Nutrition Advice, Topical Nutrition

Top 5 Tips To Manage Adrenal Fatigue

Stress over extended periods causes the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which promotes the release of glucose and fat into blood, to be carried to the muscles where it will be used to generate energy to run from danger. In today’s society, our mostly sedentary lifestyle means there is no danger, and we are less efficient at clearing glucose, cortisol and lipids from our blood, causing abdominal weight gain in the form of visceral fat.

Adrenal glands – what do they do?

The adrenals are triangle shaped glands that sit on top of our kidneys. Their primary role is to control our body’s response to stress, as well as regulating blood pressure and metabolism. When we become stressed from:

  • Infection
  • Illness
  • Excess caffeine
  • Anxiety/nerves
  • Scary animal (rare)

Hypothalamus (control centre in brain) ⇒ pituitary gland ⇒ adrenals ⇒ produce adrenaline and cortisol (hormones) which ⇑ awareness and blood flow (), simultaneously ⇓ the digestive and immune systems (damn).

Cortisol causes a release of glucose and fat into the blood to allow a burst of energy to run from danger. As mentioned, there is no scary animal to run from so we stay in the flight or flight response, constantly wired.

Chronic stress

Adrenal fatigue – what is it?

Adrenal fatigue is commonly known as HPA axis dysfunction, and occurs when the adrenal glands are placed under continuous demand and lose their ability to manage stress in the body.

Adrenal fatigue – why is it bad?

Chronic adrenal stress results in increased cortisol production (stress hormone) which in turn gives us a lovely distended abdomen over time. The rise in blood glucose stimulates the release of insulin (another hormone), which plays a role in fat storage.

Excess blood glucose ⇒ excess insulin ⇒ excess blood sugars are converted to visceral fat

This distended abdomen is composed of visceral fat that accumulates around our heart, liver and kidneys as a protective mechanism as the body thinks it is in danger and clings on to fat for potential energy. Essentially, your body is not coping with the stress and that your adrenals are heading for a burnout. Additionally, constant cortisol production can weaken the gastrointestinal (GI) tract leaving it more susceptible to inflammation and infection.

When the adrenals are in overdrive your brain is always switched on. This can effect your thought processes, attention span and ability to focus, leading to excessive thinking and an inability to switch off. When your body is constantly on the go, sleep becomes interrupted and you lose the ability to recharge your batteries, or adrenal tank so to speak. A vicious cycle of stress, insomnia, fidgeting and cravings can then ensue.

Our body loses sodium (an electrolyte) while in adrenal stress, which causes salt cravings due to dehydration. Foods such as potato chips suddenly become more attractive.

There are also knock on effects to several other hormones in your body (which I will address in another blog post), suffice to say it effects fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism and therefore our weight.

Top 5 tips to prevent Adrenal Fatigue

  1. Eat a nourishing breakfast – including good quality fats (avocado or flax seeds), satisfying protein (eggs or milk) and filling carbohydrates (wholegrain toast or chia pudding); this will ensure even energy throughout the morning and reduced stress.
  2. Monitor your caffeine intake – if you notice that you are particularly sensitive to caffeine (think fidgety or buzzing), try to limit your intake to 400mg a day.
  3. Good quality sleep – aim for 6-8 hours of uninterrupted each night to allow your adrenals to rest and your hormones to re-balance.
  4. Stress reduction – find something that works for you to lower your cortisol levels: 10 minutes of reading before bed, not using your phone for an hour from waking, 30 minute phone call to a close friend.
  5. Movement to use up excess blood glucose: sign up to that dancing class you’ve always wanted to do, agree to meet a friend for tennis once a week, chase a ball with the kids.

If you think you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue, you don’t have to continue on this path. Pop in for a chat and we can work out some solutions to get your mojo back.

Get in touch here or check out my consultations page for more information.

