useful part of this perennial herb,” Purcell says. “I’m often busy and I travel a lot, so taking Lifestream wholefoods’ Ginger Syrup or Bioactive Ginger capsules are my winter essentials.”

Janella on the benefit of ginger

“Ginger is an ancient Chinese herb with a 2500-year-old reputation as a herbal remedy. It contains many phytochemicals that help the lungs function more effectively,” she says.

Supports the body’s detoxification

Ginger promotes your respiratory health by helping to eliminate air pollutants, tobacco smoke and perfumes out of the air passages. It also relieves congestion, as well as improves circulation to the lungs, thus reducing the severity of many chronic lung-diseases such as bronchitis.

Recommended for asthma patients

Asthma is a long-term disease that is characterised by the inflammation of the air passages of your lungs. Ginger helps control this inflammation so you feel and breathe better.

Keeps us warm, keeps us moving

 In the cooler months our bodies turn inwards and processes can slow down. Ginger warms the circulation and is particularly good for chilly hands and feet along with promoting movement to the joints, digestion, and circulation.

Relieves nausea

Ginger is also a traditional herb to relieve symptoms of nausea and motion sickness, including during pregnancy and travel. Carrying ginger capsules is an essential travel companion for those susceptible to motion sickness.

Top ways to add ginger to your day

  1. Add Lifestream ginger syrup to a green smoothie with a dash of honey. Ginger shifts that cooling green smoothie into a winter warmer
  2. Mix warm water, ginger syrup and a teaspoon of honey to make a delicious, immune-boosting cuppa (try Janella’s Healthy Moscow Mule recipe below)
  3. Take two capsules of Lifestream ginger half an hour before departure and one or two more again if necessary during travel for nausea
  4. Take two capsules an hour before pregnancy nausea tends to take hold
  5. One to three capsules daily acts as an immune, digestive and circulatory tonic

ginger, sickness, health, wellness, remedies

July 14, 2015

Has Belle Gibson Been Caught Out Lying Again?

Just when you thought disgraced health entrepreneur Belle Gibson couldn’t land herself in anymore hot water, the 23-year-old’s mum has come forward and called her bluff – again.

RELATED: Belle Gibson’s Fall From Grace

Talking to the The Australian Women’s Weekly, Gibson’s mother Natalie said she wanted to “set the record straight” after the former health guru blamed her “troubled childhood” for her problems in sorting fact from fiction.

Slamming Gibson’s family troubles as “a load of rubbish,” she said: “Her brother is not autistic and she’s barely done a minute’s housework in her life. I’ve practically worked myself into an early grave to give that girl everything she wanted in life.

“I just couldn’t sit by and let her say these things about her family.”

Gibson, who last month confessed to lying about having cancer and building her The Whole Pantry empire off the back of a false story, tried to pardon herself with the tale of growing up without parental guidance. “It was my responsibility to do grocery shopping, do the washing, arrange medical appointments and pick up my brother. I didn’t have any toys,” she recently told the Women’s Weekly.

“I think my life has just got so many complexities around it and within it, that it’s just easier to assume [I’m lying].”

Well, her mum Natalie is calling bullshit and told the magazine that the 23-year-old needed to apologise for her actions and spend a good part of her life repaying her debts and doing volunteer work. “She’s got to look inside her own soul. The only way she is going to get forgiveness is to stop playing the victim card and spend the next few years doing nothing but charity work for cancer victims.”

While Belle still hasn’t issued an official apology, because let’s face it – “respectfully coming to the table” and asking  “to heal and grow” is far from a sincere sorry, her mother has stepped up to offer condolences. “I can’t tell you how embarrassed we are about what she has done. And we sincerely wish to apologise for anyone who was deceived by Belle.”

What happens now is anyone’s guess. Will Gibson respond to her mother’s claims? Will she finally take full responsibility for her actions and try and make amends? Or is it too little too late?

What do you think?

Image via Daily Mail

May 18, 2015

Sip The Health Benefits Of Tea

I love walking into the tea aisle in the supermarket. It’s almost like the confectionary aisle for grown ups. It’s no longer just English breakfast and earl grey, tea has come such a long way over the last couple of years. It’s not just for pinky waving nannies anymore; tea is trendy.

RELATED: The Surprise Benefits In Your Morning Coffee

A huge percentage of the population drink coffee, but tea is on the uprising, not just for the taste and flavours, but for the benefits to brings to the body. Teatoxes are a thing and Twinings now have more flavours of tea than Cadbury does of chocolate. It might be time to ditch the double shot soy caramel latte for a nice, hot cuppa tea to rejuvenate and relax.

Black Tea

Black tea contains a lot of caffeine, so it has similar benefits to coffee in relation to giving you alertness, fat burning and more, except that it also contains two types of antioxidants that have been linked to lower cholesterol levels. Drinking two or more cups of black tea per day has also been linked to lowering the risk of a stroke.

Green Tea

Green tea contains lots of antioxidants that may interfere with the growth of some types of cancer. Green tea also prevents clogging of the arteries, thus helping to reduce cholesterol levels and stroke and can also be a fat burner, so grab a cup!

White Tea

No, this isn’t adding milk to your cup of English breakfast. White tea is given its name because of the soft, downy hairs on the buds. White tea is the highest in antioxidants and the lowest in caffeine. It’s also said that white tea has the highest cancer fighting properties.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea has been found to lower levels of bad cholesterol, which is one of the great benefits of tea.

Chamomile

Chamomile tea has very soothing benefits and has also been shown to help stop side effects of diabetes like loss of vision and nerve damage. Chamomile is also said to stunt the growth of cancer cells.

