Travelling Tips; Wellness Away From Home

Travelling Is Fun! Whether you’re going near or far, for work or for pleasure – there’s always a new adventure to be had. But with this break from your routine, and being away from home and all its comforts, you can lose some of the daily healthy habits and rituals that keep you feeling good. I’ve recently wrapped up several months of travel for work and thought I’d share with you some of the things I take with me, and do while I’m away, that keep me feeling my best.   Healthy Food I eat incredibly well, and enjoy the occasional indulgence – and this applies when I’m at home as well as away. But eating well away from home can be a bit tough. Without my fridge and cupboards stocked with fresh, healthy options I’m forced to rely on either what I’ve packed – or what I can get nearby. Plane food is the pits and in-room dining menus can be pricey. I always pack snacks/meals for the plane and I also carry a brekkie kit for healthy mornings that cost a fraction of the buffet. With the right forethought and preparation you can prepare all kinds of elaborate, fresh and nourishing meals and snacks for the plane and for when you reach your destination – but below is my ‘Lazy Girl’s Guide’ to keep it simple and easy: Nuts and Seeds: a ziplock bag with your favourites is a handbag must-have and will keep you going when there is literally no other option. A sprinkling of dried fruit and/or dark chocolate can keep things interesting too. Water bottle: a... read more

Healthy Holidays – Your Survival Guide

It’s the holiday season. I’m pretty sure that many of you are going to party a little bit, and no, I’m not going to try to discourage it. During this time of year, many of us break from our routines somewhat, drink a little (more) alcohol, eat a lot of food, and even forget to exercise. But please don’t be too hard on yourself; it happens to almost all of us. It’s okay to indulge a little and have some fun especially if it’s only a “once-a-year” occasion. However, it can’t hurt to take some precautions and practice a little moderation as well. If you’re looking to minimise the damage, here are some survival tips to help make this time of year both enjoyable and bearable.   Holiday Party Pitfall #1: Alcohol So you like to have a drink or two — or three — at the holiday parties. Big deal. But is there a way to drink moderately without causing excess strain on your body? The answer is yes. Again, I’m not encouraging you to drink, I just want you to be prepared for it, in the event you do. The first rule is to drink moderately. Pace yourself, and try to drink as little as you can. The less you drink, the less havoc it will cause your body. Not exactly a revelation, I know. Try to be selective in your choice of drinks. Red wine, for example, contains beneficial nutrients like resveratrol that can protect your body. Skip the drinks with artificial flavours and colours, and those that are high in sugar (cocktails and soft drink... read more

Protein Supplements Boost Muscle Mass in Young and Old

A meta-analysis of 22 clinical trials shows that protein supplements are effective for boosting muscle mass and strength gains during resistance exercise in both younger and older subjects. Data from 680 individuals revealed that protein supplementation was associated with average increases in fat-free body mass of 0.69 kg, and average increases in leg press strength of 13.5 kg. “Dietary protein supplementation represents an effective dietary strategy to augment the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to prolonged resistance-type exercise training in healthy younger and older adults,” wrote Dutch researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Because the gains in fat-free mass and 1 repetition maximum leg press strength are also observed in an older population, it seems evident that protein supplementation represents an effective and robust strategy to improve the benefits of resistance-type exercise training to support healthy aging.” Debate Protein supplements are extensively taken by many athletes to build and maintain muscle. While this is generally accepted, the Dutch researchers note that there is “much discrepancy in the literature regarding the proposed benefits of protein supplementation during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in younger and older populations”. Their meta-analysis is claimed to be the first to examine protein supplementation in relation to the adaptive response of muscle strength, and seeks to resolve any debate over the effectiveness for young and old. Led by Luc van Loon from Maastricht University Medical Centre, the researchers analyzed data from 22 randomised control trials. The average protein supplement dose was 42 grams per day, and the majority of the studies used whey or milk proteins. Results showed that, compared to placebo, both free-fat... read more

