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Eating for a healthy headspace

There is perhaps no better time for a dietitian like myself to be having an honest conversation about the connection between nutrition and mental health. The two most cost common mental health disorders, depression and anxiety, affect more than half a billion people globally1 Anxiety affects around 4% of the total population across all demographics


There is perhaps no better time for a dietitian like myself to be having an honest conversation about the connection between nutrition and mental health.

The two most cost common mental health disorders, depression and anxiety, affect more than half a billion people globally1

Anxiety affects around 4% of the total population across all demographics starting at age 15+, but is slightly higher in those that are over 502

Depression follows a similar trend, but spikes more significantly in those aged 50+ as compared to anxiety disorders. 3

The global pandemic has undeniably taken a toll on the health and happiness of people around the world and while food only represents part of the mental health picture, it’s one we certainly cannot ignore.

There is an undeniable connection between food, nutrition and human mental health and happiness.

For many of us, there are only a few things in life that might bring us more joy and anticipation than our favourite meal.

And there is so much more to it than that.

We are at a point in scientific discovery now where the connection between certain foods and nutrients and mental health outcomes like anxiety and depression is better understood than it has ever been before.

It is these discoveries, and more, that I plan to explore in today’s article.

What Does The Research Tell Us?

There are two primary bodies of research evidence in the world of nutrition and mental health.

The first is the observational evidence which looks at the dietary differences between those who do and do not have depression and anxiety and tries to establish certain key foods and nutrients that are associated with an increased or reduced risk of these conditions.

The second is the experimental evidence, which looks at people who already have symptoms of depression and anxiety and evaluates whether or not dietary changes can help modify those symptoms.

Let’s take a look at what each research category has to each us about the connection between nutrition and mental health.

The Observational Evidence

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a strong correlation between a person’s dietary pattern and their risk of depression.

In 2017 a significant review of studies from ten countries found that certain foods were either predictive of, or protective against, depression risk.4

The food components that were protective included:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Olive Oil
  • Dietary Antioxidants*

*Nuzest Good Green Vitality is enriched with antioxidants from a variety of sources and can help increase the antioxidant quantity in your diet.

The food components that were predictive included:

  • Red meat
  • Processed meat
  • Refined grains
  • High-fat dairy products
  • Sweets
  • Animal Protein*

*Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is an 100% plant-based protein product that can help improve your plant to animal based protein intake ratio.

Researchers believe that the interaction between these foods and depression risk has a great deal to do with how they interact with blood sugar levels, the immune/inflammatory systems and the gut microbiome 5

Given the increasing interest specifically around gut health and the gut-brain connection, I want to take a moment to explore it further.

Gut Health And Mental Health

The gut-brain connection refers to the intricate chemical messaging system that takes place between the human brain and digestive tract, which we know is heavily influenced by our gut bacteria.

Naturally, this makes gut health an interesting topic in the world of mental health nutrition.

A 2019 study out of the British Medical Journal found, for example, that the use of prebiotics and probiotics may represents a useful complimentary treatment approach for both anxiety depression. 6

Although both studies admit more research will be required, the potential protective effect of probiotics  was also eluded to in a more recent 2020 systematic review published in Frontiers In Neurology.7

Nuzest’s Good Green Vitality contains 8 million probiotic cultures as well as prebiotic fibres from a number of sources including flaxseed and psyllium husk.

While both pre and probiotics are commonly consumed in supplemental form, as there are also certain widely available foods in each category that allow us to access these potential benefits from our day to day diet.

Examples of common foods rich in prebiotics:

  • Artichoke
  • Onion
  • Asparagus
  • Leek
  • Banana
  • Oatmeal
  • Apples

Examples of common foods rich in probiotics:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha

While we can’t say with certainty the inclusion of pre and probiotic containing foods or supplements will protect against or reduce the symptoms of depression, it is undoubtedly an area of great interest and putting forth some level of effort into the inclusion of these foods may represent a low risk strategy for many people to improve dietary diversity and gut health.

Further Experimental Evidence

Now that we have a better understanding of some of the food components associated with good mental health outcomes the next big question we have to ask is whether or not an individual suffering from a mental health disorder can experience symptom reduction by improving the quality of their diet.

This question was answered in resounding fashion via a now renowned 2017 mental health study known as the SMILES Trial.

The trial evaluated the impact of working with a dietitian over a 12 week period on individuals who were living with moderate to severe depression, many of whom were undergoing some form of therapy.

It found this nutrition-focused intervention to significantly improve depression symptoms in this population and has since paved the way for further similar studies.8 

Since its publication, further high quality experimental studies have emerged exploring the positive effects of dietary improvements on the improvements of people living with depression, thus confirming the massive role that nutrition intervention has to play in the world of mental health. 9, 10

And the experimental evidence does not stop there.

Omega-3s And Anxiety

A massive review published in the acclaimed JAMA journal found, for example, that omega-3 supplementation has a clinically meaningful role to play in reducing anxiety symptoms. 11

The amount of omega-3 required to achieve this affect was 2000 mg daily.

Which is approximately the same amount found in:

  • 150 grams of salmon, sardines, trout & other fatty fish
  • 1 tbsp of flaxseed, chia seed
  • 2 tbsp walnuts

Because the human body cannot synthesize omega-3 fatty acids, they are considered essential fatty acids which must be consumed from either food or a supplemental source.

They are also well known for their anti-inflammatory capabilities, which may further contribute to their protective effect as evidenced by studies showing that high fish intake is often associated with a lower risk of depression12.

Given the relatively few foods that are a rich source of omega-3s, it is important to proceed accordingly to ensure dietary adequacy, especially for those looking to optimize their mental health through dietary modification.

Other Nutrients Of Interest

I’d like to round off the focus on nutrition and mental health by exploring three more nutrients of interest, each of which have been implicated as potentially protective against depression. 13

They include:

Zinc – found in animal products such as seafood, dairy, meat as well as legumes, seeds and whole grains.

Folate – found largely in leafy greens, legumes and fruit.

Magnesium – found largely in leafy greens, nuts, seeds and legumes.

While we can’t say with certainty that eating more of these specific nutrients is protective against depression, the evidence suggests that they just may be.

Final Thoughts – Looking Beyond The Nutrients

As today’s discussion draws to a close, I believe that it’s important to acknowledge that the interaction between mental health and nutrition goes well beyond the role of specific foods or nutrients.

A 2015 study out of Thailand demonstrated that those who more regularly ate meals with others, rather than alone, tended to be far happier.14 

Obviously social interaction is one of the many external variables that can modify mental health status.

We also know, for example, that high levels of stress are often associated with poor digestive health outcomes due to the strong gut-brain connection that was discussed previously in this article.

This explains why the relaxation practice of meditation has been increasingly linked with improved mental and digestive health outcomes. 14

While stress management comes in different forms for different individuals, a daily meditation practice can be facilitated by a wide array of smartphone apps and online guides and has becomingly increasing acknowledged as valuable and accessible tool.

The body of research in the world of mental health is vast and while I’ve only just scratched the surface in today’s piece I do genuinely hope you will come away from today’s article with meaningful and actionable takeaways that will serve to better the state of mental health in our world.

Until next time,

Andy De Santis RD MPH

Andy De Santis

Healthy Ageing with Clean Lean Protein

We often hear about the importance of protein for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, but what about the importance of protein as we age? Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Rachel Hawkins, discusses how protein can help to support healthy ageing below. What is protein and why is it important? Proteins are large molecules that are


We often hear about the importance of protein for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, but what about the importance of protein as we age? Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Rachel Hawkins, discusses how protein can help to support healthy ageing below.

What is protein and why is it important?

Proteins are large molecules that are made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. Protein is present in all living cells, thus has many important functional and structural properties.1

In the human body, protein can be found in:1,2

  • muscle mass, bones, organs, hair skin and nails
  • collagen which provides strength and structure to tissues such as cartilage
  • haemoglobin which transports oxygen around the body
  • enzymes which regulate aspects of metabolism by supporting chemical reactions that allow us to digest food and generate energy to contract muscles
  • hormones which act as chemical messengers in the body
  • antibodies which play a role in immunity

There are twenty amino acids that link together in different combinations to carry out varying functions listed above. In addition, protein can also be used as an energy source.

Of the twenty amino acids found in proteins, eleven of these can be made in the body. These are referred to as non-essential amino acids. The remaining nine amino acids cannot be made in the body; therefore, you must consume these in the diet in order for the body to function properly. These are called essential amino acids (as they are essential for normal bodily function).

Is all protein equal?

The nutritional value of a protein is measured by the quantity of essential amino acids it contains. Different foods contain different amounts of essential amino acids, therefore not all protein is made equal.

Animal products such as chicken, beef, fish and dairy contain all nine essential amino acids and are considered ‘complete’, high quality food sources of protein. Plant-based products such as beans, lentils, nuts and wholegrains typically lack at least one essential amino acid, thus are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins.

There are some plant-based foods such as soy products, quinoa and European golden peas, the peas used in Nuzest Clean Lean Protein, that contain all nine essential amino acids. This makes these foods a great addition to a vegan or vegetarian diet, as this way of eating makes it more challenging to ensure an adequate mix of essential amino acids are being consumed through the diet.