Image via rivertea.com

May 13, 2015

5 Essential Foods For A Better Body

If you want a better body then you need to consider your diet. You need to look at the nutrients you consume and plan for a balanced diet. Cut out excess takeaways, fast foods and products high in saturated fat and boost the number of ‘superfoods’ you consume on a regular basis. Here’s 5 things to get into your diet straight away in your quest for a better body:

Broccoli

This traditional green veg has earned a bit of an image makeover in recent years, with many people realising that the health benefits it possesses make it an essential food for a healthy body. It contains vitamins C, A and K natural folic acid, calcium, fibre, (notably indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane). The British Dietetic Association guards against the more headline-grabbing claims that broccoli can combat cancer, heart disease and diabetes – but says it is a healthy and versatile food, making it an essential part of your diet.

Brown rice

This is a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, vitamin B-6 and niacin and also provides you with iron and zinc. It’s filling so will satisfy your hunger for a long time. The ‘polishing’ process of creating white rice removes many of the nutrients that brown rice contains so making a simple switch to this will give you a much healthier option without involving a big change.

Berries

Whether it’s blueberries, cranberries or strawberries – get plenty of berries into your diet for a better body. Strawberries are high in folic acid and contain more vitamin C than oranges, blueberries get their colour from powerful antioxidants while cranberries support healthy bacteria. All berries are a good source of fibre – leaving you feeling full and avoiding the need to snack on sugary treats.

Pomegranate

This fabulous fruit is rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenols which can help to combat disease, making it one of the most powerful fruits when it comes to health. The seeds are ideal in salads or a host of other dishes while the juice can be a refreshing drink. Avoid buying drinks laced with too much sugar.

Dark chocolate

Yes, chocolate really can be good for you. Dark chocolate – ideally with more than 70% cocoa content since it’s the cocoa that you need – has a number of potential benefits. It is a good source of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc. It also contains the antioxidants catechins and procyanidins. Beware some of the grand promises you may have read but dark chocolate can help with blood pressure and stress levels.

These five foods are essential to getting a diet that will help give you a better body but getting the right mix can be very tough. That’s why you should also consider the sensible use of supplements. Don’t use these instead of food but to make sure you get everything you need – particularly if your better body is part of a project to get fitter, more toned or enhance your sporting performance. Fysique Nutrition is the latest brand in this field and has a variety of products that can help towards your better body.

May 8, 2015

How To Create A Healthy Habit

It’s said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, but for those of us who take a little longer, let’s extend it to a month. Giving yourself adequate time is one of the most important factors in creating a new healthy habit, as it means that you are putting aside minutes of your day to do this one thing that you will continue to do for a lifetime once you’ve created it.

RELATED: How To Kick Bad Eating Habits

Healthy habits such as exercise, meditation, eating well and reading are often put on the back burner for ‘now’ objectives like work, television shows and nights out. But our bodies need us to create healthy habits to keep them in peak condition, so that we can better handle whatever life decides to throw at us.

Creating a healthy habit isn’t easy. It takes hard work and a bit of dedication, but once it becomes a habit, it becomes much easier to achieve every day. If you’re looking to create a healthy habit, follow our top tips on how to make it happen.

1. Set aside time

Set aside time for you to do your healthy habit everyday. Once you have the time, you will be more inclined to do it because you will feel like you can. This may mean shuffling around responsibilities, but your health is important and it deserves time too. Whether it means getting to the gym for an hour, or putting aside time to cut up vegetables for the day, health needs your time and effort.

2. Use your calendar

Use your calendar to mark down the days that you achieved your healthy habit. Use something that stands out, like a cross or a star on the days you accomplished what you wanted to do and try to keep this going for a solid month. By then, marking your calendar may well become a habit, too, and you can continue to keep track of how you are going.

3. Patience and perseverance

Keep at it. Keep trying and don’t give up. Be patient with yourself and allow your body and brain to become accustomed to something new.

4. Write down your goals

Everything becomes more official when you write it down on paper. Marriage certificates, divorce papers and loans are signed off on, so why not do the same and make a contract with yourself. Write down what you want so you know exactly what you’re working for and how you’re going to do it.

5. Prepare yourself

Maybe this means buying a gym membership, maybe it’s buying vegetables, or perhaps it means getting a yoga mat. Whatever it is, invest in the necessary equipment to ensure you have a strong base to work off.

Image via cereal4brekkie.org.au

April 27, 2015

5 Celeb Men Who Are Regulars At The Day Spa

Gone are the days when men required just a quick shave to look good, now it’s taking almost as much effort as females to get ready. With celeb heartthrobs making beauty treatments are “cool” thing to do for men, there’s been a growing increase in the number of males visiting their local day spa and indulging in some pampering.

Contrary to popular belief, a trip to the day spa is not just a feminine activity. Thanks to celebs like George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Keith Richards, David Beckham and many others; the day spa is no longer the dominion of women. More attention to beauty is now are regular thing for men – manicures are no longer just a female luxury, waxing is more widespread than just the back or chest area and facials are actually a way to spoil yourself.

These days, men are taking a lot more pride in their physical appearance and want to look great in the public eye. Day spa treatments for men are booming in popularity so we decided to check out the top male celebs that are regular goers at their local day spa and exactly just what treatments they get.

