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White rice and brown rice together to show bad carbs and good carbs

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs: How To Tell Them Apart

              Carbs receive a lot of bad publicity. We’re also told to avoid carbs since they cause weight gain and type 2 diabetes. But dietary guidelines recommend that we get about half of our daily calories from carbohydrates.Some carbs are bad while others are tremendously good for you. In fact, it’s necessary that you consume carbs for your body to work optimally. But how do you tell the difference?Carbohydrates provide your body with the glucose (energy) it needs to function properly. There are two types of carbs: complex carbs and simple carbs. Complex carbs are those that the body takes time to break down into glucose, meaning they are absorbed more slowly into your system and give us lasting energy. These are foods rich in fibre and we call them ‘good’ carbs.On the other hand, simple carbs include sugars found in foods, such as fruit and milk products, as well as sugars added during food processing. The more refined the carb, the less essential dietary fibre it contains. Foods containing white flour and added sugars are referred to as ‘bad’ carbs. We can minimise the health risks of bad carbs simply by eating fewer refined and processed carbohydrates, which rob our body of fibre. Note: just because they’re labeled ‘bad’ doesn’t mean you should never eat them, only that you should eat them in moderation.Here’s a list of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ carbs:Vegetables (good carbs):dark leafy greensonionspeasmushroomsasparagusartichokescauliflowerbroccolieggplantcelerycabbageBrussels sproutsgarliczucchinicucumberssweet potatoroot vegetables (i.e. carrot and parsnip)Vegetables (bad carbs):potatoesFruit (good carbs):berriesmelonstropical fruits (i.e. pineapple, mango, papaya)kiwitree fruit (i.e. apples and pears)citrus fruitsgrapesstone fruits (i.e. cherries, plums, peaches, apricots)Fruit (bad carbs):dried fruitsfruit juiceGrains (good carbs):quinoawhole wheat/wholegrain productsbrown ricesprouted grainswhole oatswheat germbranmilletGrains (bad carbs):white flourwhite breadbreakfast cerealquick oatscouscouspastabaked goods (i.e. muffins and cakes)corncream of wheatNuts/seeds/legumes (good carbs):peanutscashewspecansmacadamiassesamealmondswalnutssoybeanslima beansfava beanspeaschickpeaspinto beansNuts/seeds/legumes (bad carbs):honey roasted nutsnuts with a sweet or candied coatingsweetened nut butter (i.e. peanut butter)Dairy products (good carbs):whole milkcreamcheeseunsweetened yoghurtsour creambutterDairy products (bad carbs):ice creamsweetened yoghurtskimmed milk 
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Fat On The Inside

No matter whether you are slim and the envy of all your friends, or carrying a few more kilos, you can still be obese on the inside, by carrying fat around your internal organs.Often people work hard to look skinny, but having curvy hips or ‘junk in your trunk’ (a big bottom) may not be the worst of your worries. Those who eat unhealthily but still remain skinny may be in more danger than they realise. Having fat on your internal organs and in your bloodstream is what causes cardiovascular disease, not the muffin top hanging over your jeans.Health professionals are now warning against using your clothing size as an indicator of internal health. To get a true indicator of your health, you should test your body-fat percentage, not your overall weight.The phenomenon of ‘normal-weight obesity’ (being a ‘healthy’ weight but carrying internal fat) is often referred to as TOFI (thin on the outside, fat on the inside). While it is important to keep your weight down, it is also important to eat healthily, especially if you don’t put on weight easily and therefore rarely monitor your intake of fatty foods.Testing whether your internal fat levels are too high isn’t difficult – high levels of visceral fat, or fat stored in the abdominal cavity, will often show up in the form of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. You can also look at your overall body shape. Visceral fat collects in the abdominal area, so those with bigger stomachs, or ‘apple-shaped’ people, are more likely to be storing internal fat than those with a pear shape who store fat on their thighs and bottoms.Have you ever had your body fat percentage tested? Did the results surprise you? Author:Rachel Tyler Jones
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Foods That Help Keep Your Joints Healthy