How much protein do we need?

The amount of protein that we need to consume via the diet varies depending on your age, weight, gender, and health status.1 As a rough guide, it is suggested that healthy women aged 19-70 years require 0.75g protein per kilogram of body weight each day, while men in this same age bracket require 0.84g protein per kilogram of body weight each day.1

Do protein requirements change as we age?

Our protein requirements increase as we age. This is because ageing bodies process protein less efficiently, meaning that we need more of it in order to maintain muscle mass, strength, bone health and other physiological functions.3

The Australian and New Zealand Nutrient Reference Values indicate that men and women over 70 years of age should consume roughly 1g of protein per kilogram of body weight each day.1 However, experts in the field of protein and ageing suggest that a protein intake between 1.2-2g per kilogram of body weight each day is more appropriate in order to maintain structure and function.3,4 This means that a 75 year old woman who weighs 65kg should aim to consume between 78-130g protein each day.

What happens if we don’t consume enough protein as we age?

Inadequate protein intake can impact our ability to maintain independence, quality of life and good health as we age. This is because one of the major threats to living independently is the loss of muscle mass, strength and function that occurs progressively from around 50 years of age. This is known as sarcopenia.5,6 The reduction of total body protein that occurs as we age also reduces physiological proteins such as organ tissue, blood components, and immune bodies, which contributes to impaired wound healing, loss of skin elasticity, and an inability to fight infection, thus resulting in longer recovery time following illness or injury.3,5,6

Why do we struggle to consume enough protein as we age?

It is not uncommon for people eat less food with age. This can be attributed to factors such as a lack of appetite, changes to smell and taste, living alone, loss of interest in cooking, and difficultly in eating due to teeth, gum or denture problems. Eating less food means that older adults often miss out on consuming enough protein despite their needs being higher. In fact, several studies show that elderly people consume less than the daily recommended amount of protein.4,7,8

Ways to get more protein into your diet with Clean Lean Protein

Made from European golden peas, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is a complete source of plant-based protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids required to support healthy ageing.

Pack more protein into your diet with Clean Lean Protein…

  • Mix a scoop of Clean Lean Protein into your yogurt for a protein rich snack. Top with fresh fruit and unsalted nuts for extra crunch and flavour.
  • Boost the protein content of your meals by fortifying them with Clean Lean Protein. Try making this Vegan Mac N’ Cheese, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie or Lentil and Coconut Soup to see how easy it is to squeeze extra protein into your meals.
  • Stir a serve of Clean Lean Protein through a dip, such a hummus, and enjoy with vegetables sticks or wholegrain crackers for a high protein snack.
  • Add two scoops of Clean Lean Protein to a smoothie for a hit of protein. I can never go past a simple banana and cinnamon smoothie. Blend 1 frozen banana, 2tbs oats, 2 scoops Smooth Vanilla Clean Lean Protein, 1tsp cinnamon and a handful of ice cubes together and enjoy!
  • Consume a simple protein shake made with Clean Lean Protein and 300ml of your choice of milk following physical activity to help with muscle recovery.
  • Incorporate Clean Lean Protein into your baking to boost the protein content of sweets and desserts. Try this Chocolate Raspberry Cake and Almond Butter and Jam Sundae!

References

1. https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/protein

2. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/protein

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924200/

4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23867520/

5. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/protein

6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15640517/

7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14641970/

8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18469286/

Rachel Hawkins

How to balance your hormones naturally

Hormonal health is central to our overall health and well-being. From our brains to our hearts, skin, kidneys and muscles, each part of our body is in some way controlled by hormonal signals. These hormones are released by a series of glands around our body which, along with tissues and organs, make up our Endocrine


Hormonal health is central to our overall health and well-being. From our brains to our hearts, skin, kidneys and muscles, each part of our body is in some way controlled by hormonal signals. These hormones are released by a series of glands around our body which, along with tissues and organs, make up our Endocrine System.

So, what are hormones?

Broadly speaking, hormones are our body’s chemical messengers which control several physiological functions including:

  • Growth and development
  • Metabolism
  • Reproduction
  • Electrolyte balance and composition[1]

Each hormone class differs in terms of their mechanism of action; that is their ability to target and activate specific cells in the body.

The endocrine system receives input from the nervous system, which directs the activity of hormones throughout the body[2]. The amazing ability of our nervous system to communicate information between body systems in a fraction of a second is what keeps those systems healthy, functional and efficient[3]. Hormone production and secretion is tightly controlled by a process called homeostasis – our body’s way of bringing everything back into its ideal state[4].

There are many hormones produced by different endocrine glands throughout the body. Our major endocrine glands include[5]:

  • Hypothalamus (brain)
  • Anterior/Posterior Pituitary Gland (brain)
  • Adrenal Cortex (brain)
  • Testes (reproductive)
  • Ovaries (reproductive)
  • Thyroid gland (metabolic)
  • Parathyroid gland (metabolic)
  • Pancreas (metabolic)

My aim is to summarise a list of common hormonal imbalances, and support those facts with the latest scientific evidence on optimal health and nutrition support.

How do hormones become unbalanced?

Hormones fluctuate naturally over time in response to physiological changes, or changes in the external environment.

During various life stages, hormonal shifts can occur naturally; notably during women’s monthly menstruation, ovulation, pregnancy and menopause, which all cause changes in female sex hormones[6].

Our modern environment exposes us to many stressors including psychological, environmental and medical[7]. Often the foods we choose, and lifestyles we engage in (known as our modifiable risk factors), are strong contributors to hormonal health[8].

Metabolic

Insulin and glucagon are two of the more well-known hormones affected by our diet. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to increased glucose (carbohydrates) in the blood; it therefore plays a key role in modulating blood glucose levels[9].

Glucagon is also a hormone released by the pancreas, this one in response to decreased glucose in the blood; thus, playing a key counteracting role to insulin[10].

When glucose intake is high and energy surpluses are sustained long term, insulin resistance and/or Type 2 diabetes may result. This occurs when insulin is overproduced as a compensatory effect to manage blood glucose levels. Over time these insulin-producing cells become worn out[11].

Development of Type 2 diabetes is greatly increased if a number of modifiable risk factors are present[12]:

  • Physical inactivity;
  • Overweight/Obesity;
  • High blood pressure; or
  • Blood lipid imbalance – low HDL (good cholesterol), high LDL (bad cholesterol).

Symptoms of Diabetes/Insulin Resistance [13]:

  • Increased thirst and urination;
  • Lethargic
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness/tingling in hands or feet
  • Poor wound healing

* Many conditions can result in these signs and symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Stress

Stress begins in, and affects, the brain, as well as echoing physiological effects throughout the entire body[14].  Our adrenal glands (located on the tops of our kidneys) produce cortisol and epinephrine, which are also referred to as our main ‘stress hormones’.

Stress (the ‘fight or flight’ response to perceived danger) causes the release of cortisol and epinephrine[15]. Whilst stress is extremely useful in responses to short term danger, chronic or excessive secretion of cortisol may actually contribute to dysfunction (i.e. secondary effects of inflammatory/oxidative damage)[16].

Chronic stress is often accompanied by lifestyle choices or personal behaviours (i.e. surplus energy intake, alcohol intake, smoking, drugs or sleep quality[17]) and can impact further physiological processes, of which the effects are continuing to be investigated[18].

Reproductive Hormone Disorders in Women

Reproductive hormonal conditions pose a major challenge for many women, due to the increased risk of adverse reproductive, foetal or maternal outcomes[19]. These conditions result when abnormal levels of sex hormones are produced (or insufficiently produced), and cause health repercussions[20].

Some common conditions, and symptoms of these conditions in females are listed and analysed below. If you are experiencing any symptoms listed below, please consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Most commonly developed during a women’s reproductive years, PCOS affects one in ten women of child-bearing age[21]. PCOS can cause irregular or missed periods, and may lead to to infertility, and/or development of cysts in the ovaries[22].

Many women suffering PCOS have insulin resistance, which is when the body’s cells do not respond efficiently to insulin from increased glucose levels.

PCOS has been linked to other health conditions, including diabetic and cardiovascular complications later in life[24]. Symptoms are heterogenous in nature, but are generally characterised by excess hair growth, irregular periods, acne, thinning hair or weight gain[25].

The cause of PCOS is not definitive, however, like all disease processes is multifactorial in nature. Research suggests hormonal imbalance as a cause to part of the issue. Increased levels of androgen (a predominate male hormone, however women produce small amounts) in the blood can prevent ovulation and cause acne and excess hair growth[26].

Endometriosis

Estimated to affect 10% of women in their reproductive years, endometriosis is defined by the growth of tissue (endometrium) on the outside of the uterus and other parts of the body[27].

Similar to PCOS, the definitive cause of endometriosis is unknown, however research suggests oestrogen as a promotive factor – when tissue grows on the outside, oestrogen signalling is disrupted, causing dominance[28].

Symptoms and clinical presentations are highly variable, however, may include painful menstrual periods, pelvic pain, bleeding/spotting between cycles, infertility or digestive problems[29].

Acne

One of the most common skin disorders affecting 9.4% of the world’s population, with highest prevalence in adolescents, and in women (when compared with men)[30].

