Silly Season: 6 Tips to Staying Healthy during the Christmas Season

Hello Everyone,

With the year coming to an end and the Christmas party season upon us, our health and fitness goals may start to fall by the wayside. Our healthy diets and lifestyle can easily be thrown out the window as we start to overindulge in richer food, drink more alcohol and have less time to spare to dedicate to exercise.

According to Nutrition Australia, on average Australians can gain between 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period. While 1-2kgs might not sound like much, studies show that weight gained during the holiday period is rarely lost in the new year. In today’s blog, Nutrition Nourishment will share 6 Tips to help keep you happy and healthy all throughout the holidays.

6 tips to staying happy and healthy during the Christmas season. 

Tip 1: Include more antioxidant foods in your diet.

These are the foods that are often brightly coloured red, orange and yellow. Antioxidants have the ability to neutralise free radicals that otherwise do damage to our cells and accelerate aging. Free radicals are unstable atoms or molecules within the body that have been created by oxidation through such things as pollution, preservatives and additives, radiation, smoking, and unprotected sun exposure. Enhancing the diet with antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, lycopene, and  lutein can also be an option. These five have the added benefit of also being photo protective. This means that they may increase the skins ability to protect against UV rays and reduces the chances of sunburn and skin damage.

r0_0_4196_2802_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

Tip 2: Drink more water

Dehydration is a common skin condition and can quickly become a problem in the summer heat. Increasing water intake is important throughout this season, however some people still become dehydrated. This loss of water has been shown to adversely affect skin making it feel papery and thin whilst also decreasing mood and energy levels. In times like these people often turn to sports drinks to rehydrate; I recommend using sports drinks only when performing strenuous exercise for > 90 minute intervals.  Otherwise adequate water consumption will provide your body with the necessary hydration it needs without the need for sports drinks.

Another option is coconut water which has less sugar content and will be absorbed faster. It also has fewer kilocalories, less sodium and more potassium than most sports drinks, which may be a better option for some individuals. Daily consumption in moderation.

Tip 3: Get your Daily Dose of Vitamin D

Most people associate vitamin D with healthy bones. What some might not know about this vitamin is that it also plays a vital role in regulation of sex hormones and mood. The main way to get vitamin D is to expose bare skin to sunlight however the use of sunscreen, working indoors, air pollution, location, and some dress codes may limit our exposure to the sun. Supplementing with a vitamin D product is one way to ensure that our vitamin D levels remain optimal and can help to protect us against depression or waning libido.

dark-chocolate.jpg

Tip 4: Eat more dark chocolate

The flavonoids in dark chocolate may protect against skin damage and UV rays. The consumption of flavonoid-rich chocolate also increases skin circulation giving the skin that special glow whilst also leading to improved skin hydration. Make sure you get > 70% dark as this will have less sugar and a higher flavonoid content or better yet buy raw cacao powder and add it to your smoothies and desserts. Dark chocolate is also known to be a mood and memory booster and a good source of magnesium.

Tip 5: Homemade Juices to aid in Detoxification

Juices that contain natural diuretic foods such as celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, beetroot, and pineapple help the body to increase its urine output. This in turn helps to eliminate toxins, reduce fluid retention and can ultimately result in feeling less bloated and looking slimmer. Fresh juices are also a great way to get your daily recommended serving of veggies.

Tip 6: B Vitamins for Energy and Wellbeing  

Next time you are feeling drained of energy consider B vitamins in your diet; include foods such a green leafy vegetables, lean quality proteins, eggs, and whole grains. B vitamins are water-soluble and get flushed quickly from the body. Increased alcohol consumption at Christmas time can deplete our bodies of important vitamins such as B1, B2 and B6. If you feel your diet is lacking these vitamins, it may be worthwhile finding a good complex B vitamin product to provide all eight B vitamins that are essential for peak health and energy production.

pace-yourself2

One step at a time

The most important thing to remember is if you find yourself overindulging this Christmas is to not beat yourself up about it. Tomorrow’s another day to make smarter and healthier choices!

Further reading….

http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Advertisements

Quick Review: Q & A with CoQ10. (Coenzyme Q10)

Hello Everyone,
In today’s blog Nutrition Nourishment are reviewing Coenzyme Q10, commonly known as CoQ10, with a quick Q & A for all your health related facts. Want to know what role CoQ10 plays in the body? How much do you need to have in your daily diet? What can CoQ10 do for you??Then continue to read on…

1. What is the primary active form of pantothenic acid?

The active form of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is a component of coenzyme A.

2. What family of compounds does CoQ10 belong to?

Coenzyme Q10 is also called ubiquinone, a word that is derived from ubiqitous to reflect the fact that coenzyme Q10 is found in every living cell. The basic structure of ubiquinones is a benzoquione head and terpinoid tail. The number of isoprenoid units in the tail portion varies among coenymes. CoQ10 contains one quinine group and 10 isoprenyl units. Ubiquiones have been found in microorganisms, planta and animals, but CoQ10 form is the most common types found in mammals and humans.

3. CoQ10 is found concentrated in which tissues?

CoQ10 is ubiquitous (found in every cell) in human tissues, although the level of CoQ10 is the highest in organs with high rates of metabolism such as the heart, kidney, and liver.

4. What is a critical feature in CoQ10s physiological functions?

The primary biochemical action of CoQ10 is as a cofactor in the electron-transport chain, in the series of redox reactions that are involved in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate. As most cellular functions are dependent on an adequate supply of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), CoQ10 is essential for the health of virtually all human tissues and organs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5. What part (series of reactions) is CoQ10 involved in when it comes to energy (ATP) production.

Coenzyme Q10 is necessary in cellular ATP respiration and the production of ATP. It is able to perform this role by being reversibly oxidised and reduced, allowing it to pass electrons along the ETC. This characteristic also allow CoQ10 to act as an antioxidant and it is thought to protect the health of the immune and cardiovascular systems.

6. What is the relationship between CoQ10 and vitamin E?

CoQ10 reconstitutes vitamin C back into its antioxidant form by transforming vitamin E radicals to their reduced (active) form.

7. Why is there caution with CoQ10 supplementation and the anticoagulant drug warfarin?

Taken from the IM Gateway (2001-2017). 

” Case reports have suggested that CoQ10 decreases the anticoagulant effect of warfarin (Landbo and Almdal 1998; Spigset 1994). In one report, three patients had decreased international normalized ratios (INR) after CoQ10 was added to their warfarin regimens (Spigset 1994). The INR of two of the patients dropped after two weeks of CoQ10 supplementation (30 mg/day). Oral administration of CoQ10 (10 mg/kg/day) for 8 days substantially decreased serum concentrations of warfarin (1.5 mg/kg) and significantly increased levels of major metabolites in rats (Zhou and Chan 1998). CoQ10 may increase the hepatic metabolism of warfarin and thereby reduce its anticoagulant effect.” 