Joint problems don’t necessarily come with age – how we live matters more than how many years we’ve graced the planet. Even so, years of wear and tear can take a toll.Engaging in physical activity and eating properly are both factors which contribute to healthy joints. Imagine your joints as gears. If you don’t look after them, they’ll rust and seize up. Keep them well lubricated, and they will work better for much longer.The physical activity is up to you, however, there are some healthy foods that may help to keep those ‘gears’ lubricated and running smoothly.Salmon Wild salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids – one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s best to choose wild salmon over farmed because the farmed varieties contain fewer to no omega-3s. Fresh wild salmon can be pricey though, so check your supermarket for canned wild salmon as a low-cost option. Sockeye salmon is a good source of vitamin D, which is beneficial for healthy joints and bones.  Almonds Ongoing inflammation can lead to the inflamed area becoming vulnerable to damage by free radicals, which then cause further harm to your joints. Almonds are a great source of antioxidants, which fight against free radicals. They also happen to be one of the best sources of vitamin E, which helps to protect joint cells.Papaya Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects our DNA from free-radical damage. Papayas have almost twice as much vitamin C as oranges, plus a generous dose of beta-carotene – another great antioxidant for joint health.Apples Apples are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that is important for building and preserving collagen – which, in turn, provides shock-absorption for your joints. Red apples have the most quercetin – and the darker the red, the better. And remember, all the goodness is concentrated in the skin, so it’s best not to peel your apples.Black Beans Bring on the beans – kidney, white, red or black – they’re all packed with protein. Black beans are better than the others when it comes to joint-boosting compounds, and they’re also richer in the type of antioxidants which assist with the reduction of inflammation.Kale Kale is loaded with calcium, but unlike dairy, is cholesterol-free and lower in fat and calories. It’s rich in vitamins A, C and K, and packed with other minerals that can help to keep your joints healthy and strong. Kale also contains copper, which helps build collagen and ligaments, as well as manganese, which activates enzymes needed for tissue growth and repair.Broccoli Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which is a potent force against free radicals. It’s also packed with vitamins that keep joints well nourished – A, Bs, C, E and K – and loads of calcium and protein to boot.GingerGinger has been used in Asia for centuries to reduce joint pain and swelling. The spice has much the same effect as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, by reducing the production of a key enzyme in inflammation.  Adding these foods to your diet may help […]
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The Delicate Balance Of ‘Down There’

You may not realise it, but your vagina is home to huge populations of microorganisms. Before you shriek in surprise or horror, know that these tiny organisms are actually vital for the health of your vagina and your health overall, and it’s important to get the balance right.There are many different types of microorganisms that are found in the vagina, but the main types are generally called ‘good bacteria’ or ‘bad bacteria’. Healthy vaginas are rich in good bacteria and these friendly microorganisms help to protect you from infections and keep the populations of bad bacteria in check.An imbalance or overgrowth of bad bacteria and other unfriendly microorganisms in the vagina can cause symptoms such as vaginal discharge, redness and itch. They can make you more prone to the common conditions of vaginal candidiasis (thrush), which is an overgrowth of a particular microorganism (a fungus called Candida albicans), bacterial vaginosis or vulval irritation. It’s important to note that not all vulval irritation is due to an imbalance of vaginal bacteria. Find out about other causes of vulval irritation.There are many factors that can upset the balance of bacteria, influencing whether the good or bad populations stay or go. So what can you do to sway the scales in the right direction?  The right introductionsYour vaginal bacteria is closely connected to the bacteria in your digestive system, and what you eat and digest can affect the health and populations of bacteria in both your gut and your vagina. Live cultured yoghurt and other fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir, contain good bacteria as an ingredient. Eating these foods regularly can help to maintain healthy populations of good bacteria, introducing the right types to your digestive system and your vagina.Some women who have thrush, bacterial vaginosis or vulval irritation may benefit from taking a probiotic supplement. Probiotics can be taken orally as a capsule and contain good bacteria in much higher quantities than what you would get from fermented foods alone.If you’re experiencing these common symptoms or conditions, it’s recommended that you see a health practitioner with experience in this area. There are many kinds of probiotic supplements available and research has found that only specific types of bacteria are effective.Feeding your new friends   After introducing the good bacteria to your body, it’s important to keep them happy. Good bacteria is more likely to thrive when you eat a diet that’s rich in wholefoods such as vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds.They particularly love a certain type of fibre that is found in foods such as:garlic, onions, leeks and spring onionsasparagus, artichokes and beetrootbroccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, watercress and kalelegumes such as chickpeas, lentils and red kidney beans. These foods are known as prebiotic foods – they actually feed the good bacteria, fuelling them to live, grow and flourish. The Jean Hailes Kitchen has a new recipe that is based on prebiotic foods and foods that nourish and restore a healthy balance of good bacteria: Aduki bean salad with red rice and […]
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Woman holding flabby bicep with cutout

Could Your Extra Kilos Hold Deep, Dark Secrets?

