0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Total
    Check Out Continue Shopping

    News — #healthy

    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

    Probiotics and the Link with Brain Health

     

    The beneficial live microorganisms that are present in some fermented foods are called “probiotics” (derived from the Greek word meaning “for life”, and for good reason).

    Probiotics have long been studied for the beneficial health effects they produce when consumed. For example, probiotics have been linked to the prevention of colon cancer, cholesterol and blood pressure management, immune function improvements, the prevention of infections, reducing inflammation, and supporting gut health while under stress.

    In recent years, a growing body of evidence has also been investigating whether probiotics have the potential to promote a different aspect of health – namely brain health.

    The interest in the field of probiotics and mental health was first sparked when a ground-breaking study was conducted in Japan in 2004. When two groups of mice (one group being germ-free, without bacteria in their guts) were placed under stress, the researchers were able to reverse the exaggerated stress response of the germ-free mice by introducing beneficial bacteria into their guts. The experiment highlighted the connection between microbes in the gut and stress responses in the brain, and suggested that altering the gut microbiome (e.g. with probiotics), could influence brain function.

    Since then, many studies have focussed on the positive connection between probiotics and brain health, particularly on mood, behaviour and depressive symptoms. 

    A recent 2019 large-population based study found an association between probiotic food consumption and lower rates of depression among men. These findings were in line with previous conclusions by Benton et al. who found that probiotics improved mood in healthy individuals who reported having poor mood at the beginning of the experiment.

    When our gut is healthy and balanced, our “good” bacteria can do what they’re supposed to do, like produce critical neurotransmitters that effect the biochemistry of our brain, and thus effect mood, behaviour and depression.

    These findings reiterate the significant role that diet and nutrition have on regulating and promoting mental health.

    Boost your good bacteria for a healthy brain with some of our probiotic-rich dishes:

    • Our Herbed Pine nut & Goji Quinoa Salad, with Beetroot Hummus, Broad beans and Sauerkraut (containing sauerkraut for immune-boosting probiotic benefits)
    • Our Miso Salmon with Asian Vegetables and Brown Rice (containing miso paste, another non-dairy probiotic that we love)

     

    References:
    Benton, C. Williams, A. Brown. Impact of consuming a milk drink containing a probiotic on mood and cognition. Eur J Clin Nutr, 61 (2007), p. 355
    Kim, Chong-Su, and Dong-Mi Shin. “Probiotic Food Consumption Is Associated with Lower Severity and Prevalence of Depression: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study.” Nutrition, vol. 63-64, 2019, pp. 169–174., doi:10.1016/j.nut.2019.02.007.
    Sudo N, Chida Y, Aiba Y, et al. Postnatal microbial colonization programs the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system for stress response in mice. J Physiology. 2004;558(Pt 1):263-275.

    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.

    5 ‘Healthy Foods’ That Are Actually Packed with Added Sugar

    There are certain foods that we all know are loaded with added sugars – ice cream, lollies, baked sweet treats and soft drinks. We’re often conscious of the amount of sugar we’re taking in when we eat these things, even managing our portions by selecting smaller desserts when we can. But the truth is that sugar is hiding everywhere - from yoghurts to pasta sauces, even salads and trail mixes!

    In fact, there has been research conducted in supermarkets to show that the majority of food items found in a grocery store contain added sugars (over 80% of foods in some American supermarkets, and we're pretty sure when we looked at the list that it's the same in Aus!).

    Sugar is lurking everywhere and not just in the obvious places like ice cream and cookies. Here is an inside scoop on some popular ‘healthy’ foods that are actually loaded with sugar and additives:

    1. Flavoured and non-fat yoghurts
    In general, yoghurts are quite healthy as they contain lots of beneficial probiotics and protein. However, the fruit flavoured and non-fat yoghurts are often laden with added sugars – just take a look at the nutrition panel next time you are at the grocery store. One serving of fruit yoghurt can even contain more sugar than a shortbread cookie. If you like fruit yoghurts, try unsweetened Greek yoghurt instead and mix in your own chopped up fruits. It's not the fruit that is the issue, it's the sweeteners or concentration that is.

    2. Pasta marinara sauces
    Most mainstream manufacturers add sugar to spaghetti sauces to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Of course it does depend on the brand, but it is quite hard these days to find a tomato-based pasta sauce that is free of added sugars. The best option is to just make your own using fresh red-ripe tomatoes… or even use canned chopped tomato but add fresh herbs, olive oil, and some sauteed garlic, chopped celery, onion and grated carrot to create a delicious sauce that will be even tastier than the store bought sauces! (Chef tip, saute the onion first, let them caramelise but not burn, add the garlic at the end, burnt garlic is very bitter, stir in the carrots and let the sauce simmer for a long time, add extra olive oil at the end... and simmer away on a low heat.  Stir your herbs in mid way so they don't become bitter and maintain their flavour kick.)

    3. Granola
    Try sifting through the various granola options at your local supermarket and you will see how little options there are that are free of added sugars. Many varieties contain sugar in the form of brown or white sugar, or corn syrup or glucose syrup, while others are coated in "chocolate" or "yoghurt". If you’re looking for a healthier breakfast cereal option, why not try our breakfast packs? We make our own cereal blend from scratch, using premium ingredients (and no added refined sugars in sight!). We keep our dried fruit content low, occasionally we might add xylitol, honey or maple syrup, but it's rare and it's minimal.  Check out our breakfast packs here.  Breakfast is one of the most important nourishing opportunities of the day.  Make it count. 

    4. Peanut butter
    Yes, peanut butter can be healthy in small amounts and when it’s just peanuts (peanuts that have literally been blended into a smooth and creamy peanut butter). Many peanut butters available in the shops have added sugar, salt and oil to create a ‘better’ and creamier taste. Fortunately, there are healthier options available and they are not too hard to find – look for peanut butter that is 100% peanuts (that is, peanuts are the only listed ingredient).  Better still go for a nut blend (one of our favourites is almond, cashew and flaxseed).

    5. Breads (even gluten free breads)
    A lot of breads are actually sweetened with refined white sugar or corn syrup, even the whole wheat and gluten free varieties. It’s also good to remember that just because a bread is organic, it doesn’t mean that it’s sugar free, and just because it is gluten free, doesn't make it healthy. Make sure to check your bread labels and look out for sugar as a main ingredient.

    We make our meals from scratch and we use ingredients as naturally as we can so that we can maximise the taste without compromising the health.  Many manufacturers rely on a formula of salt:sugar:fat to create a taste that keeps you eating and eating.  Great for your tongue, terrible for the rest of you.  Our meals are designed to achieve: sensory specific satiety and satiety.  That means, they are designed so that you are nourished, you enjoy it, but it is complex and natural enough that it doesn't trick your tastebuds into overeating. 

    Save your sugar eating for your treats, it has no real place in your meals.

    You can trust us with your meals, we've got you, healthy foods that really are healthy (and they taste great... without needing to add sugar, or heaps of other additives for that matter).

     

     

    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