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easy ways to prevent type 2 diabetes - healthmint medical centre

5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk

By Diabetes, Nutrition

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions worldwide. With type 2 diabetes, the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose) levels is affected as the body either produces not enough insulin or it resists insulin. This results in too much glucose being present in the blood. Effects of uncontrolled cases can cause serious health issues including kidney failure, heart disease and blindness to name a few. 

There are certain factors that may influence your likelihood to develop type 2 diabetes that you can’t change, such as genes, age and past behaviours. However, there are many actions you can take to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

The good news is that pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are largely preventable. Making positive lifestyle changes is the number one way to avoid the disease. These same changes can also help lower the chances of developing other conditions like heart disease and some cancers. 

Achieving a healthy weight, eating a balanced carbohydrate controlled diet, getting regular exercise and not smoking all help to improve blood glucose control. 

Most people know they need to make changes, but it can be difficult to know how to stick with it. 

Don’t forget you’re not alone in this – your GP can help support you, and a Dietitian can complement this by helping to set goals that are realistic and work for you. Changing one thing at a time and making the changes part of your every day is a great way to set you up for successfully lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Ways to lower your type 2 diabetes risk

 

1. Exercise 

Keeping up regular physical activity several days a week may help prevent diabetes. Working out more frequently and working your muscles more often leads to improvements in insulin response and function. High intensity, strength training and interval training have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar in those in high risk categories for diabetes. 

Simple walking briskly for a half hour every day can reduce the risk of developing the disease by up to 30%.

excersise is important for preventing type 2 diabetes

2. Keeping your weight under control

If you are overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every kilo you lose can improve your health. 

keeping your weight under control is important for preventing type 2 diabetes

3. Cut out the sugary beverages and processed foods

Eating and drinking things containing high levels of sugar and refined carbs can put those at risk of diabetes on the fast track to developing type 2 diabetes. Sugary drinks like soft drinks, fruit juices and pre-mixed alcoholic drinks have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Consuming adequate amounts of water may provide benefits. Some studies have found that increased water consumption may lead to better blood sugar control and insulin response, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. 

Processed foods are linked to all sorts of health problems including heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Cutting back on packaged foods that are high in vegetable oils, refined grains, refined carbs, excess sugar and additives may help reduce the risk of diabetes. Focusing on whole foods like nuts, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats can be beneficial.  

cutting out sugar foods and drinks helps to prevent type 2 diabetes

4. Quit Smoking 

It’s well known that smoking has been shown to either cause or contribute to a multitude of serious health conditions, including many types of cancers, emphysema, and heart disease. 

There has been research linking both smoking and second hand smoke exposure to type 2 diabetes. Quitting has been shown to reduce the risk over time. 

Quitting smoking helps to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes

5. Optimise Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is important for blood sugar control. Studies have found that people who don’t get enough vitamin D have a greater risk of all types of diabetes. Good food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and cod liver oil, in addition to a safe amount of sun exposure. Vitamin D levels can also be increased with supplements. 

The best way to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes is knowing you have control over many of the factors that influence diabetes. Pre-diabetes can be seen as a motivator for making the necessary changes that can help to reduce your risk. Consuming the right foods and adopting other lifestyle behaviours that promote healthy blood sugar and insulin levels will give you the best chance at avoiding diabetes. 

food sources that help increase levels of vitamin D - which can help prevent type 2 diabetes

Ask a HealthMint GP about: 

  • A weight loss program or group 
  • Seeing a registered dietitian 
  • A type 2 diabetes prevention program

It can also help to get your family and friends involved – eating better and moving more is good for everyone! 

various foods that can cause food allergy healthmint

6 Things You Need to Know About Food Allergies

By Children's Health, Chronic Disease, Nutrition

What is a food allergy? 

Food allergies are an immune system response to a food protein that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. When a person eats a food containing that protein, this causes the immune system to have a large reaction, triggering symptoms that can affect a person’s gastrointestinal tract, skin, breathing and/or heart.