1. David Beckham

Crowned the biggest male beauty icon last year, David Beckham is renowned for his sexy well-groomed looks. From regular at-home beauty treatments with his wife Victoria Beckham, the footballing legend has indulged in the likes of Botox injections, facials and waxing. Both Beckhams’ have given the bird poo treatment a go and swear by the Japanese face mask which acts as an exfoliate and unclogs pores. It is believed this beautifying facial was recommended to the Beckhams by Tom Cruise.

Beckham’s attention to detail and pride in the way he looks has sparked inspiration all over the world, with many men following closely in his footsteps. Thanks to his regular beauty treatments, David Beckham regularly tops male celeb polls for his handsome and fashionable style.

2. Snoop Dogg

This rap superstar is known for posting pictures on his Instagram account showing off his freshly manicured French nail. Occasionally mixing up his style with Rasta graphics and dollar sign prints on his nails, Snoop Dogg is definitely guilty of enjoying the odd beauty treatment – and loves it too!

And why shouldn’t he? It’s been proven that such beauty treatments offer a much needed way for people to spoil themselves and feel good. According to a study done by lastminute.com, the top reason men listed for taking a trip to their local day spa was simply for a “pick-me-up” – and almost everyone can relate to that. Other male celebs that too have enjoyed the odd manicure or pedicure include Johnny Depp, Al Pacino and Keith Richards, just to name a few.

3. Jay Z

Rap icon Jay Z has also proven that regular trips to your local day spa are definitely a normal part of life – even if you are a guy. Known for his regular appearances at New York day spa Skin by Mamie, Jay Z pampers himself with hydrating facials and skin extractions to stay looking fresh and sexy.

Usher too has been known to indulge in a variety of facials at the same day spa, proving these beauty treatments are pretty contagious for those male celebs. Even if the trend has stemmed from female partners motivating their men to pay more attention to their looks and attend day spas as a couple, the benefits these treatments are having on men are undeniable.

4. George Clooney

As far as handsome and well-groomed men go, actor George Clooney is definitely up there with the very best. Closely followed by Brad Pitt, these guys know what it takes to look (and feel) great. Famously known for his ridiculously good looks and extremely toned figure, Clooney goes all out with his beauty treatments.

Whilst the norm – facials, waxing and the occasional Botox treatment – is on Clooney’s list of beauty rituals, he has inspired a new Hollywood craze in your not-so-average beauty treatments. Referred to as “tightening the tackle”, celeb men are becoming increasingly motivated to get the skin on their genital area “ironed” out thanks to various comments made by Clooney to get it done instead of his eyes.

It’s become a Clooney-inspired cosmetic treatment that like a women’s Brazilian wax, will eventually become very much of the norm. A similar procedure to that of an eye lift, the cosmetic treatment is said to offer men some pleasing results.

5. P.Diddy

In a bid to look luscious for the ladies, P.Diddy has admitted on many occasions his chosen beauty treatment – waxing, down there. Urging all men to follow in his footsteps, P.Diddy has expressed the importance of such beauty treatments to keep things “in shape” for their female lovers. To top off his regular day spa visits, P.Diddy is also known to treat himself to a manicure and pedicure too.

By Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Keturah Day Spa, Australia’s multi award winning spas for relaxing and pampering treatments for men

April 24, 2015

How To Get The Ultimate Night’s Sleep

Counting sheep yet staying up all night? Sleep expert and Chairman of the Sleep Health Foundation, David Hillman, shares his top tips to help you get the ultimate night’s sleep!

1. Set the mood for slumber

Your room should be quiet and dark. Before you go to sleep, be sure to turn off the lights and any other stimuli such as the TV and completely close your blinds or curtains.

2. Sleep in a clean and pleasant environment

You know the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’? Well, a mess-free and uncluttered room will help aide a clear and undistracted mind. Spend just a few minutes each night tidying your bedroom before you get into bed. Instead of throwing your clothes on the floor, hang them up or fold them neatly in a pile to be put away properly later.

3. Get the room temperature right

There’s nothing worse than a freezing cold bedroom at night. An hour before you’re ready to hit the sack, get your room temperature right by closing the windows and adjusting the air conditioner or heater in winter. You’ll sleep better when you have the balance right.

4. Avoid interruptions

Switch your phone to silent mode so if it rings or you get a message you won’t be woken. If your partner is noisy then ear plugs can help block out the snoring or restless noises. Similarly eye masks are a great sleep companion whether at home or away, to help eliminate light and movement.

5. Choose the right bed and bedding 

It’s essential to have the right bed and bedding. Have an expert help you pick your mattress and pillow. You’ll be surprised what a huge difference this can make!

6. Manage jet lag 

If you’re travelling across time zones, help your body clock adapt more quickly to the time at your destination by adjusting your watch and phone as soon as you get on the plane. Try to eat meals and sleep as you will in your new time zone as soon as you can to make the adjustment process easier.

7. Bring a piece of home with you 

For some, sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings is difficult, no matter how comfortable it is. Keep to familiar routines. Bringing a few personal items from home (e.g. a photograph, a mug, reading material) may help you to relax and bring familiarity to your new location.

8. Wind down and relax before bed 

Have a buffer zone before bedtime. Sort out any problems well before going to bed. This may mean setting aside ‘worry time’ during the day. Use this time to go over the day’s activities and work out a plan of action for the next day. Try to avoid using your computer within one hour of bedtime, instead pick up a magazine or book to help take your mind off any problems. Exercise is fine, but not too late in the evening. Find a relaxation technique that works for you.

9. Spend the right amount of time in bed

Most adults need about eight hours sleep every night. Many poor sleepers spend much more than eight hours in bed and this makes fragmented sleep a habit. Except if you have lengthy sleep requirements, limit your time in bed to no more than eight and a half hours. If you often take hours to fall asleep, go to bed later or try reading to help you drift off. Remember that children need more sleep than adults.

