Monday, 28 April 2014

Vitamin E may slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer's

A recent study by Dysken et al (2014) examined the effectiveness of Vitamin E in slowing the cognitive decline related to Alzheimer's disease, in patients suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer's.

The study compared two groups of patients, with one group administered Vitamin E and the other a placebo.

The results showed that the Vitamin E resulted in a cognitive decline of 19.2% less per year than the control group.

The study concluded that Vitamin E can be recommended as standard practice for Alzheimer's and may be beneficial in slowing the progression of Alzheimer's.

This is a fantastic result and may be a simple, cheap and easy method for helping people suffering from Alzheimer's.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Stress and wellbeing survey shows Australians more stressed than ever!

A recent survey conducted by the Australian Psychological Society revealed that in 2013, Australian's reported higher levels of stress and decreased levels of wellbeing when compared to previous years.  

Top causes of stress were listed:

52% of respondents named financial issues as a cause of stress
47% named family issues
43% named personal health issues
41% named trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle
38% named concern over the health of others
34% named issues in the workplace

24% named mental health issues

An alarming 73% reported that stress was impacting their physical health and 65% reported their mental health was being affected.  

Are you feeling more stressed than ever?

What can you do to relieve the stress?  The survey revealed that in 2013 many participants reported using social media, sleeping more, eating more and watching TV and movies as stress busting techniques.  
Whilst these techniques may help to reduce stress, overeating, oversleeping and too much time engaging in sedentary activities can have negative effects on our physical and mental health.  

What can you do to tackle stress? 

  • Physical exercise - a proven stress reducing technique!!
  • Talk to a friend of family member  - social interaction has stress buffering effects!!
  • Talk to a psychologist - getting some help to manage excessive stress is very important if stress is beginning to impact your day to day functioning
  • Look after your health - healthy eating, sleeping eight hours per night and regular exercise are a fantastic buffer for stress
  • Make some time for laughter - watch a comedy or have a laugh with friends
  • Seek practical help - is there a particular area such as financial stress or workplace stress that is impacting your health?  Perhaps seeking financial counselling, or contacting your HR team or Fairwork Australia for advice about your rights at work may be just the help you need
Need to talk about the stress in your life?  Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for free 24/7 telephone counselling in Australia.  

Monday, 21 April 2014

Morning sickness survival guide

Lets face it….morning sickness is a bitch!  In my naive mind, I think I may have underestimated the horrid effects this pregnancy business would have on my body.  

From about 5 weeks in, BAM - intense waves of nausea, and fatigue so bad I felt like I'd been hit by a bus… unfortunately I bear no resemblance to the calm and centred pregnant woman pictured below....instead I'm curled up in a foetal position with a bottle of sparkling water and a box of Jatz.

I figured my options were…
1)  Quit my job (sadly I can't afford this…)
2)  Stay in bed forever (this may not help my employment status, or the size of my ass…)
3)  Cry… (have tried this one, multiple times…didn't fix the problem)

Instead I've developed a few strategies to try and regain an attempt at semi-normal functioning…here's what helped me (and it certainly wasn't ginger tea)

1)  Pacing - accepting I can no longer do all the housework in one morning, or that I can't race from the gym to the shops to a friends house.
Try breaking up your usual tasks into smaller components - now instead of housework on Saturdays, I try and do a few small things after work, and split the big stuff over Saturday and Sunday….it's a pain, but it's doable…

2)  Naps, lots of naps - naps after work, naps on Saturday mornings, Naps on Sunday evenings, whenever the hell I can get one.  

3)  Replace gym routine with shorter and easier exercise - the thought of even driving to the gym makes me tired….let alone doing a Pump class…. hell, even a Yoga class!!  Instead, Im walking for 20 minutes each day…. it's not ideal, it's all I can do right now and it still has positive effects

4)  Eat crackers, all the time.  That is all

5)  Drink very cold water….not room temperature….I don't know why it's easier, but it sure as hell is.

6)  Say no more - I've been declining social invitations like crazy, but sometimes you need to say no and listen to your body!!

7)  Say yes sometimes…I do feel a bit better after a good catch up with a friend, even when I've felt like hell getting there

8)  Have a variety of foods to choose from.  One day you may like lemonade.  The next day you may hate lemonade.  You may like the idea of may now despise the idea of toast... have a variety of fruit, vegetables, crackers, bread, frozen meals and easy things you can choose from on hand.

Anyone else have any suggestions?  What has worked for you in the past?  

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Is poor sleep contributing to your weight gain?

Sleep deprivation has a direct link with increased cravings for high calorie foods and may impair our ability to say no to junk foods.

A study by Greer, Goldstein and Walker (2013), examined the brains of 24 participants after a good night and a bad night of sleep.

The study showed that areas in the brain which are responsible for complex decision making may be impaired following sleep deprivation, which make it harder for the sleep deprived to make healthy food choices.  In addition, areas in the brain associated with desire and motivation are increased.

Further to this, the study showed that sleep deprivation causes greater cravings for high calorie foods.

Moral of the story?  Get a good night's sleep and you may find it easier to say no to temptation and stay on track with healthy eating!!  Are you getting eight hours sleep per night?  Do you find it hard to say no to that afternoon chocolate bar when you're tired?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Hunter Valley Getaway

Nothing beats a weekend away to make you feel refreshed, happier and forget about your troubles!!  This weekend Lachy and I headed to the Hunter Valley for a couple of days of frolicking in the vineyards, sipping wine, eating cheese and sampling chocolates....what could be better?

Dress - Sportgirl
Sunglasses - Rayban

Friday, 4 April 2014

Weekly Roundup

Another week done!!  This has been a flat out week for me balancing full time work with a masters degree....just handed in my first assignment and it was....not easy!!  TGIF!!

Sydney weather is still boiling, but contemplating another vest for my epic collection for this winter

A great blog post about being married to a touring musician and making the most of your alone time, one I can relate to all too well!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

10 simple habits to feel happier

Want to feel happier?  A study by the University of Hertfordshire identified 10 habits proven to make people happier and examined how frequently people perform those habits.  

Here are the ten habits!   Why not give them a try? 

  • Giving: do things for others
  • Relating: connect with people
  • Exercising: take care of your body
  • Appreciating: notice the world around
  • Trying out: keep learning new things
  • Direction: have goals to look forward to
  • Resilience: find ways to bounce back
  • Emotion: take a positive approach
  • Acceptance: be comfortable with who you are
  • Meaning: be part of something bigger

The survey showed that Self Acceptance may have a strong link to happiness and life satisfaction, but that people often don't put it into practice.  The authors of the study gave the following tips to help increase your self acceptance.

  • Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. See your mistakes as opportunities to learn. Notice things you do well, however small
  • Ask a trusted friend or colleague to tell you what your strengths are or what they value about you
  • Spend some quiet time by yourself. Tune in to how you're feeling inside and try to be at peace with who you are.