All the best,

Madeleine (That Healthy Girl)

madeleine-submark

This blog post was written by Madeleine Baumgart and first appeared on That Healthy Girl blog Sunday 18th February, 2018

https://thathealthygirl.com.au/2018/02/18/top-5-tips-to-manage-adrenal-fatigue/

DISCLAIMER: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are purely personal. Opinions or thoughts expressed in this blog do not represent those of people, institutions or companies that I am associated with in a professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. I have no affiliation with or receive any benefits from companies or organisations mentioned in posts on That Healthy Girl. From time to time I may provide a review and my opinion on sample products, this will be clearly stated on the post. Written content provided on this blog is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide or replace medical advice, nor should it be used to diagnose, treat or cure illness. 

Nutrition Advice

This Summer, forget about body transformations. Here’s why.

Happy new year! I realise I am a little late in getting to my first post of the year. This has been partially deliberate, and the other half just plain busy with my family and work. I wanted to personally welcome and new followers that have recently signed up to my blog. I am so glad you have taken the step towards discovering more about your health and hopefully you might learn a thing or two.

I have recently returned from maternity leave and am available for individual nutrition consultations on Monday afternoons, alternating between Morningside General Practice Clinic and Belmont General Practice Clinic. Both of these clinics are special to me in that I used to work there as Registered Nurse. It’s great to be returning as a Dietitian to offer evidence based nutrition advice to clients.

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At this time of year we are bombarded with quick fix nutrition promises that all offer the illusion of a slimmer you, supposedly a better body and the ability to shred or transform in “x” number of weeks. There is a common theme here, praying on your weaknesses and creating a dissatisfaction with your body. These programs feed our obsession with diet culture and often don’t provide the psychological support that is needed when one is starts to change their health.

Is it any wonder negative body image is rife when we are consistently subjected to messages encouraging us to be thin, or that our body shape is not enough.

Instead of signing up to an eight week shred, I encourage you to adopt some self-love and simply start making some small changes. This might be making sure that you feed yourself breakfast before the kids so that you are well nourished for the day. Or you could try batch roasting vegetables on the weekend, making lunch preparation (and increasing vegetable intake) that much easier. Whatever you decide to do, know that you are enough and that you can take control of your health without submitting to yet another program with false hope. Most importantly, you will maintain a positive relationship with food, movement and health.

If you feel a little lost and need some healthy inspiration, I can offer sound strategies during an initial assessment. For more information on nutrition consultations click here.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to an exciting year ahead as I slowly ease back in to work and health blogging.

Madeleine (That Healthy Girl).

This blog post appeared first on That Healthy Girl blog and was written by Madeleine Baumgart https://thathealthygirl.com.au/2018/02/08/this-summer-forget-about-body-transformations-heres-why/

Nutrition Advice, That Healthy Tip

What are you hungry for?

 

Hunger.

We all experience it, several times a day. Or at least we should experience it several times a day. Modern life means that for some, true hunger is never really experienced. Instead, some are bombarded with mixed messages all day, meaning that their intrinsic hunger cues are subdued. More eating occasions throughout the day means that people are eating for reasons other than hunger.

You might be hungry for a connection with someone, but choose triple cheese toasted sandwiches to fill the absence. Perhaps you’re hungry for happiness and don’t know how to find it, so you numb yourself with chocolate cake. Or maybe you are just down in the dumps after a knock back at work, so that delightful bottle of bubbly helps to quench your hunger. Most of the reasons for overeating are linked to our emotions. Think about that for a second.

We are eating for emotional reasons instead of physiological reasons related to hunger. It becomes very apparent then, that any attempt to control weight (be that weight loss or weight gain) simply must address the underlying triggers that cause us to overeat in the first place.

Continue reading “What are you hungry for?”

Nutrition Advice

Nutritional considerations during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of exceptional growth, change, development and sacrifice. The female body undergoes an enormous transformation while it focuses solely on, and prioritises the nourishment of the foetus over itself. Ultimately, the baby is first in line for any nutrients required, often leaving the Mother lacking in critical vitamins and minerals.

Ensuring optimal nutrition is never more important than before, during and after pregnancy.

The first 1000 days of a baby’s life (including preconception) affects metabolic health, maternal weight, and can predict the likelihood of developing chronic diseases later in life. The phrase ‘1000 days’ has been termed to capture the time from conception to a child’s second birthday. This pivotal window provides the perfect opportunity for the right nutrition, to lay down a strong immune system, for healthy brain development and optimal growth.

