Everyday Health

Getting enough of the right vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients provides a wide range of health benefits. These products and tips will help you look after your Everyday Health and set you up for better health as you age.

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Everyday Health
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 ..
How Pre- and Probiotics Boost Immunity
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How Pre- and Probiotics Boost Immunity

Pre- and probiotics could be powerful immunity boosters. Are you getting enough of the good stuff? This article takes a closer look at the effect of pre-and probiotics on boosting your immunity, ability to avoid disease and ability to get better faster once you become sick.

What are Probiotics?

It’s a strange thought, but right from the moment we’re born, the human body becomes a host for other microorganisms. This includes the beneficial bacteria in our intestinal tracts, simply called “probiotics”.

These bacteria have daunting names such as “Lactobacillus acidophilus”, “Bifidobacterium bifidum” and “Bifidobacteria infantis”, but without them our immune systems wouldn’t be able to function as it should. These beneficial bacteria perform a number of important functions and also keep harmful bacteria in our gut in balance. Probiotics stop these bad bacterias from running rampant in our digestive tracts. This is one explanation as to how probiotics help us avoid illness... they help stop bad bacteria from getting out of control and making us sick.

What are Prebiotics?

We have established that probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve our health and immunity. “Prebiotics”, on the other hand, are food components that improve the food supply for micro-organisms in our gastrointestinal tracts. Prebiotics give the beneficial bacteria (i.e. probiotics) nourishment and thus a chance to grow and flourish. Our prebiotic levels can be naturally boosted by eating lots of fruit and vegetables. Some probiotic supplements, such as Restore 30 Billion Probiotic and Restore Bowel and Colon Probiotic have added prebiotics to help probiotics survive and grow in our stomach.

Beneficial bacteria in babies

Before birth, a baby’s gastrointestinal tract is totally sterile. This means that it doesn’t contain any bacteria – not even the “good” ones. During the natural birth process, the baby receives some beneficial bacteria from the mother – organisms that immediately start to multiply, boosting the little one’s immunity.

Preliminary research shows that these good bacteria (mostly Bifidobacteria infantis) can decrease the growth of so-called Rota viruses, known for causing diarrhoea and thrush, thus protecting the new-born against common infections. The bacteria also seem to help prevent lactose intolerance, while increasing the absorption of minerals and B vitamins and boosting the infant’s immature immune system.

What’s more, Australian researchers recently discovered that probiotics can prevent a serious bowel condition called necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies. In the study done at Sydney’s Nepean Hospital, in which a probiotic was mixed with breast milk and given to the babies, the healthy bacteria cut the risk of infection by 50%.

Breast milk also contains immune-boosting probiotics, which means that breastfeeding is another excellent way of increasing the number of Bifidobacteria in a baby’s intestinal tract.

Beneficial bacteria in adults

Adults have much bigger populations of gut bacteria, but only a few of these groups (e.g. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) seem to be beneficial to our health and capable of boosting immunity.

Several factors – such as stress, use of antibiotics, diarrhoea, an unhealthy diet, pollution, infections such as HIV/Aids, and ageing – can decrease our natural immunity and make us vulnerable to pathogens that cause disease. In addition, many harmful bacteria and viruses are becoming resistant to antibiotics, making treatment of common infections increasingly difficult.

Research shows that probiotics compete with harmful bacteria for food in the gastrointestinal tract, preventing them from multiplying and causing disease. They also seem to boost the uptake of important minerals, thus preventing deficiencies that could lower immunity.

The solution

Even though our understanding of probiotics is a work in progress, we can all potentially benefit from ingesting probiotic cultures.

Interestingly, the Bifidobacteria are the most common probiotics in the gastrointestinal system and also the good bacteria that decreases most as we age. It’s therefore important to take probiotic supplements or eat foods that contain live Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Examples of foods rich in these strains include yoghurt, soy milk, miso soup and our Nature's Way Probiotic Choc Balls.

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This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on how probiotics support immunity, visit www.health365.com.au.

Which Probiotic should you use?
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Which Probiotic should you use?

Not all probiotics are created equal.... different 'strains' of probiotics deliver different benefits. Thus, different probiotic supplements can be effective at treating very different conditions. This can make choosing a probiotic supplement confusing. To help clear up some of the confusion, we've made it simple. Read on to find out: which probiotic should you use?  

Which probiotic should you use?

The below strains of bacteria have been shown to be beneficial in these particular instances:

 CONDITION   PROBIOTIC STRAIN   YOU SHOULD TRY: 
Diarrhoea Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum Restore Bowel and Colon
Constipation Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum Restore Bowel and Colon
Medically Diagnosed IBS Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum Restore Bowel and Colon
Lactose Intolerance Lactobacillus acidophilus Restore Daily 
Antibiotic Side Effects Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis Restore 30 Billion or Restore Daily Probiotic Choc Balls
Boost Immunity Howaru Bifido Restore 30 Billion
 