In Australia, food allergy is estimated to affect 1-2% of adults, 4-8% of children and 10% of infants under 5 years of age (https://allergyfacts.org.au/allergy-anaphylaxis/food-allergy). Some of them will experience life-threatening allergic reactions.

Are food allergies on the rise in Australia? 

Australia takes the cake as the allergy capital of the world, and according to research from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, has the highest published rates of food allergy in children! 

Several factors have been identified by researchers as to the reason why the rates are rising: 

  • Modern, urban lifestyles.
  • Vitamin D deficiencies – this is thought to change immune system development.
  • Changing the modern diet – the gut has been altered by increases in processed foods and food manufacturing along with higher sugar diets over the last 50 years. 
  • Avoidance of allergens during the first phases of an infant eating solids – it is now recommended that all children, regardless of family history of allergen, are exposed to allergenic food during the first 12 months of life. 

Which foods cause allergies?

While there are more than 170 foods known to have triggered severe allergic reactions, the most common triggers of allergic reactions in childhood are: 

  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts 
  • Cow’s Milk

Fish and shellfish allergies are most common in adulthood. 

food allergies healthmint include prawns eggs nuts fish

Less common (but still major) food allergies include: 

  • Sesame
  • Soy
  • Wheat 
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Banana
  • Chicken
  • Mustard 
  • Celery

Peanut, tree nut, sesame and seafood allergies are usually lifelong. 

Children often outgrow cow’s milk, egg, soy and wheat allergy at some point throughout childhood but there are a few who may continue the allergies into adulthood.

What are the symptoms of food allergies?

Some food allergies can be severe, causing life threatening reactions known as anaphylaxis. 

Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside a hospital setting.

Allergy symptoms range from hives, rash, swelling of the mouth, vomiting to difficulty breathing, persistent dizziness, swelling of the throat and loss of consciousness and sudden collapse. 

If left untreated, there is a chance these symptoms can be fatal. 

Deaths from food allergies are rare. There are more fatal allergic reactions to medications and insect bites and stings than there are to foods.

Food intolerance is not life threatening, however it can cause milder reactions like digestive pain, gas, bloating and nausea. 

It is important to know the difference so you can get medical attention if you or your child experiences an allergic reaction 

symptoms of food allergies - healthmint lady scratching arm

What are the treatment options for food allergies? 

Currently there is no cure for food allergies and avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction. Even after a successful diagnosis of food allergies, avoiding trigger foods is challenging and accidental exposures are common. 

Adrenaline is the first line treatment for severe allergic reactions and can be administered by an auto-injector called the EpiPen.

epipen for food allergies children healthmint

It is important for people with allergies to get a correct diagnosis and explore the best currently available therapies with their doctor (link). It is also important to be educated about the risk of severe allergic reactions and be prepared to treat with an EpiPen, as well as having regular reviews of an allergy action plan. 

Long term actions to reduce the risk of the next generation developing food allergies include: 

  • Following recommendations for introduction of allergenic foods such as peanuts and eggs into the diet in infants in the first year of life 
  • Avoiding exposure to smoking 
  • Having a healthy and well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Increasing the levels and absorption of Vitamin D

young child with food nut allergy healthmintAre food allergies different to food intolerances?

Adverse reactions to foods occur in a small proportion of the population. These reactions are not the same as allergies, but may include:

  • Irritable bowel symptoms, colic, bloating, diarrhoea 
  • Migraines, headaches, lethargy, irritability
  • Rashes and swelling of the skin, asthma, stuffy or runny nose

With the processing and manufacturing of foods in modern times, added ingredients including food additives, food colourings, processing aids and extra inclusions of naturally occurring food components such as lactose and gluten can be a cause of food intolerance. 

To properly diagnose a food intolerance under medical supervision and guidance, you can start by eliminating all suspect foods from the diet and reintroduce them one by one to see which food or component of food causes a reaction.

If you think your child (or yourself) has a food intolerance, it is important to seek advice and clarification from a medical practitioner since the symptoms may be related to any number of other conditions. 

