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    News — happiness

    Supercharge Your Brain Function with these 4 Powerful Plant Foods

     

    We know that our diets play a significant role in our overall health and wellbeing, but did you know that there is also a powerful link that exists between the food we eat and our brain health? 

    Recent research in the last decade has shed light on the incredible benefits of certain foods that are rich in plant phytochemicals on aspects of brain function, for example sharpness, mood, memory and critical thinking.

    Because oxidative stress and low-grade inflammation are major risk factors for cognitive decline, nutrient-dense, brain-supporting plant compounds play an important role in helping to supercharge our brain function and rewire it into high performance mode. Eating a diet rich in nourishing brain foods also helps to eliminate brain fog, protect against brain diseases and balance out neurotransmitters (which influences other parts of our health as well).

    So if you’re looking for a mood-boost, better focus, or a little extra sharpness, try reaching for these snacks instead…

    Blueberries

    Blueberries and other berries like strawberries, raspberries and goji berries are jam-packed with protective antioxidants and flavonoids. A 2010 randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled trial found that when older adults consumed 1 cup of blueberries per day they experienced significant improvements in certain aspects of cognition, for example long-term memory. A few years later, a study found cognitive performance improvements across all measures in children, even just a few hours after consuming a blueberry meal.

    Walnuts

    Walnuts are bursting with ALA, the omega 3 fatty acid and super-antioxidant that works to scavenge free-radicals and repair and protect cell membranes in the brain. A study among college students in 2011 revealed that regular consumption of walnuts had a significant improvement on inference capacity, or critical thinking.

    Grapes

    Grapes are an amazing source of vitamins K and C (important nutrients for tissue health), resveratrol (a powerful anti-inflammatory plant compound) and antioxidants. In fact, the majority of antioxidants in grapes are actually found in the skin and seeds of the grape. Research has found that the consumption of grapes can influence performance across a wide range of tasks, in particular quicker response times.

    Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts)

    A small bowl of green veggies may not be the most sought-after snack, but benefits to brain performance could definitely be worth it…According to one recent study, consumers of cruciferous vegetables were found to perform better in several cognitive tests than non-consumers. Cruciferous veggies as well as other dark green leafy vegetables are natural superstars in the nutrition department because they’re literally bursting with healthy nutrients and vitamins. In fact, ½ a cup of kale has 50 times more lutein than an egg (lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid that has been found to have an incredibly powerful role in neutralizing free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and lowering inflammation). Whenever we get the chance, we pack our meals with some brain-boosting green veggies, making them the perfect work lunch to support your brain for a productive and supercharged work afternoon J

    References:

    Lamport DJ, Lawton CL, Merat N, Jamson H, Myrissa K, Hofman D, Chadwick HK, Quadt F, Wightman JD, Dye L. Concord grape juice, cognitive function, and driving performance: a 12-wk, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover trial in mothers of preteen children. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;103(3):775-83. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.114553. Epub 2016 Feb 10. PMID: 26864371.
    Miller MG, Hamilton DA, Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B. Dietary blueberry improves cognition among older adults in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. 2018 Apr;57(3):1169-1180. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1400-8. Epub 2017 Mar 10. PMID: 28283823.
    Pribis P, Bailey RN, Russell AA, Kilsby MA, Hernandez M, Craig WJ, Grajales T, Shavlik DJ, Sabatè J. Effects of walnut consumption on cognitive performance in young adults. Br J Nutr. 2012 May;107(9):1393-401. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511004302. Epub 2011 Sep 19. PMID: 21923981.
    Whyte AR, Schafer G, Williams CM. Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children. Eur J Nutr. 2016 Sep;55(6):2151-62. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-1029-4. Epub 2015 Oct 5. PMID: 26437830.

    Clever Ways to Reuse Your Wholesomeness Containers

     

    Did you know that our meal containers are recyclable and reusable? We know that recycling is great, but reusing is even better. Reusing is a great way to repurpose something that otherwise would have just been sent to the recycling bin…simply reusing an item can help reduce energy, prevent pollution, and reduce waste all at the same time.

    So, why not preserve the life of your Wholesomeness containers a little bit longer by finding some creative uses to reuse them around your house…we’ve put together a few different ideas below. We hope this list helps to inspire your own repurposing efforts at home!

    1. Start your own seeds

    Our meal containers could make great seed starting containers. Simply drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, add some soil and some seedlings (e.g. tomatoes) and watch your mini garden grow.