10. Things to avoid… 

Alcohol may help you to get off to sleep, but will disrupt your sleep during the night. Caffeine (tea, coffee, cola drinks) and the nicotine in cigarettes are stimulants that can keep you awake. Instead, choose special blends of herbal tea that encourage sleep. Steer clear of sleeping pills except in exceptional circumstances and as advised by your doctor, they won’t fix the cause of your sleeping problem.

What’s your best tip for a good night’s sleep?

April 8, 2015

How To Avoid The PMS Pig Out

For three weeks out of four, following a healthy eating plan can seem like a piece of cake (or celery), but then PMS strikes and all attempts at following a sensible strategy are lost. Here, Ms Colette Heimowitz, nutritionist and vice president of nutrition and education at Atkins Nutritionals Inc, provides five tips to keep you on track.

“The key is putting strategies in place to combat your PMS cravings,” Ms Heimowitz said.

According to Heimowitz, common premenstrual symptoms include feeling bloated and heavy, lethargic, a ‘bit blue’, and powerful cravings for chocolate and sugar laden foods – many of which can be combated by following a carbohydrate-controlled eating program, such as the Atkins Nutritional Approach.

“In the lead up to ‘that time’, many women may find themselves unable to resist reaching for high carbohydrate, starchy foods such as white bread and white pasta, as well as sweet foods such as lollies, chocolate and pastries – all of which may seem to be a quick fix to boost energy levels and ward off the premenstrual blues, but in actual fact will only lead to a vicious cycle of sugar-highs and lows,” Ms Heimowitz said.

So how can we combat the symptoms of PMS – and the (often) resulting pig out?

Colette Heimowitz’s top five tips for battling the bloat and keeping hormones and blood sugar levels in check include:

1. Avoid stepping on the scales

Many women may hold water and experience weight gain in the lead up to and during their menstrual cycle. Normal weight fluctuation is 2.5 kilograms, and some women may experience gains slightly higher than this during ‘that time’. Seeing your weight increase – or, if you are trying to lose weight, seeing weight loss stall – can be disheartening. Stick to healthy eating and exercise and wait to weigh yourself until after your cycle.

2. Carbohydrate control is key

Adopting a carbohydrate-controlled approach (such as Atkins) is an excellent way to curb your carb and sugar cravings – both in the lead up to and during menstruation, and every other day of the year. Not to mention the fact that high-carb foods are often the culprits of belly bloating and weight gain.

By cutting out processed carbohydrates and sugar-laden foods – such as white bread, chips and lollies – and building your diet around fresh, whole foods – such as lean protein (including meat, poultry, fish, tofu and legumes), plenty of leafy green and fibrous vegetables, healthy natural oils ,dairy, nuts, low sugar fruits , and whole grains– you will find your cravings for high-carb, high-sugar foods will decrease, belly bloating will lesson and you will be on your way to a healthier figure and lifestyle.

3. Never skip a meal or snack

A golden rule for weight management in general, ensuring you eat regular meals and snacks is even more important during menstruation. Eating regularly will help keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel, reducing cravings for high-carb and sugar-laden foods.

4. Exercise

Even light exercise, such as walking or jogging, will encourage your body to produce endorphins – a naturally occurring chemical in your body that boosts mood, and is often considered an elixir of happiness. So if PMS has you feeling blue, one of the best cures is to get off the couch and get your body moving!

5. Keep healthy snacks on hand that will satiate cravings

Craving chocolate or sugar? Keep in mind that caving in to the sweet will only result in your blood sugar levels peaking and then dropping, leaving you feeling worse off than before. Reaching for a low GI, whole food snack – rather than a sugar-laden one – will keep you feeling full for longer and keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel.

If you really can’t pass up the chocolate or sweets, try a low-carb option instead, such as a bar or shake from the Atkins range. High in protein and fibre but low in sugar and carbohydrates – they taste like your regular favourites so will satisfy cravings and you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

April 7, 2015

5 Tips To Help You Fall Asleep Fast

Getting good sleep is important for your health, happiness and productivity, but it’s not always an easy task to do. Isn’t it frustrating when you decide to take charge of your daily routine and go to bed early, only to find yourself tossing and turning for hours after that? While frustration doesn’t help (if anything, it’ll make you stay awake longer), here some things that do.

RELATED: Tips To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

1. Turn off screens an hour or two before bed time.

The blue light from our devices suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin and tricks our minds into believing that it’s still day time.

2. Avoid caffeine in the second half of the day.

It takes 5-7 hours for half of the caffeine to leave your body. It takes even longer to eliminate all the caffeine from your system, so if you have a cup of coffee in the afternoon or at night, it can affect your sleep.

3. Read a non-fiction book.

Do you love reading before bed? A good fiction book can easily keep you awake all night. Change it to non-fiction and notice your eyes starting to close only a few minutes later.

4. Listen to a podcast or meditation.

Meditation can help you relax, but if you find your mind wandering back to your worries too often, listening to a podcast can be a better idea. If it’s engaging enough, it will distract you from your own thoughts just enough to help you drift off to sleep.

5. Count your blessings.

Research has found that having a gratitude practice helps get more sleep and better quality of sleep. If you practice counting your blessings at bed time, it can also help you fall asleep faster. Instead of counting sheep, challenge yourself to find ten things in your day that you’re grateful for. Don’t be surprised if you’re asleep long before you get to ten!