The placement of your body fat can reveal hidden truths about your health. So what are your spare tyre, muffin top or love handles trying to tell you?Flabby tummy, bingo wings or too much junk in the trunkFat on the stomach, backs of the arms or backside is usually caused by the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone which stores fat, and reducing the stress in your life could be the first step towards losing weight. Many of us have become used to shallow breathing, which keeps the body in a state of ‘stress alert’. Try a daily deep breathing exercise on its own, or incorporate some deep breathing with yoga, tai chi or pilates. This will help to lower your cortisol levels, which in turn could be your first steps towards losing weight.Below the pecs or breastsA roll of fat under the bra line or beneath your pectoral muscles could be a sign that it’s time to give your liver a rest. Think carefully (and honestly) about how much alcohol you have been drinking, and how much processed food you have been eating recently. Your liver works on the most toxic substances in your body, so if you have been drinking quite a bit it will be busy processing the alcohol, rather than stripping harmful fats out of your food.Hips and thighsWeight in typically ‘feminine’ areas can be a sign of low levels of progesterone in the body. Progesterone is also important as an antidepressant and a diuretic, plus it provides us with energy. The body makes progesterone on its own when it feels safe and settled, as it associates progesterone with fertility. Again, think about the stresses in your life and how you might be able to reduce them. Getting exercise  is also important to ensure you are producing enough progesterone. The lymphatic system makes your hormones, of which progesterone is one, and it can become sluggish if you are too sedentary. Get out for a walk every day – this will help to both relax your mind and wake up your lymphatic system, both of which can improve your progesterone levels.So what is the best way to lose weight?Most experts will cite a mixture of diet and exercise as the key to losing weight and keeping it off. Doing gentle exercise every day and ensuring you include enough vegetables in your diet are two easy ways to kick-start the process.  Author: Rachel Tyler Jones                                                                          
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Healthy Eating Pyramid

Healthy Living Pyramid Explained

In a society that’s regularly bombarded with the latest fad diets and eating plans designed to help people lose weight, Nutrition Australia has stepped up and delivered a brand new healthy living pyramid that may help to eliminate any confusion about the definition of healthy eating.The pyramid was originally designed in the 80s as a visual aid to suggest recommended dietary intake. The new guidelines are based on extensive reviews of some 55,000 research papers. The last update of Australia’s food pyramid was 15 years ago.A picture may be worth a thousand words, and could even mean a few thousand less calories per day. Here are some key points based on the pyramid, which may help you crack the code for healthier living.                                                                Vegetables, legumes and fruitPlant-based foods, such as vegetables, legumes and fruit, now occupy the main layer at the bottom of the pyramid, and are seen as the most important part of a daily diet. According to nutritionists, plant-based foods should make up a 70 per cent portion of our diet.A diet that includes unprocessed plant foods lowers your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, plant foods are high in fibre, which helps us to feel satisfied, making them ideal foods for those trying to maintain a healthy weight. It’s also highly recommended that we eat more vegetables than fruit.Whole grains over carbsWhilst we do need do need carbs in our diet, the new pyramid recommends reducing the amount of foods.When choosing carbohydrate-based foods, it’s recommended that we eat mostly whole grains, such as brown rice, oats and quinoa, and eat less processed grains such as white bread, pasta and processed breakfast cereals. The best breads are dense and include a multitude of grains. It’s also best to choose wholemeal pasta and breakfast cereals such as porridge made from traditional oats, and unprocessed cereals such as natural muesli.ProteinIt is recommended that you aim for a variety of meat and non-meat options when choosing a source of protein, because each alternative provides different nutritional value. Milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives for protein are also very important for the calcium (needed for healthy bones, muscles and nerves) as well as other necessary vitamins and minerals.Good fatsWhilst existing evidence suggests that we limit the amount of saturated fat in our diet, not all fats are bad. In fact, good fats are essential for healthy brain function. Choose plant oils, such as olive oil and canola, which are rich in unsaturated fats. Healthy fats can also be found in foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds and fish. And where possible, stay away from butter and margarine.Salt and added sugarRecent research by UK professor Tim Spector found that junk food kills the healthy gut bacteria that help to keep people thin. Too much salt and added sugar is also linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. So, it’s best not to add salt when cooking or eating and avoid processed or packaged foods, […]
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Five ways to improve gut health

