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    News — #Covid19

    New Study: Can Mushrooms Create Vitamin D from Sunlight?

     

    You may know of vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin”, and for good reason. When we are exposed to the suns (UV) ultraviolet rays, our skin creates its own vitamin D, which then travels to the liver and then to your kidneys to be turned into active vitamin D.

    While Vitamin D is also naturally found in some foods such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, herring, cod liver oil), eggs yolks, mushrooms and some fortified foods (cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereals), the sun remains to be the best and most efficient source of this vitamin.

    Even though it can be quite easy to get your daily Vitamin D intake from sunlight (especially here in sunny Queensland, Australia), figures from Osteoporosis Australia state that over 30% of Australian adults have a mild, moderate or severe Vitamin D deficiency, which is about 1 in 4!

    There are a number of factors that can contribute to a deficiency in Vitamin D, including those who are housebound, the elderly, darker skinned people, medical conditions that can affect your ability to absorb/process vitamin D, and the issue of being able to be sun smart while also getting enough daily sunshine on exposed skin. Many of us have also been in isolation for the past few months, which has made it even more difficult to get our daily sunshine vitamin.

    A brand new systematic review by Blumfield et al., has found that eating just five UV exposed mushrooms can give you your daily required dose of vitamin D.

    According to the review, in order to boost the vitamin D levels in your mushrooms, you need to have them sitting in direct sunlight for 15-60 minutes. After exposing them to sunlight, you can store them in the refrigerator where they will remain vitamin D boosted for up to 8 days. Blumfield et al., states that “UVB-exposed mushrooms increase and maintain serum 25(OH)D levels to a similar degree as vitamin D supplements.” This was tested on individuals with and without a vitamin D deficiency.

    The study also highlights the other health benefits of mushrooms, including the ability to improve markers of metabolic syndrome, improve gastrointestinal health, and reduce risk of ovarian and prostate cancers.

    Now with the potential to provide us with our daily dose of vitamin D, there’s just so many reasons to love mushrooms! They are so nutritionally unique and can make such a powerful addition to your diet. Grill them, roast them, stuff them, add them to pizzas or risottos, soups or pastas. Get creative with them on #MeatlessMondays by using grilled portabella mushrooms on burgers, or making grilled shiitake skewers. There are so many ways to spice up your cooking with mushrooms! How do you like to eat mushrooms? 

    Reference: Blumfield et al. (2020). Examining the health effects and bioactive components in Agarius bisporus mushrooms: a scoping review. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 84.

    Creative Ways to Include Movement in Your Day Without Having to Schedule Special Workout Time

     

    Too busy to hit the gym or schedule a structured workout into your day? Don’t sweat, because there’s lots of easy things you can do during the day to boost your movement and activity levels, without even realising it!

    GO FOR A WALK WITH A FRIEND. Instead of meeting at a coffee shop to sit down and catch up, get your coffees to go and hit the local neighbourhood for a walk. If you have a beach nearby, taking a walk with a friend along the beach boardwalk is a nice thing to do as well.

    WEEKEND FAMILY BIKE RIDE. Dust off the bikes, lace up your shoes and head outside for a weekend bike ride with the family! You’ll be getting active, getting some sunshine and keeping your family connected all at the same time.

    RUN UP THE STAIRS INSTEAD OF WALK. Running up a flight of stairs is an awesome way to burn calories (ever seen those stair climbing machines at the gym?).

    JUMP ON THE TRAMPOLINE WITH YOUR KIDS. You may not believe it, but trampoline jumping actually works out your entire body. A 2019 study on the effectiveness of a mini-trampoline jumping program for people with osteopenia (low bone density) found that trampoline jumping helps to improve balance, strength and functional mobility. Jumping is for everyone!  

    HAVE A DANCE PARTY. Make exercising fun again! Make sure to include moves that get you down low, jumping up high and moving your arms.

    PARK IN THE FURTHEST PARKING LOT AWAY FROM THE SHOPS. Okay, so this might not be the most fun idea to do all the time, but have you ever tried to steer a full shopping trolley full of groceries around the parking lot, while attempting not to smash your trolley into someone or get yourself run over? It requires a lot of muscle strength and body movements!