Omega 3 Improves Your Memory

The journal PLOS One published an article on October 3, 2012 that reveals a benefit for supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids on working memory in young men and women. University of Pittsburgh researchers led by Rajesh Narendran of the Department of Radiology tested the effects of a supplement providing 930 milligrams eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 750 milligrams docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in 11 men and women between the ages of 18 and 25. Evaluation of working memory (via an “n-back test”), positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of the brain and tests for red blood cell fatty acid levels were conducted before and after the six month treatment period. Participants experienced an increase in plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels and improvement in working memory at the end of six months. “What was particularly interesting about the presupplementation n-back test was that it correlated positively with plasma omega-3,”observed Bita Moghaddam, whose lab conducted the research. “This means that the omega-3s they were getting from their diet already positively correlated with their working memory.” “Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best,” he remarked. “We found that members of this population can enhance their working memory performance even further, despite their already being at the top of their cognitive game.” Although the researchers had suggested increases in dopamine storage and a protein involved in decision making in a particular area of the brain as mechanisms supporting omega-3’s effect on cognitive function, PET scan results failed to support the hypothesis. “It is really interesting that diets enriched with omega-3 fatty acid can... read more

Exercise may Protect against Future Emotional Stress

Moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety and stress for an extended period of time post-workout, according to a study by kinesiology researchers in the University of Maryland School of Public Health published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (see also University of Maryland). “While it is well-known that exercise improves mood, among other benefits, not as much is known about the potency of exercise’s impact on emotional state and whether these positive effects endure when we’re faced with everyday stressors once we leave the gym,” explains J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. “We found that exercise helps to buffer the effects of emotional exposure. If you exercise, you’ll not only reduce your anxiety, but you’ll be better able to maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events.” Smith, whose research explores how exercise and physical activity affect brain function, ageing and mental health, compared how moderate intensity cycling versus a period of quiet rest (both for 30 minutes) affected anxiety levels in a group of healthy college students. He assessed their anxiety state before the period of activity (or rest), shortly afterward (15 minutes after) and finally after exposing them to a variety of highly arousing pleasant and unpleasant photographs, as well as neutral images. At each point, study participants answered 20 questions from the State-Trait Anxiety inventory, which is designed to assess different symptoms of anxiety. All participants were put through both the exercise and the rest states (on different days) and tested for anxiety levels pre-exercise, post-exercise, and post-picture viewing. Smith found that exercise and quiet... read more

Breakfast in a Cup

Frozen Raspberry Vanilla Frappe For quite some time I have been obsessed with my Banana, Cinnamon and Oat Smoothie and I’ve found it hard to choose something else for brekkie but this morning I got up and the last banana was beyond brown and I had to go for something else. Overdue for supermarket shopping I found my options were somewhat limited, but I always keep frozen berries (raspberries, blueberries and strawberries) in the freezer so that’s where I turned. This smoothie is ridiculously quick and easy, and on a day like today when the weather was quite balmy – so yummy and refreshing!!   Recipe 150 ml of chilled, filtered water* 25 ml organic cream (Yup, you read that right. Cream. I will explain later**) 1 1/2 scoops of Whey Less French Vanilla*** 1/2 cup frozen raspberries Blend, blend and blend! If you’ve read my earlier recipe forgive me for repeating myself here, ignore the rest of this article, and enjoy your smoothie – but for anyone who is scratching their head, read on. Notes: * about the chilled, filtered water. I am personally not a fan of ice-cold drinks but typically smoothies are made with milk cold from the fridge. Omitting this and using room temperature water means it can be a bit tepid and meh. So the chilled water gives the smoothie the right mouth feel and flavour. ** about the organic cream. I do sometimes make my smoothies using straight milk (organic of course) but when you use this blend of water and cream you end up with roughly the same amount of fat but half the sugar content. This is a nifty little option... read more

Not all Calories are Created Equal

Reducing refined carbohydrates may help maintain weight loss better than reducing fat A new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association challenges the notion that “a calorie is a calorie.” The study, led by Cara Ebbeling, Ph.D., associate director and David Ludwig, MD, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital, finds diets that reduce the surge in blood sugar after a meal – either low-glycaemic index or very-low carbohydrate – may be preferable to a low-fat diet for those trying to achieve lasting weight loss. Furthermore, the study finds that the low-glycaemic index diet had similar metabolic benefits to the very low-carb diet without negative effects of stress and inflammation as seen by participants consuming the very low-carb diet. Weight re-gain is often attributed to a decline in motivation or adherence to diet and exercise, but biology also plays an important role. After weight loss, the rate at which people burn calories (known as energy expenditure) decreases, reflecting slower metabolism. Lower energy expenditure adds to the difficulty of weight maintenance and helps explain why people tend to re-gain lost weight. Prior research by Ebbeling and Ludwig has shown the advantages of a low glycaemic load diet for weight loss and diabetes prevention, but the effects of these diets during weight loss maintenance has not been well studied. Research shows that only one in six overweight people will maintain even 10 percent of their weight loss long-term. The study suggests that a low-glycaemic load diet is more effective than conventional approaches at burning calories (and keeping energy expenditure) at a higher... read more