More Tips On Choosing a Probiotic

Choose a probiotic supplement that best suits your needs and your particular diagnosis or health condition at any given time. Simply look for the appropriate strains on the product label, or ask your doctor or pharmacist for assistance. Also keep these helpful tips in mind: 1. Check the Expiry Date. Probiotics are living organisms and probiotic supplements' strength can be reduced after sitting on a shelf for a long time. Look for a probiotic supplement that has a longer shelf life / is fresher. 2. Check that the probiotic comes with some kind of prebiotic, such as inulin. A prebiotic provides “food” for the bacteria in the probiotic supplement. This helps to maximise the amount of beneficial bacteria that survive the journey to the intestine. 3. Lastly, always read the label and keep in mind that if symptoms persist, it’s important to consult a doctor. References: - Sullivan, A., Barkholt., & Nord C.E. (2003) Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus F19 prevent antibiotic-associated ecological disturbances of Bacteroides fragilis in the intestine. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 52 (2). - Isolauri, E., Sutas,Y., Kankaanpaa, P., Arvilommi, H., & Salminen, S. (2009) Probiotics: effects on immunity. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. - Gill, H.S., Rutherfurd, K.J., & Cross, M.L. (2001) Dietary probiotic supplementation enhances natural killer cell activity in the elderly: an investigation of age-related immunological changes. Journal of Clinical Immunology. (21). - Dupont, H.L. (2014) Review article: evidence for the role of gut microbiota in irritable bowel syndrome and its potential influence on therapeutic targets. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. To learn more about the health benefits of probiotics, visit www.health365.com.au.
How Probiotics Help With Antibiotics
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How Probiotics Help With Antibiotics

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed drugs that inhibit or kill the growth of micro-organisms in the body. They are used either:

  1. as a primary intervention to treat bacterial infection or
  2. to prevent infection (following surgery, for instance).
While antibiotics are highly effective, they can also lead to a number of unpleasant side effects. One of these side effects is the death of a large amount of 'good' bacteria, causing a bacterial imbalance in your gut. This, in turn,  causes several common anti-biotic side effects such as diarrhoea and nausea. Other side effects also include intestinal discomfort and flatulence. This is simply because, along with killing harmful bacteria (as was intended), antibiotics also destroy many of the important, beneficial micro-organisms that make up the intestinal flora and help digestion and good health.

How do Probiotics Help?

Taking a probiotic (a supplement of food that contains more of this 'good bacteria') can help to restore the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut that is often affected by antibiotics. This additional 'good' bacteria helps a number of digestive and immune functions in our body, and importantly prevents the proliferation of 'bad' bacteria which can make us sick. As such, taking a probiotic can work to either minimise the severity of, or totally negate, the unpleasant side effects of taking antibiotics. A healthy balance of “good” bacteria is important for maintaining everyday health, digestive health and immunity and probiotics help you achieve this.

Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis in particular have been shown to be effective in preventing antibiotic-associated imbalances. In a double-blind controlled study, patients who received both antibiotics and Lactobacillus did not develop diarrhoea. This result is particularly important for elderly and immune-compromised people.

If you are taking a course of antibiotics, taking a probiotic during and for several weeks after can help to replenish gut flora balance. It is recommended that probiotics are taken at least two hours from antibiotics, within 30 minutes of eating or as recommended by your healthcare professional.

Want to know more about probiotics and immunity? Check out our range of digestion and probiotic products.

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This article was provided by our friends at health365. For mroe information on the benefits of probiotics, visit Health365.com.au.

5 SuperFoods That Boost Immunity
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5 SuperFoods That Boost Immunity

There is no 'cure' for the common cold or the flu, but eating well ..
How Probiotics Can Improve Immunity
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How Probiotics Can Improve Immunity

Probiotics are beneficial for immunity due to a number of reasons. Firstly, probiotics help to rebalance the gut in favour of ‘good’ bacteria so that harmful bacteria are outnumbered.

Secondly, certain types of gut bacteria are involved in functions related to the body’s immune system. Researchers from Harvard Medical School have found evidence that certain bacteria aid in T-cell production, and correcting mineral and nutrient deficiencies.

Thirdly, healthy good bacteria also works to produce a barrier between food and the internal tissues of the body. Were this boundary to lie unprotected, the potential for illness is substantial due to potentially harmful micro-organisms found in food. A deficiency in certain beneficial bacteria could weaken this defence mechanism and, on occasion, allow for infection. A probiotic supplement could help to maintain the levels of good bacteria necessary to ensure that this barrier remains effective, and thus minimise the chance of illness. Your digestive tract contains 70% of your body’s immune system and is the largest source of toxins in the body due to its exposure to the food we eat and the air we breathe. Therefore to help support your immunity, it’s important to look after your digestive health, and one of the best ways to do that is to keep it balanced.   Want to know more about probiotics? Check out our range of probiotic and digestion products. ------ This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on why you might benefit from natural probiotics, visit www.health365.com.au.
The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep
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The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep

Alcohol is a depressant. That is, a substance that reduces ..
How To Stop Snoring
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How To Stop Snoring

Snoring might be embarrassing for you, but it can be torturous for your partner / house mates / family. Try these tips to stop snoring, and if your snoring persists, see a doctor.