    GIVE YOUR KIDS PIGGY BACK RIDES. If your kids are young, they most likely love to get piggy back rides. If you start thinking about it as a way to get some more exercise into your day, you might enjoy it and want to do it a lot more!

    LET YOUR DOG MOTIVATE YOU. Grab the leash and your dog and head outside. Your body and your pooch will thank you later! 

    BE CREATIVE ABOUT ADDING MOVEMENT INTO YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES. For example, you could do hand and wrist stretches while waiting at stop lights, squats while you watch your kiddies bath, or even star jumps while you wait for the microwave to ding.

    Getting movement into your day doesn’t have to involve intense HIIT sessions or specific “scheduled” workout time. Remember that every step counts!

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness and Wholesomeness-on-Roma

    3 Surprising Signs of a Weakened Immune System

     

    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that there are certain things we can do to prevent contracting the virus, for example social distancing and washing our hands frequently. But keeping our immune system strong and robust is also a crucial element to ensuring that we stay healthy during this time. A healthy immune system not only reduces our risk of contracting the virus, but it also protects us if we ever do contract it or helps us recover quicker. The protective healing functions of a strong immune system gives us a better chance of having milder symptoms and helps us to recover faster.

    Check out some signs of a weakened immune system below…there may even be some you didn’t know!

    1. You have ongoing tummy troubles 

    Tummy troubles can include constipation, food sensitivities, gas or bloating. If you experience these issues and they are ongoing, there is a high chance that something is not right in your gut. Research has made it evident that the health of your gut microbiota has a profound effect on your immune system, due to the fact that most of your immune system actually lives in your digestive tract. Your gut is one of your first lines of defence, and your immune system is right next to your gut. The beneficial bacteria and microorganisms (flora) help to defend your gut from infection, viruses, inflammation and autoimmune disorders. If your digestive issues are ongoing, it might be time to pay some extra love to your gut and try to get to the root cause of what’s going on.

     2. Your wounds take a long time to heal

    If your wounds just won’t heal up, it could be a sign your immune system is sluggish and weak. Your body works to protect and repair a wound by sending nutrient rich blood to the site to help create new skin. Of course, this depends on the availability of healthy immune cells. If they’re lacking, the skin finds it hard to regenerate and the wounds linger for longer.  Excessive stress and low vitamin C levels can also delay wound healing, and also lower your overall immunity.

     3. You catch every single cold!

    A couple of colds a year for an adult (especially during winter) is pretty normal. But if you can never catch a break from a cold and you seem to always have a stash of tissues in your pocket (for your sniffily nose!) its probably a sign your immune system may need a little bit more love and attention. If your immune system is not strong enough to fight off multiple mild colds per year, (and let’s face it there are bugs everywhere), then this sends a sign that it may not be equipped to deal with other more serious invading bacteria and viruses that may come your way. 

    One of the first ways you can start giving some love to your immune system is by nourishing it with the nutrients it needs, another way is by avoiding harsh additives, junk food or nasty ingredients. That’s two of the many reasons why we think it’s so important to create our healthy no nonsense food to help people eat healthier (without the hassle and stress of planning, prepping and cooking). Check out our meal plans here.

    Ocean Greens: The Superfoods Of The Sea

    When you think of greens that live in the ocean, you might be drawn back to early memories as a child emerging from the waves with thick, smelly and slimy green plants stuck to your ankles. You might think “gross!”, but actually, sea veggies might be just what your cooking needs…for healthy delicious boosts of flavour and incredible health benefits.

    Sea veggies include many marine algae varieties found in the water and along the coast. When you think of seaweed, you might think straight to the nori used in sushi, but actually there are over 10,000 types of seaweed found on earth. Being the oldest plant family on earth, they have been used for thousands of years in Asian cooking, however in the last few years cooking with sea vegetables has become more popular, especially among chef’s. Chefs have been having fun playing around with this ingredient, adding it to pasta’s, into mashed potatoes, even on top of cocktails! 

    In addition to being abundant and affordable, they also do incredible things for our health. They contain vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and phytonutrients that our body needs for ultimate health, all of which function to provide powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, the polysaccharides present in the cell walls of sea vegetables have also been studied for their ability to ward off and prevent different viruses from attacking our cells. 