Try for 5 - national nutrition week HealthMint

National Nutrition Week: Try For 5

By Children's Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition No Comments

It’s national Nutrition week! Every year in October Nutrition Australia run their Try For 5 campaign to encourage and inform Australians to increase vegetable consumption to the recommended 5 serves per day. We all know vegetables are good for us; they are naturally packed full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants to help fight off disease and fibre to help our gut stay happy. Eating more vegetables is one simple and easy thing that you can do to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

While we all may know that vegetables are good for us, surprisingly only 4% of Australian adults eat the recommended 5 servings!

So, what does a vegetable serve actually look like?

A serve of vegetable is 75g. This can look like:

  • 1/2 a medium size potato or other starchy vegetables,
  • 1 cup of raw leafy greens vegetables  e.g. spinach, salad leaves, kale
  • ½ cup cooked vegetables e.g. broccoli, carrot, pumpkin.

serves of different types of vegetablesWhat are the Health Benefits of having vegetables and Try for 5?

1. Bone Health:

many vegetables contain key vitamins such as vitamin K and C which helps your body keep your bones healthy. Vitamin C is essential in formation of your cartilage and joints

2. Brain and Nervous system:

Many nutrients are important for your brain and nervous system to function well. Some of the most significant ones include B-vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium. These nutrients are important in allowing our brain to send messages to the rest of the body.

3. Digestion:

In order to keep our gut health, we need fibre. Fibre from vegetables are key to help ensure your bowel movements are regular and keep your gut healthy and happy.

The vitamin and mineral found in vegetables are essential for the body to function. And an easy way to ensure we are getting enough of each nutrient is to Eat the Rainbow. Eating a variety of colours is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and even more important if you are suffering chronic illness.

As mentioned earlier, There are many benefits of eating the rainbow, from improvements in inflammation, to fibre and gut health. And we can’t forget antioxidants…

Vegetables and antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.

The sources of antioxidants can be artificial or natural – all fruits and vegetables have a variety of antioxidants (known as phytochemical), which give them their vibrant colours and with each carrying unique health benefits.

❤️Red –  full of antioxidants (particularly lycopene) including tomatoes, red berries, apple, red capsicum …

🧡Orange –  high in carotenoid which give us that bright orange colour in pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots.

💛Yellow – full of beta-carotene a great source of vitamin A. Enjoy, plenty of sweet corn, pineapple, lemon and yellow capsicum.

💚Green – the most nutrient dense food packed full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. From green leafy vegetables like spinach, silverbeet and kale to broccoli, zucchini and avocado.

💜 💙 Blue/Purple, containing powerful antioxidants. These can be found in blueberries, plum, purple carrot and eggplant

💟 White/Brown, Although low colour, they are packed full of nourishing goodness, showing benefits to every part of the body. From onions and garlic to mushrooms and potato.

So remember, to consider and enjoy the rainbow when you Try For 5! 

rainbow coloured vegetables and fruit all laying together

It’s all the colours of the rainbow!

Eating 5 serves of vegetables doesn’t have to be difficult. If you are aiming for 5 here are my top tips to help you achieve your goal.

  1. Eat vegetables that are seasonal. They are more affordable and also carry the essential vitamins needed to help you during that season.
  2. Frozen or Fresh? BOTH. Vegetable is a vegetable and if you are concerned about it not lasting long the frozen is just as good as fresh.
  3. Add more, and more.. if you have a dish aim to add more vegetables into it. It can be incorporated into the meal or added on the side. A fave is adding hidden vegetables to dishes such as spaghetti bolognese!

This year’s Try for 5 campaign presents an exclusive collection of vegetable-focused recipes, veg tips and information to inspire you to get more veg in your day. At this time, we need to look after our health, and the planet’s well-being too. With the Coronavirus pandemic we are making more meals at home than ever. It’s true that right now, we all want to feel connected with our family and our community.

Let’s celebrate and try for 5 serves of fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced veggies!

If you would like guidance or assistance with your diet and nutrition, our very own Dietitian Saabira Wazeer is here to help! To book an appointment just click below!