Sugar is Bad for Your Brain

The September 4, 2012 issue of the journal Neurology® published the finding of Australian researchers of an association between high normal plasma glucose levels and a decrease in brain volume in non-diabetic men and women. Although research has established an association between type 2 diabetes and cognitive impairment, the current study suggests an adverse effect on the brain for glucose levels considered by most authorities to be within a normal range. “Numerous studies have shown a link between type 2 diabetes and brain shrinkage and dementia, but we haven’t known much about whether people with blood sugar on the high-end of normal experience these same effects,” commented first author Nicolas Cherbuin, PhD, of Australian National University in Canberra. “These findings suggest that even for people who do not have diabetes, blood sugar levels could have an impact on brain health.” The study included 266 men and women between the ages of 60 and 64 enrolled in the PATH Through Life Study, which is a longitudinal study of aging. Fasting plasma glucose and other factors were measured upon enrollment, and those with glucose levels of 6.1 micromoles per litre (110 mg/dL, classified as impaired fasting hyperglycaemia by the World Health Organization) or higher were excluded. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain were conducted at the beginning of the study and four years later. Fasting plasma glucose levels ranged from 3.2 to 6.0 micromoles per litre (57.6 to 108 mg/dL) upon enrollment. Dr Cherbuin and his colleagues uncovered a significant association between a decline in volume in the brain’s hippocampus and amygdala (cerebral structures affected by aging and neurodegeneration)... read more

Snooze Yourself Slim!

New research shows more evidence that our busy lifestyles are contributing to our expanding waistlines. Research by Sweden’s Uppsala University researchers published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, uncovered a specific brain region that contributes to a person’s appetite and is more active when sleep deprived. Researchers Christian Benedict, Samantha Brooks, Helgi Schiöth and Elna-Marie Larsson from Uppsala University and researchers from other European universities were able to systematically examine which regions in the brain that control appetite suppression are influenced by sleep loss. And it’s not just extreme sleep loss that can impact the brain’s functions, a person only needs to be acutely sleep deprived to suffer the consequences. In the story, 12 average-weight males were shown images of food, and the researchers assessed their brain function using magnetic imaging. The study was performed when the subjects had experienced a normal night’s sleep and then compared to those when they had a sleepless night. “After a night of total sleep loss, these males showed a high level of activation in an area of the brain that is involved in a desire to eat,” Christian Benedict said.   “Bearing in mind that insufficient sleep is a growing problem in modern society, our results may explain why poor sleep habits can affect people’s risk to gain weight in the long run. One in three Australians are overweight and one in four is obese, so finding the reasons behind the obesity epidemic have become a massive national focus. Crash diets, sedentary lifestyles and an overwhelming availability of processed foods have been blamed for the health epidemic that could see... read more

5 Life Commandments

There comes a time in each of our lives when we come face to face with our own mortality. Be it through the development of illness or injury in ourselves or in the ones we care about, or the loss of someone we love – we all arrive at a point where we realise we’re mortal and accept life does not last forever. Bronnie Ware is someone who was blessed to share some of life’s most intimate and intense moments whilst working in palliative care. The people she cared for were living the last of their days and had essentially gone home to die and, as such, she gained a unique insight into what people experience when facing the final chapter of their life. As a result of her experience Bronnie wrote The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. “People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.” When Bronnie questioned her patients about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the Life Lessons that came from those conversations. Have the Courage to be True to Yourself Bronnie found the most common... read more

5 Tips for a Healthy Back

Treatment of low back pain has undergone a recent sea change. Experts now appreciate the central role of exercise and the importance of maintaining a healthy back. They also better understand which conditions surgery will help and which patients are good surgical candidates. Back pain has many different causes, including the normal wear and tear that comes with aging. While you can’t turn back the clock or prevent every type of back disorder, in most cases there are things you can do to help keep your back healthy. Number One – Stay Fit Weak back and abdominal muscles – due to deconditioning or age – cause or exacerbate many cases of low back pain. That’s why stretching and strengthening both your back and abdominal muscles is important not only for treating low back pain, but also for helping prevent a recurrence of the problem. Exercise strengthens and stretches the muscles that support the spine. A stretching and strengthening regimen should target the back, abdominal and buttock muscles. Strong abdominal or flexor muscles, for example, help people maintain an upright posture, as do strong extensor muscles, which run the full length of the back and maintain alignment of the vertebrae. Stretching is a valuable component of any treatment plan for a person plagued by back problems. Most experts believe that supple, well-stretched muscles are less prone to injury. Indeed, shorter, less flexible muscle and connective tissues restrict joint mobility, which increases the likelihood of sprains and strains. Certain aerobic activities are safer for your back than others. For instance, cycling (either stationary or regular), swimming and walking lead the list... read more