Acne may present as a cause of excess levels of androgen hormones (hyperandrogenism), as well as the activity of other hormones, particularly flaring up around the time of menstruation due to their ability to stimulate sebum production[31].

What we eat also impacts on skin health, with nutrients such as Vitamin A (found in carrots, capsicum) Vitamin D (found in egg yolk, mushrooms, oily fish), Omega-3s (found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, oily fish, seaweed) and Vitamin E (found in nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables) [32] having beneficial effects. Furthermore, consumption of low-GI carbohydrates (i.e. rolled oats, wholemeal bread, brown rice and fruit) has shown promising effects towards promoting healthier skin[33]. Studies are still evolving in finding best clinical practice to treating hormonal acne[34].

Infertility

Reproductive disorders which affect ovulation (PCOS, endometriosis, adenomyosis and uterine fibroids) share infertility as a symptom of a hormonal dysfunction[35]. The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies infertility as a ‘global public health issue’, estimating that over 10% of women will experience this[36]. Causes are highly varied, and can include complications in males, females, or a combination of contributing factors[37].

A diet high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, dietary fibre and healthy fats have been shown to improve fertility in women[38].

Amenorrhea

Often indicative of a health problem/hormonal imbalance rather than being defined as a ‘disease’ itself. Amenorrhea can be defined as primary and secondary. Primary amenorrhea is the failure of menstruation to start by sixteen years[39].

Potential causes may be genetic or hormonal, where problems with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland may cause imbalances[40].

Secondary amenorrhea can be defined as the absence of a period for at least six months after normal menstruation. Hypothalamic amenorrhea is where our hypothalamus fails to produce enough gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which is the hormone which signals the start of a menstrual cycle[41].

Common causes of this type of amenorrhea in women include:

  • Low body fat percentage/low body weight
  • Very low caloric intake
  • Extreme exercise without adequate caloric compensation
  • Leptin deficiency (appetite regulating hormone)
  • Certain medical conditions

If any of these issues are of concern to your current health, please consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How to Support Hormonal Health

Hormonal balance is extremely complex and very individualised. Increasing awareness on hormonal actions in the body can help bring some awareness when things just aren’t feeling right!

Fortunately, there are many ways we can support our hormonal health which involve engaging in balanced eating patterns, healthy lifestyle behaviours, and taking time for yourself:

  1. Engage in regular physical activity. Do something that you ACTUALLY look forward to! If the gym isn’t, for you, try outdoor walks, dancing, yoga, Pilates, gardening etc.

  2. Consume a balanced diet, abundant in vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein sources. Limit intakes of discretionary items such as red/processed meats, sugar sweetened beverages, sugar confectionary, saturated fat and sodium. Incorporating plant variety into your diet is an excellent way to cover a broad range of essential vitamins and minerals.

    For some, the pace of everyday life can limit our ability to fit this into our day. While we cannot ignore the irreplaceable benefits of a balanced, whole-food diet, Nuzest’s Good Green Vitality can help support those nutritional gaps in your day. With a spectrum of 20 plant foods, this easy to take powder contains 24 vitamins and minerals, probiotics, fibre and herbal blends to help support your general and hormonal health.
     
  3. Limit alcohol to no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion and aim to increase your amount of alcohol-free days.

  4. Find a qualified health professional you feel comfortable discussing your symptoms of concern to.

  5. Reduce lifestyle and mental stressors. Ensure you are taking time to evaluate what is stressing you out during the day and to seek support to reduce it. Find something each day that makes you smile!

I have covered a broad range of hormones (which has barely scratched the surface of how complex these chemicals really are!) and have hopefully provided you with some guidance on how to best support your hormonal well-being. As stated, if you think any of this information applies to you, please seek guidance from a trusted, qualified health professional.

Tahlia Claringbold

Nutrition for women’s health

In the context of women’s health, adequate nutrition plays an important role through the life stages. Throughout the lifetime of a woman, nutritional needs can vary greatly to that of men, particularly during reproductive years where hormonal changes require greater nutrient demands. The female body is biologically developed for reproductive preparedness; from early menstruation, to


In the context of women’s health, adequate nutrition plays an important role through the life stages. Throughout the lifetime of a woman, nutritional needs can vary greatly to that of men, particularly during reproductive years where hormonal changes require greater nutrient demands.

The female body is biologically developed for reproductive preparedness; from early menstruation, to pregnancy and lactation, through to menopause. Regardless, it is important that women are encouraged, supported and motivated to lead healthy lives.

In this article, I aim to systematically summarise the existing evidence, relative to a holistic perspective on women’s health to encourage long term wellness.  

Reproductive & Sexual Health

Nutrition and the female reproductive axis are closely linked. Healthy reproduction and fertility for women not only encompasses stages of physical well-being, but also includes the right to safe, appropriate and accurate information on sexual and reproductive health.

Besides nutrition, a number of factors also contribute to women’s fertility, such as stress, ageing, environmental pollutants, caffeine, alcohol and smoking status[1]

A women’s reproductive life consists of greater nutritional demands during menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. If a woman chooses to conceive, she is more likely to have a healthy child and successful pregnancy, if she is healthy at the time of conception[2],  so here’s how we can work to support that early on.

Nutrition and Menstruation.

During the pre-menstrual phase, energy needs are generally higher[3], hence why some women have cravings in the 2 weeks lead up to her cycle.

The best way to support a healthy menstrual cycle is to ensure adequate nutrition. There are 2 major factors which are vital for healthy menstruation:

Energy Intake

Particularly during adolescence and puberty, a positive energy balance is essential for healthy development, menarche (periods) and regular menstruation[4]. Encouraging an adequate, balanced, whole food diet is the ideal way to support this stage of growth.

Examples of energy-dense, nutrient-dense foods to support healthy development may include nuts and seeds, nut butters, multigrain bread and dairy foods (milk, yoghurt, cheese).

Iron

Iron-deficiency anaemia is an prevalent condition in pre-menopausal, menstruating women across the globe[5], with over 20% of women experiencing this in their reproductive lives![6]

Some common symptoms and clinical presentations of iron deficiency may include: fatigue, irritability, dizziness, headaches and poor concentration[7]. Many conditions can result in these signs and symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please consult your doctor or for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Our best sources of iron come from haem-sources, (i.e. animal sources), as our body absorbs these better. Haem iron foods sources include lean red meats, fish and chicken.

Non-haem iron, (i.e. our plant sources can be found in foods such as fortified cereals, lentils, beans, tofu, broccoli, spinach, and multigrain bread[8].

Hormonal Health

For those that may not be aware, hormones are little messenger chemicals that are produced by our endocrine glands and released into our blood.

Humans have 8 major endocrine glands, and each is responsible for the production of different hormones to play different roles in our body (i.e. thyroid, adrenal, growth, hunger etc).

Us women have 2 main sex hormones called oestrogen and progesterone, and these are produced by our ovaries. These hormones are responsible for the development and functioning of the female reproductive system.

Oestrogen is responsible for the onset of puberty, bone strength, healthy menstruation, pregnancy and cholesterol levels[9], and therefore fluctuate in response to these life stages.

Progesterone is mainly responsible for thickening the uterine lining (endometrium) each month to prepare for and nourish a fertilized egg[10].

Too much, or too little of these hormones, caused by an inadequate diet, stress, or medical conditions (PCOS, endometriosis, obesity) can lead to acute health problems such as acne and constipation[11], or the development of more serious chronic conditions such as infertility, breast cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes[12].

So, what can we do to keep our hormones in balance?

I cannot stress the importance of making balanced lifestyle choices which are appropriate for your personal requirements, not anyone else’s.

  • Choose nutritious fruits, vegetables, dietary fibre, whole grains, dairy, lean meats/fish and legumes.
  • Find ways (or seek help) to reduce stress factors in your life.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 4 standard drinks on one occasion; and aim to increase your number of alcohol-free days.
  • Aim to limit excessive amounts of caffeine (from black/green tea, coffee, energy drinks and soft drinks)

If you suffer from painful, scarring acne, constipation, amenorrhoea (irregular, or no menstrual cycle), or any notable symptoms of possible hormonal imbalance, please consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Ageing & Menopause

Around 80% of women will experience some degree of physiological, psychological (or a combination) of menopausal symptoms[13]. This stage for mid-life women is often characterised by an onset of irregular menstrual cycles, fluctuations in mood, depression, anxiety, hot flushes and poor sleep[14].

Age-related physiological (bodily) changes such as appetite, energy expenditure, body adiposity (fat storage) and sleep patterns, can further add to the changed feelings and symptoms that women may experience during mid, to late life[15].

Let’s acknowledge, firstly, for those that may currently feel this, you are not alone, and us women will experience this at some stage in our lives.

Menopausal, or post-menopausal women should be encouraged to maintain and sustain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Not only does this include the importance of what you are fuelling your body with, but with whom you socialise with, your time outdoors, maintenance of dental hygiene, physical activity, appropriate fluid intake.

Healthy Eating and Lifestyle for Older Women

  • Consume regular meals throughout the day. Keep nutrition exciting by filling your plate with bright coloured fruit and vegetables, different textures, and invite creativity with visual appeal to your plate. Get creative with your meals!
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Dieting for women over 65 years is not recommended. Please consult your doctor, or a dietitian for adequate assistance with weight maintenance.