 

Saabira Wazeer HealthMint Medical Centre DietitianThis article was written by

Saabira Wazeer

Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist and Counsellor.

Saabira is a friendly and motivational dietitian who practices the very unique non-diet approach. This means that instead of giving you a strict diet, Saabira will work with you on your relationship with food, in order to help you make meaningful changes that will last a lifetime. Saabira is extremely understanding and easy to work with, and knows how important it is to eat and enjoy a delicious range of foods.

Areas of interest:

  • Disordered eating behaviours for adults and children
  • Hormonal issues
  • Non-diet approach
  • Gut health
  • PCOS
You can find out more about the Dietitian services at HealthMint here

How to Improve your Gut Health

By General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition No Comments

What is gut health?

Gut health is the balance of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Looking after and improving your gut health is vital to your physical and mental health, immunity, and levels of anxiety and stress. Read on to discover how you can improve your gut health.

Gut health is important and is linked to the following:

  • Immune function
  • Weight management
  • Mental health
  • Autoimmune conditions

What causes gut health issues

How do I know if my gut health is off?

  • Upset stomach: gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut
  • Food intolerances: bad bacteria in the gut can cause a difficulty in digesting some foods and also cause bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Fluctuations of weight

how to improve your gut health

What can you do to improve your gut health

  1. Change your diet: Eat plenty of non-processed or low-processed foods that are low in sugar and fat. A diet higher in protein and fibre can help aid in gut health.
  2. De-stress: Stress and gut health go hand-in-hand and can affect your whole body. Ways to reduce your stress can be as easy as heading out for a walk, taking up yoga, getting a massage and swapping your coffee for a low caffeine drink.
  3. Ruling out food intolerances: Try to eliminate the foods that trigger your gut issues to see if your symptoms of bloating, cramping, diarrhoea and fatigue improve.

how to improve your gut health

Recommended food types to improve your gut health

  • Fermented foods: benefits hav e been documented to improve the gut health. Some of these probiotic foods to include are yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir.
  • High Fibre foods: Bananas, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables
  • Bone Broth

Gut health and anxiety

Yes it’s true – your gut and brain and intrinsically connected. The gut is sensitive to emotion! Anger, anxiety, sadness, happiness, are all feelings that can trigger symptoms in the gut.

Feelings of being nervous before a big meeting at work, or pains during times of stress are a part of the gut/brain relationship.

how to improve your gut health, anxietySymptoms of gut health and anxiety

  • Loose stools
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Shaky hands
  • Weight loss
  • Restlessness
  • Procrastination
  • Drinking or smoking more
  • Overwhelming sense of tensions and pressure
  • Quick tempers and quick to snap
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Indecisiveness

If these symptoms are of concern to you, it may be a good idea to chat to your HealthMint GP or Psychologist. There may be strategies to help deal with the triggers and in turn, improve your digestive and gut issues.

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
display of healthy foods diet healthmint

Food and Diet For Symptoms of Depression

By Chronic Disease, Diabetes, Mental Health, Nutrition No Comments

Food and diet changes that help with symptoms of depression

As well as aiding in weight loss, food and diet changes can also have a positive impact on the symptoms of depression.

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health illnesses throughout the world.

A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that those who change their diet may see a greater improvement in the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Foods that put you in a good mood!

Various vitamins, fatty acids, minerals and fibre consumed as part of a healthy diet could also impact the brain and help to improve mood.

The following foods and nutrients may play a role in reducing the symptoms of depression:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seafoods
  • Oily fish
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
display of healthy foods diet healthmint

Ditch the junk food!

While we have established that a healthy diet can help to improve mood, an unhealthy diet can have the opposite affect.

While it’s okay to have the occasional treat or overindulge sometimes, it’s the long term unhealthy diets that contain lots of foods that are very high in energy (calories) and low on nutrition. Here’s a list of foods to limit:

  • Fried foods
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Sugary snacks and drinks
  • Take away foods
  • Processed foods and meats
  • White breads, cakes and pastries
donut unhealthy food diets

Don’t forget to exercise too!

