Food Labels in Australia: Understanding nutritional ‘claims’ and Ingredients

Hello everyone,

Food labels can be very confusing and tricky to understand for many consumers. Often we don’t have the time to spend in the supermarket trying to work out what they mean and how we can use them. However, a few quick tips can make shopping for healthy food a whole lot easier and quicker. Knowing what nutritional information to look for can help make the best choice and avoid unnecessary saturated fats, added salts/sugars/kilojoules. A Variety of useful websites online such as Eat for Health, Food Standards Australia and The National Centre for Biotechnology Information (refer to references section), have great information on how to read the nutrition information panel, ingredients list, nutrition content/health claims and percentage daily intake.

However, as a practitioner it is part of our job to teach our clients how to make the best informed decisions on their food products that best fit with their lifestyle and diet plan. So I decided to create this blog to help you gain a better understanding on food labels, and how to make the best choices when it comes to food products.

In Australia, the law requires all manufactured foods to carry labels containing safety and nutrition information. This information helps you to make decisions about the food you buy and eat so you can follow a healthy diet.

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What information is on the food label?

The label will tell you:

  • the name of the product
  • the brand name
  • what ingredients it contains (listed in order from largest to smallest by weight)
  • nutritional information
  • use by date
  • details of the manufacturer
  • how much it weighs
  • information for people with food allergies
  • a list of food additives
  • storage instructions
  • the country where the food was produced.

Understanding nutrition claims

Some labels tell you what percentage of the recommended daily intake is provided by one serve of the product. This helps you to work out how the food fits into a balanced diet. Read more about recommended daily intakes for adults and here.recommended daily intakes for children

The label may make a number of nutrition claims such as ‘gluten free’, ‘low GI’, ‘low fat’, ‘reduced salt’ or ‘high fibre’. These mean the product meets strict criteria set by the government. More about those below.

But just because a product can make a nutrition claim doesn’t mean it is healthy. For example, a product that is ‘low fat’ may have more kilojoules than another similar product. Check the Nutrition Information Panel to see how the product compares.

Various claims on Food Products

Food products may have various claims on the package providing information on the food products and source. Some claims you may see in the supermarket include Free-range, organic, gluten-free, Whole-grain, good source of calcium, low energy, lactose free, good source of protein.

Some food label claims are more specific to a particular nutrient such as:

Sugar: No Added Sugar, Real fruit/fruit juice, unsweetened, % Sugar free

Sodium/Salt: Low in Salt, No added salt, unsalted

Fat: Low fat, Fat-free, Reduced Fat, % Fat-Free, Saturated Fat-free, contains less cholesterol, trans-fatty acid free

light or lite: One of the most confusing food packaging labels. This can refer to any number of characteristics of a product including colour, textures, salt, fat, or sugar content. The label must specify in what way the product is considered ‘light/lite’. If the information claims a nutrient, energy or salt of the product has to be at least 25% less than the regular version. However, if the product is normally very high, the ‘light/lite’ version can still be high energy, salt or fat.

low cholesterol: The food contains no more cholesterol then 10mg per 100ml for liquid food and 20mg per 100g for solid food.

Cholesterol is found in meat, chicken, dairy products and eggs and is linked to a higher incidence of heart disease. Therefore, products containing little or no animal fats can claim to be low cholesterol or cholesterol free. This, however, does not mean the product is necessary low in other fats such as vegetable oils. While most plant based fats are healthier than saturated or trans fats they can still contribute to weight gain. In the same way that fat free is used to disguise high sugar products, low cholesterol or cholesterol free are often used on high vegetable fat products. Potato chips, for example, often use the label, even though many contain in excess of 30% fat.

High fibre: for a good source of dietary fibre a serving of the food must contain at least 4g of dietary fibre. An excellent source of dietary fibre would include at least 7g of dietary fibre per serve.

Reduced salt: The food must contain at least 25% less salt than the regular version.

Low sugar: The food contains no more sugars then 2.5grams per 100ml for liquid food and 5g per 100g for solid food.

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How to read the Nutrition Information Panel

The Nutrition Information Panel tells you the size of a standard serving of the product and which nutrients are contained in that serving. You can use the label to compare the product with what’s in similar packaged foods.

Energy: A kilojoule is a measure of energy. To lose weight, you need to eat and drink fewer kilojoules than you use. You should limit your intake of foods that have more than 600kJ per serve.