Mental Health

Many women often neglect that much needed self-care when having to wear many hats during the day. In addition, facing the unique challenge of physical changes during pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can promote additional stress.

Depression is not only stated as the most prevalent mental health condition among women but is more common among women as compared to men[16].

Anxiety, depression and other somatic (bodily) symptoms related affect 1 in 3 women, globally[17]. There are also certain mental conditions which are unique to women, including perinatal depression, post-natal depression…… Not only is this impacting women of reproductive age, but half of all mental illnesses have been shown to manifest prior to 14 years of age[18].

Modern diets have seen a shift in rates of ill mental health, increased consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods, and diminished consumption of fibre[19]. Food thus plays a key role in our mental health. Sustained healthy eating patterns have shown a significant association to lowered risk of depression[20].

In addition, a Mediterranean style diet (i.e. a healthy diet characterised by fresh vegetables, fruit, oily fish, nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil), has shown a potential beneficial effect on people with depression and type 2 diabetes[21].

Ultimately, healthy sustainable dietary choices are the best way to support your mental health. Whilst acknowledging the irreplaceable benefits of a whole-food, nutrient dense diet, despite our best efforts, sometimes life gets busy and we need that bit of extra support for our health. Good Green Vitality, made from a spectrum of plant foods, contains 24 vitamins and minerals, probiotics, fibre and herbal blends to fill those nutritional gaps in your day. 

Physical Health & Performance

Engaging in regular physical activity can help to improve both women’s physical and mental health[22]. It is recommended adult women incorporate 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week[23].

When it comes to supporting our extra activity during the day, we want to ensure we are consuming foods that are supporting this. The types of physical activity you undertake will determine how aggressive you need to be with your approach to nutrition. However, as a general guide, there are a few key nutrients of focus.

Carbohydrates

Fuelling our activity with carbohydrates is essential for endurance. Choosing foods such as porridge, sandwich, pasta or cereal, 1-2 hours before a workout will help to sustain energy and endurance levels[24].

Fats

Fat intake slows the digestion of a meal, and thus inhibits absorption[25]. Hence, it may be recommended for some to consume low fat prior to training to allow for maximum carbohydrate absorption.

Protein

A highly discussed macro when it comes to training and performance. The average person requires between 0.8g/kg – 1.2g/kg body weight[26], meaning if you weigh 80kg, you will require anywhere between 64g and 96g of protein per day.

For active individuals, the upper end of the spectrum is where you most likely will sit. We can best support our muscle synthesis by consuming 4 ‘hits’ of protein each day, with 20-40g per ‘hit’[27].

Meat, poultry, seafood, milk, yoghurt, soybeans, hemp and eggs are all considered ‘high biological value’, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids (our protein building blocks).

Legumes, grains, cereals, nuts and seeds are considered ‘low biological value’, which means when eaten in isolation, they do not contain all 9 essential amino acids, hence need to be consumed in variety.

For those trying to lower meat consumption, the thought of increasing protein sources may seem daunting. Whilst a food-first approach is always the preferred approach, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is a plant-based protein, providing a delicious alternative to upping your protein intake.  It provides all 9 essential amino acids, with 20g protein per 25g serve.

So, for all the women, I hope I have provided some food for thought. When it comes to looking after your health, work with professionals who make you feel comfortable, choose foods that make you feel good and live to make yourself happy.

Tahlia Claringbold

Nutrition for Boys: from Birth to Early Adulthood

Throughout life our nutritional needs change to meet differing demands due to growth and development, activity, puberty and some health conditions. Birth to adulthood is a time of rapid changes, and our needs for the macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) differ according to age and stage. If your child has


Throughout life our nutritional needs change to meet differing demands due to growth and development, activity, puberty and some health conditions. Birth to adulthood is a time of rapid changes, and our needs for the macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) differ according to age and stage. If your child has a health condition which affects his nutritional needs, your paediatrician can refer you to a registered dietitian or nutritionist for advice specific to your child.

0-6 months

Before six months, babies should be getting all their nutrition from breastmilk and/or formula; animal and plant milks aren’t appropriate for babies. If your formula-fed baby has a cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA), there are soy and hydrolysed formula options available.

You may have read (or been told by your doctor) that you can begin offering solid food between four and six months of age; most dietitians agree that you should wait until at least six months unless there is a true medical need.

You should wait to see the following signs of readiness before offering your son solids, such as:

  • he is sitting unsupported
  • he shows interest in your food
  • he has lost the tongue-thrust reflex.

Be sure to familiarise yourself with safe feeding practices and the difference between gagging and choking so you are more confident that you are feeding your baby safely when you start solids.

6 months – 3 years

This is a period of rapid growth, when children’s nutrient needs are higher, per kilogram of bodyweight, than at any other time of life.1 In particular, children need more total energy (kilojoules), protein, essential fatty acids and water – especially when they have a fever or diarrhoea, or on very hot days.1 Iron needs also increase and are difficult to meet through breastmilk or formula, so it is important to ensure that you are offering an iron-rich food source with every meal and snack. Great food sources of iron include meat, mashed beans and lentils – if you’re serving the same foods you eat and the meal is low in iron, an easy and quick addition are chia or hemp seeds sprinkled on top of their food!

Good sources of protein and unsaturated fats for children include eggs (serve scrambled or hard boiled and cut into quarters or mashed on toast for younger babies), seeds like chia or flax, oily fish like salmon or homemade pesto and hummus – you could even replace some of the extra virgin olive oil with walnut or flaxseed oil to boost the level of omega-3!

If your family already eats a varied diet there’s no need to make big changes for your baby or toddler, he can eat everything you eat (except honey if he’s under the age of one) as long as it’s served in a safe way to reduce choking risk; but be conscious of his extra needs for iron, protein and fats, and build meals around this. If your family’s diet isn’t as varied as you’d like, now is a great time to make some changes! Encourage your baby to eat intuitively – that means allowing him to eat until he is full without pressuring or cajoling him to eat more. Children are excellent intuitive eaters if given the chance and will rarely over or under eat; encouraging this from a young age will set him up to have a positive relationship with food throughout his life.

3 years – puberty

This is a period of slower growth between the high growth periods of infancy/toddlerhood and puberty. Puberty starts about age 10 or 11 for boys, though this is an average and may be a little earlier or later.2

Continuing to offer a varied diet, without restricting eating or pressuring children to eat, should be all you need to do to ensure adequate nutritional intake. Remember that a varied diet doesn’t mean no treats are allowed! Moderation is key – it’s not helpful to ban foods which are often labelled “unhealthy”, like high-sugar or high-fat convenience foods (both of which can have a place in a healthy diet, it’s all about balance), as this is likely to lead to overeating when the opportunity arises.

To learn more about smart snacking and support your children intuitively eat and reach for healthier foods, read our article on Children and Snacking: the good, the bad and the interesting.

Puberty and adolescence

At puberty your child once again enters a period of extremely rapid growth – in boys, weight gain increases from an average of 3kg per year to 9kg per year (almost all of which is made up of lean tissue, i.e. muscle and bone) and height increases from about 5cm per year to 9.5cm per year on average.2 All this growth requires a lot more food! This teenage growth spurt means both sexes need to increase their intake significantly (especially if they engage in a lot of sports or athletics) though boys usually need a bigger increase than girls, simply because they tend to be taller with bigger frames; the number of kilojoules per kilogram of bodyweight is the same for boys and girls.2

During this growth spurt, protein needs are increased; however, the body becomes much more efficient at using dietary protein.2 It’s still important to offer protein regularly, in the form of meat, eggs, tofu, beans and lentils or a high quality protein shake (great for a quick snack after sports!), but you probably don’t need to worry that they aren’t getting enough – protein deficiency is extremely rare in a standard western diet.

Of the micronutrients, there is an increased need for calcium, zinc and folate.2 Dairy is a good source of calcium, but there are other sources too, like fortified dairy alternatives, green leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale (not spinach, though, which is low in calcium compared with other green veggies) and edamame beans. Zinc can be found in meat and shellfish (especially oysters) with chickpeas, nuts and seeds being great plant-based sources. Green vegetables are a good source of folate, as well as beans and lentils, eggs and beetroot.

Late adolescence and early adulthood

In late adolescence, a boy’s nutritional needs become approximately what they will be for the remainder of his early adult life (i.e. until around age 50).1 In late adolescence and early adulthood, boys and men have increased needs for several vitamins and minerals – vitamins C, K, B1, B2 and B3, choline, magnesium and zinc.1 Total energy needs may increase or decrease in the transition from school to work, depending on the type of career – for example an office-based job often includes long periods of sedentary behaviour compared with the regular physical activity frequently undertaken in high school.

Vitamin C is found in lots of fruit and vegetables, but is particularly high in citrus fruits, capsicums and kiwis. Salmon is a good source of most B vitamins, including all the ones mentioned above, as is liver; beans and lentils, eggs, dairy and seeds are vegetarian sources of B1, B2 and/or B3, though in lower amounts – in fact the B vitamins are in most plant-based foods so eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains should mean an adequate intake. Foods high in choline include chicken and fish, eggs, beans, broccoli and peas. High magnesium foods include nuts, especially almonds, green leafy vegetables and whole grains; this is, however, another of those nutrients found in most foods.