Reference:

IM Gateway. (2001-2017a). Supplement: Coenzyme Q10. Retrieved from http://bioceuticals.imgateway.net/researchdbdetails;docName=ProfSupplements_CoenzymeQ10ps

As Always,
Healthiest Regards,
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.
Further Reading.. 

The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Four. Exercises for Stress Management.

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the Mindfulness Series. In this fourth and final chapter we cover details on beneficial exercises and practices that may help decrease levels of stress and increase happiness and well-being. We have detailed a few relaxation and meditation exercises that be may used in stressful situations.  At the end of this chapter there is a list of websites you may want to visit.

Here are some guidelines for using relaxation exercises:

1. Try to practice whichever exercise you prefer at least once or twice a day. Expect your ability to relax to improve as you continue practicing, and expect to practice two or three weeks before you become genuinely proficient. Once you learn how to do one of the exercises, you may no longer require the recorded instructions, and you can tailor the exercise to your own liking.

2. Avoid practicing within an hour before or after a meal (either hunger or feeling full may distract you). Also avoid practicing immediately after engaging in vigorous exercise.

Experience-Online

3. Sit quietly and in a comfortable position, with your legs uncrossed and your arms resting at your sides. Or, if required lie down on your back, with your arms beside you. This is especially important when you are first learning the exercise.

4. Adopt a calm, accepting attitude towards your practice. Don’t worry about how well you’re doing or about possible interruptions. Instead, know that with repetition your ability to relax will grow.

5. When you are ready, close your eyes, begin listening to the recording, and follow the directions. As you complete the exercise, you can expect your mind to wander a bit—when this happens you can simply re-direct your focus back to the recording.

newyearresolutions-1050x700

6. Once you’ve finished, stretch, look around and remain still for another minute or two.

7. As you become skilled with your chosen exercise, try applying it to specific situations that might otherwise be anxiety provoking, such as tests, oral presentations, difficult social situations, job interviews, insomnia, and so forth.

Exercise Tips:

1. Initially, until you become familiar with the exercise, it may be best to have someone read the exercise to you while you close your eyes and sit in a comfortable chair. Alternatively, if you would like to do it alone, you can record the exercise and play it back to yourself.

2. When you tense your muscles, you should hold that tension (as comfortably as you can) for around 5 to 10 seconds. Then, stay in the relaxed state for at least 10 seconds.

3. A very important piece of this exercise is bringing awareness to the feelings of tension and relaxation. Therefore, throughout the exercise, make sure you are paying attention to these feelings and noticing how different your muscles feel when you move from tension to relaxation.

Practice mindfulness in 15 minutes (1)

4. Practice regularly. The more you practice, the more it will become a habit, and the quicker you will be able to bring about relaxation when you are tense.

5. Make sure you do at least two cycles of tension-relaxation for each muscle group.

Progressive body relaxation exercise using tension/relaxation

Relaxation exercises can be a very effective way of reducing your stress and anxiety. One relaxation exercise called progressive muscle relaxation focuses on a person alternating between tensing and relaxing different muscle groups throughout the body. In this way, relaxation is viewed like a pendulum. More complete relaxation of your muscles can be obtained by first going to the other extreme (that is, by tensing your muscles). In addition, by tensing your muscles (a common symptom of anxiety) and immediately relaxing them, the symptom of muscle tension may become a signal to relax over time.

Mindfulness-is-the-practice-of-paying-attention-to-thoughts-physical-sensations-and-the-environment-without-constantly-feeling-the-need-to-judge-what_s-happening-or-to-make-it-other-th

Difficulty: Easy;

Time Required: At least 30 minutes

1. Sit in a comfortable chair and bring your attention to your left hand. Clench your left hand to make a fist. Pay attention to these feelings of tension. Then, let go of your fist, letting your hand rest against your side or the arm of the chair. Be aware of how different your hand feels in a state of relaxation as compared to tension. Then, make a fist with your left hand again, then relax it, continuing to pay attention to how your hand feels in states of tension and relaxation. Repeat this procedure with your right hand.

2. After you have finished tensing and relaxing your hands, bend both hands back at the wrists in order to tense the muscles in the back of your hand and in your forearms. As before, pay attention to what this muscle tension feels like. After you have tensed these muscles, relax them, also paying attention to what this state of relaxation feels like. Repeat.

3. Make a tight fist with both hands, and pull your hands toward your shoulders. This will bring tension to your biceps. Be aware of this tension and then relax, allowing your arms to drop loosely to your sides. Pay attention to how your arms now feel. Repeat.

4. Shrug your shoulders as high as you can. Pay attention to the tension as you do this. Hold it, then relax your shoulders. Let your shoulders drop. Notice how different this state of relaxation feels compared to when your shoulders were tense. Repeat.

5. Now, bring attention to your face. Wrinkle your forehead. Tense those muscles and hold this state. Notice the feelings of tension. Then, relax those muscles completely, being aware of these feelings of relaxation. Repeat.

6. Close your eyes as tightly as you can. You should feel tension all around your eyes. After holding this state, relax. Recognize differences in how relaxation feels as compared to tension. Repeat. Clench your jaw, biting your teeth together. Hold this tension and then relax. Repeat. To finish relaxing the muscles of your face, press your lips together as tightly as you can. You should feel tension all around your mouth. Examine how this tension feels. Now relax your lips, and in doing so, let go of that tension. Be aware of how this feels. Repeat.

7. Move your awareness down from your face to your neck. Put your head back and press the back of your head against the back of the chair you are sitting in. Feel the tension in your neck and then bring your head back to relax it. Repeat. Now bring your head forward. Push your chin against the top of your chest. Feel the tension in the back of your neck. Hold it, then relax. Notice how different tension and relaxation feel. Repeat.

8. Direct your attention to your upper back. Arch your back, sticking out your chest and stomach. Notice the tension in your back. Recognize what that tension feels like. Then, let go of that tension, bringing about deep relaxation. Allow those muscles to become loose. Be aware of what that relaxation feels like. Repeat. Take a deep breath. Breath in as much as you can. Fill your chest with air until you can feel tension throughout your chest. Hold it and then release. Repeat. Notice your muscles in your chest getting more and more relaxed.

9. Then, tense your stomach muscles. Notice how that tension feels and then relax those muscles, again paying attention to that state of relaxation and how different it feels from tension. Repeat.

10. Now move your awareness to your legs. Lift your legs up and stretch them out. Feel how tense the muscles in your thighs are. Then, let your legs drop, relaxing your thigh muscles. Pay attention to the different sensations of relaxation and tension. Repeat. Tense both of your calf muscles. You can do this by pointing your toes upward. You should feel the pull of your calf muscles as they tense. Notice that feeling. Then, let them relax. Let your feet fall, bringing about relaxation in your calf muscles. Notice that feeling, too. Repeat.