    We know that seaweed is delicious in the form of nori but there are so many other kinds as well. Conquer your fear of sea veggies with these healthy ways to bring sea vegetables into your diet!

    1. MISO SOUP WITH WAKAME

    Wakame is a leafy ocean green that means ‘young girl’ in Japanese – this is because young girls used to venture out onto the slippery rocks to pick it. Wakame seaweed is a deep green colour and very soft. You can make a delicious and uniquely flavoured miso soup using miso paste, dried wakame seaweed (found at most Asian grocery stores), soup stock, soft tofu and chopped green onions.

     2. ARAME SALAD

    Arame is a type of kelp and is quite mild in flavour so a great place to start if you are new to sea veggies. You can use dry arame seaweed in a salad with brown rice, red capsicum, green onions and a garlic sesame sauce for a unique, amazing umami flavour.

     3. WAKAME PESTO SAUCE

    The emerald green colour and tender texture of wakame seaweed make it a great substitute for basil in a yummy pesto sauce.

     4. KOMBU STOCK

    Kombu (a type of kelp) adds a secret umami depth of flavour to any soup stock. Simply boil water and insert the kombu and within a few minutes you have a wonderful umami flavour. A great way for vegetarians to have access to that yummy savoury umami flavour as well.

    Maybe you might venture out a little bit with your cooking now that you know a little more about sea veggies. They are a great idea for nutritional health in general, but also especially during the current pandemic they might be a good addition to your diet!

    The Economic Costs of Poor Nutrition

     

     

     

    We are currently in the middle of the defining global health crisis of our time, the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus has spread rapidly, causing fast infections and deaths across the world. We know this because the statistics and facts are everywhere, and we are able to see the effects of the virus unfold in real time. Despite countries taking different approaches, we have managed to come together to incorporate a “think global, act local” approach to help protect our most vulnerable, flatten the curve and ease the fierceness of the outbreak. 

    As we experience the coronavirus pandemic and its effects, the rise of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity is on the rise in Australia and can be labelled a silent pandemic of their own making. The rise of Chronic disease is noticed as a challenging public health issue with effects on societies and economies. As a result, it highlights the importance of preventive measures alongside effective management and care. It is true that we are in the midst of a bit of a food revolution – there are shifting consumer preferences, new and exciting food innovations, and emerging nutrition science. But at the same time, we are also a little bit stuck. According to the National Health Survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, two thirds of Australians aged over 18 years old were overweight or obese in 2017-18.

    It makes sense that as humans we are hard wired to respond better to acute risk (such as COVID-19, Ebola etc.), rather than chronic risk. Acute risk is more immediate, fast and threatening to us compared to chronic risk (e.g. cancer, obesity and diabetes risk) which is sometimes a little fuzzy and slow-building, and therefore harder for us to connect with. One challenge that makes the connection between our current health and our future health ill-defined is the constant science and nutrition information that is deposited into the media every day. There is definitely an aura of health being created but unfortunately this does not always match the science.

    So what do we need to know?

    The foods that we need to eat should mostly come from the earth, and be in their whole food form. We can call these foods life-giving foods because that’s what they do! They give us life, they can heal and repair us. They are foods that contain bioactive compounds, fibre and healthy fats for good health. We are talking about fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts and whole grains.  

    These nourishing and life-giving foods given by the earth should be celebrated and given value for their role in the prevention of chronic diseases. As a country, we spend more money each year on health care yet we don’t seem to be that much healthier. Rates of chronic diseases have only increased over time, and they are headed for even more increases. In addition, the consequences of unhealthy eating have not been fully recognised – costs to businesses, companies, to the healthcare system, and to our health and well-being.

    Diabetes Australia states that the total annual cost for Australians living with type 2 diabetes is $6 billion (and that’s just for diabetes, let alone the many other costly chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and obesity). This makes the chronic disease pandemic a fundamental economic problem and we need to realise the importance and power of food and nutrition as medicine and as tools to eliminate poor health now and into the future.

    Remember, healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless and joyless, it can easily be yummy, satisfying, joyous, tasty and sustainable all at once! Just taste ours J

    The foods you eat can heal you faster and more profoundly than the most expensive prescription drugs, and more dramatically than the most extreme surgical interventions, with only positive side effects.” – T. Colin Campbell, PhD