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Nutrition

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Food and Diet For Symptoms of Depression

By | Chronic Disease, Diabetes, 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
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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

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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
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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/

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

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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 –> 

5 ideas to keep you and your children hydrated this Summer

By | Body Systems, Children's Health, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Travel

5 ideas to keep you and your children hydrated this Summer

Why is it important to be hydrated?

Your body uses water for so many things, including maintaining temperature, removing waste, and lubricating joints. In fact, every single cell in your body requires water to work correctly!

What is dehydration?

Dehydration is a condition where the loss of body fluids exceeds the amount of fluid taken in. If severe, it can be quite dangerous and can even lead to death. 

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

If dehydration if mild, you may experience:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Having a dry mouth, lips and tongue
  • Having a headache
  • Having dark yellow urine, and not much of it
  • Feeling dizzy or light headed when standing up

If dehydration is severe, you may experience

  • Feeling extremely thirsty
  • Having a very dry mouth
  • Breathing fast
  • Having a fast heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Having a fever
  • Having little or no urine
  • Feeling irritable, drowsy or confused

What causes dehydration?

You lose fluid every time you sweat, go to the bathroom, or even breathe. When it’s hot, the amount of fluid you lose doing just day-to-day activities increases dramatically. Dehydration can also be caused by vomiting and diarrhea – so it’s particularly important to be mindful of your fluid intake if you experience either of these, and potentially see your doctor if your symptoms don’t alleviate.

 So what are your five tips for keeping hydrated??

Glad you asked! Here they are:

  1. Add a slice of lemon or lime to your water bottle to add some flavor.
  1. If you often forget to drink water, make it part of your schedule – such as drinking when you wake, at each meal and when you go to bed. Alternatively you could drink a small glass of water every hour, or set a ‘water alarm’ on your phone to remind you to take a sip.
  1. Use a phone app to track how many cups of water you’ve had!
  1. Keep a jug of water on the dinner table and encourage everyone to fill their glass once before and once after eating.
  1. Prepare snacks made from water rich foods, such as cucumbers, melons or celery.
  1. Bonus tip! When you’re in the car, turn drinking water into a game, and see who can be the first to take a sip at each light.

Book online to see a GP to discuss any concerns about dehydration —>

Note: if you are concerned that you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of severe dehydration, please call 000.

5 Top Tips for Packing Healthier Lunchboxes

By | Children's Health, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition

5 Top Tips for Packing Healthier Lunchboxes

It’s that time of year again when all parents are busy settling their children back into school! First term highlights the start to another full year of growth, learning and development for your children.

To help our kids maintain concentration, keep their tummies full and have the energy to play at recess and lunch, it is extremely important we provide them with a nutritious and exciting lunchbox every day!

To help you out, we have put together some handy hints to help you plan and prepare a healthy, balanced lunchbox for your children.

 

Healthy Hint 1: We have 5 main food groups that we should eat from every single day

Try to include at least one serve of each of these foods in your child’s lunch box daily:

  • Fruit –  1 piece of fruit, puree pack/fruit snack pack, cherry tomatoes, small handful of sultanas/dried fruit etc.
  • Vegetables – Carrot and celery sticks, lettuce or cucumber in a sandwich, sweet corn in a salad etc.
  • Dairy – Tub of yoghurt, cubed cheese or sliced cheese in a sandwich, milk etc.
  • Protein – Chicken, ham, turkey, beef in a sandwich/wrap, handful of nuts, tuna etc.
  • Grains and Cereals – (Wholemeal/multigrain options recommended).
    Bread, bread roll, crackers, pasta salad, muesli bar etc.

 

Happy Hint 2: Include lots of variety

Kids love colour so try to include as many different colours as you can in their lunchbox. Try to give them different foods during the week and cut foods into different shapes to keep it interesting.

 

Hydration Hint 3: Hydration is key for concentration

Always ensure to send your child off to school with a water bottle. Try freezing it overnight and packing it in the lunchbox to keep your child’s lunch cool, or you can use it instead of a freezer block for good food safety!

 

Helpful Hint 4: Encourage kids to join in on making their own lunch

Get the kids involved in choosing/preparing/cutting/peeling the foods. Research shows this increases the likelihood of children eating healthy foods. This will also help them learn to appreciate the time it takes mum and dad to make their lunch every day!

 

Hero Hint 5: Set a good example

If kids see you setting great example and eating these healthy foods/putting them in your work lunch box too, they will be much more inclined to give it a go and enjoy the foods you provide.

 

As children spend a large portion of their day at school, their lunch box is a great opportunity to get them eating lots of healthy, nourishing foods to help them perform their best at school. If you have any questions, queries or your own wonderful lunchbox ideas please comment below!

 

For other great tips for packing healthier lunchboxes and more information check out:

 

 

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