What are you eating?

The last five rules you’ll ever need to know about food are right here. If you care about your inner health, read on…

It astounds me as to how many people are walking around in the world today that do not know they have a body attached to their head! Sometimes I feel like shouting out,”Look down, there’s a body there, it’s yours so look after it”. Your body is a “patient” organism. It tries to accommodate the environment you create for it. Your body will work hard to digest the inorganic, processed, nutrient-void “foods” it is fed, the excessive amount of alcohol that can be poured into it and the chemicals it has to deal with day after day after day.

One day however, it will start to rebel in order to protect itself. You may feel bloated, tired, overweight, lethargic, and then the “lifestyle diseases” will set in. Who’s to blame?

Rule 1: If you can’t do it for life, it won’t work!

Think about it. Regardless of whatever else you do in your life, there are a few certainties and eating is definitely one of them. You will have to do this for some time to come so why not develop a good, healthy relationship with food. What is the number one reason for eating? If you answered for enjoyment, then you’re wrong. You already know the correct answer to this question. It is to feed your body the essential nutrients it needs to sustain life.

But let’s face it, are you happy with just sustaining life? Don’t you want to live your best life, have energy to last throughout the day, play with your kids or grandkids without stopping to rest? Afterall, if you plan to live till at least 100 years old ( I know I certainly am), then you need your body to keep up with you. Therefore supplying it with the proper nutrients is essential to maintain good health.

Diets don’t work because they are not maintainable. If you can’t do it for life, that means forever, then you are almost guaranteed to fail. Don’t implement a strategy that is designed to fail, then medicate yourself with food once that failure is complete. That sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy to me! Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes and whole grains, along with drinking plenty of water will ensure you are treating the body right. If you focus on the inside, the outside will take care of itself!

Rule 2: Does it grow that way?

This is my personal mantra and can basically summarise many years of study and research in one small, simple sentence!

Does the food on your plate, what you had for lunch, or are going to have for dinner actually GROW that way? What tree does the bowl of fruit loops your child had for breakfast grow on exactly? Where did that lo-cal, cholesterol lowering, salt reduced, I can’t believe it’s not butter, margarine looking lard substance you spread on your toast this morning come from? Do you  really want to know the answer to that question? Really?

What are the ramifications of all these substitutes, processed foods in the long run?

If you keep rule number 2 in mind whenever you go shopping for your groceries, when choosing something from a menu at a restaurant, when you decide what you’ll prepare for dinner or buy for lunch, chances are you’ll be eating the right thing. Choosing fresh fruit and veg is an obvious choice. Healthy lean meats, wholemeal or whole wheat pasta, brown rice, legumes all pretty much grow that way. Are you starting to see the picture?

Make it your mantra too!

Rule 3:  How many processes did your food have to go through to GET to your plate?

Many foods are great to eat raw. They retain their nutrients, are rich in flavours not to mention life saving anti-oxidants but there are some foods better eaten  cooked.

Meats are the obvious one here, chicken, fish and some seafood. Let’s use fish as an example. How many processes does a fish have to go through, from swimming in the sea to becoming a “fish finger” crumbed and battered on your plate cooked to a golden brown? Can’t say I’ve seen too many fish fingers swimming around in the ocean lately!

If the main reason we eat is to sustain life, to aid cell recovery, to help boost energy levels, concentration levels at school or work, how will this be achieved if the food we’re eating has had the nutrients processed out of it? More and more manufacturers are now adding artificial Omega 3 & 6 to foods. Everything from frozen fish fillets to milk! It seems like the popular thing to do, to add synthetic vitamins to food. Why not simply add walnuts or some avocado to your snack time or dinner?

Your body is a natural, organic living organism. It recognises substances which are organic, chemical and hormone free food, not artificially coloured, flavoured, preserved and irradiated food.  Adding foods and chemicals your body doesn’t recognise causes a long list of health problems.

Rule 4: If it’s white it’s not alright.

Sure, the wheat that makes your bread will have to be processed to be made into an edible form but let’s keep some of the nutrients in it by choosing to eat wholemeal.

White bread is JUNK FOOD.

Stop giving it to your kids, stop eating it yourself. Your body does not recognise it and then you wonder why you feel bloated! Good thing those manufacturers remembered to ADD fibre back in after they pummeled it out. And then they dare to advertise they actually did it!

Of course if the pummeling didn’t kill the nutrients, then the bleaching surely will! If you wouldn’t pour bleach on your skin then why would you ever consider putting it inside your body? Eating bleached flour in white bread is synonymous to that. Think about it.. Did it grow that way?