Proper Sunglasses can offer Safety and Style

Sunglasses are a must-have fashion accessory for many during the summer, but having the right ones can be beneficial to your health. Sunglasses are crucial to protecting the health of one’s eyes and the delicate, surrounding tissue from damage due to the same harmful UV rays that also can cause skin cancer. “Because in the summertime people are typically more active and outside – walking, hiking, biking and all that – they are more exposed to UV radiation,” said Dr. Bennett Nelson of Insight Eye Care in Waite Park. UV radiation raises the risk of developing cataracts. It also is linked to macular degeneration, “a treatable, but incurable disease of the macula, a part of the retina that is essential for sharp vision,” according to WebMD.com. “You can still develop UV radiation damage on a cloudy day as you can on a sunny day,” said Nelson, an optometrist. “That’s why you can still get tan when it’s cloudy out. It’s the UV radiation that causes the damage, not the sunlight.” Pingueculum is another eye problem that can develop due to UV radiation exposure; a pingueculum is a yellowish bump of tissue on the white of the eye, according to Nelson. “Many skin cancers can occur on the eyelids themselves, too, because the skin tissue is very thin, and being that it’s thin, it can be penetrated by that UV radiation, so wearing sunglasses not only protects the inside parts of the eye, it also protects the health of the tissue surrounding the eyes,” he said. Larger sunglasses, particularly ones with wraparound lenses and frames, will block more UV rays... read more

Dissolve a Headache With Water

Drinking Water may Dissolve a Headache Drinking water should be considered as a first line intervention for chronic headaches, researchers in Holland suggest. Their study compared two groups of patients with recurring headaches who consumed less than 2.5 litres of water per day. The researchers advised 52 patients to increase their water intake by 1.5 litres per day over three months, while 50 patients acted as a control group. All patients were issued advice on stress reduction and sleep improvement strategies, and tracked their water consumption, and experience of headaches in daily diaries. Almost half (47%) of the headache patients who increased their water intake reported much improvement compared to just a quarter of the control group, according to patient ratings of their self-perceived effect of treatment. Drinking more water also resulted in statistically significant improvement of 4.5 points on a Migraine Specific Quality Of Life (MSQOL) score, researchers report. However, drinking water had no effect on the frequency or duration of headaches. “Considering the observed positive subjective effects, it seems reasonable to recommend headache patients to try this non-invasive intervention for a short period of time to see whether they experience improvement,” say the researchers from the Department of General Practice at Maastricht University, writing in the journal Family Practice.   “The advice to increase the daily water intake could be a feasible first step intervention for patients with headache,” they say. [Source: 6... read more

Everyone is Entitled to an Education

I am so very, very grateful to have been born into a wonderful family and been given ample opportunity to Get an education Be in a position where I can use it It is a tragedy that over 1.3 billion people suffer in extreme poverty including hunger, malnutrition and limited or no access to education. Knowledge is Power. Education is Everything. Right now you’re probably scratching your head as to why I’m writing about something that has nothing to do with my practice. Bear with me. Consider this… 3 billion people live on less than US$2 a day. 1.4 billion people live on less than US$1.25 a day – the definition of those who live under the condition of “extreme global poverty.” Poverty is Crippling 2.6 billion people around the world do not have access to adequate sanitation and about 885 million people do not have access to clean water Inadequate access to healthcare sees nearly 11,700 people die every day from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Nearly two-thirds of these people are living in sub-Saharan Africa Women are even More at Risk According to the U.N., the majority of impoverished people are women, who globally earn roughly half as much as men Women in developing countries travel an average of almost four miles each day to collect water People living in the poorest slums can pay as much as ten times more for water than those in high-income areas of their own cities Children are the Most Vulnerable Approximately 600 million children live in extreme poverty An estimated 30,000 children die each day as a result – this is... read more

