May 31, 2019

Many of us enjoy taking care of others.  Women adopt many roles often all at once – mother, wife, partner, carer, career professional, cook, housekeeper and nest builder.  This care we give to others is great - until we reach the point where we are exhausted, demotivated, lacking sleep, tired and wired, anxious or irritated. The idea of implementing self-care strategies is aimed at placing our needs first and to take care of ‘us’. This concept can seem difficult to some people. There is still a misguided belief that by doing so, we are being selfish and many still need a bit of gentle encouragement to put themselves first. Conversely, by actively spending more time on our own needs, the benefits of taking care of your own self radiate positively into the world around us. We feel calmer and more rested – this allows us to generate more stabilizing energy and to stay more focused and less reactive. So what easy ways can we start to implement self-care strategies?...

January 22, 2019

Fibre - hardly head grabbing news you would think but lately it’s been in the spotlight more than usual.  All this media focused attention grabbing has been the result of the publication of a study commissioned by the World Health Organisation to collect and provide data for the release of new recommendations for optimal daily fibre intake and to determine which types of carbohydrate provide the best protection against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and weight gain (1).  The researchers included data from 185 observational studies which combined a total of 135 million human years and 58 clinical trials involving 4,635 adult participants conducted over a period of 40 years (pretty significant).

The comparison findings of the observational studies and the meta-analysis from the clinical trials indicate that there is 15-30% decrease in cardiovascular related and general mortality between those who eat the highest amount of fibre to those who eat the least. Consuming fibre-rich foods...

August 20, 2018

Mosquito repellent

No one can argue the effectiveness of DEET in warding off blood sucking insects but if given a choice would we consciously apply chemicals onto our skin which has the ability to melt plastic and leave a toxic residue around us whenever we get into the water.

Although findings proving the risk of using DEET have been low in comparison to the percentage of users, there has been some evidence showing cases of related brain damage and seizures in children (5), with indications on trials carried out on rats demonstrating it may have an effect on birth rates and birth mortality at high doses.  More common side effects are rashes, skin irritation, numb or burning lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, blistering and scarring with urticaria or dermatitis resulting from topical DEET exposure, being noted in both children and adults (4,5,7). Another study published in 2008 in the journal BMC Biology by the French Institute of Development Res...

July 14, 2018

Flavonoids are a group of phytochemicals found in plant sources and are one of the reasons why eating fruit and vegetables are so good for you. There are six major subclasses of flavonoids: anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols, flavonols (most abundant), flavanones, flavones and isoflavones in the human diet (3).

The term anti-oxidant is likely to be familiar to you but we tend to think of the usual suspects like vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.  Over the last couple of decades there has been growing interest in a smaller group of compounds called flavonoids, of which over 5000 have now been identified (2).

These naturally occurring plant pigments fulfil a similar role in the diet by mopping up free radicals and reducing inflammation, but they also have other effects which go beyond the average anti-oxidant including anti-histamine, anti-microbial, anti-viral, estrogenic (4) and even anti-anxiety and mood enhancing properties (1).  Together with carotenes, they are also responsible for th...

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