As the madness of family and festivities draws ever closer, this is just a short note to help you keep it together.
Most important - GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Everything is better, more manageable and happier when you have enough sleep.
If you're going to bed later than usual try and catch 30 minutes between 1 - 3pm.
Because that is when your body naturally wants to take a nap. Your body is releasing melatonin during this time so take advantage and have that quick nap.
30 minutes will make all the difference.
Increase your supplements
Because stress can affect your immune system. The last thing that you want to have is a cold and sniffly nose when you're supposed to be having a fun, happy, family time.
Check out these articles about what to put in your tablet box.
Take a deep breath
We tend to breathe shallowly.
So deep breaths have an amazing affect on your stress response. This is because the Vagus nerve runs through your diaphragm and is turned on by every deep breath.
Take 5 deep breaths and see how you feel.
Breathe in through your nose for 6 counts and out through your mouth for 4 counts. It's a massive tension reliever.
Become more aware - some call it mindful.
It's simply appreciating and cherishing the small things. Like, the colour of the trees, the way the branches move in a breeze. The sound of your children's chatter and laughter, the early morning tweeting and chirping of the birds. Listen to the different chirps.
Smile at the driver next to you, even wave!
It'll release any tension and you'll feel happier.
Being in the moment helps you to manage stress by accepting circumstances.
Get out into the fresh air
Go for a walk in your garden or on to the roads of your suburb. If you have a park nearby then bundle the kids into the car or onto their bicycles and walk around the park. The fresh air and change of scenery will balance things out.
Wishing you health & harmony during the next 10 days...
Need some ideas for quick meals for your kids? Click here...
Do you think that you only need probiotics after antibiotics?
Only 6 more sleeps till Christmas!
Our tree is up and lights flashing off and on 24 hours a day.
We’ve just celebrated J’s 6th birthday and preparations are in the making for 25 December when we’ll be all together with extended family.
It reminds me of Pink’s song from a few years back – this used to be a fun house, now it full of evil clowns! – Christmas can do that can’t it?!
But let’s not forget the reason for all of this celebration and togetherness….
Anyway, I’ve always thought that probiotics were something that you took after a course of anti-biotics.
Hands up if you thought that too!!!
Well it turns out that probiotics are even more important to take than just after antibiotics.
Our bodies have more than 20x the amount of bacteria to living body cells. And the bacteria in our digestive system have a huge role to lay in keeping us healthy.
A healthy digestive system and an immune system that is in great shape are imperative to your health and ability to fight infections.
The right bacteria have an important role to play too.
There are of course, good and harmful bacteria.
Harmful bacteria can cause infection or produce substances that lead to inflammation or cancer especially in the digestive system – think colon cancer.
What you choose to eat has a big impact on the balance of good vs. harmful bacteria in your gut.
As a result this has an impact on your overall health. Probiotics are the good bacteria made in your gut
Eating probiotics makes an impact in a number of ways;
As we age the amount of good bacteria declines so supplementing is a good idea.
There are 2 groups of good bacteria – and they help to control the bad guys.
The resident bacteria in your gut are;
Probiotics help to fight infections -
You can find probiotics in fermented foods and supplements. These are foods that include probiotics;
Buttermilk, yoghurt, cheese, kefir, lassi, leban, cottage cheese
Fermented vegetables, pickles in brine
Miso, tofu, tempeh, tamari, shoyu, soya yoghurt (all from soya)
Sourdough bread (from wheat/rye)
These foods listed above don’t contain Lactobacillus and Bifido bacteria that colonise the gut.
These foods contain other strains of probiotics.
And just like a tourist, they come to visit the gut, populate it with goodness and then move on after about 10-12 days.
They assist in making vitamins and converting lactose from milk sugar to lactic acid.
It is this lactic acid that creates a slightly acidic environment which constrains disease causing germs
These transient bacteria are Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, L.sporogenes, Streptococcus thermophillus.
When considering a probiotic supplement then look for at least 1 – 25 billion living organisms
And your 2 core resident bacteria – Lactobacilli acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum
There are also foods that are a forerunner to probiotics called, not surprisingly, prebiotics!