    2. For the artist inside

    Use your Wholesomeness container lids as paint trays to blend colours, or use the containers to keep colours separate. Simply snap on the lid to keep the paint from drying out.

    3. Kids organisation

    If you have kids, you know that simple food containers are soo handy for keeping things organised, contained and out of arms reach. Use them to store the kiddies craft supplies, board game pieces, or electrical cords and chargers. Plus, they’re stackable, lightweight and portable, making organising a breeze.

    4. Ask your local kindergarten, primary school or arts centre

    If you are still in surplus, ask your local community if they need any donations. There are high chances that they do!

    5. Fridge organisation

    Use your Wholesomeness meal containers to hold and organise bits and bobs in your fridge, for example bunches of herbs, blocks of cheese, or small individually wrapped packaged snacks that you need a place to stash them. You could use them to help you plan food rotations, by labelling day 1 to 4. Stick labels on them and stack them up for that Instagram-worthy, organised fridge look! 

    There are lots of other ways to put our containers to good reuse around the house. We hope these clever repurposing ideas have inspired you, or maybe you have some other ideas we have forgotten about! Be sure to let us know 🙂

     

     

     

    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

    5 Easy and Versatile Veggies to Grow in Your Own Home Garden

     

    Crisp, sweet carrots, snapping peas out of their shells, pulling firm, dark red beets out of the garden…growing your own veggies is not only fun and relaxing, but it’s also an amazing way to diversify and supercharge your diet with wholesome nutrition, stay active and get some vitamin D. No wonder why gardening is considered a natural stress reliever!

    Although the thought of growing your own veggies can be overwhelming, there are some veggies that are super easy to grow, as well as being productive as crops, versatile to use, healthy to eat and great tasting! Plus, you’re more likely to eat more vegetables if they are easily accessible to you, and it’s really fun to share and cook with healthy food that has been nurtured by your own efforts! 

    Here are 5 top picks for the best veggies to grow at home:

    1. LETTUCE – Lettuce is super easy to grow (and actually quite hard to get rid of!), high in nutrients, low in calories and really hydrating, due to its high water content. Lettuce is one of those foods that you don’t notice in a dish until it’s not there, like in an egg and lettuce sandwich, or shredded lettuce in tacos. Lettuce seems to just make a dish 10 times better.

    2. CARROTS – Carrots have a huge temperature growing range which means they can be grown in many climates all year round. They’re also really productive and can be producing for months after you plant them. Being quite a dense vegetable, even just a few standard size ones or small varieties are enough to feed the whole family for dinner. There’s a reason why people promote carrots for better eye sight – carrots contain the antioxidants lutein and beta carotene which are known for their eye health benefits!

    3. CABBAGE – Cabbages are such a diverse veggie, they can be preserved and pickled to have in salads or sandwiches, made into slaw, or added into stir-fries for a crunchy element. They’re also really good for you. A study conducted in Western Australia with 900 women over the age of 70 found that eating three or more portions of veggies per day (a combination of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts) lowered the participants risk of heart disease and stroke. Mini cabbages are quick to grow from seed and harvest and can go a long way in a delicious preserve such as sauerkraut.

    4. BEETS – A known “superfood”, beets are packed with vitamins and minerals, high in fibre, low in fat and low in calories. They’re also super easy to grow and you can even eat the tops of the beets – the beet leaves, which are just a regular leafy vegetable. This makes them a really versatile and productive option to grow in your home garden.

    5. ONIONS – There have been heaps of scientific studies looking into the health benefits of onions, with findings showing benefits with regulating blood sugar, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut, boosting the immune system and the list goes on! Onions are a pretty hearty crop to grow, with varieties to suit all climates. If you’re short on space, try growing some spring onions, which can grow just about anywhere.

    TOP TIP: No space for a home garden? Regrow the spring onions you buy from the supermarket by placing the white stems in a glass of water. Place the glass near a sunny window and wait for the magic to happen!

     

    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

    The Importance of Eating Antioxidants with Every Meal

     

     

    Firstly, what are antioxidants?

    Antioxidants are compounds found in certain foods that help to neutralise the free radicals (damaging molecules produced through the body’s process of oxidation) in your blood. In short, they help to protect our cells and DNA from damage that can lead to disease. That’s why it’s really important that we take in more antioxidants than we use up. In fact, the very act of eating increases oxidative stress, which is the attack on your cells from free radicals.

    Antioxidants originate from the plant kingdom, due to the thousands of antioxidant compounds found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Ideally, fresh produce should be sneaking its way into every meal that we eat. But, we know that that’s not always possible – takeaway nights, dining out, dinner at a friend’s house…sometimes it’s a little hard to eat healthy all the time.