  • Fat: Fat is higher in kilojoules than other nutrients, so you should limit the total amount you eat.
  • Saturated fat: There are different types of fats. Saturated fats are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol, so it is especially important to choose foods low in saturated fat.
  • Carbohydrate: Carbohydrates are found in all fruit and vegetables, all breads and grain products, and sugar and sugary foods. You need carbohydrates for energy.
  • Sugar: Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. It is better to choose healthier carbohydrates and to limit foods that are high in added sugars.
  • Fibre: High fibre foods such as wholegrain bread and cereals improve digestion and help you to feel full.
  • Sodium: This tells you how much salt the product contains. Eating too much salt is linked to high blood pressure and can lead to heart disease, strokes and kidney disease.

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Ingredient lists

Ingredients must be listed in descending order (by ingoing weight). This means that when the food was manufactured, the first ingredient listed contributed the largest amount and the last ingredient listed contributed the least. For example, if sugar is listed near the start of the list the product contains a greater proportion of this ingredient.

If the product contains added water, it must be listed in the ingredient list according to its ingoing weight, with an allowance made for any water lost during processing, e.g. water lost as steam. The only exceptions are when the added water:

  • makes up less than 5% of the finished product, 

  • is part of a broth, brine or syrup that is listed in the ingredient list, or 

  • is used to reconstitute dehydrated ingredients.

Sometimes compound ingredients are used in a food. A compound ingredient is an ingredient made up of two or more ingredients e.g. canned spaghetti in tomato sauce, where the spaghetti is made up of flour, egg and water. All the ingredients which make up a compound ingredient must be declared in the ingredient list, except when the compound ingredient is used in amounts of less than 5% of the final food. An example of a compound ingredient that could be less than 5% of the final food is the tomato sauce (consisting of tomatoes, capsicum, onions, water and herbs) on a frozen pizza.

However, if an ingredient that makes up a compound ingredient is a known allergen it must be declared regardless of how much is used.

Percentage labelling

Most packaged foods have to carry labels which show the percentage of the key or characterizing ingredients or components in the food. This allows you to compare similar products.

The characterizing ingredient for strawberry yoghurt would be strawberries and the label would say, for example, 9% strawberries. An example of a component could be the cocoa solids in chocolate. Some foods, such as white bread or cheese, may have no characterizing ingredients or components.

For more information regarding food labelling laws, understanding claims, recommended dietary serves and serving sizes, please click the links below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the contact page

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan.

References:

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/cutting-down-on-sugars

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-adults

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-children-adolescents-and

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/shopping-cooking-meal-planning/food-labels

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The Truth Behind Cholesterol: One of Our Body’s Most Vital Lipids

Hello everyone,

In today’s blog, I decided to write the science behind cholesterol and its role in the body. Alot of people in today’s society associate cholesterol with heart disease, illness and early death. However, cholesterol is a vital component in our body and has some extremely important functions for health! I’ll also be discussing the concerns I have with allopathic (conventional) treatment of cholesterol and the problems this may cause for individuals long-term.

What does cholesterol do?

Cholesterol is among the most vital lipids inside of the human body. Its denigration by conventional mainstream dogma over the past several decades defies the actual science that flies in the face of cholesterol’s debased reputation. Not only is there no such thing whatsoever as “good” and “bad” cholesterol, both LDL (the so called “bad) and HDL (the so called “good”) cholesterol are not even cholesterol, they are lipoproteins, transport mechanisms for cholesterol. Efforts to reduce the body’s production of cholesterol and its adjacent lipoproteins, whether through medical intervention, or through nutritional intervention, may have very serious repercussions for one’s health.

The overwhelming majority of cholesterol in the blood is manufactured by the liver and is not derived from dietary sources of cholesterol.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Attia Lipoprotein Trafficking.pptx [Read-

LDL, HDL & Oxidative Stress

LDL and HDL are the lipoproteins that deliver cholesterol to and from the tissues. LDL carries cholesterol out to the different parts of the body, HDL removes cholesterol from the tissues and brings it back to the liver. This is the flow. Neither are good nor bad, they are both essential and normal biological constituents.