11. You are now done tensing and relaxing all muscles in your body. Scan the different muscles groups covered, and bring attention to any lingering muscle tension. If you find any, bring relaxation to those muscle groups, continuing to notice how different your body feels in a state of relaxation.

pace-yourself2

One step at a time

Walking meditation when experiencing strong feelings. Often when we walk we do this to get somewhere, it is a means to an end. In a walking meditation the aim is not to reach a goal, but to draw awareness to the walking itself; it is an end in itself. This means walking slowly and with awareness of every step you take. It is a great way to calm down or simply take your mind of things that are bothering you. This walking meditation is adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh (1991), who is a Vietnamese monk working in France. He called the book in which this is explained Peace is Every Step. Making peace through walking can be used when you have strong feelings that are bothering you; whether it is anger or sadness. Walking with awareness, especially in nature will help you to come to terms with those feelings. Recite to yourself whilst walking: Breathing in, I know that anger is here Breathing out, I salute the anger Breathing in, I know that anger is unpleasant Breathing out, I know this feeling too will pass Breathing in, I draw strength from nature Breathing out, I focus on the walking

Note that anger is there, it doesn’t say you are angry, in other words, you don’t interpret your anger, identify with it or otherwise let it dominate you: anger is there, that is all. From this perspective there is a distance between you and the anger and it becomes just another emotion that is sometimes there, and sometimes will not be there.

Nutrition Nourishment hopes you’ve enjoyed the Mindfulness Series and found useful information on managing stress levels and self-care techniques. It’s important to take time out of your day, even 15 mins to recharge and nourish your soul. Whether it’s going for a short walk, making a cup of herbal tea and sitting outside, meeting with a friend or taking a long bath. Self-care will reduce the likelihood of burnout and lead to a happier and more productive life.

If you haven’t already don’t forget to check out the Other Chapters in this series. Links Below.

Chapter One: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-mindfulness-series-burn-out-more-than-a-stress-response/

Chapter Two: Self Care and Building Resilience against Stress

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/the-mindfulness-series-chapter-two-self-care-and-building-resilience-against-stress/

The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Three. How Meditation and Mindfulness Beat Stress

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/11/02/the-mindfulness-series-chapter-three-meditation-and-mindfulness-to-beat-stress/

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Three. Meditation and Mindfulness to Beat Stress

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the Mindfulness Series. In this chapter we will discuss how meditation and mindfulness can help to manage stress levels.

Emotions, meditation and mindfulness It is easier to deal with the stress and hassles of life when you’re also aware of what is right in your life (Carlson, 2007) Although most of us try to avoid stress and suffering, we all have times in our life where we have to engage with stressful situations and suffering. It is how we engage with suffering and how we feel about what is happening to us that plays the central role. Some people are blown this way and that, according to the strength of their emotions. But we all know others who seem to be more resilient even in the face of outwardly similar experiences. How can this happen? It is true that some people have a ‘naturally’ calm and peaceful disposition and others are less resilient, more volatile and reactive. Medical research has confirmed the age old knowledge that meditation and relaxation practices increase our resilience and coping skills, enhance our sense of well-being and happiness in spite of life’s tribulations.

Kabat-Zinn (2005: 320) agrees that how well we deal with stress and suffering depends on our ability to be aware. In fact, he says that ‘awareness is the defining characteristic of our species’. It is important to understand that suffering cannot be taken out of life: e.g. sickness, death and loneliness cannot necessarily be made ‘better’. However, with mindfulness we can learn to take the reactivity out of our relationship to such experiences – whether they be positive, negative and neutral.

Mindfulness is a ‘deceptively simple way of relating to experience’ (Germer, 2005: 3) or, in other words, it can support ‘a special relationship to suffering’.

chakra-crystals-e1435859560159

What is it to be mindfulness?

Mindfulness implies conscious awareness, but more than awareness, it also suggests care, memory and intelligence (Kearny, 2008: 1-2). He distinguishes three aspects of mindfulness:

1. The present experience must be clearly registered, as it is… without judging it

2. The present experience must be held within the context of the whole, including past experiences

3. The present experience must be seen in the light of unfolding, continuing engagement as it changes over time

The mind has been dubbed ‘monkey-mind’. It has been depicted as a horse in full gallop with the rider (the ‘I’) having no control. And the Buddha likened the mind to a wild elephant, which needed to be trained by tying it to a strong post. The nature of the mind is to move, to follow clues and so wanders into the past and the future and often is not at home in the present. By doing that the mind is taking a holiday and we are mindless. So, why would we want to steady the wandering mind and not just enjoy the ride, the holiday? To gain some clarity, let’s have a look at mindlessness.

What does it mean to be mindless?

• Rushing through life/activities without being attentive to what is happening right now

• Day dreaming, killing time and escaping in fantasies

• Treating people or things carelessly, without attention, because the mind is somewhere else

• Failing to notice (subtle) sensations in the body, such as physical tensions or discomfort

• Being out of touch with one’s (subtle) emotional states and affects

• Forgetting people’s names as soon as we hear them

• Snacking or drinking without being aware of tastes and textures

• Having accidents (small and large) due to inattentiveness

• Having superficial relationships with oneself as well as with others

• Craving and addictive behaviour

• Disassociation and boredom with life’s experiences

This list doesn’t describe a healthy sense of self, nor of a rewarding relationship to the world. It rather describes a dull, unimaginative life, where there may be a constant chase for more experience, craving, disappointment and eventually dissatisfaction. It is not hard to see that this may be the foundation of much of the unhappiness and stress in our world today.

newyearresolutions-1050x700.jpg

In being present to each moment we create a new list that now looks like:

• Being attentive- to life and to what is happening right now

• Treating people and things with care and attention, because the mind is present

• Noticing (subtle) sensations in the body, such as physical tensions or discomfort – so we can take appropriate actions

• Being in touch with one’s (subtle) emotional states and affects – so we can take appropriate actions

• Knowing people’s names as soon as we hear them

• Snacking and drinking with awareness of tastes or textures

• Having fewer accidents because there is attentiveness

• Having more meaningful relationships with yourself as well as with others

• Less craving and addictive behaviour, because it can be seen into

• Engagement with life’s experiences

Mindfulness creates an experience of ‘aliveness’, which is a major source of much of human happiness and well-being. Whatever the external circumstances, being in the present moment changes our relationship to those circumstances.

Experience-Online

Meditation

We can become more mindful and present in many ways, but the common denominator is the intentional practice of focusing the spotlight of our attention (mind) gently on what we intend to observe. Although it doesn’t really matter how we train the mind, the Buddha wisely focused on the breath as ‘the post to tie the elephant to’ (the elephant being the restless mind). Meditation is steadying the mind and practicing being present by quietly following the breath.