They encourage the growth of the 2 resident bacteria,
they help to lower the pH of the colon,
keep blood sugar levels even and
for people who have liver disease, and prebiotics can help to reduce ammonia levels.
Two common prebiotics are FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides –yup they’re sugar molecules) and inulin.
These are some sources of FOS –
bananas, barley, soya beans, Jerusalem artichoke and chicory.
Some sources of inulin are onions and garlic.
Prebiotics work together with probiotics to feed and speed up the growth of the beneficial bacteria.
What can you do to get the benefits of probiotics?
Try to reduce the elements that destroy probiotics from your lifestyle like;
Supplement with a probiotic supplement that has a variety of strains and at least 15 billion Colony Forming Units.
Oh my word the days are running into each other and I don't seem to be touching sides...
The information while I was writing this article for you was overwhelming. There is just so much more to FATS.
But here's the low down - We all need a certain amount of fats daily.
And Fat has a role to play in delivering key nutrients to our bodies.
Vitamins A, D, E & K are known as fat-soluble vitamins because they need to bind to fat to be absorbed by our bodies...
…If we’re not eating fats then these vitamins cannot be utilised by our bodies which could lead to deficiencies.
Fat also provides energy to our body and it is an important part of every cell membrane. Fatty tissue protects our organs from trauma and temperature changes.
Have you noticed how some people just don’t seem to feel the cold? Could be their fat storage or it could be hormones.
But hormones for another day....
There are different types of fats that you need to eat.
There are Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA),
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) and
One fat to avoid is man-made trans-fats because they have been shown to increase bad cholesterol and reduce good cholesterol.
Trans-fats have been chemically altered through a process called hydrogenation….
…So when you see “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in an ingredient list on a product, avoid it!
Now, omega 3 & omega 6 oils are part of the PUFA group.
There has been a great deal of research done that clearly shows that the balance of omega 3 to omega 6 is very important to our health.
Studies show that the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should ideally be 2:1 and no more than 4:1
The modern diet ratio is in favour of omega 6 at a ratio of 10:1 or even higher at 17:1
This high intake of omega 6 compared to omega 3 has shown in studies to be linked to;
Aim to reduce omega 6 oils in the foods that you eat. Omega 6 is found in
The 2 acids in omega 3 – EPA and DHA – (they have long Greeky sounding names!) have been shown in many studies to reduce triglyceride levels and LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
EPA & DHA have also shown to reduce the stickiness of blood so clotting is reduced and heart attacks lowered.
EPA & DHA also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and this could help with inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
The benefits of taking a supplement of fish oil are far reaching, from decreasing depression and Alzheimer’s to decreasing death from heart disease, to improving body composition.
Here are 10 benefits of eating a fish oil supplement –
Fish oil could help to improve lean body make up in a number of different ways. So if you are a guy with more than 15% body fat or a woman with more than 25% then fish oil could help you to lose fat. PLUS it will help to stabilise any blood sugar issues you may be dealing with. And it could help you to gain muscle faster which you NEED in order to burn fat.
To find suitable fish oil you need to look at a couple of factors.
EPA & DHA
To reduce body fat you need 2-3grams of total EPA & DHA per day. Most store brand fish oils have a combined total of 0.3g per capsule. So that would mean you’d need to swallow up to 10 capsules each day!!!
So an alternative that makes a lot of sense is to look for fish oil where the total EPA & DHA is at least 0.5g
You can find ones that have up to 0.75gg which means fewer capsules to swallow.
Currently my total EPA & DHA is only 0.3g per capsule.
I take 4 in total each day = 1.2g
I’m going to increase that! I don’t mind swallowing extra capsules.
And when these ones in my cupboard have run out then I’ll be looking for a greater EPA & DHA combo.
Studies have found that foods with healthy fats like avocado pears, almonds, olive oil take longer to digest and so they keep you fuller for longer.
Combining them with complex carbohydrates will keep your blood sugars stable and you’ll avoid hunger spikes and dips.
In short, FATS are your friends.