Tips to Stop Snoring

 

1. No Booze Before Bed

An easy way to stop snoring is to limit your daily alcohol intake. Alcohol causes the palate (roof of the mouth) to swell. It can also cause the muscles around the airways to temporarily relax and sag while you sleep. Both these effects can cause narrowing of the airways, which causes increased vibration as you breath in and out. That vibration is what causes snoring. If you decide to have a drink of an evening, have your last drink well before bed time.  

2. Stop Smoking

Smoking causes inflammation and swelling throughout the body. Cigarette smoke also contains toxins that agitate the membranes in your throat. Both of these side-effects of smoking can cause snoring. Not only will quitting smoking make you better in bed (i.e. help you stop snoring), it might just make you more pleasant to kiss too.  

3. Roll On Over

One common way to  stop snoring is to prevent the snorer from sleeping on their back. Sleeping on your back can put pressure on, or bend, airways, which can cause obstruction. Sleeping on their side or stomach is less likely to narrow or obstruct airways, so can often help snorers stop snoring. If the snorer is unable to stay sleeping on their side or stomach throughout the night without rolling onto their back, grab an old t-shirt with a pocket on the chest. The snorer should wear t-shirt backwards to bed, with a tennis ball in the pocket. Every time the snorer rolls onto their back whilst sleeping, they will have that tennis ball sticking into their back. This will be so uncomfortable they will turn themselves back onto their side or stomach.  

4. Fluff Your Pillow

Having a fluffier or higher pillow may open up a snorer's airways, meaning less snoring.  

5. Drop a few kilo's

As we have already covered, snoring is almost always caused by vibrations from restricted / semi blocked airways as we breath in and out. If you are overweight, fatty tissue can build up around the throat, chin, mouth and chest. This can make semi-blocked airways  (and, in turn, snoring) more likely. Losing some weight may help mitigate this effect.  

6. Go Get a Gadget

If the above tips do not work, there are a range of devices to help address snoring:
  • Try a 'gum guard'. These devices - similar in style to a sporting mouth guard - hold the jaw muscles in a way that helps open up the throat and airway. Your doctor can help you choose which one suits you best.
  • If your snore comes from vibrations in your nose rather than your throat, you can get nose clips and nose strips that hold your nostrils open while you sleep. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose the right clip.
  • Finally, if gum guards and nose clips do not  do the trick, there are a number of other more advanced devices available which can help you not only stop snoring, but get a much better night's sleep. Persistent snoring is often associated sleep apnea. There are some impressively high-tech solutions out there... Australian company ResMed are worldwide leaders in sleep apnea device design and manufacturing and have a range that is suitable for most applications. Further, the CSIRO recently developed a technique to use 3D scanning of the mouth and a 3D printer to create custom mouth pieces. Again, your doctor can assist you with making the right choice and making sense of all of the options available to you.
 

7. Go Under the Knife

As a final resort, surgery may be necessary to stop your snoring. This should be treated as a final (and drastic) option. Your doctor is the best person to talk to should all of the above options fail and you decide to consider surgery. ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. To learn more about getting a good night's sleep, visit www.health365.com.au.
5 Surprising Benefits of Omega-3
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5 Surprising Benefits of Omega-3

We all know omega-3s are good for your health. We also know the benefits of omega-3 range from protecting your heart, brain and eyes to supporting joint health and reducing inflammation. The definitive list of omega-3 benefits would certainly be a long one - there are tens of thousands of academic studies of the benefits of omega-3 intake. We take a look at some surprising, lesser known benefits of omega-3.  

1. Omega-3 may help sleep

Recent research from Oxford University has produced a number of fascinating insights into the importance of a particular type of omega-3 and children's learning. In these studies, children with low levels of 'DHA' (a specific type of omega-3) scored significantly worse on tests for memory, behaviour, concentration, reading and numeracy than children who had sufficient DHA levels. Furthermore, the researchers consequently noted that increasing DHA levels in the children with low DHA by using a DHA supplement helped them improve their performance and bridge the gap to their peers. Increasing DHA levels increased learning outcomes. What does this have to do with sleep? The Oxford team have recently expanded on their study. Their most recent results show that low DHA levels also can lead to poor sleep in children.  Giving a DHA  supplement to the children in the study with low DHA levels improved the quality of their sleep.  

2. Omega-3 may support male fertility

A 2010 study published in The Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the relationship  between omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in fertile and infertile men. Fertile men tended to have higher omega-3 levels than infertile men. Further research is required to consolidate and expand on these findings. However, the results from the study do echo the findings of several animal studies in rats and guppies - both animal studies showed a link between fertility and omega-3 levels.  

3. Omega-3s may protect ageing brains

From the University of Maryland's overview of omega-3 research: "A number of studies show that reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with increased risk of age related cognitive decline or dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Scientists believe the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is protective against Alzheimer's disease and dementia."  

4. Omega-3s may support stronger bones.

Calcium, magnesium and vitamin D may not be the only nutrients for supporting strong bones. Several studies have looked at the relationship between omega-3 intake and bone density. Whilst further research is required, there is preliminary evidence to suggest there may be a link between omega-3 levels and maintaining bone density over time.  

5. Omega-3 may help menstrual pain

Preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggests women who take fish oil during menstruation may experience a decline in menstrual pain.