Pregnant mother
(Source: Wikipedia)

Pregnant women need to boost their nutrient intake rather than their kilojoule intake. Instead of the old phrase eating for two, thinking boosting nutrient intake for two.

Below you will find the most important vitamins and minerals to include in your diet to ensure your baby’s first 1000 days are the best they can be.

Folate

Folate is a B vitamin found naturally in dark green vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli, as well as fruit and legumes. The synthetic version, (folic acid) is found in supplements or when added to foods. Inadequate folate during a baby’s development can lead to poor brain development and neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Increased requirements for folate actually start prior to conception, for this reason it is recommended to start taking Folate supplement of at-least 400µg 1-3 months before trying for a baby. Once you are pregnant, folate requirements jump to 600µg.

Calcium

This mineral is found in abundance in dairy products, canned salmon with bones, as well as almonds, spinach and fortified plant based milks. Calcium is important to prevent osteoporosis later in life, and particularly important during the third trimester as the baby starts to develop and strengthen it’s bones. During pregnancy your body adapts to absorb more calcium from food, and uses Vitamin D to aid absorption. If you do not eat dairy foods or feel that your calcium intake is inadequate, a Calcium supplement might be necessary. Calcium requirements during pregnancy are the same as prior to conceiving 1000mg for 19-50 year old women.

Iron

Iron is necessary for the production of red blood cells for both mother and baby. Iron-rich food sources include red meats, chicken, eggs and fish. Other sources of iron are beans, lentils and some vegetables. A mother’s blood volume increases up to 50% during pregnancy, requiring an extra 9mg of iron daily, taking Iron requirements to 27mg during pregnancy. Iron absorption improves during pregnancy, however anaemia is a common ailment during the third trimester even for women with adequate iron stores prior to pregnancy. If this occurs an iron supplement, or a pregnancy multivitamin that includes iron would be necessary. Iron levels can be checked during routine pregnancy blood tests ordered by your Obstetrician or GP. Vitamin C aids iron absorption, try pairing broccoli with your lamb chops, or a glass of fresh orange juice with grilled fish.

Fibre

Fibre is always an important, and sometimes neglected nutrient. Progesterone levels during pregnancy cause the bowel to relax and slow down the transit time of food, causing constipation for some women. The best approach is prevention here, so maintaining an adequate intake of fibre rich foods during pregnancy is essential. Fibre is found in whole-grain breads, cereals, rice, fruits, vegetables, beans, chick peas and nuts. Fibre needs water to work effectively and synergistically in the body. If constipation has arrived, natural fibre supplements such as Psyllium husk and chia seeds can help. Otherwise over the counter remedies such as Normafibre are available.

Stay tuned for my next post looking at Safe Eating During Pregnancy, which explores common misconceptions about foods that need to be avoided while pregnant.

For more tailored advice on what to eat during your pregnancy journey, I am available for face-to-face consultations in Brisbane, or online consultations via my blog That Healthy Girl. Being a new Mother myself, I can relate to the hormonal changes and food cravings during pregnancy, as well as baby brain!

As always, thanks for stopping by, Madeleine (THG).

This blog post was written by Madeleine Baumgart (That Healthy Girl) on the 17th August, 2016. Written information in the blog post is for informative purposes only and is not meant to be diagnostic, or replace any medical/nutrition advice provided to your by your health professional.

Nutrition Advice

Health Star Ratings – A Guide

You may have noticed a new star rating logo on some of your favourite grocery items in the supermarket? Wondering what it’s all about?

This is a voluntary front of pack health rating system that is funded by state and Federal Governments to highlight healthier food options to consumers, in an attempt to reduce overweight and obesity in Australia.

(Source: Health Star Rating System)
(Source: Health Star Rating System)

The idea behind the star rating is to highlight positive and at risk nutrients within a particular food.

How does it work?

Foods deemed to be healthy by the rating system will receive 5 stars as the highest rating, with 0.5 stars being the lowest rating. The following nutrients are considered when allocating points:

Energy

The average energy requirement for an adult is 8700kJ/day.

Saturated Fat

Products should haveor

Sugar

Products should containor

Sodium

Products should have or 100g

Additional positive nutrients such as fibre and protein are also be considered as well as the whole food content of ingredients such as fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables.