It’s well documented that the inclusion of regular exercise into your routine can have a dramatic impact on your mental health. So while you’re eating better, move better too!

Taking small steps on your journey to good health doesn’t have to be daunting – begin with a walk around the block, and gradually increase as your fitness levels do. Exercise releases endorphins, which help keep you happy!

Small dietary changes can make a big difference in how you feel over time.

Not only can they help improve your mood, but they also keep you healthy for many other reasons!

eat more of what makes you happy

Book an appointment with Saabira here

saabira dietitian healthmint

Book an appointment with Dr Natasha here

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
lactose-intolerance-milk-cereal

Lactose Intolerance Symptoms and Treatments

By General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition No Comments

Lactose Intolerance is a phrase that is commonly thrown around, but many people don’t realise the signs, symptoms, treatments and that yes! you can still consume some of your favourite dairy foods!

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance comes from the body not having enough lactase enzymes in order to digest lactose.

What is lactose?

Lactose is a milk sugar that is broken down by the enzyme lactase, which is found in the small intestine. It is present in milk based products such as yoghurt, cream and cheese.

How do I know if I am lactose intolerant?

What are the signs/symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Flactulence
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

Please note that these can also be common symptoms for many other conditions and it is important to speak with your GP before removing foods from your diet.

Does this mean I can never have milk or milk products again?

No! Everyone has different tolerance levels to lactose and therefore if you undertake tolerance testing with your dietitian you can assess how much lactose you can personally have. Generally speaking, many people can tolerate small quantities over time (depending how much you eat and eating it with other foods. For example, someone may be able to tolerate milk in their cereal but not tolerate a whole glass of milk OR they can tolerate milk in their coffee but not tolerate a bottle of strawberry Big M. Full cream milk seems to be better tolerated than low fat milks.

There are lactose free milk products in your local supermarket. If you enjoy the taste of cows milk then look out for labels that say ‘lactose free’

I love milk – what are some tasty alternatives?

Soy milk, almond milk and other milk alternatives do not contain lactose – but check the labels to ensure they are calcium enriched.

 

Are lactose free products available?

In recent times the lactose free product range has exploded into supermarkets. You definitely won’t miss out or feel left out when shopping for your favourite items like ice-cream!

How can I manage my intolerance to lactose?

If I am eating at a restaurant or am away on holiday and I’m not sure of the lactose content of some of the menu items, how do I help prevent the discomfort?

You can purchase lactase tablets or drops from your local pharmacy which can be added to food or taken along with food to help with digestion.

How to shop for and check the ingredients list at the supermarket

If you are trying to avoid lactose, ingredients to look for in lists on food labels include:

  • Milk solids
  • Non-fat milk solids
  • Whey
  • Milk sugar

Foods that may contain hidden lactose include:

  • Museli bars
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Quiche
  • Cheese sauces
  • Custard
  • Some breads and margarines
  • Pancakes
  • Processed breakfast cereals
  • Cakes and muffins

Can I eat cheese?

Hard cheeses are naturally low in lactose and can be safely consumed without symptoms and discomfort.

Some of these cheeses include:

  • Cheddar
  • Edam
  • Swiss
  • Mozzarella
  • Brie
  • Feta

Also, butter and cream actually contain very low levels of lactose and are well tolerated.

However, there are also lactose free cheeses readily available  at the supermarket

If you have lactose intolerant children

Meal planning with kids can be hard enough at the best of times, let alone when they have an intolerance. Thankfully there are many healthy options for your little ones with clear labels and ingredients you can feel confident about. 

Saabira Wazeer is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist at HealthMint.

She educates and helps clients manage lactose intolerance, including tolerance testing through trials.