The takeaway

More important than focussing in on individual macro- and micronutrients is looking at the diet as a whole – ensuring your child gets the nutrition he needs in different life stages doesn’t need to be overwhelming! By offering a rainbow of vegetables through the week, encouraging your child to eat to fullness and not restrict foods, following healthy eating guidelines, offering morning and afternoon tea as well as regular meals and encouraging him to be active in a way he enjoys, it should be easy to ensure your child gets all the nutrients he needs to grow and develop. And while food should always be used as a primary source of nutrition, there may be times in your child’s life where you may like to consider including a good quality multi nutrient supplement, such as Kids Good Stuff, in their diets to help fill any nutritional gaps. However, I always recommend that you speak to your doctor before doing so to ensure it is appropriate for your child’s individual needs.

Amy Butler

A dietitian explains what foods are good for skin health

When it comes to achieving healthy, glowing skin, the foods we put in our body might just be as important as the products we put on our skin. The skin is the largest organ in our body acting as a barrier to protect us from a range of physical threats such as chemicals and microorganisms.


When it comes to achieving healthy, glowing skin, the foods we put in our body might just be as important as the products we put on our skin.

The skin is the largest organ in our body acting as a barrier to protect us from a range of physical threats such as chemicals and microorganisms. It also helps to regulate body temperature, eliminate bodily waste and plays an important role in producing the essential nutrient, vitamin D.

There is evidence to suggest that the foods we eat help to promote various aspects of skin health – from hydration to firmness and even elasticity. Here, I share some of the best foods for promoting skin health.

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseeds and chia seeds.

These foods are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are important for helping the skin feel soft and hydrated, thus make a great addition to the diet if you are prone to dry or flaky skin.1 Omega-3 fats also help to reduce the inflammation associated with skin conditions such as psoriasis2 and acne3, and may also help to promote healthy ageing by protecting the skin from UV-induced skin damage (in conjunction with sunscreen application of course!).1,4

Rolled oats, basmati rice, multigrain bread, buckwheat, lentils and chickpeas

These foods are what we would describe as ‘low-glycaemic’ or low-GI foods.

Glycaemic Index (GI) rates carbohydrate containing foods based on how quickly they raise blood glucose levels. When blood glucose levels rise, a hormone called insulin is released from the pancreas, helping to transport the glucose from the blood to our cells for use as energy.

Sometimes the body will stop responding to insulin the way it should. When this happens, insulin levels become raised resulting in a condition called insulin resistance. Raised insulin levels are believed to contribute to acne development by both increasing androgen hormone production and boosting sebum production.5,6

There is research to suggest that a low GI diet may help to reduce the inflammation and number of lesions associated with acne by improving the bodies sensitivity to insulin.5,6

Avocado, citrus fruits, berries, kiwi fruit, mango, green leafy vegetables, carrot, capsicum and sweet potato

These foods are all rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that protect our skin from the damage caused by free radicals. Vitamins C, E and A, along with plant compounds such as polyphenols are all antioxidants that that have been found to be beneficial for the health of our skin.7,8

Antioxidants can help to prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin, two fibres that are essential for supporting the structure of our skin. By doing so, they help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, thus reducing the signs of ageing.9 Vitamin C in particular can further help to reduce the signs of ageing due to its role in the synthesis of collagen.10

Research also suggests that antioxidants, much like omega-3 fats, can help to protect our skin from sun damage, thus preventing premature ageing.8

Have you ever wondered whether collagen supplements are worth the hype? Read our article by Nutritionist Danika Choy ‘Collagen Supplements: types, sources and benefits of supplementation’.

Red meat, poultry, shellfish, lentils, beans, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, almonds and cashews

These foods are all excellent sources of zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral that is important for the growth and function of skin cells.11 Research indicates that zinc has anti-inflammatory properties, thus may be beneficial for reducing the incidence and severity of skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.12

Yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut

These foods are great sources of probiotics. Research suggests that there is a strong link between our gut microbiome; that being the community of bacteria that live in our gut, and skin homeostasis.13 While the exact mechanisms by which the gut microbiota influences the health of our skin is not yet understood, there are numerous studies that link inflammatory skin conditions to an imbalanced gut microbiome.13 Accordingly, there is growing interest around how probiotics (which support health by increasing bacterial diversity) could be used in the prevention and treatment of common skin conditions.

At this stage, the literature suggests that probiotics may help to reduce the severity of acne by lowering inflammation and suppressing sebum production.15,16 While more research is needed for us to be able to confidently say that probiotics help to promote skin health, there is certainly no harm in consuming probiotic rich foods, making them the last addition to my list of foods for healthy, glowing skin.

Interested in learning more about the nutrients that are beneficial for skin health? Nutritionist Amy Butler shares some of the best nutrients for skin health here.

Rachel Hawkins

What is Collagen? Types, Sources and Benefits of Supplementation

What is collagen? Collagen is made of amino acids (proteins) and accounts for 30% of total protein in the human body.1 It is a fibrous, structural protein that comprises of three rope like helices, that are made up of many small fibres called macrofibrils. Macrofibrils are made up of even smaller, thinner fibres called microfibrils.


What is collagen?

Collagen is made of amino acids (proteins) and accounts for 30% of total protein in the human body.1

It is a fibrous, structural protein that comprises of three rope like helices, that are made up of many small fibres called macrofibrils. Macrofibrils are made up of even smaller, thinner fibres called microfibrils. Similar to rope, collagen has a tensile strength, that allows it to be pulled and stretched without breaking.

Why is collagen important?

Collagen is essential for joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, skin, hair and nails.2

It is one of the primary structural proteins of connective tissue and plays a crucial role in the body by cushioning, strengthening, hydrating, binding, and connecting tissues together.3 Connective tissues are able to provide physical and mechanical support through the collagen, elastic and reticular fibres that it is made up of.4

Connective tissue can be classified into five different categories:

  1. Loose connective tissue. This tissue is found between our organs and works to absorb shock from movement and helps to bind tissue together.4
  2. Dense connective tissue. This tissue contains more collagen fibres than loose connective tissue, thus making it stronger and more resistant to stretching. Dense connective tissues can be classified as being regular or irregular; the fibres in regular connective tissues run parallel to each other while the fibres in irregular connective tissues run in random directions. Ligaments and tendons are an example of dense regular connective tissue. The dermis of the skin is an example of dense irregular connective tissue.4
  3. Cartilage. This tissue contains a large amount of short and dispersed collagen fibres making it strong, ridged and elastic.4
  4. Bone. Bone is the hardest connective tissue and is made up of mineralised (hardened) collagen fibres known as calcium phosphate. Bone provides protection to internal organs and supports the body.4
  5. Blood. Blood is a fluid connective tissue. It helps to transport nutrients and oxygen around the body.4

What are the different types of collagen?

There are multiple types of collagen in the human body, each of which works in unique ways to aid the body’s processes and functions.

Type I Collagen. This accounts for 90% of the collagen in the human body. It is found in the skin, bones, blood vessel walls, connective tissue, and fibrous (tough) cartilage.5 This collagen is also found in scar tissue and aids in wound healing and blood clotting.6

Amongst the many types of collagen, type I collagen is known for its anti-ageing properties. The fibrous nature of this collagen is thought to decrease wrinkles and improve skin’s health and hydration.7

Type II Collagen. This collagen is made of more loosely packed fibres and is found in the elastic cartilage, which cushions joints. Type II collagen is known for promoting joint health and can treat joint pain, such as that present in rheumatoid arthritis, quite effectively.8,9,10

In comparison to other types, type II collagen, taken orally, has been shown to live through the digestive system, more so than the other types of collagen.11 The majority of supplements that target skin health are made from a combination of type I and type III collagen.

Type III Collagen. This collagen is integral in the structure of muscles, organs, and blood vessels.12 It is known to facilitate in the synthesis of blood platelets and is vital to the process of blood clotting.12 Type III collagen is found predominantly in the muscles, thus, is the type of collagen that would be most beneficial for building muscle mass.13

Sources of type I, II and III collagens.

What type of collagen is most important in the context of skin health?

Type I is the most important in the context of skin health because it is the most abundant collagen found naturally in the body. It is the major component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. Furthermore, it functions to provide the skin with structure and tensile strength, meaning it can be stretched without being broken.14

What nutrients are involved in the synthesis of collagen?

Type I, II and III collagens are made up of three chains, called alpha chains, that each contain approximately 1000 amino acids resides. Of these amino acids, glycine is the most prevalent, making up one-third of these chains.15 Accordingly, it is required for the synthesis of collagen. Proline, is another other amino acid that is important for collagen production too.16,17

The table below outlines the approximate amino acid composition of type I and III collagens in humans.18 This is the type of collagen that is most abundant in the skin. Results are displayed per 1000 amino acid residues.

Amino Acid Composition of Type I and III Collagen.