Many doctors and researchers have declared LDL to be the so called “bad cholesterol”. First, LDL is not cholesterol at all. LDL transports cholesterol from the liver where it is made to the peripheral tissues where it is used for all of its necessary purposes. LDL transports much more than just cholesterol. LDL also transports essential antioxidants such as Vitamins A, E, D, K, Coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, as well as phospholipids and various fatty acids.

The current attention in medical research has shifted away from cholesterol per se, and instead has focused on “oxidized” LDL particles as being a cause in vascular inflammation. The term “oxidized LDL” introduces an entirely different discussion. The increase in “oxidation” of certain molecules is reflective of oxidative stress and free radical formation, which inflames and degrades tissues.

The critical point is that oxidizing LDL particles is not being caused by cholesterol. And further, reducing the amount of LDL and cholesterol via a statin drug will not prevent oxidative stress. If anything it will likely increase oxidative stress, because cholesterol is a potent anti-inflammatory, documented in the literature to inhibit pro-inflammatory cascades such as leukotriene via LOX. Cholesterol is needed to synthesize other anti-inflammatory molecules such as the hormone cortisol.

Additionally, recommending statin drugs without concomitantly supplementing with CoQ10 is a very dangerous move, particularly because CoQ10 synthesis will be inhibited when the statin drug blocks a key enzyme in Coenzyme A synthesis. It is well established that CoQ10 plays a pivotal role in the health of the cardiovascular system, and with all cells.

statins-slide

Emerging evidence suggests that more important than the quantity of LDL particles, is the quality of the LDL particles. The quality of an LDL particle will largely prevent the molecule itself from oxidizing, i.e. being more resilient and stable. The quality of LDL molecules will largely be due to factors related to diet and whole food nutrition. An increased consumption of certain oxidative-prone, unsaturated vegetable oils and trans fatty acids will be major ticking time bombs for the degradation of LDL particles.

Increased blood glucose and hyperinsulinism will likely contribute to an increase in oxidative stress as well. The literature has reported extensively on the inflammation induced by glycation. Glycation is the covalent bonding of a sugar molecule with a protein or lipid molecule. This is why normalizing one’s glucose and insulin levels is one of the single most important strategies that exists for preventing vascular risks from developing.

There can be reasons why LDL levels may increase on a blood test, which don’t have to do with inflammation, glycation or oxidative stress. For example:

  • Low thyroid function. Many thyroid experts believe that subclinical low thyroid issues are epidemic. It is known that if thyroid hormone is decreased in cells, LDL receptors will not work well, causing elevated LDL in the blood
  • Immune response to pathogenic infection. LDL has shown in literature to bind to certain types of bacteria
  • High cortisol, Cushing’s syndrome. Because cholesterol makes the adrenal hormone cortisol, and LDL transports cholesterol to the adrenal glands, high cortisol may feature increased LDL

Your Body Cannot Function Without Cholesterol

Among cholesterol’s most essential functions, is its presence in all of the trillions of cell membranes of the body. What is it doing there? It is one of the primary structural components of the membrane of a cell. Without adequate cholesterol, cells will break apart due to a lack of integrity.

In addition to this, all of the steroidal hormones of the body are synthesized from cholesterol. This includes cortisol and corticosteroids, DHEA, the estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, aldosterone, and the master steroidal hormone, pregnenolone. Cholesterol is the precursor to all of these hormones. It is no surprise that some of the many symptoms associated with taking cholesterol-lowering medications are: fatigue, muscle wasting, loss of sex drive and adrenal fatigue.

In addition to this, it is the circulating LDL particles (the so called “bad” cholesterol) that are what deliver cholesterol to the hormone receptor sites of cells.

Cholesterol & Digestion

Cholesterol is the raw material for bile. Bile is an essential water-based substance made by the liver that is necessary for the digestion of fats, fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, K and carotenoids. In addition to this, bile contains conjugated toxins such as the environmental chemicals and toxic metals such as mercury and lead that have been filtered by the liver. Bile is produced as the end result of phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification. Inadequate cholesterol production by the liver and inadequate bile production is indicative of a toxic, over-burdened liver, and an over-all high toxic body burden.

A deficiency in bile will necessarily result in poor assimilation of fat and fat soluble vitamins. In addition to this, bile salts have the responsibility of alkalizing the hydrochloric acid and bolus (partially digested and acidified food) that enters into the duodenum from the stomach. In many instances, a bile insufficiency can produce many symptoms associated with acid reflux, GERD and acid indigestion.