Five Ways To Improve Gut Health

Your gut is home to trillions of bacterial cells which, when working in balance, are responsible for the correct functioning of your digestive system.An unhealthy gut can occur when the bad bacteria outnumber the good. If you regularly experience gas, bloating, constipation or irregular bowel movements, it may be a sign that your digestive system is in need of some maintenance. Here are five suggestions to help you get things running smoothly again.ProbioticsNaturally occurring good bacteria allow for the normal functioning of your gastrointestinal system – which isn’t possible when there is too much bad bacteria present. A good way to fix this imbalance is to improve your intake of probiotics. You can re-populate the good bacteria in your gut naturally by consuming fermented foods such as kim chi, sauerkraut, miso and natural yoghurt, or by taking a probiotic supplement.Healthy dietProcessed foods and foods containing sugars, along with foods such as white bread, cereal and pastries, are some of the main catalysts for bad bacteria in the gut. The best way to combat bad bacteria is to eat a healthy diet comprised of low GI fresh foods.Increase your fibre intakeFibre is important for your digestive system to be able to excrete waste from the body. The chance of bad bacteria developing in your gut increases when your body can’t excrete waste easily. Improve your fibre intake by including more fibre rich foods – such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, or even a fibre supplement – into your daily diet. Psyllium husks are also exceedingly high in fibre, making them incredibly effective when it comes to maintaining a healthy ‘waste removal’ system.Drink more waterDrinking plenty of water is necessary for a healthy digestive system. If you don’t drink enough water, it makes it more difficult for your body to excrete waste and this increases the likelihood that your gut will develop bad bacteria. An ideal water intake – be it through food or fluid – is around two to four litres per day.Lower your stress levelsHigh levels of stress can have a negative impact on the levels of good bacteria in your tummy, as well as wreak havoc on your immune system. Incorporating stress-relief techniques and activities such as meditation, yoga or breathing exercises can do wonders for managing your stress levels.Do you look after your insides? Are there any special ways in which you soothe your tummy troubles? Why not share your remedies? Author Leon Della Bosca 
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Artichokes on plate, on color wooden background

10 Superfoods To Eat In Spring

You may have heard the term ‘superfoods’, but what exactly makes them super?Essentially, they are nutrient-dense foods that help with various bodily functions and may even contain disease-fighting properties. Superfoods are often rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, clean protein and essential fatty acids. So, if you’re looking to spring-clean your plate this season, try adding these 10 superfoods to the mix.1. ArtichokesDon’t be intimidated by these spring beauties – if the prep seems too much, try the marinated or canned varieties. Artichokes are rich in magnesium, which is vital for muscle function, and high in fibre. Grilled artichoke hearts are great for antipasto platters.2. AsparagusThis versatile veggie is a great source of iron and vitamin K, which play vital roles in blood and bone health. Asparagus can be steamed, boiled or grilled, and added to just about anything, from omelettes and salads to pasta and stir-fries.3. Broad beansA staple of the spring Mediterranean menu, the underrated broad bean is packed with protein, iron and fibre, keeping you fuller for longer. They are also said to naturally lower cholesterol and increase sexual desire. Add to a salad, risotto or pasta with fresh mint, feta and other seasonal greens.4. BlueberriesFull of antioxidants called anthocyanins, blueberries can boost brain function, including comprehension and memory. They’re also a good source of potassium and vitamin C. Sprinkle into cereal, yoghurt, juices and smoothies, or simply enjoy as a bite-sized snack.5. BeetrootThis Aussie favourite is packed with folate, potassium, iron, vitamin C, magnesium and fibre. Roasted, steamed or pre-bought, beetroots make a tasty addition to salads, sandwiches, burgers, juices, and even cakes.6. FigsYummy in sweet or savoury dishes, figs are a bit of a spring delicacy, rich in iron, potassium, fibre, calcium, manganese and vitamin B.7. LemonsThe humble lemon provides more than 180 per cent of your daily vitamin C needs and is full of iron, potassium, magnesium and fibre. Lemons have various healing properties and are often added to hot water to relieve sore throats, aid digestion and balance pH levels.8. PeasGreat for the body and wallet, green peas can be added to dishes such as salads, pastas, stir-fries, risottos, omelettes and mashed potatoes. Peas are best eaten fresh, and are tasty and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.9. SpinachThis dark leafy green is at its best in spring. Full of folate, iron and antioxidants, spinach is good for the immune system and neutralising free radicals. You can sauté some leaves and serve as a side, toss through pasta, or use fresh as the base for a healthy salad.10. StrawberriesOne of the top five fruits for antioxidant power, strawberries are great for your skin, helping to combat free radicals, dryness and inflammation. If you’re not much of a sweet tooth, try using them in a savoury spring salad with dark greens, feta and mustard vinaigrette.Do you have any other favourite spring foods or recipes you’d like to share?Author: Louise Baxter                                                                            
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Reset your metabolism