To read more about Saabira and watch her introduce herself visit: www.healthmint.com.au/ourteam

Find out more about our Dietitian services head here: www.healthmint.com.au/our-services/dietitian/

Check out the Dietitians Association of Australia here: https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/smart-eating-fast-facts/medical/understanding-lactose-intolerance/

Book Here

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here

Coeliac Disease

By Chronic Disease, General Wellbeing, Nutrition No Comments

Coeliac Disease – What You Need to Know

There is an increasing amount of awareness around coeliac disease. However, many people still misunderstand the condition. Here are 6 things that you need to know about coeliac disease.

Coeliac Disease is an Abnormal Response to Gluten

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. When a person with coeliac disease ingests this protein, their immune system over-reacts, damaging the small bowel. The bowel is lined with tiny, finger-like villi that help absorb nutrients from food. When a coeliac eats gluten, the villi become inflamed and flattened, which reduces the surface area of the bowel and therefore reduces the surface area available for nutrient absorption. Symptoms relating to inflammation can also occur in other parts of the body.

All Types of People Can Have Coeliac

Coeliac disease affects people of all ages, both male and female. You must be born with certain genes to develop coeliac disease, although it is often triggered by environmental factors. If you have a close relative with coeliac disease, you have a 10% chance of having it yourself. Coeliac disease affects around 1 in 70 Australians.

You Could Have Coeliac Disease and Not Know It

While approximately 1 in 70 Australians have coeliac disease, around 80% of them remain undiagnosed. That means the majority of people who have it haven’t ever been diagnosed. There are more cases diagnosed in recent years – partially because our awareness and rates of detection are increasing, but also because there is an actual rise in the number of people who have the disease.

Tests Can Confirm Your Diagnosis

Many people with coeliac disease are aware that something is not right with their bodies, but they may not know what the problem is. Some people feel very unwell, while others don’t have symptoms. Some common signs of coeliac disease are:

  • Feeling unwell after eating gluten
  • Vomiting
  • Problems with growth
  • Constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain
  • Mouth issues
  • Problems with fertility
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Other general symptoms, such as joint pain, headaches and irritability

If you suspect you might have coeliac disease, the first step is to go to your doctor. They will arrange for you to have tests. Do not stop eating food with gluten – if you do, it could produce a false-negative result. Firstly you will receive a blood test. The next step to confirm the diagnosis is an endoscopy.

There’s No Cure, But It Can Be Managed

As far as we know, someone who is diagnosed with coeliac disease will need to avoid gluten for the rest of their lives. However, managing coeliac disease is as simple (and complicated) as avoiding gluten. Strict avoidance of products containing gluten lets the small bowel lining heal. Gluten can be found in a daunting number of products in some form – obvious choices like bread and pasta made with wheat are out, and some tricky ingredients like some types of soy sauce and other flavourings make other products unsafe.

Products in Australia are required to disclose any gluten-containing ingredients. If you have been newly diagnosed with coeliac disease it can be daunting when you realise how many modern products include gluten. The easiest way to approach your new diet is to start simply and get more complicated as you find substitutes for your regular ingredients. Meals that contain basic ingredients like meat and vegetables will be gluten free (but pay close attention to any sauce or flavouring). From that point, you can begin to make your meals more complicated – just be sure to read the labels on everything so you can be sure they are free from gluten.

There Are Consequences For Undiagnosed Coeliacs

If someone has coeliac disease that goes untreated, they are subjecting their system to years of chronic inflammation, poor nutrition and malabsorption of nutrients. There are a wide range of very serious complications that can occur as a result of undiagnosed, unmanaged coeliac disease.

Seeing a doctor is the first step in getting a diagnosis. Without good management, coeliac disease can have serious long and short term consequences. By working with your doctor, you can help reduce your risks of further complications and enjoy the benefits of healthier living.

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here

Healthy or Harmful? The Truth About Sugar

By General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition

Healthy or Harmful? The Truth About Sugar

 

 

Right now, sugar is one of the most talked-about ingredients in the modern diet. But what is the truth about sugar, and the role it plays in your body? Here are 4 things you need to know to keep your sugar intake at the right level.

Sugar has many names.