Mindfulness can also be learned by ‘walking meditation’, participating in any attentive relaxation practice, such as: scanning the body; focusing on an object (eg candle); observing our thoughts; writing mindfully about our thoughts; dancing or painting with awareness. It is in the nature of mind to go over and over things and to wander aimlessly around the same few thoughts. It is the job of the practitioner to notice this and to say to oneself: ‘the mind is wandering again’. At this point the practitioner goes back to the breath. Be aware not to let mind training the mind become another source of suffering or comparison. You do not need to measure yourself up against others, to ask ‘am I doing this right?’ or ‘she seems to be doing it better than me’ or ‘I have failed because I haven’t achieved a calm mind’. Remember, it is the sitting that matters – not how well you sit. As you practice, it will become easier to sit quietly and steady the mind. It is also nonsense to say ‘that was a bad meditation’, meaning the mind was all over the place. Simply noticing the distraction is useful in itself. If one thought persists or a pain is in the foreground, abandon following the breath and make the exploration of that thought or discomfort the object of your meditation. Explore all aspects and levels of this event mindfully, again training the mind to pay attention rather than to wander. Acceptance needs to come before change can happen. Only then can we respond to life, rather than to react. And the change will be a greater sense of well-being and ease. Meditation helps us to be at peace and to accept life as it is.

We hope you are enjoying the Mindfulness Series. If you haven’t already don’t forget to check out the Other Chapters in this series. Links Below.

Chapter One: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-mindfulness-series-burn-out-more-than-a-stress-response/

Chapter Two: Self Care and Building Resilience against Stress

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/the-mindfulness-series-chapter-two-self-care-and-building-resilience-against-stress/

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Carlson, R. (2007) Don’t sweat the small stuff: 2007, Day to Say Calender, Andrew McMeel Publishing, Kansas City

Germer, C. (2005), ‘Mindfulness: What Is It? What Does It Matter?’ in Germer, C. Siegel, R. and Fulton, P. Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, The Guilford Press, New York

Kabat-Zinn, J. 2005, Coming to our Senses, Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness, Piatkus, New York

Bisphenol A: The Link between Our Health and Plastics

Hello everyone.

In today’s blog we are discussing Bisphenol A, known commonly as BPA, its uses and how if affects the body. In the past there has been efforts to ban the use of BPA in food goods, although this notion has been dropped numerous of times.

BPA is an industrial chemical that may find its way into people’s food.

Some experts claim that it is toxic, and that people should make an effort to avoid it.

But is BPA really that bad, and should you avoid it at all costs? This is a detailed review of BPA and its health effects.

What is BPA?

BPA (bisphenol-A) is a chemical that is added to many commercial products, including food containers and hygiene products.

It was first discovered in the 1890s, but chemists in the 1950s realized that it could be mixed with other compounds to produce strong and resilient polycarbonate plastics.

These days, BPA-containing plastics are commonly used in food containers, baby bottles and other things.

BPA is also used to make epoxy resins, which are put on the inner lining of canned food containers to keep the metal from corroding and breaking.

BPA is a synthetic compound found in many plastics, as well as in the lining of canned food containers.

Which Products Contain the Most BPA?

Common products that may contain BPA include:

  • Items packaged in plastic containers
  • Canned foods
  • Toiletries
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Thermal printer receipts
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Household electronics
  • Eyeglass lenses
  • Sports equipment
  • Dental filling sealants

It’s worth noting that many manufacturers have now switched to BPA-free products, in which BPA has been replaced by bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF).

However, recent research reports that even small concentrations of BPS and BPF may disrupt the function of your cells in a way similar to BPA. Thus, BPA-free bottles may not be the solution (1).

BPA and its alternatives — BPS and BPF — may be found in many commonly used products, which are often labeled with recycling codes 3, 7 or the letters “PC.”

How Does BPA Enter the Body?

The main source of BPA exposure is through your diet (2).

That’s because when BPA containers are made, not all the BPA gets sealed into the product. This allows part of it to break free and mix with the container’s contents once food or fluids are added (34).

For instance, a recent study found that BPA levels in urine decreased by 66% following 3 days of avoiding packaged foods (5).

Another study had participants eat one serving of either fresh or canned soup daily for 5 days. Urine levels of BPA were 1,221% higher in those who consumed the canned soup (6).

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that BPA levels in breastfed babies were up to 8 times lower than those measured in babies fed liquid formula from BPA-containing bottles (7).

The diet is by far the biggest source of BPA for humans, particularly packaged foods and canned foods. Babies fed formula from BPA-containing bottles also have high levels in their bodies.

Is BPA Bad For You?

Many experts claim that BPA is harmful, but others disagree.

This section explains what BPA does in the body, and why its health effects remain controversial.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

BPA’s Biological Mechanisms

BPA is said to mimic the structure and function of the hormone estrogen (2).

Due to its estrogen-like shape, BPA can bind to estrogen receptors and influence bodily processes, such as growth, cell repair, fetal development, energy levels and reproduction.

In addition, BPA may also have the ability to interact with other hormone receptors, such as thyroid hormone receptors, thus altering their function (8).

Your body is sensitive to changes in hormone levels, which is the reason why BPA’s ability to mimic estrogen is believed to affect your health.

The BPA Controversy

Given the information above, many people wonder whether BPA should be banned.

Its use has already been restricted in the EU, Canada, China and Malaysia, particularly in products for babies and young children.

Some US states have followed suit, but no federal regulations have been instituted.

In 2014, the FDA released its latest report, which confirmed the original 1980s daily exposure limit of 50 mcg/kg (about 23 mcg/lb) daily and concluded that BPA is probably safe at the levels currently allowed (9).

However, research in rodents shows negative effects of BPA at much lower levels, as little as 10 mcg/kg daily. Also, research in monkeys shows that levels equivalent to those currently measured in humans have negative effects on reproduction (1011).

A review from 2006 may help explain the discrepancies. It revealed that all the industry-funded studies found no effects of BPA exposure, while 92% of the studies not funded by industry found significant negative effects (12).

BPA has a similar structure as the hormone oestrogen. It may bind to oestrogen receptors and affect the function of your body.

BPA May Cause Infertility in Men and Women

BPA may affect several aspects of fertility.

One study observed that women with frequent miscarriages had about 3 times as much BPA in their blood as women with successful pregnancies (13).

What’s more, studies of women undergoing fertility treatments showed those with higher levels of BPA to have proportionally lower egg production and be up to 2 times less likely to become pregnant (1415).

Among couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), men with the highest BPA levels were 30–46% more likely to produce lower-quality embryos (16).

A separate study found that men with higher BPA levels were 3-4 times more likely to have a low sperm concentration and low sperm count (17).

Additionally, men working in BPA manufacturing companies in China reported 4.5 times more erectile difficulty and less overall sex-life satisfaction than other men (18).

