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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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Sleep and Weight Loss
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Sleep and Weight Loss

A growing body of research shows there is a distinct relationship between sleep and weight loss. In fact, sleep is showing to be a critical factor in not only weight loss, but also in helping reduce obesity related diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and more. Let's take a look at the research into the relationship between sleep and weight loss to help you better understand how sleep might effect your weight loss efforts.

 The Relationship Between Sleep And Weight Loss

 

1. Obese people sleep less

It is still unclear as to whether obesity causes poor sleep, or poor sleep causes obesity, but more than 30 studies have shown that there is a distinct link between obesity and poor quality of sleep.  

2. Fatigue Makes you hungry.

Some of us get to the end of a long work week and binge by eating a whole pizza by ourselves or drain a bottle of wine.  Our body craved that tub of ice cream and, due to our fatigue, we succumbed. What's interesting is that this phenomenon is actually reflected in research - it's not just you (and me). Fatigue makes our body less effective at metabolising fat. This is already bad for weight loss, but the resulting effect of slowing fat metabolism is that we develop a craving for easily digestable macronutrients (i.e. more fats and simple carbs such as sweets, chips, fast foods etc ).  

3. Too Much Sleep Is Also Bad

A study from Quebec showed that people who were sleeping 5-6 hours a night gained more weight than people getting 7-8 hours sleep. This is no surprise given what we have already established - poor sleep is linked to weight gain. What was more interesting ab out the Quebec study was that people who slept 9-10 hours a night also gained more weight than the people who slept 7-8 hours a night. Too much sleep seems to also be somehow related to weight gain and obesity. The conclusion of the study was that 7-8 hours sleep a night is generally best for people trying to lose weight.  

4. Obese Kids and Sleep

The above relationship between sleep and weight loss are also observed in research involving children. Given this, it is important to make sure you kids are getting enough shut eye of a night time. There are a number of ways to help your child get settled at night, including increasing their intake of Omega-3 DHA. Talk to your health professional if your child is having trouble sleeping throughout the night. ------ This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on getting better sleep or managing your weight, visit www.health365.com.au.
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