Did the garlic that you crushed for dinner to add to your bleached white pasta grow that way or has it been discoloured to a lilly white for aesthetic purposes? What’s the result of all these bleached foods entering your body daily?

Rule 5: Drink water, just plain water.

I know there has been a lot of talk about how much water we should drink and how to drink it and the information varies with each article. Reader beware!

Many people will drink a variety of different drinks and think they are keeping themselves hydrated. The fact, is water is digested in several ways in the body. It is digested through the small intestine along with all foods, through the kidneys and also through the large intestine. No other nutrient is digested like this. The body is designed like this for a reason, so it can maximize the amount of water it absorbs.

Many article that I have read (some which have been written by unqualified authors) suggest that drinking tea, coffee and many other forms of beverage (including soft/soda drinks) all add to the daily count of water intake. Remember, for every cup of caffeinated beverage you drink, black tea, coffee, Coke etc… you lose an equal amount of water from your body. So, if you’re aiming at drinking 2 litres or water or 8 glasses, as is the average recommended amount, then proceed to have 1 cola drink, 2 coffees and a tea throughout the day, you are actually down to 4 glasses of water for that day. This means you are in H2O deficit.

Remember, drink plain water as often as you can. You don’t have to like it, you just have to drink it!

Add these five simple rules to your daily thought processes and the way you look at food will change for the best. When you next look down, your body will be smiling back up at you!

Breast cancer awareness

How much do you really know about breast cancer? Are you at risk?

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a group of abnormal cells, which continue to grow and multiply in the breast. Normally cells grow and multiply in an orderly way but changed genes can cause them to behave abnormally. In the breast they may grow into a lump.

These lumps can be benign or malignant. Benign lumps do not spread to other parts of the body. A malignant lump is made up of cancer cells. When it first develops, this malignant tumour is confined to the breast. Most lumps are not cancerous.

Breast cancer develops in either the ducts or the lobules. Lobules are where the milk is produced and ducts are where the milk travels to the nipple. Cancer cells develop when the cells lining the ducts or lobules become abnormal in size and shape and start multiplying in an uncontrolled way. If the cancer is not removed and controlled, the cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body. These are called secondary cancers or metastases.

Breast cancer in men

Breast cancer in men is rare but does still occur. Less than 1% of all people with breast cancer are men. Breast cancer in men is on the rise with about one hundred men being diagnosed in Australia this year.

Breast cancer in men occurs more commonly in those aged 50 years and older.
Both men and women have breast tissue. We don’t know exactly why breast cancer develops in men or in women. We do know that there are risk factors that may increase a man’s risk of developing breast cancer.

When breast cancer strikes

Breast cancer is the major cause of cancer death in Australian women accounting for more than 11,700 new cases of breast cancer and 2,600 deaths each year. Early detection is the best method for reducing deaths from breast cancer.

Women whose cancer is still contained in the breast when diagnosed have a 90% chance of surviving five years, compared with a 20% five-year survival chance when the cancer has spread at diagnosis.

The incidence of breast cancer is increasing, but with continued support and funding from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, improvements in research mean survival rate is on the rise.

What has research taught us about breast cancer?

Research has given us new knowledge in all areas of breast cancer, from the benefits of screening and early detection, to better diagnoses and treatments and finally hope for prevention.

To date, research has given us a greater understanding of breast cancer cells and how they function. This understanding has enabled researchers to develop better, more targeted treatments.

Treatment

Breast cancer treatment does not always mean major disfigurative surgery. Thanks to new knowledge from research, specialists can now treat many breast cancer cases by removing the lump itself, leaving the breast intact.

Research has shown us that breast screening is an effective way to detect breast cancers early for women aged 50-69 years, giving patients a greater chance of survival. However screening mammography is not suitable for young women and we need more research to improve early detection in young women

What should women look out for?

Look for any changes in the breast which are not normal for you, or which you have not seen before. You should visit a GP if you notice any of the following important changes:

  • Lump, lumpiness or thickening in the breast
  • Changes in shape, crusting, ulcerated or sore nipples.
  • Discharge from nipple or bloodstained occurs without squeezing.
  • Changes in the skin of the breast, puckering, dimpling or redness.
  • Persistent unusual pain which is not related to the normal monthly cycle
  • An increase or decrease in the size of the breast.

Breast cancer becomes more common as you grow older, so knowing what is normal for your breasts is just as important after menopause.

How to find changes in your breast?

  • Look at the shape, size and skin on your breasts and nipples in the mirror. Check for any changes that may have occurred in the last few months.
  • Self examination – Remember that your breast tissue spans across from your collar bone, to the armpit and includes the area around the nipple.