However, although the effects above are notable, several recent reviews agree that more studies are needed to strengthen the body of evidence (8192021).

Several studies have shown that BPA can negatively affect many aspects of both male and female fertility.

Negative Effects of BPA on Babies

Most studies — but not all — have observed that children born to mothers exposed to BPA at work weigh up to 0.5 lbs (or 0.2 kg) less at birth than children of unexposed mothers (222324).

Children born to BPA-exposed parents also tended to have a shorter anogenital distance, which further points to BPA’s hormonal effects during development (25).

In addition, children born to mothers with higher BPA levels were more hyperactive, anxious and depressed. They also showed 1.5 times more emotional reactivity and 1.1 times more aggressiveness (262728).

Finally, BPA exposure during early life is also thought to influence prostate and breast tissue development in ways that increase the risk of cancer.

However, while there are ample animal studies to support this, human studies are less conclusive (293031323334).

BPA exposure during early life may influence birth weight, hormonal development, behaviour and cancer risk in later life.

BPA Exposure Has Been Linked to Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes

Human studies have examined the link between BPA levels and blood pressure.

They reported a 27–135% greater risk of high blood pressure in people with high BPA levels (3536).

Moreover, a survey of 1,455 Americans linked higher BPA levels to an 18-63% greater risk of heart disease, and a 21-60% greater risk of diabetes (37).

In a later study, higher BPA levels were linked to a 68-130% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (38).

Finally, participants with the highest BPA levels were 37% more likely to have insulin resistance, a key driver of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (39).

However, some studies found no links between BPA and these diseases (404142).

Higher BPA levels seem to be linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

BPA May Cause Other Health Problems

BPA exposure may also be linked to the following health issues:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): BPA levels were observed to be 46% higher in women with PCOS, compared to their healthy counterparts (47).
  • Premature delivery: Women with higher BPA levels during pregnancy were 91% more likely to deliver before 37 weeks (52).
  • Asthma: Higher prenatal exposure to BPA, especially at week 16, was linked to a 130% higher risk of wheezing in infants under 6 months. Early childhood exposure to BPA was also linked to wheezing in later childhood (5354).
  • Liver function: Higher BPA levels were linked to a 29% higher risk of abnormal liver enzyme levels (37).
  • Immune function: BPA levels may be linked to worse immune function (55).
  • Thyroid function: Higher BPA levels were linked to abnormal levels of thyroid hormones, indicating impaired thyroid function (565758).
  • Brain function: African green monkeys exposed to BPA levels judged safe by the EPAshowed loss of connections between brain cells (59).

BPA exposure has also been linked to several other health problems. More research is needed to confirm these findings.

How to Minimize Your Exposure to BPA

Chances are that you want to try to avoid BPA, given the negative effects in so many studies.

Although avoiding it completely may be impossible, there are some ways to get rid of most of it.

Here are a few effective ways to minimize your exposure to BPA:

  • Avoid packaged foods: Eat mostly fresh, whole foods. Stay away from canned foods or foods packaged in plastic containers labeled with recycling numbers 3, 7 or the letters “PC.”
  • Drink from glass bottles: Buy liquids that come in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles or cans, and use glass baby bottles instead of plastic ones.
  • Stay away from BPA products: As much as possible, limit your contact with receipts.
  • Be selective with toys: Make sure that plastic toys you buy for your child are made from BPA-free material, especially for toys your little ones are likely to chew or suck on.
  • Don’t microwave plastic: Microwave and store food in glass rather than plastic.
  • Buy powdered infant formula: Some recommend powders over liquids from BPA containers, as liquid is likely to absorb more BPA from the container.

There are several simple ways to significantly reduce your exposure to BPA from the diet and environment.

Should You Worry about BPA?

In light of the evidence, taking steps to limit your BPA exposure is probably a good idea.

In particular, pregnant women may benefit from making an effort to avoid BPA as much as possible, especially during the early stages of pregnancy.

As for others, occasionally drinking from a “PC” plastic bottle or eating from a can is probably not a reason to panic.

That being said, swapping plastic containers for BPA-free ones requires very little effort for a potentially big impact.

Plus, when it comes to your diet, the fresh whole foods linked to optimal health rarely come packaged in containers with BPA.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Quick Reviews: Q & A with Vitamin C

Hello Everyone,
In today’s blog Nutrition Nourishment are reviewing Vitamin C with a quick Q & A for all your health related facts. Want to know what role Vitamin C plays in the body? How much do you need to have in your daily diet? What can Vitamin C do for you??Then continue to read on…

1. How stable is vitamin C?

The stability of ascorbic acid decreases with a rise in temperature and PH. This destruction by oxidation is a serious problem in that a considerable quantity of vitamin C contents is lost during processing, storage and preparation.
Vitamin C content can be affected by season, transport, shelf life, storage time, cooking practices and chlorination of water. Cutting, bruising, heating and exposure to copper, iron or mildly alkaline conditions can destroy ascorbate. It can also be leached into water during cooking.

2. How does dosage affect the absorption of vitamin C?

Transport of vitamin C is a saturable and dose dependent process that occurs by active transport. At the intestine and cells AA is oxidized to DHAA, which is more quickly transported across the cell membrane. Once inside the tissue or intestinal epithelium, the vitamin is reduced back to AA. The degree of intestinal absorption decreases as intake of AA increases. Intakes of 1 to 1.5 grams results in 50% absorption, but at intakes over 12 grams, only 16% of the vitamin is absorbed. In contrast, an intake of less than 20 mg, has a 98% absorption rate. Absorption of vitamin C is greater when several individual doses of vitamin C, in quantities less than one gram, are taken throughout the day rather than one megadose.
A single large dose saturates the enzyme kinetics for vitamin C, leading to excess AA in the intestinal lumen, which causes numerous gastrointestinal problems.

3. List five functions of vitamin C.

Collagen formation
Structure of bone and teeth
Immune System Function
Production of hormones
Mineral absorption and utilisation

4. How does vitamin C affect iron absorption?

The absorption of heme iron is not significantly impacted by other foods, while non-heme iron is strongly influenced by foods that may enhance or inhibit its absorption.
The key role of ascorbic acid for the absorption of dietary non-heme iron is generally accepted. The reasons for its action are twofold: (1) the prevention of the formation of insoluble and un-absorbable iron compounds and (2) the reduction of ferric to ferrous iron, which seems to be a requirement for the uptake of iron into the mucosal cells.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5. What are the signs / symptoms of scurvy?

Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, symptoms include fatigue, pain in extremities, haemorrhages, a decrease in integrity of the blood vessels, oedema, ulcerations, muscle weakness due to defects in collagen metabolism and death. In infantile scurvy, the changes are mainly at the sites of active bone growth and include pseudo paralysis of the limbs. In severe scurvy, haemorrhages may be more severe and include epistaxis, bleeding into joints, periotoneal cavity, pericardial sack and adrenals.
6. Why do smokers have a higher recommended intake of vitamin C?
Smoking causes vitamin C to be used up much more quickly by the body, so smokers need to add an extra 35 milligrams per day to the RDI because of the great stress on their lungs form oxidative damage and toxic by-products of cigarette smoke. Adding an extra piece of fruit to the daily diet would more than cover this extra requirement for vitamin C.

7. How does the RDI for vitamin C compare to the amount required for disease prevention?

Vitamin C is a powerful functional food ingredient with numerous health applications. Proper intake over a lifetime helps to maintain our current health and prevent future ailments. At least 10 mg daily will prevent clinical deficiency and scurvy; but current research suggests 90-500 mg daily for optimal benefits. Much higher doses (many beyond the 2 g UL) are used in the clinical setting, with the greatest blood plasma levels achieved through IV injection. Proper doses for treatment are extremely variable, and depend upon the disease being treated. The risks of high- dose vitamin C supplementation are almost negligible when compared to some current treatments. That being said, extremely high-doses should be administered with caution and treated as a pharmaceutical agent. In regards to disease management, continued clinical and epidemiological research will help to further understand and confirm the positive health effects from vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of numerous conditions. In terms of the general public, studies on the long-term effects of over-the-counter oral supplementation should be focused on, due to increasing awareness of vitamin C benefits. Future studies should also focus on how to safely and effectively implement vitamin C into diets of populations at-risk for deficiency

8. What role does vitamin C play in the prevention of cardiovascular disease?

Disease Treatment
Cardiovascular disease
Vasodilation
The ability of blood vessels to relax or dilate (vasodilation) is compromised in individuals with atherosclerosis. Damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack and damage to the brain caused by a stroke are related, in part, to the inability of blood vessels to dilate enough to allow blood flow to the affected areas. The pain of angina pectoris is also related to insufficient dilation of the coronary arteries. Impaired vasodilation has been identified as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Many randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have shown that treatment with vitamin C consistently results in improved vasodilation in individuals with coronary heart disease, as well as those with angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Improved vasodilation has been demonstrated at an oral dose of 500 mg of vitamin C daily.
Hypertension:
A recent meta-analysis of 29 short-term trials (each trial included 10 to 120 participants) indicated that vitamin C supplementation at a median dose of 500 mg/day for a median duration of eight weeks reduced blood pressure in both healthy, normotensive and hypertensive adults. In normotensive individuals, the pooled changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were -3.84 mm Hg and -1.48 mm Hg, respectively; in hypertensive participants, corresponding reductions were -4.85 mm Hg and -1.67 mm Hg. The significance of the blood pressure-lowering effect of vitamin C on CVD risk has not yet been determined. It is important for individuals with significantly elevated blood pressure not to rely on vitamin C supplementation alone to treat their hypertension, but to seek or continue therapy with anti-hypertensive medication and through diet and lifestyle changes in consultation with their health care provider. For information on dietary and lifestyle strategies to control blood pressure.

9. What is the relationship between vitamin C intake and the common cold?

The work of Linus Pauling stimulated public interest in the use of large doses (greater than 1 gram/day) of vitamin C to prevent the common cold. In the past 40 years, numerous placebbo-controlled trials have examined the effect of vitamin C supplementation on the prevention and treatment of colds. A recent meta-analysis of 53 placebo-controlled trials evaluated the effect of vitamin C supplementation on the incidence, duration, or severity of the common cold when taken as a continuous daily supplement (43 trials) or as therapy upon onset of cold symptoms (10 trials). Regarding the incidence of colds, a distinction was observed between two groups of participants: regular supplementation with vitamin C (0.25 to 2 grams/day) did not reduce the incidence of colds in the general population (23 trials); however, in participants undergoing heavy physical stress (e.g., marathon runners, skiers, or soldiers in subarctic conditions), vitamin C supplementation halved the incidence of colds (5 trials; RR: 0.48, 95% CI: 0.35-0.64). A benefit of regular vitamin C supplementation was also seen in the duration of colds, with a greater benefit in children than in adults: the pooled effect of vitamin C supplementation was a 14% reduction in cold duration in children and an 8% reduction in adults. Finally, no significant effect of vitamin C supplementation (1-8 grams/day) was observed in therapeutic trials in which vitamin C was administered after cold symptoms occurred.
As Always,
Healthiest Regards,
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.
Further Reading.. 

The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Two. Self Care and Building Resilience against Stress

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the Second Chapter of the Mindfulness Series. In this chapter we will discuss self-care and how to build resilience against stress.

Self-care Relaxed people can still be super-achievers, and, in fact, relaxation and creativity go hand in hand (Carlson, 2007). There are many ways to prevent burn-out and to restore a lifestyle balance that produces ease rather than stress. Self-care involves paying attention to the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of your life. The following lists include many suggestions which are adapted from a website dedicated to stress release and relaxation that is worth visiting as it has some excellent resources (http://www.nvoad.org/articles/ESCCchapterB.pdf).

Not all of these suggestions need to be applied, but one area of self-care may come more naturally to you than others. That way it will be more pleasurable to do which increases the likelihood of you doing it. Becoming less stressed involves being kind to yourself, so it is important to choose activities that do not add to a list of demands you cannot fulfill (and thus bring additional stress). Looking after yourself can be fun if you choose pleasurable and easy suggestions which may involve the body (a long, hot bath), the mind (listening to lovely music) or giving yourself the time to sing or paint. Most of these self-care activities involve some sense of personal growth, expansion and validation of your personal needs. Like any development, it needs practice. Sometimes it helps to document the journey of self-care, as a way to count blessings, to review deep beliefs and to affirm one’s own strengths and needs. It means a conscious engaging with some of the ideas mentioned above.

Some of the ‘side effects’ of the activities mentioned above will be that you are more able to:

• Set realistic goals

• Be assertive and maintain your boundaries

• Change negative thought processes into positive ones

• Avoid ‘toxic’ situations

• Engage in positive conflict resolution

• Maintain a sense of humour and good health

• Practice forgiving, also of self

• Develop positive relationships

• Improve your communication skills

Petrea King suggests that looking after yourself must be your highest priority. Do you think that it is selfish to put yourself first? It certainly sounds like that and especially women are taught to look after everyone else before taking a rest themselves. As a result, women (and men too) often from suffer stress related illnesses or feel depressed and unhappy. How productive can you be if you are not at peace, not relaxed and happy? Looking after yourself means that you can give from an overflowing well of energy, love and care. It also means giving everyone else permission to care for themselves well.