These amino acids act as ‘collagen builders’ that join together to form collagen in the body. There are also a number of other nutrients that play a key role in the synthesis of collagen, and whose deficiency may impair collagen production. They include:

  • Vitamin C is needed for the body to continually manufacture collagen to maintain and repair connective tissues due to daily wear and tear.19,20 If vitamin C is not present in sufficient amounts, collagen formation is disrupted which causes problems throughout the body, such as scurvy.19,20
  • Copper activates the enzymes that help to produce collagen.21
  • Zinc is an essential trace mineral required for bone formation — largely due to its role as a cofactor for collagen synthesis.22 Some research indicate zinc slows the breakdown rate of collagen23; it has even been shown to increase the rate of wound healing.24
  • Manganese is an essential trace mineral required for the activation of prolidase, an enzyme that provides the amino acid, proline25, which is a principle component of collagen.

To learn about some of the best nutrients for healthy, glowing skin. Read our article by Nutritionist Amy Butler ‘The Best Nutrients for Skin Health’.

Can collagen be vegan?

Technically, vegan collagen can be made by using genetically modified yeast and bacteria; however, this is difficult to come by. Instead, the amino acids required to produce collagen in the body, particularly glycine and proline which are most abundant in type I and III collagens, can be acquired through the diet in order to support the synthesis of collagen in the body. By doing so, you are essentially providing the body with the building blocks needed to produce collagen naturally.

Finding vegan collagen might be hard but finding vegan protein sources that include the full suite of amino acids required to build collagen doesn’t have to be. Nuzest Clean Lean Protein contains all of the essential and non-essential amino acids required to synthesise collagen in the body. One serve provides 795mg glycine and 872mg proline. For a detailed breakdown on the amino acid composition of Clean Lean Protein, check out the product page on our website.

Does collagen supplementation help improve skin health?

Considerable amounts of research have been conducted, mainly on type I collagen, to determine the impact of collagen supplementation on skin health. Studies have identified many positive outcomes of collagen supplementation for skin including:26,27,28

  • Anti-ageing
  • Reduced wrinkles
  • Improved hydration
  • Improved elasticity
  • Improved wound healing and scar tissue formation
  • Reduction in cellulite and stretch marks

A major benefit of collagen is reducing wrinkles. Studies have shown that collagen supplementation can reduce wrinkles, improve wrinkle depth and increase skin hydration and elasticity.29

One study, women who took between 2.5 and 5 grams of collagen hydrolysate (type I) for 4-8 weeks showed significant improvements in skin elasticity and moisture with a reduced wrinkle volume of 20%.30,31

In comparison, another study of 72 women ages 35 year or older, taking 2.5 grams of hydrolysed collagen (type I and II), daily for 12 weeks reduced wrinkle depth by 27% and increased skin hydration by 28%.32 A further study showed that collagen improved skin smoothness and the appearance of wrinkles.32

Interestingly, one study also showed that women between the age of 24 and 50 who took collagen were able to significantly reduce the degree of cellulite.33,34

What other dietary and lifestyle factors need to be considered in the context of skin health?

Collagen on its own is beneficial for various skin health outcomes, however other dietary and lifestyle factors need to be considered.

Adjusting the diet can change the way skin functions. Essential fatty acid deficiency or accumulation of abnormal fatty acids results in so-called skin scaling (dry skin) and poor barrier function.35 Adding omega-3 and omega-6-rich oils to the diet has been shown to help to decrease skin roughness and dryness.36

Additionally, refined carbs and sugars have been shown to have a negative impact on skin health by disrupting the regular structure of collagen fibres and making them unable to be repaired through normal processes.36

Lifestyle factors such as exposure to sun (UV) shifts the extracellular matrix reducing the components that make up the skin collagen and elastin; 37 smoking has been shown to decrease the synthesis rates of two types I and III of collagen by 18-22%;38 and

alcohol, stress, and a lack of sleep can lead to the formation of wrinkles, appearance of brown spots and thickening of the skin.39,40

To learn more about how diet and lifestyle factors can impact the health of your skin, read our article by Nutritionist Amy Butler ‘Skin Deep: The Causes of Common Skin Concerns’.

Danika Choy

The Best Nutrients for Skin Health

Many nutrients have been long associated with outcomes of improved skin health, including all of its possible aspects from beauty to integrity and even ageing. Interestingly, benefit has been observed from both dietary nutrients (from food) and those applied topically, such as in moisturisers or skin treatments. Research suggests that the deeper layers of skin


Many nutrients have been long associated with outcomes of improved skin health, including all of its possible aspects from beauty to integrity and even ageing. Interestingly, benefit has been observed from both dietary nutrients (from food) and those applied topically, such as in moisturisers or skin treatments. Research suggests that the deeper layers of skin (the dermis) need dietary nutrients while the upper layers (the epidermis) respond better to topical treatment.1

Nutritionist Amy Butler discusses some of the best nutrients for skin health below.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A and its derivatives, including retinol, are called retinoids and are commonly found in skincare. Both the deeper and upper layers of skin contain receptors for retinoids2, meaning that vitamin A is a great nutrient to use in both dietary and topical skin nutrition. Topical retinoids have been clinically shown to improve photoaged skin by increasing smoothness and decreasing fine wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.2

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is vital for collagen synthesis and is found in both the upper and deeper layers of the skin. Ageing and exposure to UV light and pollutants, like cigarette smoke, can cause a decline in vitamin C levels in the upper layers of the skin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant; thus, it can also help to protect the skin against damage from UV light.3

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is made in the skin through exposure to sunlight. Its main function is to regulate the production of skin cells, therefore contributing to the maintenance of the skin barrier and normal wound healing.4

Vitamin E

Vitamin E actually refers to two different molecules – tocopherols and tocotrienols, both of which are found in diet in foods such as nuts and seeds. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant, meaning that it too, along with Vitamin C, helps to protect the skin against damage from UV light.5

Zinc and Selenium

Minerals are many and varied, but the two most studied for skin health are zinc and selenium. Both zinc and selenium protect the skin from damage by UV rays; zinc works topically while selenium is effective both topically and in the diet.6

Polyunsaturated fats

Fats which are polyunsaturated (PUFAs), the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, have roles in keeping skin healthy. Both dietary and topical PUFAs can increase the levels of fats in the skin; topically applied PUFAs can circulate to the rest of the body and may be the more effective method of providing support to skin health.7

Flavonoids

Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant found in plant foods. Flavonoids in the diet are extensively changed through digestion, so dietary and topical flavonoids may have different effects on the skin.8 Fruits, vegetables, legumes and tea are all excellent sources of dietary flavonoids.

Peptides

Peptides are not found in the diet but are created in the body and can be applied topically. They have many functions including melanin production, suggesting a protective effect against sun damage, and collagen production indicating a potential protective or therapeutic application for wrinkling and ageing skin.9

Have you ever wondered if collagen supplements are worth the hype? We discuss whether collagen supplements work here.

Probiotics

As discussed in our article ‘Skin Deep: The Causes of Common Skin Concerns’, the gut and skin are intrinsically linked via the gut-skin axis, with many gastrointestinal disorders and dysbiosis (an imbalance in the types of bacteria found in the gut) being associated with skin problems.10 Both dietary changes and probiotic supplementation can alter gut bacteria, creating the possibility for intentional manipulation of the gut-skin axis for therapeutic purposes.10

What about water?

Keeping moisture in the skin is important for good skin health. Moisturisers and serums can be applied topically to help with this, but what about the water we drink? Surprisingly this area is little researched. Studies have found that an increase in water intake results in hydration of the deeper skin layers, but it’s not yet known whether this means that drinking more water can reduce skin dryness.12 However, considering what we know about the benefits to other areas of health of ensuring an adequate water intake, it’s certainly something to strive for regardless of its effects on the skin.

What about supplements?

Combined supplements with a variety of ingredients including collagen, vitamin C, vitamin E, biotin, zinc, grape and tomato see extracts, and marine nutrients (i.e. kelp or marine algae) have also demonstrated benefits to skin hydration, wrinkles and other measures of skin health.9, 10, 11, 12

In addition, the chemicals from deeply or brightly coloured vegetables, fruits and berries are likely to play a role in reducing cellular ageing, and therefore improve the visible signs of ageing in the skin.

Bridging the gaps in your diet with Good Green Vitality is one way to ensure you are getting the top up you need in one daily serve of many of these important skin health ingredients. Good Green Vitality also has the added benefit of nutrients that support gut health and your body’s natural detoxification pathways, that all play a critical part in your overall skin health. To learn more about the internal and external factors that cause common skin concerns, read out article by Nutritionist Amy Butler ‘Skin Deep: The Cause of Common Skin Concerns’.

Amy Butler

Skin Deep: The Causes of Common Skin Concerns

You may not think of your skin as an organ, but it is in fact, the largest organ in your body, functioning as a barrier to protect us from pathogens (microbes like viruses and bacteria), physical threats and helping to regulate body temperature. Our skin also ‘waterproofs’ the body, has receptors for heat and pain


You may not think of your skin as an organ, but it is in fact, the largest organ in your body, functioning as a barrier to protect us from pathogens (microbes like viruses and bacteria), physical threats and helping to regulate body temperature. Our skin also ‘waterproofs’ the body, has receptors for heat and pain to alert us to immediate threats, and helps us to excrete bodily wastes.