Inadequate levels of bile can damage the normal digestive functions of the body and can prevent the body from detoxifying the thousands of environmental toxins that are often found in high amounts in the average person’s body.

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Cholesterol & Immune Function

Among its many primary roles in the body, cholesterol in the tissues is a powerful anabolic lipid, effectively preventing the formation of harmful and destructive free radicals generated when certain immune cell-produced conjugated fatty acids (such as leukotriene) are produced through catalytic mechanisms.

Leukotrienes are among the most virulent and pathological fatty acids that are generated by immune cells. They are produced via the 5-LOX (lipoxygenase) pathway, via arachadonic acid. It is critical to point out that leukotrienes are a primary factor in creating inflammatory processes. Adequate levels of cholesterol  is a powerful anti-inflammatory, effectively neutralizing the catalytic conversions of arachadonic acid before the formation of pro-inflammatory lipids such as leukotrienes and certain prostaglandins.

Cholesterol’s powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities is the strongest evidence to demonstrate cholesterol’s vital role in regulating inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and many others. Cholesterol puts out the fires of inflammation. Cholesterol is NOT the cause of inflammation, it is the response TO inflammation!

Cholesterol, Lipo-proteins & Blood Tests

Cholesterol is not actually measured on a blood test. Only the lipo-proteins are measured, and the sum of which is called “total cholesterol”. Even if cholesterol was measured on a blood test, its clinical value comes into question, at least when looking at the actual results at face value. A very important factor is that cholesterol is only active and usable when it is free and unbound. Since the cholesterol in the blood is mostly lipo-protein-bound, it isn’t free to be used, and therefore is not reflective of what the cells are actually using.

In many ways this is the value of the LDL/HDL ratio, to calculate what amount of lipo-proteins are going out to the cells and tissues, versus what is returning from the cells and tissues.

cholesterol levels chart

The Conventional View Of Cholesterol Is In Error

Heart disease is found among people with high, low, and normal total serum cholesterol! Elevations in LDL and total cholesterol values are very often indicative of the body’s need for more of it in cells and tissues. Remember that it is LDL that sends cholesterol out to the various locations in the body so that cholesterol can perform its many critical functions. Rather than attempting to lower or inhibit cholesterol values, investigating why cholesterol is elevated is of greater importance. Because it is this investigation that leads to deeper inquiries into the body’s functionality, such as:

  • Digestion & bile synthesis
  • Immune regulation
  • Inflammation, free radicals and oxidative stress
  • Detoxification
  • Hormone synthesis
  • Cell membrane formation & integrity

Conventional medicine and conventional nutrition is by nature allopathic, only addressing the level of the symptom, and failing to address causation or the many potential layers of dysfunction, which when investigated can reveal the breakdown of normal physiological homeostasis.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via the contact page on the website for more information regarding cholesterol and implications on health.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Sources

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19404868

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16420478

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra071371

http://www.jlr.org/content/44/7/1268.short

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20801628

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17950536

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21134328

Smith, LL, 1991: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1937129

‘Research In Physiopathology As Basis Of Guided Chemotherapy’, Revici, MD

‘Cholesterol, Friend Or Foe?’, Natasha Campbell McBride, MD

‘The Cholesterol Myths’, Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD

The Buddhist Philosophy: The Ultimate Mindset to Achieving Your Goals.

Hello everyone.

How often have you set new goals to actually end up not achieving them? If you’re like most people, it’s not even worth thinking about.

What usually happens is that we create our grand plans, get excited about them and make a few of the changes in our lives. And then sometime later we realize we’ve slipped back into old habits and routines.

Luckily, we can turn to the teachings of Buddhism to learn more about setting goals and achieving them.

Buddhism has become more popular in the West in recent decades as it helps take a focus away from goals to live more mindfully in the present. You would think Buddhism doesn’t have much to say about achieving goals.

That’s why we’ve written this article, to share a different perspective. When you consider the teachings of Buddhism, it’s possible to bring together a focus on living the moment with making progress in achieving your goals.

With the new year having arrived, now’s the time to embrace this perspective so you can achieve your goals while living mindfully in the present.
The Problem with Goals

What usually happens is that we set clearly defined goals with deadlines, defining the actions we need to take to achieve them. We end up focusing on the goals, shifting our focus to the future.