Physical Self-Care

• Eat regularly (eg breakfast, lunch, dinner)

• Eat healthy, fresh food with plenty of fruit and vegetables

• Find a pleasurable exercise routine

• Get regular medical care for prevention and health

• Take time off when sick

• Have a massages, acupuncture or beauty treatment

• Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other physical activity that is fun

• Take time to be sensual and sexual–with yourself, with a partner

• Get enough sleep

• Wear clothes you like

• Take vacations, day trips or mini-vacations

• Make time away from telephones

Psychological Self-Care

• Notice your inner experiences — listen to your thoughts, judgments, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings without judgment

• Let go of perfectionism: do something silly or be simply imperfect

• Talk with friends and have a buddy support system

• Practice receiving from others

• Write in a journal: Be curious about life

• Do relaxation exercises, get a relaxation CD that you like

• Have your own personal psychotherapy or counselling

• Read literature that is unrelated to work and uplifting

• Do something at which you are not expert or in charge

• Decrease stress in your life by removing the clutter

• Make to do lists and prioritise them giving yourself plenty of time

• Let others know different aspects of you

• Say NO to extra responsibilities 8

Emotional Self-Care

• Be kind to yourself, engage in self-nurturing, self-mothering

• Spend time with others whose company you enjoy

• Stay in contact with important people in your life

• Give yourself affirmations, praise and love

• Find ways to increase your sense of self-esteem

• Acknowledging strength, positive points

• Boundaries: learn to feel OK about saying NO and putting yourself first

• Change thought processes that are not self-affirming

• Avoid negative people or negative communication

• Re-read favourite books, review favorite movies

• Identify comforting activities, objects, people, relationships and places

• Allow yourself to cry

• Find things to make you laugh

• Express your outrage in social action, letters, donations, marches, protests

• Contribute to causes in which you believe

• Play with children, animals or grown-ups Spiritual Self-Care

• Make time for self-reflection

• Practice acceptance and kindness for self and others

• Spend time with and in nature

• Find a spiritual connection or community

• Be open to inspiration from teachers and people you admire

• Read inspirational literature (talks, music, etc.)

• Cherish your optimism and hope

• Be aware of nonmaterial aspects of life

• Practice forgiveness for self and others

• Identify what is meaningful to you and notice its place in your life

• Meditate, sing or pray

• Be open to Not Knowing and experiences of awe (http://www.nvoad.org/articles/ESCCchapterB.pdf)

A side effect of learning to look after yourself is that you learn new skills that can be used in your personal as well as in your family and professional life. For example the ability to turn adversity into an opportunity becomes a change for personal development. It also means that you are developing life skills that contribute to greater happiness and well-being of all people around you. Paradoxically, looking after yourself means becoming more able to be of service for others!

Nutrition Nourishment Hopes you’re enjoying the Mindfulness Series and taking what information is important and beneficial for you at this time in your life. It’s  never too late to begin to understand yourself better and to find happiness for your soul

If you haven’t already don’t forget to check out Chapter One in this series. Links Below.

Chapter One: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-mindfulness-series-burn-out-more-than-a-stress-response/

Healthiest regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Recipe of the Week: Lemon Roasted Salmon with Fragrant Cauliflower Couscous

Hello Everyone,

Spring is here, and it’s the perfect time to dish up gorgeous salads for dinner. If you’re in need for some inspiration for dinner tonight, why not try this delicious Lemon roasted salmon with a fragrant cauliflower couscous side!!

Why Salmon?

Salmon is rich is anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, selenium and protein.

Did you know? The EPA/DHA in omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to possess amazing health benefits including decreasing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of cancer and improving the function of the cells that line your arteries. It’s recommended to eat fish in your diet 2-3 times/week!

 

honey-sriracha-lime-salmon-101.jpg

LEMON ROASTED SALMON- SERVES 2

This simple fish dish is best made with wild salmon, but it works equally well with the farmed sort. It’s astonishingly easy. In a hot oven, melt butter in a skillet until it sizzles, add the salmon, flip, remove the skin, then allow to roast a few minutes more. You’ll have an elegant fish dinner in about 15 minutes. Don’t be afraid to play with herb and fat combinations: parsley, chervil or dill work well with butter; thyme, basil or marjoram with olive oil; or peanut oil with cilantro or mint.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 4 tablespoons minced chervil, parsley or dill
  • 2 salmon fillet, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •  Lemon wedges

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the butter and half the herb in a roasting pan just large enough to fit the salmon and place it in the oven. Heat about 5 minutes, until the butter melts and the herb begins to sizzle.
  2. Add the salmon to the pan, skin side up. Roast 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, then peel the skin off. (If the skin does not lift right off, cook 2 minutes longer.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn the fillet over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper again.
  3. Roast 3 to 5 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the fillet and the degree of doneness you prefer. Cut into serving portions, spoon a little of the butter over each and garnish with the remaining herb. Serve with lemon wedges, and your favourite salad or steamed green vegetables.

cauliflower-couscous-1-(1)

FRAGRANT CAULIFLOWER COUSCOUS – SERVES 4

You might have heard of cauliflower ‘rice’, but have you tried cauliflower ‘couscous’? It’s a healthier, less starchy, gluten-free take on a traditional couscous salad and can be made with a variety of tasty ingredients, herbs and spices.  

Ingredients:
1/2 head of large cauliflower
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup pistachios (in shells) or 1/3 cup (shelled)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup pomegranate kernels (optional)
Handful of chopped parsley
Method:
Step 1: Cut the cauliflower into florets and process into small crumbs using a food processor. I do this in batches, transferring the crumbed mixture from each batch of cauliflower to a bowl.

Step 2: In a large frying pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Step 3: Add most of the nuts (reserve a few for garnish) and the garlic to a food processor. Grind into crumbs and add to the onions in the frying pan. Add the olive oil, lemon zest, spices, salt and dried cranberries and stir through for a minute, allowing the aromas to be released and the garlic to cook through slightly.

Step 4: Add the cauliflower crumbs, lemon juice, pomegranate and parsley and stir through with the nut and garlic mixture until well incorporated. Cook for about 2 minutes, until heated through and soften slightly.

Serve with extra nuts, parsley and pomegranate on top.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutition Nourishment.

Health Fact Sheet: Heartburn (Acid Indigestion)

Hello everyone,

Heartburn, a form of indigestion or reflux, is a feeling of burning pain or discomfort in the chest usually after eating. It typically worsens when you are lying down or bending over. Heartburn that is mild and occasional can be usually managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, which in more serious cases, other treatment may be necessary.

What causes heartburn?

Normally, a ring of muscle at the end of the oesophagus (the tube connecting your mouth to your stomach) relaxes to let food in, and tightens to prevent stomach acid from escaping. However, if the muscle relaxes when it shouldn’t, or is weak, stomach acid is able to rise up into the oesophagus where it causes pain and irritation.