Signs your skin is not as healthy as it should be:

  • Inflamed or irritated skin
  • Excessively dry, flaky or oily skin
  • Poor wound healing
  • Premature ageing
  • Chronic conditions like eczema or dermatitis

Note: Many conditions can result in these signs and symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these, consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What causes common skin concerns?

When we think of skin health, we probably think of creams and serums, cleansers and toners, face masks and exfoliators, but the true foundations of skin health start on the inside.

The skin is one of the body’s largest organs of elimination, thus if other organs of elimination such as the liver, kidneys and bowels are compromised, a skin outbreak may ensue as the result of the body attempting to excrete wastes via an alternate route.

Other systems of the body, including the gastrointestinal system, also impact the health of our skin. The relationship between these two organs is often referred to as the gut-skin axis, with numerous studies having linked the health of the gastrointestinal system to the health of our skin. For example, it is believed that gastrointestinal disturbances, such as constipation, may play a role in skin problems due to the increased amount of toxins circulating in the body.1 Accordingly, a large part of managing skin conditions is to restore the body to a state of internal harmony.

Outside of internal systemic function, skin health also reflects many things, such as genetics, diet, stress, environmental and occupational exposure, medical conditions, medications and certain lifestyle choices. We discuss some of these below.

Stress

It has long been known that stress causes an increase in symptoms of skin problems, affecting skin immune function, barrier function and wound healing.2 Stress is not the only mental state to affect the skin; it is proposed that anxiety and depression are associated with acne via changes in gut bacteria.3 

Sleep

One of the things that happens while we sleep is repair and renewal of our cells, including skin cells.4 Sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality can negatively impact the skin, and is associated with skin ageing, self-perception of skin and facial appearance (or, how we think we look), and skin barrier function.4

Smoking

Stopping smoking is one of the most beneficial ways to improve your health almost instantly, and skin health is no different. As well as a negative impact on the look of skin, with fine lines around the eyes and mouth, greying skin and gauntness being a ‘characteristic look’ of a smoker, smoking has been indicated as a factor in skin diseases such as carcinomas and melanomas, psoriasis, eczema and acne.5

Sun Exposure

Although we need a little sunlight in order for our skin to make vitamin D, too much has a harmful effect on the look and health of our skin. It is well known that excess sun can cause skin cancers as a result of damage to the DNA in the skin cell.6 UV light also contributes to ageing of the skin, increasing wrinkling, sagging and dryness.7 A good quality sunscreen which protects for both UVA and UVB is important to wear daily for skin protection, as well as staying inside, in the shade or wearing a hat during the hottest parts of the day when the sun is strongest.

Diet

Nutrition has been long associated with skin health, including all of its possible aspects from beauty to integrity and even ageing. Nutritional deficiencies or excesses have been shown to impact and promote the onset and recurrence of various dermatological disorders.8 For example, nutritional imbalances and the ingestion of high-glycaemic-index foods are two factors commonly associated with acne.

In addition, the excessive consumption of sugar and charred meats are thought to promote the visible signs of ageing by promoting the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) – compounds that form when protein or fat combine with sugar in the blood stream. AGEs are believed to decrease the body’s resistance to structural stress and interrupt the skin’s blood supply, thus having a negative impact on the health of the skin.

Conversely, a diet that is calorically balanced and full of essential nutrients such as probiotics, antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals and vitamins, have been scientifically proven to help promote healthy skin, optimise skin physiology, maintain skin density, improve skin firmness and prevent some skin diseases.8

To learn more about the nutrients that are beneficial for skin health, read our article by Nutritionist Amy Butler ‘The Best Nutrients for Skin Health’.

Amy Butler

Healthy habits for healthy smiles: tips for keeping your kid’s teeth, mouth and gums in tip top shape

Is there anything more precious than the smiles of our children? From that first gummy smile, it’s something all parents love to see. As parents, guardians and carers, we play an important role in keeping those smiles sparkling and healthy by teaching children healthy habits around their oral health. The most recent survey into tooth


Is there anything more precious than the smiles of our children? From that first gummy smile, it’s something all parents love to see. As parents, guardians and carers, we play an important role in keeping those smiles sparkling and healthy by teaching children healthy habits around their oral health.

The most recent survey into tooth decay in Australian children, from 2005, found that almost half (49%) of five to six-year-old’s had baby teeth which were decayed, missing or had fillings; a similar number (45%) of 12-year-old’s had adult teeth which were decayed, missing or had fillings.1 While we don’t know whether these numbers have changed in the years between the survey and now, it’s clear that tooth health is an important concern for Australian parents.

Why healthy teeth, mouth and gums are important

A less-than-sparkling smile isn’t the only consequence of poor oral health. Poor oral health is also connected to heart health, pregnancy outcomes and lung health.2 While some of these may not be a worry for your five-year-old, setting up good habits early in life can help to protect them in the future.

Why is tooth brushing important?

The first line of defence for clean and healthy teeth is regular tooth brushing. You’ll need to help your child brush their teeth until they’re about seven, and to continue supervising their tooth brushing even when they can do it independently.3 Remember “two for two” – brushing and flossing two times a day for two minutes – with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste will go a long way to protecting your children’s teeth!

When should kids start tooth brushing?

The Australian Dental Association also recommends beginning regular dental visits from the time your child gets their first tooth or at 12 months, whichever comes first.3 Hence, as a precautionary measure, when my second child was born and his teething had begun, I found out the best dentist near me and ensured that we took up sessions with him every quarter. Make sure you take your children to a dentist with whom are comfortable with, someone who knows how to handle children and has the latest technology, equipment and the appropriate dental chairs for children.

Tips for tooth brushing from real mums!

It’s not uncommon for children to put up a bit of a fuss while brushing their teeth! We spoke to a group of real mums and asked them for their top tips for encouraging teeth brushing.

Alyssa, 31: “I ask my son to brush his dolls teeth first before I brush his teeth so that he feels like he has an important job too!”

Kayla, 32: “I make sure to brush my teeth alongside my children, so that they see the correct technique and know it’s something we all do, even as grownups!”

Joanna, 28: “We have a special podcast for brushing teeth that I listen to with my daughters – they get so excited to listen every day that they remind ME it’s time to brush!”

Foods for healthy teeth, mouth and gums

Of course, when talking about healthy teeth we need to talk about diet. If you Look At This, you may think that you need to cut certain foods out of your children’s diet to keep their teeth healthy, but all foods can be included with moderation and solid tooth-brushing habits. All vitamins and minerals play some role in keeping your children’s mouths healthy,4 however there are a few nutrients in particular that should be included in your children’s diets to help boost their dental health. You can click this link here now to know all about dental health and how it will boost your child’s personality.

Calcium

Calcium is probably the nutrient that most of us think of when we think of healthy teeth. Calcium is important not just for teeth, but for a strong jaw bone to anchor the teeth into.5 Dairy is a good food source of calcium, but if your family is dairy-free there are plenty of other ways to get this important nutrient – fortified milk alternatives, dark green veggies (especially kale and broccoli), soy and other beans and pulses, almonds, tahini and seeds like chia and flax.

Phosphorous

Phosphorous works with calcium in the body and both are needed in the right ratio for maximum efficiency, meaning phosphorous is also an important nutrient for teeth and bone health.5 Luckily, many of the foods which are good sources of calcium also contain good levels of phosphorous! Dairy is one good food source of calcium, however so too are seeds (sunflower and pumpkin are the highest in phosphorus), nuts like almond and brazil nuts, beans and fermented soy products like tempeh.

Looking for a delicious breakfast that is also teeth, mouth and gum healthy? Try these Berry-Banana Powerhouse Pancakes.

Vitamin C

While calcium and phosphorous are great for teeth and bones, vitamin C is needed to build collagen which helps to keep gums healthy.5,6 While you can take a collagen supplement (note that collagen is generally from animal sources so is unsuitable for vegetarian or vegan families), it’s usually unnecessary; as a diet that contains enough protein and vitamin C is enough to ensure adequate collagen is made in the body. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables and is particularly high in citrus fruits, kiwi, capsicum and berries.

We understand that it can be difficult to ensure that our kids are getting everything they need to thrive from diet alone. That is why we developed Kids Good Stuff – a daily multi nutrient supplement designed to help fill key gaps in the diet of growing, active kids, so they can be at their best. With 206mg of calcium, 40mg of phosphorous and 100mg of vitamin C per serve (21%, 5% and 261% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) respectively), Kids Good Stuff is suitable for supporting healthy teeth, mouth and gums in growing kids.

Amy Butler

Myth Busting Inflammation

Inflammation has always been a hot topic among the health conscious. But, as with all popular health topics, the large sea of information made available to us through a simple Google search can make it difficult to determine fact from fiction. We asked Australian Dietitian and Nutritionist, Rachel Hawkins, to set the record straight by


Inflammation has always been a hot topic among the health conscious. But, as with all popular health topics, the large sea of information made available to us through a simple Google search can make it difficult to determine fact from fiction.

We asked Australian Dietitian and Nutritionist, Rachel Hawkins, to set the record straight by busting some common myths on the topic of inflammation.