This is what brings forth anxiety, as we constantly are reminded of how far away we are from reaching our goals. We end up losing motivation and the whole process of moving towards our goals invariably falls apart.

We end up coming up with new goals and new action plans, and the whole thing just repeats itself over and over.

It’s crazy – and as Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Be Clear on Your Core Values

Before setting goals, you need to understand what your core values are. What do you stand for? What are the most important things in your life?

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Values are things like love, security, adventure, passion and success. Once you’re clear on your values, you’re able to make decisions about what to do with your life.

It’s important to understand that other people can’t decide your values for you. We’re all different, and that’s why it’s difficult to just read online about what to do. It’s about self-inquiry and figuring this out on your own.

As Mahatma Ghandhi once said: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Shift From a Goal Mindset to a Value Mindset

One you have your values established, think about the goals you’ve had and ask yourself why you want to achieve them. What is the result of the goals that is aligned with your values?

How do you want to feel when you’ve achieved your goals?

What this does is help you focus on the feeling that comes in the future, rather than the specific goals themselves.

Then you are able to visualize yourself having already achieved that goal. It brings the outcome into the present, and you start aligning your current mental state with the reality of having already achieved the goal.

You can visualize in more areas of your life. What would your average day look like? What kinds of decisions are you making?

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See and Feel Your Vision Every Day

Go really deep and even incorporate this into your meditation practice. Every day make sure you’re spending time to visualize the future you’re creating, and then incorporate this into your daily practices.

When you’re in the show, imagine yourself in a state of living our your values. Think about what your day would look like.

Be mindful in the present moment about which parts of your day are matched with the value based future that you’re creating.

Over time, you’ll start to see that the difference between the future you want to create and the present is getting smaller. Before you know it, they will be one and the same.

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How This Relates to Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about slowing down to notice what is happening in the present moment without judgement.

When we set goals, we end up being aggressive with ourselves, getting frustrated with the gap between the achieving of the goal and we’re we are today.

A Goal focus on what we don’t have, whereas visualizing the future puts us in a state of already being there.

Mindfulness helps us to be in the present moment, notice what’s right in our lives and be grateful for those things and feel good.

Using an approach based on mindfulness, you feel and visualize your inner self each day and make choices based on “who you are” instead of the actions that should be taken to achieve a result.

Four Steps to Make Your Dreams Happen

With all of this in mind, I’ve put together four steps to follow to free yourself from the destructive nature of goals and actually make your dreams happen.

  1. Determine what your core values are.
  2. Write a vividly detailed description of your new average day.
  3. Each day, set an intention for how you want to feel and who you want to be.
  4. Continue to monitor and review

Using this approach, you’ll continue to make progress in achieving your goals, while feeling a whole lot better and making your dreams a reality.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

 

Further Reading…

https://thebuddhistcentre.com/buddhism

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm

https://www.artofliving.org/au-en/meditation

https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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

Homemade Sauerkraut: Heal your Gut with Fermented Vegetables

 Hello everyone,

Homemade sauerkraut, in all its funky humility, is a favourite food in our home. It’s great on its own or added to your favourite salad. So why is everyone talking about saurekraut?

Health Benefits of Sauerkraut

The fermentation of cabbage into sauerkraut preserves it, providing a ready food for the cold days of winter when fresh food was scarce.  So while early peoples preserved cabbage with salt in an effort to keep hunger away during the dark months, their method of preservation fulfilled another need: that of optimal nourishment.

Nutrition Nourishment often talks about the gut and the environment that lives there known as the gut microbiome. This is due to the fact that the good bacteria living in someone’s healthy gut environment have been scientifically proved to be crucial for lowering the risk of just about every form of acute or chronic illness there is. A 2006 report published in The Journal of Applied Microbiology states that probiotic benefits from cultured foods include lowering the risk of:

This is due to probiotics’ direct and indirect influences on various organs and systems, especially the rate at which your body produces inflammation and controls hormone production. The “good bacteria” and other organisms living within your gut might as well be considered an organ in their own right, because they’re critically important to the health of your brain, hormones, heart, lungs, liver and digestive organs. The latest science tells us that probiotic-rich foods can help:

