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5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress
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5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress

Stress can be a debilitating condition. It can have serious effects on your emotional and psychological well-being, making your life feel like a never-ending bad dream. Stress also has serious implications for your physical health and can play a role in development of a range of diseases and conditions...  

Stress Related Diseases

Stress-related diseases include (but aren't limited to):
  • psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • muscle spasms
  • headache
  • depression and other psychological conditions
  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • heart attack
 

Symptoms of Stress

If you are likely to be subject to highly stressful  experiences or environments, it is important  that you understand the symptoms of stress. This will help you self monitor and know when your stress levels are elevated and - perhaps - hamful. It is also critical you have a plan to deal with that stress once you've identified it. Symptoms of stress include (but are not limited to):
  • agitation and frustration where you normally might not feel that way
  • low energy
  • an over-active mind / experiencing trouble quieting your mind
  • headaches
  • stomach upsets
  • feelings of muscle tightness / anxiety
  • insomnia
  • lower self esteem
  • increased use of alcohol or other substances
 

5  Easy Ways To Deal With Stress

It is important to note that if you are experiencing ongoing stress that you do not feel capable of handling or if you are suffering sever stress symptoms, you should talk to your health professional. If your stress is work-related, it may be appropriate to talk to your manager or supervisor. For lower to intermediate levels of stress, the below potential coping mechanisms may help during times of stress.  

1. Talk to Someone

The anxiety and tension that accompany stress can often be (at least partially) relieved by talking to a friend, councillor or doctor. Having a sympathetic ear that you can share your problems with will not only help you feel better, it can also be a useful way to identify the main causes of your stress. Thirdly, it is a great way to work out strategies on how you can mitigate the source of your stress. Having a fresh perspective on the situation can help you see past the blinders we sometimes have on during times of stress.  

2. Resist Temptations

During stressful times, it can be enticing to have a drink (or four) to calm the nerves. Alcohol and substance abuse are common coping mechanisms in Australia. These substances may offer temporary relief from stress, but only serve to amplify stress symptoms once their effect wears off. Do your best to resist.  

3. Chill Out / Fire Up. Every Day.

Finding activities that reduce stress, and forcing yourself to do them every day, is a critical stress management technique. However, the exact activities that help relieve stress will vary from person to person. If you tend to fire up and become angry or agitated during times of stress, force yourself to do an activity every day that calms you down and helps quieten you to counter that. Similarly, if you tend to become depressed or withdrawn under stress, try to make your daily stress relieving activity something that excites and stimulates you, something that energises and excites you.

4. Diet and Exercise

There are a wide range of benefits from exercise. Exercise reduces stress. It boosts endorphins. It has a calming, mind-clearing  effect similar to meditation. It boosts mood. Whilst exercise of almost any type can help reduce stress, aiming to get 45 minutes of high intensity exercise 3 times or more per week can work wonders for your ability to deal with stress. Diet is another important way to deal with stress. When you are stressed, your body has an elevated need for vitamins and minerals, making it all the more important that you eat a variety of healthy foods to support your health. In particular, your body may need increased levels of: - Vitamin C (oranges, red capsicum, chilli or Super Kale). - Vitamin E (almonds, tofu, spinach, avocado) - B Vitamins (meats, fish, poultry, milk, dark green leafy vegetables or Super Spirulina)  

5. Try a Supplement

We always advocate eating a healthy diet over taking a multivitamin. However, during times of stress, we usually don't have the time to create a meal plan, buy groceries and cook healthy meals. As such, a broad range multivitamin may help support your body during times of stress. Look for one that contains vitamins C & E, plus magnesium for relaxation, lemon balm (traditionally used to help rest and relaxation) and the B vitamins. Alternatively, Super Spirulina has been called "Nature's Multivitamin" due to it's high vitamin content. Including it in your cooking, juice, smoothies etc can give an added nutrient boost to help your body deal with increased demand during stressful times. ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. For more information on handling stress, visit www.health365.com.au.
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5 Superfoods For Your Heart
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5 Superfoods For Your Heart

Keeping your heart healthy is as much about putting the right nutrients in to your body as it is about keeping the wrong substances out.  Foods that contain saturated fats, salt and high levels of processed sugar are all "No-no's" (as is smoking). If you are concerned about your heart, eating well and avoiding the above foods and toxins may help. Eating more of the below 5 superfoods for a healthy heart may also be of benefit to overall heart health. Looking after your heart is serious business. As this article is being written, heart disease is the leading underlying cause of death in Australia. If you have serious concerns about heart health, talking to your doctor should be your first step. Eating the foods below may help support your heart, but just eating these foods and neglecting other lifestyle factors that can contribute to heart problems will not guarantee a healthy heart.  

5 Superfoods For Your Heart

 

1. Salmon

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease according to the Australian Heart Foundation. Omega-3 may also help reduce inflammation of blood vessels and reduce blood clotting. Try our Chia-Crusted Salmon recipe for a tasty, healthy way to get more salmon into your diet.  

2. Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds are - like salmon - rich in omega-3. In fact, on a pund-for-pound basis, chia seeds contain more omega-3 than salmon. Furthermore, chia seeds are rich in fibre. Diets high in fibre can reduce the risk of heart disease. Try our Chia Cacao Coconut Cluster recipe for a treat that you won't believe is heart-healthy.  

3. Tofu and/or Soy Milk

Both of these food sources contain niacin, folate, calcium magnesium and potassium. These nutrients are crtitical to help support the heart. Try our Banana Split Smoothie recipe - a delicious way to drink soy milk and top up fibre, protein and antioxidants.  

4. Acai

Acai is packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for helping prevent potential cellular damage caused by free radicals - unstable molecules that are present in our body and attack cells in an effort to stabilise themselves. This damage can cause inflammation, and antioxidants can thus protect our body from the inflammation. Inflammation can be an aggravating factor in heart disease. Preliminary studies also suggest acai may be helpful for reducing blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. Try our Acai Berry Breakfast recipe for a heart healthy start to the date.  

5. Cacao

You may have heard of studies that suggest a potential link between daily (dark) chocolate consumption and heart health. This link is likely because dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa) is rich in polyphenols: substances that can help reduce clotting, blood pressure and inflammation. What you may not know is that dark chocolate, and the cocoa used to make it, are actually the nutritionally inferior by-products of raw cacao. Raw cacao is rich in a number of nutrients that are critical for supporting heart health. It is the base ingredient used to make cocoa / dark chocolate (cacao is processed and cooked to turn it into cocoa, whihc is then processed further to create dark chocolate. This processing and cooking destroys much of the original nutritional content, so choosing cacao over cocoa is a good idea). Try our Choc Chilli Cacao Mousse recipe for a decadent, heart-friendly dessert. ------ This article is presented by our online health partner Health365. To buy Nature's Way Superfoods online, visit www.health365.com.au/shop.
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