Reset your metabolism

Having a ‘fast’ metabolism is the same as having a high metabolic rate. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories your body burns while performing basic functions such as breathing, keeping your heart beating and digesting.If you increase your metabolic rate then it can help you greatly in losing weight. But can it be done? According to research, only 75 per cent of your metabolic rate is based on your genetics. Yes, some people are going to be predisposed to having a slower metabolism than others. But even they can change their metabolic rate by up to 25 per cent.So what can you do? First, change your eating habits. Try eating smaller meals more frequently, about every three or four hours. This will help you to avoid dramatic spikes in your insulin levels, which can affect your weight and your metabolism. Try to replace some of the fats and carbohydrates in your diet with protein. Digesting protein takes more energy than either fat or carbohydrates, so you burn more calories simply by eating it. Try low-fat dairy, fish, nuts and eggs for snacks and at mealtimes.One of the most important steps you can take to boost your metabolism is to change your routine. Your body adapts to a routine amazingly quickly, and will learn to burn fewer calories over time when undertaking the same task over and over again. Changing the way you exercise and eat helps to keep your metabolism on its toes. Try changing the type of exercise you do, and do it at different times of the day. You can also vary your meals, eating a light dinner one day and a normal sized dinner the next. Change and avoiding routine is the key.Your muscle cells are really good at burning calories. The more muscle cells you have, the more calories you can burn. It’s important to lift weights several times each week, and to slowly increase the amount of weight you lift. This doesn’t mean becoming a weight lifter – if lifting half a kilo puts a strain on your muscles, then that’s as much as you need to do. Just don’t fall into a routine of lifting the same amount of weight week in and week out.Do you think having a slow metabolism is the reason you struggle to lose weight? Would you consider trying to reset your metabolism? Having a ‘fast’ metabolism is the same as having a high metabolic rate. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories your body burns while performing basic functions such as breathing, keeping your heart beating and digesting.If you increase your metabolic rate then it can help you greatly in losing weight. But can it be done? According to research, only 75 per cent of your metabolic rate is based on your genetics. Yes, some people are going to be predisposed to having a slower metabolism than others. But even they can change their metabolic rate by up to 25 per cent.So what can you do? First, […]
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Womans bare feet on wet sand with running shoes

Seven simple tips to keep feet happy and healthy

  There’s a lot of advice out there for keeping your body healthy, from your eyes and teeth, to your heart and brain.1. Examine feet regularlyTacked on the ends of our legs, feet can be easy to ignore, but they deserve as much attention as your other body parts. About once per week, briefly examine your feet, checking for nail discolouration and skin abnormalities, especially between your toes and on your soles.2. Cut toenails carefullyPainful ingrown toenails can occur when you trim too close to the skin or when you deeply round-off the corners of the nails. Instead, always cut straight across, ideally after a shower or bath, when the nails will be softer and easier to cut.3. Keep feet clean and dryGood hygiene is vital for healthy feet. When you shower, be sure to scrub feet with warm soapy water. Afterwards, it’s important to dry your feet (and between your toes) thoroughly, as fungal organisms thrive on moisture and can lead to infections.4. Don’t gloss over ‘ugly’ toenailsHiding unsightly toenails with polish is unadvisable, as it can exacerbate any conditions you may have. Discoloured, thick, cracked or crumbling nails can be a sign of nail fungus. It’s best to consult your doctor if you’re concerned about your toenails.5. Protect feet in publicAlways wear shoes when you’re in a public area to help prevent accidental injuries. Public gyms, locker rooms and swimming pools are breeding grounds for fungi, so be sure to wear thongs or shower shoes at all times.6. Wear responsible footwear To help keep feet free of moisture, wear shoes made of breathable materials, such as leather or mesh. To protect bones and ligaments, wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Podiatrists recommend wearing shoes with a broad, rounded toe and a wide, stable heel. High-heels have been known to cause long-term foot problems, so wear them sparingly or avoid altogether.7. Choose good socksWhen it comes to socks, synthetic fibres (rather than cotton or wool) help to absorb moisture to help keep feet dry and healthy.  Author: A Theodorakis                                                                         
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