Visit your GP promptly

Your GP will know how to investigate any changes in your breast to find out the cause. The vast majority of women who find a breast change will be relieved to know that it is not breast cancer. For those women whose changes are due to breast cancer; the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of effective treatment.

So visit your GP about any changes in your breasts that are not normal for you. While it may take a week or so to decide whether the breast change is unusual, it is important not to delay too long before seeing a GP.

Are you getting enough sleep?

Good quality sleep. Are you getting enough? Go back to sleeping like a baby…

Sleep is a state of consciousness that happens every 24 hours. It is a period of rest and recuperation for the body and much needed ‘down time’ for the brain.

People vary in the amount of sleep they need, depending on their age, lifestyle, diet, personality and environment. Generally, we sleep less as we age and our sleep tends to be more broken. Newborn babies tend to sleep for around 16 hours out of every 24, while adults average seven hours and the elderly only six.

The body clock
Sleep is regulated by an internal ‘clock’, which is tuned by the day–night cycles (circadian rhythm). When the sun sets, your brain starts to release melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone until eventually you feel the need to retire for the night. In the morning, the hormones adrenocorticotropin or ACTH from the pituitary gland and cortisol from the adrenal gland, send a message that alerts the brain to wake up. Exposure to daylight prompts your brain to release these hormones.

Sleep stages

Sleep isn’t a static state of consciousness. We all go through various distinct stages of sleep, over and over, every night. Generally, the brain moves from light sleep to deeper sleep and eventually to rapid eye movement sleep. REM sleep occurs regularly, about once every 90 to 120 minutes.

Brain waves in REM sleep are faster than in non-REM sleep. REM sleep is associated with dreaming and with stimulation of the parts of the brain used for learning, while body repair and growth tends to happen during non-REM sleep. It is important to get the right mix of both REM and non-REM sleep to maintain your natural sleep cycle and help you wake rested and refreshed.

Common sleep disorders

Sleep seems to be a complicated state of consciousness, since it can be disturbed in so many ways. Some of the more common sleep complaints include:

  • Insomnia – Difficulties in falling asleep or staying asleep. The most common sleeping disorder  in adults.
  • Narcolepsy – Extreme tiredness with intermittent sleepiness during the day which can include voluntary napping.
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder – Muscle spasms of the legs that often wake the sleeper.
  • Restless leg syndrome – This feels like cramps or some kind of irritation in the lower legs. The person feels they need to move their legs or walk around.
  • Sleep apnoea – The upper airway is blocked causing airflow and breathing to stop for a time during sleep.
  • Sleepwalking – This tends to affect children more than adults.
  • REM sleep behaviour disorder –  The sleeper acts out what’s happening in their dreams.

Treatment

Some disorders such as sleepwalking, sleep starts and snoring often don’t require any treatment because they are harmless. Lifestyle changes can help relieve mild or occasional symptoms if they are causing an unwanted disruption to your life.

Insomnia, the most common form of sleep complaint, requires assessing and treatment of the cause (or causes) rather than insomnia itself. Some of the more involved sleep disorders need to be treated at a sleep disorder clinic. While snoring may be harmless (benign snoring), it may indicate a more serious medical condition, obstructive sleep apnoea.

Tips for improving your sleep

  1. Get out of bed as soon as you wake. Don’t go back to sleep or try to make up for ‘lost sleep’.
  2. Try to get up at about the same time each morning.
  3. Go outside into the fresh air.
  4. Do some physical activity, go for a walk.
  5. Do not nap during the day. If you nap, you’ll be less tired when you go to bed and you’ll probably take longer to fall asleep.
  6. If you’re worrying about things during the night, set aside some time for problem-solving during the day. Identify problems that are causing you stress.
  7. Keep a sleep-wake diary.
  8. Review your sleep-wake progress with your doctor at each visit.
  9. Avoid drinking caffeine after 4pm and try not to drink more than two cups of caffeine-type drinks each day eg. coffee, strong tea, cola or energy drinks.

Overcoming long term sleep problems

For some people, sleeping problems may last for weeks, months or even years. Not surprisingly this may lead to anxiety about getting to sleep, which in turn makes the problem even worse. It can be helpful to take specific steps to break the cycle of feeling anxious and restless in bed. Below are some steps to follow when you can’t get to sleep.

Get up if you can’t sleep after trying for 15 to 20 minutes. Staying in bed when you’re feeling restless and anxious is unlikely to result in sleep.