Is all inflammation bad for you? Do dairy and sugar really cause inflammation? Are turmeric supplements magic anti-inflammatory pills? We answer these questions and more below.

Myth 1: All inflammation is ‘bad’ for you

Inflammation is a normal immune response that plays an integral role in healing.

There are two main forms of inflammation; acute and chronic inflammation.

Acute inflammation comes on quickly and tends to subside within hours, days or weeks and can arise as the result of infection or injury.1 For example, acute inflammation would occur as the result of an ankle sprain. However, this inflammation is considered ‘good’ inflammation as it actually helps to protect the injured muscle from further damage.

In contrast, chronic inflammation is long-lasting inflammation. This type of inflammation is thought to be the cause of many diseases, so is what we would typically refer to as ‘bad’ inflammation.1

Verdict: Myth.

To learn more about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ inflammation, read our article from Registered Dietitian, Andy de Santis, explaining how inflammation can impact human health


Myth 2: All sugar causes inflammation

Table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup are two of the most common ‘added sugars’ in a western diet. Research indicates that consuming a diet high in added sugars, specifically sucrose and fructose, promotes inflammation which can lead to the development of diseases such as obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.2,3,4,5

However, not all sugars are made equal.

Naturally occurring sugars, found in foods such a fruit, honey and maple syrup, actually contain compounds that are anti-inflammatory. Honey in particular has been well researched for its anti-inflammatory properties as it contains two bioactive compounds, called flavonoids and polyphenols, that act as antioxidants to help reduce free radical damage, and thus inflammation, in the body.6

Fruit is also valuable source of antioxidants, as well as fibre. Research suggests that the consumption of fibre rich foods, including fruit, help to lower the inflammatory process associated with many chronic diseases.7

So, when it comes to sugar, not all sugar causes inflammation. Instead, it is the type and dose that is important.

Verdict: Myth.   

Myth 3: Dairy causes inflammation

The question of whether dairy causes inflammation is a controversial one and there is research to support both sides of the argument.

Dairy foods include yogurt, kefir, cheese, butter, cream and ice cream. Dairy products contain many important nutrients including protein, calcium, probiotics, B vitamins and vitamin D.8 They also contain saturated fat. The saturated fat found in dairy products was once believed to promote the inflammation that led to the development of heart disease. However, a 2017 review that analysed results from 52 human clinical trials looking at dairy and inflammation, actually found that dairy had a weak, yet statistically significant anti-inflammatory effect in the body.9

So, what does that mean? Well it means that the saturated fat found in dairy products might not be as inflammatory as once thought.

While the consumption of dairy products has been linked to certain inflammatory conditions such as acne10, the evidence supporting this is weak.

Therefore, if we look at the whole body of evidence, we can conclude that dairy products do not promote inflammation in the general population – except in those people with a dairy allergy.

Verdict: Myth


Myth 4: You can reduce systemic inflammation through diet and lifestyle change

Let me start by defining what systemic inflammation is.

Systemic inflammation is used to describe when inflammation occurs throughout the whole body. It is a form of chronic, or long-lasting inflammation, that contributes to the development of disease.

The Mediterranean Diet is an eating pattern that has anti-inflammatory properties and has been well-researched for its effectiveness in preventing and treating a range of chronic and inflammatory-related diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression and cognitive decline.11

A Mediterranean Diet is predominately plant-based and includes wholefoods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, beans, nuts and extra virgin olive oil, all of which are rich in antioxidants. Importantly, the benefits of this diet are related to the dietary pattern as a whole, and not individual foods or nutrients.11

Beyond what we eat, there are a number of other lifestyle factors that can increase the state of inflammation in our body. They include a lack of sleep, chronic stress, physical inactivity, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.12  

Therefore, by implementing healthy lifestyle changes around these factors and adopting more of a Mediterranean style of eating you can be well on your way to reducing systemic inflammation.

Verdict: Truth


Myth 5: I’ll just have some turmeric…

While I’d love to tell you that curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, will reduce inflammation and improve symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions, the reality is that no one single nutrient is a magic cure-all.

When it comes to reducing inflammation, a multifactorial and multinutritional approach which addresses the dietary and lifestyle changes mentioned previously, is best. 

There are certain supplements which may help to reduce inflammation by providing the body with antioxidant protection. They include curcumin, fish oil, resveratrol and ginger.13,14,15,16

Please note the disease states in which benefit has been observed with supplementation of these nutrients are varied.

However, don’t expect a miracle cure. The bigger picture matters more here than single nutrients alone. Thus, if choosing to supplement, do so in conjunction with a balanced wholefood diet.

Verdict: Myth

Rachel Hawkins

Fighting inflammation with food: a dietitian’s perspective

When you think of the word “anti-inflammatory”, what comes to mind from a dietary perspective? I bet omega-3 fatty acids are pretty high up on the list. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of a number of food components that are constantly identified as having a high anti-inflammatory potential. But what does that mean and


When you think of the word “anti-inflammatory”, what comes to mind from a dietary perspective?

I bet omega-3 fatty acids are pretty high up on the list.

Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of a number of food components that are constantly identified as having a high anti-inflammatory potential.

But what does that mean and how does that manifest on a cellular level?

Well, our cell membranes play a massive role in our body’s response to inflammation and can actually serve to make it better or worse.

When we consume more omega-3 fatty acids from whole food such as fish, seafood, marine algaes, flaxseeds, chia seeds or walnuts – our cell membranes are populated by more of these types of fats, which ultimately makes them more prone to produce anti-inflammatory compounds and support a healthier immune response1.

Yet, when it comes to diet and inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are just the tip of the iceberg.

Anti-inflammatory dietary patterns

As we know from research in so many areas of health and wellness, it is never one single food component that is responsible for our wellbeing.

The same can be said in the world of inflammation.

Dietary patterns high in the antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols, for example, have frequently been identified has having a potent anti-inflammatory capacity2.

Examples of particularly polyphenol-rich foods include3:

  • Seasonings such as cloves, oregano and rosemary – among others
  • Fruits such as berries, cherries, plums, prunes, and even cacao beans (yes! That means some dark chocolates!)
  • Vegetables such as artichoke, chicory, red onion, spinach and shallots
  • Nuts & seeds including hazelnuts, flaxseeds, pecans and almonds
  • Legumes especially soy-based foods like tempeh and tofu

Putting it all together now, there is a style of eating that is naturally high in both its omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenol content that is often associated with good health and a reduction in bodily inflammation.

Can you guess what diet it is?

If you guessed the Mediterranean (which is where I’d like to be right now) you guessed correctly!

The Mediterranean diet and inflammation

From my perspective as a dietitian, a Mediterranean style of eating captured in the image below represents an achievable and sustainable dietary pattern with some seriously positive health outcomes.

As you can gather from the image above, the Mediterranean diet is essentially a compromise between the classical western diet and a more pescatarian style of eating (which is naturally high in polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids and a host of other anti-inflammatory compounds).

Unsurprisingly, multiple studies show that long-term adherence to this style of eating tends to be associated with better health outcomes and lower levels of inflammation in the body4,5.

Referring back to the LDL cholesterol and atherosclerosis example provided in my previous article on when inflammation causes harm; when dietary fat intake is skewed more towards saturated animal fat (beef, dairy, pork) and less towards fish and plant-based fats ( avocados, nuts, seeds) – LDL cholesterol levels tend to increase6.

The good news?

A Mediterranean diet naturally encourages the reduced consumption of saturated fat, which further explains why it’s so often observed to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Quite a nice way to tie together everything we’ve learned so far right?

Let’s finish off strong…

Beyond food – lifestyle factors that affect inflammation

Beyond what you choose to eat, there are a number of lifestyle factors that can increase the state of inflammation in your body.

These include7:

  • a lack of sleep
  • chronic stress
  • physical inactivity
  • smoking
  • alcohol consumption*

*Whilst red wine is considered a component of the Mediterranean diet; the benefits of a Mediterranean diet can be outweighed by excessive alcohol consumption. A 150ml (5oz) glass of wine is considered a single alcohol serve and Australian safe drinking guidelines suggest men and women consume no more than 10 servings per week, and no more than four on any one day. Keep in mind these numbers are not recommended levels, rather they are upper limits which should be respected to ensure the best interests of your health.

I fully appreciate that some of these factors will be easier to chip away at than others, but we all have a starting point.

Having a few drinks less a week, walking 5,000 steps a day, devoting an extra 30 minutes to nightly sleep or pursuing relaxation practices like meditation or yoga to help with stress management are steps that I believe we can all take as early as today to help improve our health.

Any of the lifestyle changes noted above, combined with a few pointed dietary changes, will go a long way to reducing the potentially detrimental effect that chronic inflammation can have on your quality of life. And while no supplement can replace a healthy diet, Good Green Vitality may help to support our health and modern lifestyles by offsetting poor dietary choices. Made from real fruit and veg, with plant foods, herbs, superfoods and your complete suite of daily essential vitamins and minerals, it is a great form of nutritional insurance that will help fill the gaps in your diet.

To learn how inflammation can impact human health, read our article from Registered Dietitian, Andy de Santis.

Andy De Santis