  • Improve immune function, since they create a barrier against potential invaders including “bad bacteria” like pathogens, viruses, fungi and parasites
  • Aid in digestion and the absorption of various nutrients
  • Detoxify the body, since probiotics help prevent infections and combat toxins living within your digestive tract
  • Support brain function and cognitive health, even helping to prevent dementia, treat Alzheimer’s disease and stave off memory loss
  • Handle stress through the “gut-brain” connection, your microflora’s effects on your endocrine (hormonal) system
  • Control inflammation that is at the root of most diseases

Why You Should Make Sauerkraut at Home

  • Homemade sauerkraut is inexpensive to make, especially when you buy cabbage in season and in bulk.  Comparatively the price for raw sauerkraut at the grocery store can often exceed $8 for a glass jar.
  • You can adjust the flavour of the sauerkraut you make at home to suit your preferences, whether that’s more sour or less, or whether you include additions like garlic, dill, caraway or hot peppers.

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Homemade Saurekraut Recipe

Traditional, homemade sauerkraut relies only on cabbage and salt, and those ingredients come together through time and the work of beneficial bacteria to create a pleasant, sour, fermented vegetable that can be used as a condiment or sidedish. Homemade sauerkraut pairs beautifully with broiled sausages, and hearty lentil stews. 

 

You’ll Need: 

1kg Cabbage (any type you like)

2 Table spoons of salt

1L wide mouthed Glass jar and lid

 

What to do!

Shred or chop cabbage to your liking; thick or thin.

Add salt, and cover. Leave to sit for approx. 1 hr

Use clean hands to massage cabbage in the bowl until you have enough liquid to cover the cabbage.

Pack tightly into glass jar, and leave on the bench to ferment for approx. 1 week. This will depend on the temperature. During winter ferments can take up to one month. When it is hot they can be as little as 3 days.

Place in the fridge and enjoy!

Variations: 

Why not try adding other grated vegetables such as carrot, beetroot and turnip for more nutrients. You can also get creative with spices for added flavour. Try garlic, dill, chilli and caraway seeds.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Pathogenic Drug Resistance: A CAM Review into “Superbugs” in Australia

Hello everyone,

AUSTRALIA now has the highest rate of one deadly superbug in the world as our overuse of medicines is fuelling the rise of infections resistant to even the last line of antibiotics. A damning new report shows antibiotic use in Australia is higher than in England, Canada, Norway, Denmark and Sweden with half our population using the medicines every year. Its left us with the highest rate of one deadly superbug — vancomycin resistant enterococcus faecium (VRE) — in the world.  This bacteria can live innocuously in the human intestine, but when it becomes pathogenic it cases diseases such as neonatal meningitis or endocarditis a disease that can destroy heart valves.

The Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA) report 2016 to be released Thursday shows half the GP scripts written for antibiotics are for colds and flu even though these illnesses are viruses that don’t respond to antibiotics. And as the cold and flu season hits us in full swing this season, experts have been urging Australians not to ask their doctor for an antibiotic because they could be helping deadly superbugs spread.

The report shows a strong seasonal variance, with some antibiotics being prescribed more in winter.

Antibiotic resistance has developed because of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, and now, bacterial infections that were once easily cured with antibiotics are becoming harder to treat,” said Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Senior Medical Advisor Professor John Turnidge.

The results of the first comprehensive study on Australia’s antibiotic use includes data from 182 doctors’ practices.And it shows on any given day in an Australian hospital in 2014, nearly four in ten patients were being administered an antibiotic.One in four of these medicines were prescribed in ways that were not compliant with guidelines, and another one in four were considered inappropriate.

The Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA) report 2016 found where GPs gave a reason for prescribing an antibiotic 50 per cent of patients had a cold or upper respiratory tract infection.A new NPS MedicineWise survey of 1000 Australians, also released today, has revealed that four in ten people who went to the doctor last time they or their child had a cold or flu expected a prescription for antibiotics.

One in five people said the main reasons they asked a doctor for antibiotics when they had a cold or flu were they hate being sick, 17 per cent said they believed that antibiotics help you get over cold or flu more quickly and 22 per cent said they couldn’t take time off work or family duties.

It’s timely for us to again address common misconceptions that unfortunately seem to persist about appropriate use of antibiotics during cold and flu season,” said NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynne Weekes.

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As experts try to turn around Australia’s addiction to antibiotics the report will be used as a benchmark to measure improvements or declines in antibiotic stewardship in the future.

Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as Golden Staph because of its colour on a laboratory plate, is normally harmless. Carried on our skin it can, sometimes, cause minor infections in wounds or create boils.

Golden Staph, though, is becoming resistant to the most powerful of antibiotics and returning as a big problem in most large Australian hospitals, attacking intravenous lines, catheters and wounds after operations. It spreads quickly through patient contact, respiratory droplets and food. These resistant bacteria range from 20 to 40 percent of all Golden Staph infections in major eastern Australian hospitals. About 5 percent of those multi resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can only be treated with vancomycin. Now, even that last line of defence is looking shaky. In 1997, a Golden Staph bacterium partially resistant to vancomycin was discovered in Japan. Dubbed to be of intermediate resistance it is now known as vancomycin intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA).

VRE is another bacterium which hits the headlines from time to time. VRE or Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci was first identified in Australia in 1994. It didn’t, though, cause much of a stir until 1996 when several cases were diagnosed in hospital patients across the country. In that year, institutions in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Newcastle all reported isolating VRE.

Enterococcus is a bacterium in our gastrointestinal and genital tracts. It can be highly aggressive, especially in post-operative hospital patients, causing urinary tract infections, septicaemia (blood poisoning) and endocarditis (heart infection) as well as infecting wounds. Microbiologist and antibiotic resistance expert, Dr John Turnidge, from the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital, says Enterococcus is a ‘peculiar beast’ because it starts off as naturally resistant to many antibiotics. “For severe hospital infections, there are only two classes of antibiotics to choose for treatment so resistance in one class, no matter how low, is a huge concern”. 

Less than 1% of Enterococci resist vancomycin but some also resist the other antibiotic available in that class in Australia. This combination makes serious Enterococcus infections potentially unstoppable.

“Antibiotic resistant genes from VRE.have been transferred to Staphylococcus Aureus in the laboratory. If such resistance occurs in nature, or the Japanese strain [VISA] behaves like the multi resistant S. aureus, then a spread throughout the world may occur over the next ten years putting treatment of S.aureus back where it was before antibiotics were first discovered.”

JETACAR, 1999.

Then there’s the bacteria that causes those nasty common problems like middle ear infection, sinusitis, bronchitis and life threatening pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae spreads through respiratory droplets and can also cause meningitis and septicaemia. It’s been evolving resistance around the world and Australia’s catching up. At least half of Australia’s strains are resistant to one antibiotic and a third are resistant to 3 or 4 antibiotics. Given the large numbers of people who suffer infections caused by Streptococcus it is, in one sense, much more important than VRE or Golden Staph.

There is also some concern in Australia about Haemophilus influenzae. Also passed on through respiratory droplets, it causes bacterial meningitis, middle ear infection, sinusitis and bronchitis – not influenza as its name might suggest. There is now a successful vaccine for bacterial meningitis but about 25 percent of Haemophilus influenzae resist the most commonly used antibiotic. Very little multi-resistance has been identified at this stage.

Then there are the sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhoea has become more and more resistant to antibiotics since the Vietnam War. It now resists penicillin, tetracyclines and the newest groups of antibiotics.

Probably the most common bacterium is Escherichia coli commonly known as E-coli. It can cause gastroenteritis, haemorrhagic colitis or urinary and genital tract infections. Its resistance is very high and getting worse. 50 percent of Australian strains resist the most commonly used cure, Amoxycillin.

On the international front, Campylobacter, which causes gastroenteritis and is passed on through animals, is showing resistance to a class of antibiotics called quinolones. Like Salmonella, which is also showing resistance, it comes from food and water. Antiobiotic-resistant Campylobacter is a big issue in Europe and the US especially in relation to the use of similar antibiotics in food producing animals.

Also of concern is the growing rise in multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis. Initially, these strains were seen only in HIV-infected patients but it has spread into the general community. It’s now at the stage where Australia’s state health departments have had to issue instructions to practitioners on treatment for multi-drug resistant TB.