Image by AlexVan via pixabay.com

January 11, 2015

Zombieland: Insomnia Causes And Cures

A Japanese legend says that if you can’t sleep at night it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream.” – Anonymous

If you’re ever unlucky enough to suffer a serious bout of ongoing insomnia, you can see why sleep deprivation is such an effective psychological torture technique. For it’s debilitating, stressful and frustrating in the extreme – you’re desperate to sleep, but yet you just can’t. So, you have a glass of red, thinking it will help, and so the vicious cycle continues…

RELATED: Therapy Options For Better Sleep

So, what is insomnia, you may ask? The Australasian Sleep Association’s definition of it is if you have difficulty “falling asleep, going back to sleep or waking too early” and you have periods in bed when you are awake for longer than 30 minutes.

And if you suffer from insomnia, you’re not alone – several Australian surveys have revealed up to one third of people reported having at least one insomnia symptom (such as difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep) each month.

Of course, life throws you curveballs, so the widespread pervasiveness of insomnia is no surprise given many of us are battling major life stressors, such as separation, divorce or death of a spouse, partner or family member.

It’s been said that the cost of insomnia to the Australian economy is $220 billion annually in medical andlost productivity costs. For lack of adequate sleep doesn’t just make you feel shitty, it goes hand-in-hand with many health problems such as impaired concentration and memory and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and industrial and motor vehicle accidents.

What’s more, insomnia is also a risk factor for depression and anxiety, although it can also be a symptom of these conditions.

Now, all this is terribly depressing, so here’s a fun fact: some sleep experts say most patients with insomnia are not actually sleep deprived, but just perceive poor quality sleep. So, is it all in the mind, a lot of the time? Does stressing about not getting enough sleep, turn us into stressed-out zombies? Sleep experts say while the average night’s sleep for an adult is around eight hours, some people only need five. So, what seems like insomnia to one person might be considered a good sleep by another.

insomnia, sleep disorders, anxiety

So, are there any miracle cures for insomnia? These expert-approved healthy sleep habits sure may help:

  • Limit alcohol: Many people think grog can aid sleep. Bah-bum! While it can help you drop off to sleep by making your more relaxed, it f***s you up later as it fragments sleep, making you wake more often.
  • Develop a wind-down routine, which you can use to relax you in the 30 to 60 minutes before bed. This could include meditation or having a drink of warm milk (the protein in milk can help bring on sleep).
  • Avoid drinks containing caffeine (such as tea, coffee and some soft drinks) for at least three hours bedtime.
  • Have a hot bath a couple of hours before retiring.
  • Avoid exercise for the three hours before bedtime.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, dim and coolish. Being too hot prevents deep sleep.
  • Expose your eyes to bright sunlight for 15 to 30 minutes without sunglasses when you first get up. This helps turn off the brain’s production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and so helps regulate your body clock. Ensure you are not exposed to bright light in the evening or when you are trying to sleep.
  • Restrict your bedroom activities to sleep and sex. Don’t read or watch TV in bed.
  • Once in bed, if you aren’t asleep in 20 to 30 minutes, get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel drowsy again. This may include reading a book, listening to music or doing breathing or relaxation exercises. Keep the light dim and do not smoke, drink coffee or tea, or use the computer. Then when drowsy, go back to bed and try again. If you still aren’t asleep again, after 20 to 30 minutes, repeat the previous step.
  • A regular rising time – regardless of the quality of sleep the night before – is actually more important. That means avoiding sleep-ins while you’re trying to fix an insomnia problem.
  • Only go to bed if you feel sleepy. Delay your sleep-time, if necessary.

insomnia, sleep disorders, anxiety

Main image via www.blackswanwellness.com; secondary image via veryfunnypics.eu and final imafe via www.huffingtonpost.com

December 17, 2014

Top Five Christmas Stress-Busters

Has Christmas stress got you reaching for the eggnog and/or Veuve Clicquot and Christmas cake you stashed away early for your party guests? Or, instead of gift-shopping, are you fantasising about punching Santa Claus in the face?

Related: How To Prevent School Holiday Hell

Never fear, help is at hand to combat that crazy Christmas stress thanks to Escape Haven Wellness Retreats and founder, Janine Hall. Here, Janine (pictured) shares her top wellness tips to destress and decrease your waistline over the silly season.

Janine is a wellness expert who’s been helping women unwind at her Bali, Byron Bay, Portugal and Morocco retreats since 2010.

Having founded the retreats in an aim to bring peace and well-being to the lives of increasingly stressed out women, Janine 40, recognises how hard it is to find time to yourself to unwind during the festive season.

However, she says these quick and easy stress-busters, see below, will help save your sanity in the busy holiday period. What’s more, stress is one of the biggest contributors of women’s weight gain, as well as other symptoms including loss of sex drive, nausea, headaches and frequent colds.

“When we experience stress, cortisol – also known as the stress hormone – is released which leads to high levels of fat being deposited in the abdominal area. An area of fat many women struggle to lose,” Janine says. “Many women will also emotionally eat when they are stressed, and not pay attention to the foods they are ingesting.