Germ Juice

Aaaa…choo! Right now we’re going through that awkward weather phase where Summer teases us with a balmy little appetiser before Winter sends us an arctic reminder it’s not quite done yet. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been caught unprepared for the elements several times where a sunshiny morning has lulled me into a false sense of security (and winter layer defiance). I think that, coupled with having an awful lot on my plate the last couple of months, means my system has been a little vulnerable until finally…. I have woken with a pesky cold. Boo.     My Cold & Flu Kit Echinamide – this powerful Echinacea formula is one I rely on and recommend. I am using an acute dose of 4 capsules 4 times a day Zinc lozenges – right now the post-nasal drip I have (charming.. I know) is murdering my throat. It hurts to swallow. It hurts to cough. It hurts to talk. Sad face. The form of zinc in these lozenges (gluconate) is not the most absorbable gut-wise (amino acid chelate is the winner there) but it is the best for topical application and absorption through the buccal mucosa (the soft mucous membranes of your mouth and throat) and thus directly works on the affected tissues I regularly recommend both of these for the treatment of simple, uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infections. I also recommend Germ Juice. Sounds hideous I know. And when you look at the ingredient list you may be inclined to think awful things. But I promise this tastes 79.3%* better than it sounds like it will. Ingredients This... read more

Sugary Drinks can Change Muscles in a Month!

Sugary drinks lead to alterations in muscles similar to those in people with obesity problems and type 2 diabetes, researchers in Britain said. Dr. Hans-Peter Kubis of Bangor University in England said the research showed regularly drinking soft drinks changed the way muscles use food as fuel, making them prefer to burn sugars over fats. “This will lead a reduced ability to burn fat and to fat gain. Moreover, it will make it more difficult for our body to cope with rises in blood sugar. What is clear here is that our body adjusts to regular soft drink consumption and prepares itself for the future diet by changing muscle metabolism via altered gene activity — encouraging unhealthy adaptations similar to those seen in people with obesity problems and type 2 diabetes.” The study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, found the switch to an inefficient metabolism was seen in the participants who were lightly active, lean male and females drinking soft drinks for only four weeks. “Together with our findings about how drinking soft drinks dulls the perception of sweetness, our new results give a stark warning against regularly drinking sugar sweetened drinks,” Kubis concluded. [Source: United Press... read more

Vitamin C – RDA increase proposed

Researchers Recommend Increase in Vitamin C Dietary Allowance Scientists at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute are proposing an increase in the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C from the current level of 90 milligrams per day for men and 75 milligrams for women, to a modest intake of 200 milligrams. Writing in a recent issue of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Professor Balz Frei and colleagues observe that the current RDA is based on the amount necessary to prevent scurvy and that present methods of evaluating nutrients such as vitamin C have often failed to find further disease-preventive benefits due to faulty methodology. “Phase III randomised controlled trials—designed principally to test the safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs—are ill suited to assess the health benefits of essential nutrients; and the currently available scientific evidence is sufficient to determine the optimum intake of vitamin C in humans,” they write. “It’s time to bring some common sense to this issue, look at the totality of the scientific evidence, and go beyond some clinical trials that are inherently flawed,” commented Dr Frei, who is the director of the Linus Pauling Institute. “Significant numbers of people in the U.S. and around the world are deficient in vitamin C, and there’s growing evidence that more of this vitamin could help prevent chronic disease. The way clinical researchers study micronutrients right now, with the same type of so-called ‘phase three randomised placebo-controlled trials’ used to test pharmaceutical drugs, almost ensures they will find no beneficial effect. We need to get past that.” Dr Frei and his coauthors argue that these trials... read more

Resistance Training emerging as Particularly Valuable for Older Adults

Four studies reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference(R) 2012 (AAIC(R) 2012) describe the ability of targeted exercise training to promote improved mental functioning and reduced risk for cognitive impairment and dementia in cognitively healthy older adults and those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The reports, from 6- and 12-month randomised controlled clinical trials, depict the beneficial effects of different types of exercise – resistance training, aerobic training, and balance-stretching training – on a variety of cognitive abilities, brain structure, functional neural plasticity, growth factors, and risk factors for cognitive decline such as depression and sleep quality. “Currently, the strongest data for lifestyle-based Alzheimer’s risk reduction is for physical activity, yet this data is generally observational and considered preliminary”, said William Thies, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association(R) Chief Medical and Scientific Officer. “These new intervention studies are taking place over longer periods of time to begin to clarify exactly which types of physical activity are most effective, how much needs to be done, and for how long. In particular, where previously we had seen positive associations between aerobic activity, particularly walking, and cognitive health, these latest studies show that resistance training is emerging as particularly valuable for older adults.” It is generally accepted that regular physical activity is essential to healthy ageing; it also may prove to be a strategy to delay or prevent the onset of cognitive impairment and dementia. “It is very important to learn more about factors that actually raise and lower risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. To do that, we need long-term studies in large, diverse populations, and we need the research funding to conduct... read more