Sugar is the generic or household name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates. There are several different types of sugar. Sugar is a common additive, and even when it comes from a natural sweetener (such as honey or syrups), it’s still sugar. When reading the ingredients list on food labels, added sugar can often go by different names, such as dextrose, sucrose, glucose or corn syrup. All these sugary additives will go towards your daily allowance of free sugar.

Most sources recommend that free sugar shouldn’t make up more than 5% of your daily allowance of calories, which means about 30g per day. Food labels can help you determine how much you’re eating. A high sugar product is usually considered to be 22.5g of total sugar per 100g listed on the label. A low sugar product would have 5g or less per 100g.

You should target your “free sugar” intake.

We actually need sugar for our body to function, but the important decision is where your sugar will come from. All carbohydrates are broken down by the body into sugar to be used for energy.  Sugars occur naturally in some foods such as fruit, vegetables and milk, but these items don’t count when calculating your “free sugar” intake. That’s because while they do contain naturally occurring sugar, they also contain beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Free sugar is sugar that has been added to a product. The most obvious foods are baked goods, chocolate, ice cream and lollies; but when you look at nutrition labels you might be surprised to see how many of your favourite savoury foods have sugar added as well.  For all those calories, most high-sugar products have little nutritional benefit, and some have none. When limiting sugar in your diet, free sugar is the easiest and most important to cut down on. Get your sugar and carbohydrates from food that is nutritious and beneficial for your body.

Too much sugar has serious health consequences.

Free sugar adds many calories to a person’s diet without adding any nutrition, and many people find it addictive which makes it hard to cut back. High sugar foods don’t usually leave people feeling full and satisfied for a long time, which can lead to overeating. Too many calories from any source can lead to weight gain, and the many negative health consequences that obesity carries. A high sugar diet can contribute to developing Type 2 diabetes and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. It is also the leading cause of tooth decay.

There are easy ways to cut down on sugar.

Most people won’t stick to huge, radical diet changes made all at once. A better solution is to make small changes into a habit, before reducing your sugar further when you’re ready. Some small ways you might adjust your diet are:

  • Sugary drinks should be swapped for low sugar options like water, sparkling water or milk.
  • If you are feeling low in energy, choose whole fruit instead of a sugary pick-me-up.
  • If you do have fruit juice, limit it to 150ml per day and drink it with meals to avoid tooth decay.
  • Reduce the sugar you add to hot drinks and cereal, and choose low-sugar options.
  • Practice checking the nutrition and ingredients list on food labels, and choose low sugar options.

For tips on eating healthier and advice on how to cut down your sugar intake, your GP is a great place to start.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to talk about healthy eating –>

Keeping Abreast of all Things Breastfeeding – 7 Facts You May Not Know

By Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, Nutrition, Women's Health

Keeping Abreast of all Things Breastfeeding – 7 Facts You May Not Know

 

It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and the theme this year is “sustaining breastfeeding together”. Breastfeeding is actually a team effort – the research shows that mothers breastfeed more effectively and for longer when they feel supported. So, let’s get together and look at 7 interesting facts you might not know about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding benefits mothers

It’s not just baby that benefits – exclusively breastfeeding can have a natural birth control effect for the first six months – but while it’s 98% effective, it’s not 100% failsafe! Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, helps most mothers to lose baby weight, and reduces the risk of type II diabetes and postnatal depression.

Breastfeeding helps the budget

Breastfeeding can save a family hundreds of dollars a year. Even without the cost of formula, breastfeeding mothers avoid the cost of bottles, bottle warmers, sterilisers, and specialised equipment. Even mothers who pump their breast milk will not normally require as much additional cost.

Breast milk adapts to baby’s needs

Breast milk changes its nutritional profile as your baby’s needs change. Breast milk for a 1 month old is different to the milk a mother produces for a 6 month old. It can even be different from one day to the next – for example, the body will automatically add more water during hot weather to help baby stay hydrated.

Big breasts don’t mean better breastfeeding

Breast size has very little to do with how much milk is produced and stored. Breast size is usually determined by fat deposits, but it is the mammary glands in breasts that produce milk.