    A few interesting studies have shed a light on antioxidants and their ability to counteract the negative oxidative effects of an “unhealthy” meal e.g. a meal that is high in fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates, and low in whole foods.

    A 2010 review found that consuming fruits which are high in phenolic phytonutrients (health-promoting compounds) with an unhealthy meal (high fat, pro-inflammatory, low in nutrients) increases the antioxidant capacity of the blood and helps to counterbalance some of the negative effects of the meal.

    In another interesting study, participants were given standard breakfast items which caused a high increase in oxidized cholesterol in their blood stream 6 hours after the meal. However, adding a cup of antioxidant-rich strawberries to the meal kept the meal from contributing to further oxidation, and allowed them to eat lunch at a baseline oxidation level.

    A similar study found that eating a bunch of grapes with a meal resulted in a rise in blood antioxidant levels, leaving the body in a positive antioxidant balance for a few hours. The same results were found with blueberries.

    These findings highlight the importance of eating antioxidants with every meal, and if you can’t avoid an unhealthy meal, adding a side of berries or grapes to your plate may be beneficial in helping to maintain oxidative balance.

    A 2004 study found that out of all fruits, berries (e.g. strawberries, blueberries) were the best source of polyphenol antioxidants.

    Berries are on the dirty dozen, so organic berries are best. Keeping frozen berries on hand is also a great idea, and actually, frozen berries often have more antioxidants and other nutrients because they’re frozen shortly after picking. Essentially, frozen produce is often even fresher than what we call “fresh produce”!

     

     

     

    References:
    Burton-Freeman B, Linares A, Hyson D, Kappagoda T. Strawberry modulates LDL oxidation and postprandial lipemia in response to high-fat meal in overweight hyperlipidemic men and women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010;29(1):46-54. doi:10.1080/07315724.2010.10719816
    Burton-Freeman B. Postprandial metabolic events and fruit-derived phenolics: a review of the science. Br J Nutr. 2010;104 Suppl 3:S1-S14. doi:10.1017/S0007114510003909
    Ursini F, Zamburlini A, Cazzolato G, Maiorino M, Bon GB, Sevanian A. Postprandial plasma lipid hydroperoxides: a possible link between diet and atherosclerosis. Free Radic Biol Med. 1998;25(2):250-252. doi:10.1016/s0891-5849(98)00044-6

     

     

    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

    10 Signs You Need to Detox!

     

    You may not realise it, but every day we are exposed to different toxins and pollutants, all products of the modernized world we now live in. From pollutants in our air, water and soil, to synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, heavily processed foods and food additives.

    Normally, the body does an amazing job at facilitating toxin elimination to help keep us healthy and thriving. Each system in our body is involved in a complex process named “detoxification”, involving highly sophisticated mechanisms for the removal of toxins and unwanted substances from the body.

    However, if the body’s natural detoxification process is compromised (for example, due to stress, or an overworked liver from a high intake of processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol, smoking or the exposure to too many environmental toxins), this causes significant consequences on our health.

    Our liver, or otherwise our “detox manager” has the busy job of filtering out toxins from the foods we eat and the things we are exposed to in our environment. When our liver gets overloaded (just like for example, if you get overworked in your job), it starts to have trouble processing the toxins efficiently and fast enough. This causes toxins to build-up in the body, which causes inflammation, and this creates a vicious cycle which is difficult to break.

    The build-up of toxins in the body is linked to autoimmune conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and numerous other illnesses and diseases.

    Here are 10 signs that you may need to detox:

    1. Persisting fatigue
    2. Unexplainable weight gain
    3. Brain fog
    4. Headaches
    5. Stubborn belly fat
    6. Skin problems (acne, rashes)
    7. Achy muscles and joints
    8. Digestive distress (bloating, gas, diarrhoea)
    9. Irregular sleep patterns
    10. Feeling anxious or depressed

    We don’t believe in detoxes that are aimed to starve you or drive you insane. That’s why we created our 4-week Wholesomeness Detox, specially put together by our nutritionist and cooked by our qualified chef’s.

    Our detox plan focuses on clean whole foods, we use seasonal and fresh ingredients with the aim of giving your body a little break to restore itself and catch up on the detoxification workload. With everything included that you need per week (including premium supplements to support and balance your gut health), our program is aimed to cleanse and reset your body, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalised.

    Check out our 4 week detox plan here!

     

    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