Let’s look at the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) of a cereal as an example of a 5 star rating.

(Source: Kellogg's Australia website)
(Source: Kellogg’s Australia website)

Using the parameters listed above, we can see that per 100g this product meets the requirements for Saturated Fat (0.5g/100g), and has quite a substantial amount of fibre (29.5g/100g), making this cereal almost one third fibre, not bad. Although it has three times the sodium amount recommended above (360mg/100g) and sugar is greater than 5g/100g (16.7g/100g), the high fibre and low saturated fat still weigh heavily enough to give it 5 stars.

Is it basically, the more stars the better? Well, sort of. This system is successful at highlighting foods that contribute positive nutrients, that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. As with any rating system however, the stars are not without limitation.

Let’s look at another example, now of a product with a 4 star rating, Coles Almond Milk.

Ingredients: Water, Ground Almonds (2.5%), Maltodextrin(Corn), Natural Vanilla Flavour, Mineral Salt(170), Vegetable Gums (418,415), Salt, Vegetable Emulsifier(322) (Sunflower). (Source: Shop.Coles.com.au).

Again, using the parameters, this product is low in Saturated Fat (0.1g/100mL), Sugar (0.3g/100mL) and Sodium 45mg/100mL). It also contributes Calcium (70mg/100mL). However if you look closer at the ingredient listing, you will see that water is the first ingredient, and that almonds only make up 2.5% of the product. So although almonds are a nutritious food, Almond Milk is little more than almond flavoured water, with some additives thrown in.

Reduced fat cow’s milk (5 stars) offers much more in the way of calcium (145mg/100mL) and protein (4g/100mL) compared to just 0.4g/100mL if you drink almond milk. Although there is only 1 star between these two “milk” products, there is a significant difference in what these products are offering in nutrition to your diet.

Lastly, some considerations:

  • This is a voluntary system, brands can chose to adopt the front of label packaging (FOPL) or not. Just because a brand does not display FOPL, does not necessarily mean it is an unhealthy or healthy product. This would require you to check out the NIP further.
  • Items that have a high number of stars may be nutritious, however this is not a green light to over-consume this item, it should still be enjoyed with other food groups.

For more information on the Health Star Rating, including an online calculator to assist with assessing your own products, click here.

Thanks for stopping by, Madeleine (THG).

This article was first posted by Madeleine on That Healthy Girl. https://thathealthygirlau.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/health-star-ratings-a-guide/

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is my personal professional opinion. I have no affiliation with or receive any benefits from companies or organisations mentioned in this post.

Nutrition Advice

Health Watch: Unpasteurised Milk

(Source: Pixabay)
(Source: Pixabay)

This week a young boy from Victoria died after consuming raw, unpasteurised cow’s milk. This is very sad news. As a parent to be, I can only imagine the heartbreak that they must be enduring. I am sure that the milk was given to him in good faith, unfortunately the milk proved to be deadly for him.

Unpasteurised milk comes with a stern health warning, and for a very real reason.

Unpasteurised milk is illegal for sale for human consumption in Australia. Some health food outlets sell unpasteurised milk with a label that states for bathing or cosmetic purposes only, not for human consumption.

Pasteurisation involves heating milk to about 72°c, where it is held at this temperature for at least 15 seconds, then immediately chilled to 4°c or less. By law, this process must be performed to all milk made available for human consumption. It ensures that harmful bacteria such as campylobacter, cryptosporidiosis, shiga toxin-producing e. Coli, and listeria monocytogenes are destroyed, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal upset, and even death from listeriosis and haemolytic uraemic syndrome.

Bottom line, pasteurisation exists for a reason, and should not be ignored. Should you choose to drink unpasteurised milk or provide it to a child, you should be VERY aware that you are taking the risk into your own hands, and that the risk of side effects is very real, as seen this week.

Nutrient losses during pasteurisation of milk are minimal. Milk is still a vital source of nutrition, offering up to 10 important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, riboflavin, zinc and high quality protein. All of these combine to offer a nutritional drink.

I urge you to make informed decisions when choosing food and drink for yourself and family.

Thanks for stopping by,

Madeleine (That Healthy Girl).