Do something quiet and distracting such as read or enjoy a warm bath. If your mind is very active or you can’t stop worrying, it may be helpful to concentrate on something else, such as doing a crossword or watching television. By distracting yourself from your worries, you may find it easier to wind down and become sleepy.

Go back to bed when you feel more relaxed and sleepy.

If you’re still awake after a further 15 to 20 minutes, get out of bed again. Repeat this process until you fall asleep shortly after returning to bed.

Remember, sleep disorders can be serious and should be investigated and treated at a sleep disorders centre.

Source:Better Health channel

Bright eyes

Taking care of your health and your eyes is the first step in preventing blindness from common eye problems…

Low and degenerative loss of vision is on the rise. It is estimated common eye problems that are leading causes of blindness will double by the year 2030. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, poor food choices, obesity, as well as age related eye diseases can all factor into poorer health and subsequently poorer vision.

  • Signs of possible eye trouble may include:
  • Difficulty focusing on objects near of far
  • Line and edges appear distorted or blurred
  • Dark spots in the centre of viewing
  • Red rimmed, encrusted or swollen eyes
  • Hazy or blurred vision

If you notice any signs of potential problems, see an eye doctor for an eye exam. Regular eye exams are especially recommended for those with high blood pressure and diabetes.

For Facts sheets on eye related health concerns, click here


Asthma risk in pregnancy

Results recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society,  reveal that allergens found in some nuts may increase the chance of the foetus being born allergy prone. Four thousand pregnant women participated in a dietary survey and their children were subsequently monitored for eight years.

Comparing women who ate nuts daily during pregnancy to those who ate them “rarely” consistently displayed results of increased risk, between 40% to 60% rise in the chances of wheezing and other asthma symptoms in general, reports the BBC.

The research also discovered a link between lower asthma rates and increased intake of fruit during pregnancy. This may be possibly due to the increased levels of antioxidants.

Dr. Saskia Willers, from the University of Utrecht, who led the study said:

While it’s too early to make recommendations of avoidance, it is important for pregnant women to eat healthily and what is true for many foods is that too much is never good.

Professor John Heffner, a past president of the American Thoracic Society, said there was not enough evidence that the nut diet had caused the problem and he called for more studies.

For a more health information relating to nuts and the role they play as part of a healthy diet click here.

Hearing awareness

Currently, one in six Australians has some form of hearing loss and this is projected to increase to one in four by 2050. This means hearing loss is more common than cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, asthma, cancer and mental illness.

Causes of hearing loss

  • Hereditary disorders: These are passed on by parents and, in most cases, deafness is caused by malformations of the inner ear.
  • Genetic Disorders: Genetic mutations may happen at the moment of conception. Some of the many genetic disorders that can cause deafness include osteogenesis imperfecta, Trisomy 13 S and multiple lentigines syndrome.
  • Prenatal: Babies exposed in the uterus to certain disease may be born deaf or with hearing disorders. These include: German measles (rubella), influenza and mumps. Other factors that are thought to cause congenital deafness include exposure to methyl mercury and drugs such as quinine.
  • Noise: Loud noises (gun shots, firecrackers, explosions and rock concerts) can damage the delicate mechanisms inside the ear. If you are standing next to someone at a rock concert and have to shout to be heard, the noise is considered loud enough to be damaging to your ears.
  • Trauma: Perforation of the eardrum, changes in air pressure and a fractured skull can all cause hearing loss.
  • Disease: Some diseases can cause deafness. These include meningitis, mumps, cytomegalovirus and chicken pox and exposure to certain chemicals.
  • Age-related hearing loss: Our hearing gradually becomes less effective as we get older. At around 20 years of age, our hearing begins a gradual decline, with higher frequency sounds usually the first to go. This hearing loss is considered normal as we age and doesn’t lead to total loss of hearing.
  • Tinnitus is a sensation of ringing in the ears. Some of the causes of tinnitus include middle ear infections and damage to the ear from loud noises. Tinnitus may occur on its own, or in conjunction with hearing loss.

Prevention is best

This can be done in various ways:

  • Protect your ears in noisy environments by wearing noise reducing ear muffs.
  • Avoid loud music and noises for exessive periods of time.
  • Get your hearing tested periodically. Regular testing of your ears can provide early detection of hearing loss.

Noise Levels

It’s not just the amount of noise, but the length of time you’re exposed to it that determines its ability to damage your hearing. Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB). The higher the decibel level, the louder the noise. Sounds louder than 80dB are considered potentially hazardous.

If you feel you have abnormal hearing loss please consult with a doctor.

For information on Hearing Awareness week click here.

For the Deafness Forum Australia click here.