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Taking charge of your health and wellbeing with Holly





If you're feeling overwhelmed, struggling with time, or needing motivation to kick start your health journey, say no more. Below I share my top tips on how to make small changes in your life that are not only cost effective but support your mental and physical health for the better.


1. Ditch the processed foods


Processed foods tend to be higher in refined sugar and grains, trans fats, chemical additives and artificial colours and flavours. They aid in increasing inflammation, altering our gut microbiome and disrupting blood sugar levels. Processed and packaged foods also contain oils such as canola, sunflower, soy and corn oil which contain high amounts of omega 6. High amounts of poor quality omega 6 oils are known to cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the body which increases the chances of autoimmune conditions, disrupting our hormones and thyroid and increases the chances of insulin resistance (Henning et al., 2001). This can be due to being a precursor to inflammatory processes within cell membranes including production of proinflammatory cytokines (Henning et al., 2001).


2. Nourish your body with wholefoods


There is no doubt that fresh food is best. Fruit, vegetables and legumes contain dietary fibre which feeds our beneficial microbiome, supports blood sugar regulation, regulates hormones and increases satiety (keeping us fuller for longer). They also provide an array of vitamins and minerals that are needed cellular functions in the body. Fruits and vegetables also contain phytochemicals which support inflammation, support our cells from damage, balance hormones, and support liver detoxification.


3. Hydrating


Water is an underrated nutrient that is essential for the human body to function. It is required for digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients around the body as well as regulating body temperature and assisting in elimination of waste. Water also plays a role in cognitive function as well as skin elasticity.


How much water do I need to have? The amount of water depends on various factors, such as physical performance and exercise intensity, weight, and metabolic needs. On average aiming for 2-2.5L is a great start.

4. Exercise


Exercise is a powerful tool to support your mental and physical health no matter what form it is.. Health benefits that regular exercise supports include:

  • Supports mood and cognition: Aerobic exercise increases blood circulation to the brain and influences the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal) axis on the physiologic reactivity to stress, particularly with resistance exercise aswell as anxiety (Hu et al., 2020).

  • Supports stress response: Increases the production of endorphins “feel good chemicals” and increases brain sensitivity for the hormone serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that modulates our mood, supports precursors for sleep and plays a role in digestion.

  • Reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis.

  • Supports regulation of weight.


5. Managing stress


Stress is a natural response that can occur from time to time, however when it becomes prolonged that is when it can have implications on our mental and physical health. Long term and chronic stress can disrupt the balance of our body’s health systems including digestive, endocrine and nervous system as well as cardiovascular, respiratory and reproductive systems.


Ways in which we can support ourselves in stressful times and our ability to adapt to stress include;


Nutrition: Ensuring we have a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats as they contain essential vitamins and minerals for precursors for neurotransmitter production and adrenal gland function.


B Vitamins

Support adrenal glands, cortisol response and energy production.

Food sources: Legumes, eggs, dark leafy greens, grass fed meat, oily fish, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin C

Supports adrenal glands and reduces stress hormones.

Food sources: Broccoli, capsicum, brussel sprouts, tomato, kiwifruit, oranges, lemon and limes and berries.


Magnesium

Supports adrenal gland function and modulates cortisol (stress hormone) release.

Food sources: Seeds (pumpkin, flax, chia and sunflower), Nuts (Brazil, walnuts, cashews and peanuts), spinach, quinoa, dark chocolate.

Further interventions we can add into our lifestyles include;


Yoga and meditation: Enhances the parasympathetic nervous system which enables the body to rest and digest.

Exercise: In whatever form you enjoy !

Journaling: Allows for clarifying thoughts and feelings.

Being outdoors in nature: Increases negative ions (which produce chemical reactions in the body that stimulate serotonin production).

Anything that brings you joy. Take time to enjoy these things and don’t feel guilty about taking time out to do them.


6. Sleep


Fatigue and lack of focus is not the only thing we can suffer from lack of sleep. Sleep deficiency can lead to decreased immunity, increased blood glucose and hormone dysregulation. Aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended for the body to be able to rest, repair and regenerate. If you find that your mind is ticking before bed or struggle to fall asleep below are some sleep hygiene tips for a more restful sleep.

Set up a bed time routine. Try and aim to fall asleep and wake up around the same time everyday to assist with your circadian rhythm.

Avoid stimulants and caffeine (coffee, energy drinks and preworkouts) minimum 6 hours before bed.

Avoiding blue light (screen time) minimum 1 hour before bed. Blue light disrupts circadian rhythms and blocks melatonin which promotes restful sleep because it signals that it is daytime to our hormones.

Meditation, stretching and breathing techniques can also be helpful. These enhance the parasympathetic nervous system and promote relaxation.





Holly is still taking new clients before the new year, so book in with her here for more personalised tips that you can sustain for optimal, long-term health.


Kaptured Nutrition





Reference list



Hennig, B., Toborek, M., & McClain, C. J. (2001). High-energy diets, fatty acids and endothelial cell function: implications for atherosclerosis. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 20(2 Suppl), 97–105. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2001.10719021


Hu, S., Tucker, L., Wu, C., & Yang, L. (2020). Beneficial Effects of Exercise on Depression and Anxiety During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Narrative Review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 587557. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.587557


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