Breakfast in a Cup

Banana, Cinnamon and Oat Smoothie I’m not a morning person. At least not Monday through Friday when I’m trying to fit 16 hours of work into 10, along with a social life. So when I’ve hauled myself out of bed and woken my mind and body with some exercise – this is one of my go-to, 60-second breakfasts.What I love about this smoothie is it really feels like a full breakfast in a cup – great texture, divine fragrance, tastes delicious and it’s super filling. For those of you equally time and/or energy-strapped in the morning let’s cut to the chase! My Recipe 150 ml of chilled, filtered water* 25 ml organic cream (Yup, you read that right. Cream. I will explain later**) 1 1/2 scoops of Whey Less French Vanilla*** 1/2 banana 2 tsp oats A dash or 2 of cinnamon Blend the begeesus out of it. Drink. Enjoy. Run out the door and have a fabulous day! Notes: * about the chilled, filtered water. I am personally not a fan of ice-cold drinks but typically smoothies are made with milk cold from the fridge. Omitting this and using room temperature water means it can be a bit tepid and meh. So the chilled water gives the smoothie the right mouth feel and flavour. ** about the organic cream. I do sometimes make my smoothies using straight milk (organic of course) but when you use this blend of water and cream you end up with roughly the same amount of fat but half the sugar content. This is a nifty little option to reduce the carbohydrate load of any... read more

Olivia Newton-John Wholistic Cancer Centre

Olivia Newton-John had to travel far and wide for acupuncture and massages to complement her chemotherapy and radiology in her battle with breast cancer – a burden she hopes others, particularly those in the public hospital system, won’t have to endure after the opening of a treatment centre bearing her name at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital. The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre will combine research laboratories, clinical treatment and complementary therapies in a one stop shop aimed at attacking cancer from all angles. Patients will be able to join singalongs in a dedicated music room, take a yoga class or enjoy a massage in combination with their chemotherapy. Cutting the ribbon on the centre on Friday, Newton-John said complementary therapies were an underrated component in the fight against cancer, which began for her with a diagnosis in 1992. “I had to find it myself and go to different places or have them come to me,” she said. “I was lucky I could do that but most people can’t so that’s why this is wonderful. It’s actually more than I ever could have pictured or dreamed of.” The Australian entertainment icon said she was inspired to join the project after experiencing limitations in her own treatment regime. “I knew what a gap there was in the delivery of truly wholistic cancer care and how much there was a need for a cancer centre and a philosophy that gives equal support to patient wellbeing as it does to surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and research,” she said. The $180 million centre began as a $50 million project in 2002. Newton-John has spent the best part... read more

Eat Fruit and Vegetables, Look More Attractive

Eating More Fruits and Vegetables Adds More Red and Yellow Tones to Skin Within 6 Weeks, Study Suggests One more reason to eat well! Eating more fruits and vegetables gives  a rosy hue to skin making you more attractive. It’s Mother Nature’s way of giving skin a healthy glow. Yellow-red pigments which give natural produce like carrots, tomatoes and mangoes their colour can also alter the hue of our skin when they are absorbed by fat deposits in our skin, a study showed. According to the Scottish researchers the changes in the redness and yellowness of skin in white people may be linked to the number of servings of fruit and vegetables they eat on a daily basis. These antioxidant-rich foods, which are loaded with plant-based pigments, seem to affect skin tone. Study For the study scientists analysed data from 35 college students with average age about 21, at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Participants completed food frequency questionnaires describing how often they ate certain foods during all three sessions of the study over a six-week period. On average, the students ate 3.5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Scientists also measured each person’s skin tone at seven body locations, including the cheeks, forehead, shoulder, and upper arm, at the beginning of the study as well as at three weeks and six weeks. Findings Findings suggest that eating fruits and vegetables give Healthier, Better-Looking Skin. After six weeks, the researchers observed noticeable increases in skin redness and yellowness in people who increased the fruit and vegetables at their meals. Healthier and rosier-looking skin was linked with... read more