Breastfeeding helps with bonding

Babies are born with limited eyesight – in fact, they can only see 20 – 30 cm. That happens to be the perfect distance to see their mum’s face while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding also gives skin-to-skin contact, which is perfect for bonding with a new baby.

Don’t put the brakes on breastfeeding

Mums can still breastfeed during most sicknesses – in fact, it’s often better for baby. By the time you have symptoms, you have probably already passed on the infection, so it’s best to keep breastfeeding so your baby gets the benefits of your antibodies to help fight the sickness. You also don’t need to avoid a glass or two of alcohol – just wait at least 2 hours after each drink before feeding again.

Breastfeeding knowledge is built up over time

While many people think breastfeeding comes naturally, it can actually take some women time and effort to learn. It’s normal to need help. That’s why one of the major factors that determine whether a mother sticks with breastfeeding is how much support she has.

Not everyone can breastfeed exclusively, but the vast majority of women are able to when given support.  If you have any concerns or questions about breastfeeding or your baby, your GP can help or point you towards free specialist services.

You can click here to book in with a GP –>

Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance

By Children's Health, Nutrition

Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance – What’s the difference?

Food has become the center of everyone’s attention, be it about eating habits, taking pictures of daily meals or just trying to understand how what we eat affects our bodies. In the process of understanding the effects of food on our body, we can often find ourselves thinking that we have an allergy after reacting badly to something we have eaten.

Food allergies and intolerances are often confused, as their symptoms can seem very similar. Truth be told, the two are very different and it is important to be able to identify one from another.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy involves our body’s immune system reacting badly to a food protein that is otherwise harmless. When food is eaten with a particular type of protein, the immune system releases a large amount of chemical rapidly, which triggers immediate symptoms that can affect a person’s skin, gastrointestinal tract, heart and breathing in no particular order.

Some of the most common food that the causes allergies include:

  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Cow’s milk
  • Wheat
  • Tree nuts
  • Sesame
  • Fish and Shellfish

While these foods cause 90% of allergic reactions in Australian, any food can cause an allergic reaction as well as other non-foods including dust, pollen, animals and medication.

Signs and symptoms of food allergies can range from mild reactions in the skin, to moderate and severe life threatening reactions. It is important to be aware of these signs and symptoms. An allergic reaction can cause:

  • Hives or rashes (eczema)
  • Swelling of the lips, face and eyes
  • Abdominal pain and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing due to swelling of the throat
  • Persistent coughing and wheezing
  • Dizziness and collapse
  • Pale skin and floppiness (in children)

Allergies are very common in Australia affecting 1 in 5 people at some stage of their life. Food allergies occur in around 1 in 20 children and 2 in 100 adults. They can occur at any stage of life. Children with food allergies may outgrow them over time; conversely, adults who previously did not suffer any allergies could develop one later in life. The severity is often unpredictable, therefore taking appropriate care and caution for people with known food allergies is important.

What is food intolerance?

Food intolerance is generally a chemical reaction occurring in the body, that does not involve the immune system. This can occur in response to naturally occurring chemical in food and to common food additives such as preservatives, artificial colors and flavorings. Reactions are generally dose dependent with each individual having a different tolerance level.

The exact mechanism of how food intolerance affects our body is not fully understood and is an area of growing research. However, some common signs and symptoms include itchy rashes, gastrointestinal issues such as bowel irritability and migraines.

 

If you are experiencing a food allergy or food intolerance, it may mean that you have to eliminate certain foods from your diet. It is important to make sure that eliminated foods are replaced with other alternatives, so that you are not missing out on important nutrients.

It is essential that an allergy or food intolerance is appropriately diagnosed by your GP or allergy specialist and an Accredited Practising Dietitian is consulted to ensure nutritional adequacy, appropriate management of food allergy and growth monitoring in children.

 

If you would like to see a GP to discuss your concerns about food allergies or intolerances, you can click here to book. We also have an onsite dietitian who you can be referred to if necessary –> 

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