“Overall, there are almost no bacteria where there is not resistance to more antibiotics then there were 10 or 15 years ago,” says Associate Professor Peter Collignon, Director of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the Canberra Hospital, Australian Capital Territory.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-02-28/superbugs-what-are-they-and-how-are-they-treated/8310556

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/07/19/more-1000-super-superbug-cases-last-year

http://time.com/4767683/bacteria-antibiotic-resistance-superbugs/

http://theconversation.com/how-common-are-superbugs-in-australia-and-what-do-we-do-when-the-antibiotics-dont-work-80318

Take care,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Health and Wellness Review: The New News on Probiotics.

Hello everyone,

You may have noticed alot of information and talk about probiotics and the microbiome on Nutrition Nourishment. That’s due to the advanced in medical research and studies providing us with valuable insight into the role of the gut microbiome environment in good health. Unfortunately we don’t know the best strains (and numbers) for health, but we do know they key to good health appears to be hosting a variety of different species of strains for a wide range eco-system. Some key players have been researched and found to possess powerful health fighting resources for our bodies and help manage chronic conditions, however, the research is still quite young. Heres the NEW news on probiotics!!

Probiotics – The Wonder Bugs!

The gut microbiota, which describes the microorganisms living and growing inside your digestive tract, is a hot topic right now! Exciting new research indicates, these microbes have a profound impact on the many aspects of your health and well-being. Taking probiotics (specific strains of beneficial bacteria) can positively influence these microorganisms and lead to improvements, not only in your digestive and immune health but the health of your whole body.

Is Your Gut Out of Balance?

An imbalance in the gut microbiota is linked to numerous health conditions, both within the gut and throughout the body. You may have experienced symptoms such as bloating, wind, abdominal pain and discomfort; signs of poor immunity (e.g. frequent colds and flus); or been plagued by allergies or skin conditions such as eczema. These may arise due to disturbances to the intricate balance of intestinal bacteria.

Many common lifestyle factors including alcohol consumption, medications (e.g. antibiotics), processed foods and stress can disrupt this delicate balance and lead to an increase in undesirable bacteria or deficiencies in beneficial bacteria. This imbalance has been associated with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), asthma and autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis). In these cases, probiotics can help to restore the correct balance of bacteria and ultimately reinstate health. It is more important than ever to support your gastrointestinal microbiota!

How Do Probiotics Work?

Specific probiotic strains help to rebuild the disrupted microbiota and act like policemen within the gut, restoring peace amongst the ‘citizens’ of the microbiota. Probiotics have a regulating effect on both disease-promoting and beneficial bacteria; undesirable bacteria are kept at minimal levels, meanwhile promoting growth of beneficial bacteria. This exciting new news is in contrast to earlier thoughts that probiotics repopulated the gut by directly replacing any bad bugs living there. Instead, probiotics help to restore the numbers and types of beneficial bacteria unique to you; rebuilding a healthy and diverse community of beneficial microbiota, and enabling them to function at their best, so you too can feel your best!

The Correct Strains at the Right Dose

There can be significant variation between probiotic strains. Different strains not only have different actions in your body, but also deliver different health benefits. Additionally, different doses of the same strain can have varying effects in the body. Your Practitioner can tailor your treatment by selecting specific probiotic strains at the right dose to address your individual health concerns. These may include:

  • Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (BB-12®) – This super strain assists in rebuilding the gut microbiota, and helps to rebalance bacteria after a course of antibiotics.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®) – Commonly referred to as LGG®, this probiotic strain helps to regulate immune function, and in doing so may be useful for the treatment of autoimmune conditions, allergies, and eczema.

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Probiotic Protection

Appropriate probiotic storage is of utmost importance to ensure the bacteria remain live, strong and healthy – essentially in a healthy state to restore your healthy state. In nearly all instances, probiotics must be stored at stable temperatures within the fridge to keep them live and active. The only exception is when they are protected by PROTECTAIR™ technology as this has been shown to minimise moisture levels (moisture ‘activates’ probiotics, which you don’t want to happen until they are in your body!). This technology has been developed to allow certain probiotic strains to remain out of the fridge for a set period of time, while still remaining stable and effective, so you get results.

Practitioner Recommended Probiotics Are Best

It is essential to source your probiotics based on the recommendation of a qualified Natural Health Practitioner. This ensures that the formula contains the correct strains at the right dosage and combination to address your specific health needs. A Practitioner prescribed probiotic will provide high strength, therapeutic doses of bacteria that will be beneficial for managing your health. Restore peace and balance amongst the ‘citizens’ of your marvellous microbiota!

As Always,

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.