Berries Delay Brain Ageing

An article published online on April 26, 2012 in the Annals of Neurology reports a protective effect for diets containing high amounts of blueberries and strawberries against cognitive decline in older women. Berries are high in compounds known as flavonoids, which may help reduce the negative impact of inflammation and stress on cognitive function. “As the U.S. population ages, understanding the health issues facing this group becomes increasingly important,” commented lead researcher Elizabeth Devore of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “Our study examined whether greater intake of berries could slow rates of cognitive decline.” Dr Devore and her associates evaluated data from women who were between the ages of 30 and 55 upon enrollment in the Nurses’ Health Study in 1976. Dietary questionnaires completed every four years since 1980 were analyzed for the frequency of berry intake as well as the intake of 31 individual flavonoids representing six major flavonoid subclasses commonly found in US diets. Cognitive function was tested every two years in 16,010 participants who were over the age of 70 between 1995 and 2001. Consuming a relatively high amount of blueberries or strawberries was associated with a slower decline in cognitive function test scores over the follow-up period compared to women whose intake was lower, resulting in a delay in cognitive aging of up to 2.5 years. Greater intake of the anthocyanidin class of flavonoids and total flavonoids was also associated with a reduced rate of decline. “Substantial biologic evidence supports our finding that berry and flavonoid intake may be related to cognition,” the authors write. “Berry-derived anthocyanidins are uniquely and specifically capable... read more

“Vitality and Beauty are Gifts of Nature for those who live according to Her Laws”

~ Leonardo da Vinci

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Vitality and Beauty

“Vitality and Beauty are Gifts of Nature for those who live according to Her Laws”

~ Leonardo da Vinci

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Nuts Contribute to Health of Brain And Body

They’re among the earliest known foods. Archaeological evidence suggests that tree nuts were a major part of the human diet 780,000 years ago. Several varieties of nuts, along with the stone tools necessary to crack them open, have been found buried deep in bogs in the Middle East. Rich in energy and loaded with nutrients, nuts and, particularly, their cargo of omega-3 fatty acids are thought to have been essential to the evolution of the large, complex human brain. Researchers have long linked consumption of tree nuts, despite their significant fat content, to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and even Parkinson’s disease. Now comes evidence that they also improve cognition in general and specific ways. Most have high concentrations of vitamin E, the B vitamins (including folate), antioxidants, minerals such as magnesium, as well as omega-3 fats, all of which support myriad functions of the nervous system. Test Best Crack open some walnuts and improve your ability to think critically. Researchers find that eating a high concentration of walnuts (half a cup a day) boosts inferential verbal reasoning, especially the ability to distinguish true from false. An array of compounds in walnuts, including vitamin E, folate, melatonin and varied antioxidative polyphenols, protect the central nervous system and speed synaptic transmission. The significant supply of alpha-linolenic acid is essential for stability of neuronal membranes, through which all neuronal actions transpire. Memory Tracks Although not strictly tree nuts — they are the seed of a fruit related to plums — almonds may help save your memory. Mice rendered temporarily amnesiac were more apt to remember their way around... read more

Hi Everyone… and Welcome!

I feel so blessed to work in a profession where I get to share with people how their bodies work, and offer the many dos and don’ts for living a healthy life. I communicate this information on a daily basis; through group lectures, on TV, occasionally over coffee, and as personalised programs – in-consultation, one person at a time. I’ve started this blog so I can share more of what I know with everyone I already reach, as well as making this information available to as many other people as possible. Each and every one of us has been gifted a vehicle, a home, to inhabit a lifetime on this earth with. We are each responsible for our own wellbeing and yet not one of us was given an Owner’s Manual (or if you were you’re keeping very quiet about it). So many of us find ourselves asking Dr Google for his opinion. And he has a lot of good ideas. So many, we end up confused cyberchondriacs. Now, as much as we each come with our own family history, genetic predisposition, and the legacy of our lifestyle choices – for the most part our machinery is much the same. As a Natural Health Practitioner, I offer you information of a calibre that allows for educated choices. In this blog you will find: ▪ Loads on all things natural medicine – those life-supporting compounds like herbs, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other random, less pigeon-holeable things ▪ Research updates – or rather a more digestible summary of what’s out there ▪ The bits and pieces I’ve picked up along the... read more