“Women will often put their family and careers ahead of their own well-being, and this is has a long-term negative affect on both their health, particularly their weight.”

reduce stress, work/life balance, wellness, wellbeing, stress

Top Five Christmas Stress-Busters:

  1. Think happy and be happy. Your thoughts are extremely powerful and can have a major impact on the way you act and look at life. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to take a few deep breaths from your stomach and think about what makes you happy and calm. You’ll begin to see an instant mood raiser.
  2. Take time out to feel and think. For a few minutes each day, take the time to switch off your mind. Going on a walk and getting some fresh air can help give you a fresh perspective on the day. Taking the time to experience nature and immerse yourself with your surroundings will help give you a sense of calm and inner peace, giving you the strength to combat any problems you may encounter.
  3. Aromatherapy is your best friend. Scent is one of our most powerful senses, and can have a profound impact on how we feel in our day-to-day lives. Using calming oils can easily promote a tranquil and soothing mood. Try using different scents to evoke different moods such as energising, calming, and relaxing – the possibilities are endless!
  4. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is key to maintaining health and well-being. Without a proper night’s sleep, you will find yourself irritable and easily stressed out. Giving yourself the time to sleep provides you with good energy levels and will also help you to feel better and make calmer decisions.
  5. Don’t take things so seriously. Remember to take the time to enjoy yourself; laughter is so important to our overall well-being. Joking around will help boost your mood and fight off small worries.

happymotherhappychild
For more information on Escape Haven, visit www.escapehaven.com.

December 8, 2014

20 Reasons Why Coconut Oil Is Your New Household Essential

By now you probably have at least one jar of coconut oil stocked in your pantry, bathroom and possibly even your bedroom thanks to the myriad uses it offers, but did you know you could eliminate almost half of the chemical-laden cleaning products under your sink and replace them with nature’s wonder oil, too? Not only is organic virgin coconut oil an all-natural, environmentally friendly solution to the toxic ingredients found in many household products, but also a sure-fire way to de-clutter your cupboards and cut the cost of expensive cleaning supplies.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Coconut Oil Has Officially Gone To Dogs

Coconut Guru and author of cookbook Going Coconuts, Brynley King, isn’t just a whiz in the kitchen but also knows a thing or two about taking a more natural approach to tackling those tiresome household chores. Below are her top 20 uses for coconut oil in and around the house – and some of them may just surprise you!

1. Stain remover: Undiluted oil cleans ink and crayon stains from most household furniture. Blot the stain to ensure it doesn’t smear, or mix with baking soda to remove stains from carpet.

2. Leather cleaner: Use a small amount to moisturise leather and make it shine like new.

3. Gum remover: Get sticky gum off any surface – even hair! Just rub the oil in, let it sit, then wipe off.

4. Furniture polish: Perfect on wood when mixed with a little lemon juice (but be sure to do a patch test first!).

5. Rust remover: Let oil soak into rusty surface for a couple of hours before rubbing off.

6. Lubricate squeaky hinges: A moderate amount of oil on any squeaky door or window is the best all-natural lubricant.

7. Sanitize chopping board: Wipe a small amount on wooden chopping board to clean, sanitize and moisturise.

8. Sticky label remover: Soak area with oil for a few minutes before wiping off with a clean cloth.

9. Bronze polish: Get bronze items back to their true colour with a coating of oil and a gentle rub.

10. Indoor plant cleaner: Clean and reveal a glossy finish by wiping a small amount on leaves.

11. Shower cleaner: Remove soap scum from showers and sinks by using oil and white vinegar on a clean cloth.

12. Paintbrush conditioner: Use on brushes and hands after painting with oil-based products instead of mineral spirits.

13. Guitar string lubricant: A tiny amount wiped on each guitar string lubricates and cleans.

14. BBQ cleaner: A dollop of oil and an old rag is perfect for cleaning dirty BBQ grills.

15. Scissor lubricator: Great for gliding onto blades for more effective cutting.

16. Pots and pans seasoner: Cast iron cookware can be seasoned with oil for a lifetime of use.

17. Stain preventer: Wipe a small amount on the inside of plastic food containers to ensure no food stain residue.

18. Retainer and mouth guard cleaner: Rub into retainer and let it sit for a few hours before rinsing off to clean and prevent bacteria.

19. Water mark preventer: Smear oil around your sink with a clean cloth to prevent watermarks and make it sparkle.

20. Hand degreaser: Mix oil with baking soda and rub grease from hands.

November 29, 2014

5 Foods For Better Sleep

Having trouble sleeping? You may need to have a look at your diet. Healthy, varied diet is important for good quality of sleep and there are foods that can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

RELATED: Tips To Get A Good Nights Sleep

Nuts

Almonds and walnuts both contain tryptophan, an amino acid which helps with the production of melatonin and serotonin (hormones responsible for regulating your sleep cycle).

Cherries

Cherries, especially tart cherries or sour cherries, are a natural source of melatonin and also a good source of Vitamin C and potassium, which are nutrients promoting healthy sleep. A research from the Louisiana State University found that drinking tart cherry juice twice a day can help insomnia sufferers increase sleep time by close to 90 minutes a day.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates make the tryptophan available to the brain, that’s why a light carbohydrate snack before bed can make you sleepy. Try some oatmeal, an oat cookie, a bowl of cereal or whole-grain crackers.

Green leafy vegetables

Veggies like kale, broccoli and spinach are a rich source of calcium, another essential nutrient for good sleep, so don’t forget to add some salad to your dinner!

Herbal tea

We all need time to wind down and a cup of herbal tea can be an enjoyable part of your bedtime ritual. Chamomile, passionflower and lemon balm are well known for their relaxing qualities.

When it comes to changing your diet to improve your sleep, also consider avoiding caffeine later in the day and large meals too close to bedtime. Avoid fatty processed foods at night, too, they put high demands on your digestive system and contribute to a restless night.  Alcohol, contrary to the common believe is not a great sleep helper either. A drink or two may make you feel sleepy, but a few hours later it will cause wakefulness and discomfort.