Common triggers for heartburn

Some people experience heartburn regardless of what they eat. Others find they only get it after eating certain foods or large meals. Common triggers for heartburn can include:

  • Large meals

  • Fat or spicy foods

  • Coffee and carbonated beverages

  • Citrus foods

  • Alcohol

  • Chocolate

  • Cigarettes

  • Peppermints

Other common triggers that can increase heartburn are:

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Being pregnant

  • Taking certain medications

Symptoms of Heartburn

A Burning pain or discomfort in the chest aren’t the only symptoms you may experience with heartburn. Others can include:

  • The sensation of pressure or pain just behind your breastbone

  • Felling like food is ‘sticking’ in your chest or stuck in your throat

  • Burping and/or bloating

  • A sour or acid taste in the back of your throat

Some more uncommon symptoms that may occur due to heartburn and require the consultation of a healthcare professional are:

  • Difficulty/painful swallowing

  • Symptoms are interfering with your lifestyle or daily activities

  • The Heartburn symptoms become worse and continue with the use of heartburn medications

  • Persistent Hiccups

  • Heartburn is occurring more than once a week

  • Cold sweats, shortness of breath, feeling light-headedness or dizzy

Symptoms of heartburn occur in a similar area of a heart attack. If you’re unsure whether your suffering from heartburn or are having a heart attack, seek medical attention right away.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Treatment Options

There are many over-the-counter treatments for heartburn including antacids chews and syrups that neutralise the stomach acid, however your doctor may prescribe you with medication or in rare instances surgery.

Dietary Advice

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of larger meals

  • Avoid any foods you know trigger heartburn

  • limit or cut back on alcohol

  • Limit fatty or spicy foods

  • Avoid coffee and carbonated beverages

Lifestyle Advice

  • If you are overweight, try losing excess weight to reduce the pressure around your stomach

  • Avoiding lying down soon after a meal

  • Quit smoking

  • Avoid tight fitting clothing

  • Elevate your head when in bed

No alternative medicine therapies have been proven to treat Heartburn, although some people still find complementary and alternative therapies may provide some relief when combined with a doctor’s care. Some ideas may include herbal remedies such as licorice, chamomile, marshmallow and slippery elm. Relaxation therapies to calm stress and anxiety including acupuncture and meditation.

Outlook

While heartburn and indigestion can be distressing, it can be treated effectively whether it’s cutting back on foods, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking or medications, it’s important to speak to your doctor to confirm the best treatment available for you.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

The Mindfulness Series: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the Mindfulness Series. A holistic guide to self-care and stress management. There are five chapters in this series. The first chapter explains what burn-out is and the signs to look for. The second chapter look at how to build up resilience against stress and how to better look after oneself. The third chapter explains how meditation and mindfulness can decrease stress levels. The fourth chapter details some exercises and practices that may be useful to decrease levels of stress and increase happiness and well-being. The last chapter points to web-sites that contain relaxation exercises, audiovisuals and other interesting information.

Stress is endemic to the human condition, whether it is inflicted upon us or self imposed. Even if we take good care of ourselves, there may be times in our life where it is all too much. In fact, many contemporary issues such as information overload; news programs about war and suffering, global warming and economic down-turn all add to our stress levels. Old age, sickness, death and pain all involve suffering related to the physical body. Stress can also arise because of mental activity (our thoughts about things) and involves our needs for security, safety and relationship not being met. Although we all share these needs, the impact upon us is depends on many inter-related factors: genetic; conditional; societal.

Burn-out is the result of being exposed to undue stress or not being able to cope with the demands of work and life stress. According to (Tagar, 1999) there is a simple stress equation. The ratio between ‘demand’ and ‘stamina’ determines the stress levels. Simply put, the stress levels equate to the gap between what you can do and what is expected of you (or what you expect of yourself). However, it is more complicated because stress, a serious problem for health care workers, is not equally experienced and some people are more prone to burnout.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some of the risk factors are, according to Espeland (2006):

Internal factors:

  • Personality type, eg high achievers with a need for control and over commitment
  • Loss of control being with the outside world (victim) rather than with the self (capable)
  • Coping styles, eg passive or defensive rather than assertive
  • Attitudes, eg having high expectations and being negative rather than realistic and positive
  • Negative self image
  • Feeling low
  • Level of self development and self-efficacy
  • Level of leisure taken

External factors:

  • Unsupportive work or home environment
  • Stress and difficulties at work or home
  • Underpaid and overworked
  • Demands exceed possibility to fulfill them
  • Lack of intimacy with others

How we spend our days is, of course, How we spend our lives (Annie Dillard)

Some signs of burn-out and stress may include a loss of appetite or excessive eating,  Sleep disorders, Chronic feelings of ill health,  Irritation and psychological disturbances- negative emotions , Manic activity and procrastination, loss of purpose and meaning.

We know that in order to stay healthy, the body needs adequate rest, food and exercise. The body suffers under too much stress, because muscles tense, blood pressure rises, food is not well digested and sleep is disturbed. High levels of stress hormones are being released continuously. If not released, enduring stress can become ‘toxic’ with major consequences for health and happiness (Tagar, 1999). As a result our resilience, both physical and emotional goes down and we become less effective in the work we do, and more prone to accidents and eventually disease.

This all seems quite logical but, in reality, we often are not looking after ourselves well when stress mounts. On the contrary, we often become less able to do the ‘right’ thing for ourselves. We start eating more junk food, watch more TV and may even self-medicate with excessive drinking. We may sleep less, or more and can’t get motivated to exercise or do relaxations. In short, we don’t look after ourselves!

When to Seek Help

Stress is prevalent in modern life, especially in health care. This is ironic, as health care workers are trained to look after others, but often not themselves. It is recommended that you seek assistance from a counsellor, your medical doctor or from a mental-health professional who is skilled in the treatment of stress if:

  • You are experiencing high levels of distress
  • You are experiencing significant changes in relationships
  • You are not functioning well at work for longer periods
  • You are self-medicating with alcohol, too much sleep or drugs
  • You are unable to find relief with self-help strategies
  • You are experiencing physical problems

Barriers to Seeking Help/ Helping loved ones dealing with stress include the following:

  • Some people may feel that they are better off than those more affected and that they, therefore, should not be so upset or seek help
  • Some may not seek help because of pride or because they think that distress indicates weakness of some sort
  • Some individuals may not be open to support, if the intervention was not requested (eg a lecture, sermon or rituals)
  • Many individuals are more apt to seek informal support from family and friends, which may not be sufficient to prevent long-term distress for some

This can be an isolating condition and it’s important to know you don’t have to do this alone. Remember to speak up and seek help.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

References

Espeland, K. (2006) ‘Overcoming Burnout: How to Revitalize Your Career’, Continuing Nursing Education, Vol. 37, Issue 4, pp 178-185.

Tagar, Y. (1999). Stress. Medicine of the Mind. I. Gawler. Melbourne, The Gawler Foundation.