Image by Hans via pixabay.com

November 25, 2014

Preparing Your Body For Pregnancy

Preconception care prepares your body for a successful, healthy pregnancy and is one of the most responsible choices you can make for you and your baby’s health. It helps eliminate harmful substances from your diet known to affect reproductive and general health and foetal development and should be considered by everyone looking to start a family.

“You need a healthy body to make a healthy baby,” explained naturopath and author, Lisa Guy. “It takes three months for female eggs to mature and four months for sperm to mature which is why it is so important to consider preconception care as early as possible, at least four months in advance, to increase your chances of a successful, healthy pregnancy.”

“Being healthy while trying to conceive is vital for both you and your baby. The preconception period is the time to make life changes for you and your partner that can help boost fertility, reduce problems during pregnancy and assist in recovery from birth,” added Lisa.

Here, Lisa outlines her essential tips for preconception care;

1. Examine your diet

At no other time in your life is your diet more important than before, during and straight after pregnancy. Eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet is vital and will increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. Try to include at least five portions of fruit or vegetables, protein, fish and some iron-rich food in your diet and make fast food and sweets an occasional treat.

2. Take essential supplements

Although nothing takes away from the significance of a healthy, well-balanced pre-pregnancy diet, nutritional supplementation is extremely important and is known to help prevent congenital defects and malformations often caused by nutritional deficiencies. Taking a supplement every day is a small change that will pay big rewards. When planning pregnancy, there are three essential vitamins and minerals your body needs:

  • Folic Acid: Essential for healthy foetal development and reducing the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida, folic acid is crucial in pre-pregnancy. You should consider taking folic acid three months prior to conception. Each FABFOL tablet contains 500mcg of folic acid which is the recommended daily intake for the Australian diet.
  • Zinc: Zinc works to support and strengthen the immune system and is important for hormone balance and to boost fertility.
  • Omega 3: Increasing the intake of omega 3 fats helps support reproductive health.pregnancy

3. Kick unhealthy habits

Making some important lifestyle changes is a great way to prepare for pregnancy and will help ensure a healthy conception. Avoid anything that poses a health risk to you and your baby such as alcohol, cigarettes and some prescription medication.

4. Visit your GP

A trip to your GP for a preconception consult is also important when you begin thinking about starting a family. Your GP will provide you with expert advice on planning your pregnancy, discuss any health problems or concerns, lifestyle issues, diet and organise any essential pre-pregnancy immunisations.

FABFOL has all your nutritional needs covered pre, during and post pregnancy, so all you need to focus on is your growing baby and is available from pharmacies nationally. FABFOL 56 tablets RRP $24.95.

November 17, 2014

Are You A Morning Person Or An Evening Person?

Have you ever wondered why you always hit the snooze button for an extra 15 to 30 minutes of sleep in the morning? A whitepaper by Royal Philips, the global leader in lighting, has compiled insights from over 10 years of ongoing research  on the effect of light on our sleep/wake cycle or “circadian rhythm”.

RELATED: How To Stop Screens From Stealing Your Sleep

 

It reveals that the amount and quality of light you are exposed to every day may be responsible for your Monday morning blues. Indeed, light ultimately dictates whether you are a morning person or a night owl.

Lighting, whether natural or artificial, affects all life on our planet. In humans, it plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythm, one of our natural biorhythms or body clock. Our circadian rhythm is not naturally in sync with our artificial clock. Instead it is a little slower running for 24 hours and 30 minutes on average. This means we are naturally inclined to sleep and wake 30 minutes later each day. If this slower rhythm is not regulated then by the end of the week our sleep/wake cycle could be off by more than 2 hours and we would be hitting that snooze button quite frequently.

Regulating our circadian rhythm

Alarm clocks offer one way to manage the time lag created by our naturally slower circadian rhythm. But we have recently discovered that a specific quality of light hitting the photoreceptors in our eyes not only regulates our internal body clock, but can actually reset it every single day.

For millennia, we like many animals, have used the rising and setting sun to regulate our body clock without realizing it. Today, high intensity artificial blue-rich light is also capable of resetting our body clock because of its qualitative resemblance to natural morning light. As we have a natural tendency to sleep in, our modern 9 to 5 lifestyle means we may be getting too little sleep during the working week and lying in at the weekends. Longer sleep at the weekend may compensate for the lack of rest during the week, but can reset a later circadian rhythm the following week, resulting in that ‘Monday morning blues’ feeling. 

“The message from nature is clear,” says Light and Sleep Scientist at Philips Research, Luc Schlangen. “Our bodies have evolved a kind of steering wheel, constantly adjusting the sleep wake cycle, driven by light, allowing us to adapt to the differing daylight lengths during the seasons. We can help regulate our body clock through lighting by providing light injections at appropriate times, for instance through brighter office lighting on Monday mornings.”

Exposure to blue-rich morning light can speed up our circadian rhythm to wake us up earlier and improve the daily functioning of people with an early morning lifestyle. 

Lighting Expert Professor Derk Jan Dijk, University of Surrey adds, “Dimming lights a few hours before bedtime facilitates a more rapid onset to sleep and it will prevent your body clock from being shifted to later hours. If you want to shift your clock to earlier hours it is good to be exposed to light and specifically high intensity blue-rich light,  when you wake up.”

Philips dedicates 5 per cent of its lighting sales revenue to R&D, and is testing and developing a series of energy efficient lighting products for homes, offices, schools and hospital environments that can variously improve alertness, productivity, calm, sleep and mood. 

October 6, 2014

Top Foods For Fighting Daylight Savings Fatigue

The clocks going forward (in the south-eastern states of Australia) we will have sacrificed an hour of sleep for the privilege of an extra hour of daylight. Never fear, Janine Allis, founder of Boost Juice has called out her favourite foods for fighting fatigue.

RELATED: The Health Benefits Of Wine

Janine Allis’ Top Foods for Fighting Fatigue

Bananas

Being full of antioxidants and healthy carbohydrates, Banana’s are the optimal fruit for instant energy. They are easily digestible with natural sugars that break down quickly for a rapid energy boost.

Oranges

Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C and natural sugars. They’re best eaten fresh and with pulp, and are a good source of fibre that provides increased energy levels.

Strawberries

Strawberries are a bona fide superfood and provide a delicious way to combat fatigue. They contain are full of antioxidants are also super low in calories.

Pineapple

Pineapples are a rich source of manganese, an essential element for energy production. They are a rich source of fibre and are great for boosting your immune system.

Kale

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s high in minerals, great for an energy boost and is a key source of calcium.

Honey

Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates and is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting performance.

October 6, 2014

The Health Benefits of Wine

Aussies love wine, and we’re not bad at making it either. Not only is Australia consistently ranked among the world’s top wine-producing regions, our wine is now sold in over 100 countries around the world. Australian wines have taken home prizes from nearly every international wine competition, and we hold the record for the sale price of a single bottle (predictably, it was an early Grange vintage that sold for $50,000 at auction in 2004).

RELATED: TGIF Tequila Cocktail Recipe

Health and wine: Where did it all start?

Wine has long been associated with a wide range of remedial benefits, and is the world’s earliest documented man-made medicine. Significantly, it has a credible history of use as a primitive form of medication “being recommended variously as a safe alternative to drinking water, an antiseptic for treating wounds, a digestive aid and as a cure for a wide range of aliments, including lethargy and diarrhoea.”

Resveratrol – A magic ingredient?

Of the many chemicals contained in red wine, resveratrol is a phenolic antioxidant that was discovered in 1939, and since has been subject to extensive clinical study and investigation. In addition to grape skins, the chemical is also found in peanuts, blueberries and cranberries.

“Resveratrol is a stilbenoidphenolic compound found in wine, produced in the grape skins and in the leaves of grape vines. It has received a lot of attention in both the media and medical research community for its potential health benefits.”

Findings from animal tests have been favourable for resveratrol to date; it was seen to lower blood sugar levels in mice, and improve cardiovascular function, while extending the longevity of fish.

Furthermore, the compound “has been shown to be a potent biological agent that may offer protection against cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

Although red wine and white vine grape varieties produce similar amounts of resveratrol on the vine, red wine ultimately contains more than white, since red wines are produced by maceration (soaking the grape skins in the must).

Thus, red wine is widely recognized to have more health benefits than white wine. The length of time that grapes are left to ferment determines the amount of the chemical that the finished wine contains.

FACT: Red wine has more antioxidants than açaí juice

But it doesn’t end with resveratrol, red wine is full of polyphenols including proanthocyanidin; a powerful antioxidant. In fact, some red wines have more antioxidants than commercial grape juice, raw blueberries and even miracle fruits like açaí. In the fruit juice category, a full-bodied red wine will even beat pomegranate juice.

Wines with highest quantities of antioxidants are generally the darkest red in colour. Since antioxidants come from the pips and skins of a grape, as well as from contact with oak, full-bodied red wines that have been aged in oak will have the highest antioxidant properties.

But what is the value of consuming food or drink that are high in antioxidants? Doctor Philip Norrie explains: “An anti-oxidant is a thing that stops oxidation. Oxidation is basically rusting, so when we’re ageing we’re oxidising or degenerating or rusting, so if you can block that process, then you get all these health benefits because vascular disease, dementia, diabetes, all these cancers are forms of degeneration or oxidation.”

Everything in moderation

All the medical and scientific studies define drinking in moderation as drinking approximately two standard drinks on any one day for an average man, and one to two drinks for an average woman, so that any potential harm to the human body is minimized, and any potential benefit is maximised.

Image via fitsugar.com

October 2, 2014

5 Tips To Help You Catch More Zzzs

As part of Sleep Awareness Week (september 29-October 5), the Sleep Health Foundation and Forty Winks are urging people to do their best to put an end to restless nights and reassess their sleep habits.

Newspoll findings from a recent survey commissioned by Forty Winks revealed that work or family stress is the number one reason why we’re not getting enough shut eye, closely followed by being unable to unwind. Only one in 10 Australians always feel rested and relaxed, highlighting a significant national sleep debt.

Prof David Hillman, the chair of the Sleep Health Foundation, said:

“Sleep is essential and a lack of sleep can have a major impact on mood, concentration, memory and quality of life. While different people need different amounts of sleep, on average adults require eight hours each night, teenagers nine hours and primary school children need ten hours.” 

Forty Winks’ top five tips to help you catch enough bedtime Zzzs: 

  1. Use the hour before bed to unwind and relax before your head hits the pillow – try taking a warm bath, listening to quiet music or reading
  2. Literally switch off and remove distracting devices in the bedroom such as the television, computer and phone
  3. Create a relaxing, dark and cool sleeping environment
  4. Establish a sleep routine and try to stick to it
  5. Comfort is key – make sure you’re happy with your mattress, bedding and pillows

How do your sleep habits fare? Rate your sleeping habits during Sleep Awareness Week to get instant personalised tips for a better night’s sleep at www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au.

September 26, 2014
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