Author Archive: Lisa Pierce

The best ways to avoid cold and flu

Cold and flu are the quintessential sicknesses that sweep across society every winter and it’s no wonder that people are desperate to avoid them. While modern medicine has prevented these sicknesses from being fatal, they are still a major inconvenience and result in many hours of lost productivity as workers around the country take sick leave.

While cold and flu might mean a nice break from work, it’s hardly a fun experience to be stuck with it. The endless amount of tissues, the redness and irritability are definitely not worth it for some time off.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to avoid cold and flu so you can stay on top of your game!

Wash your hands

This is the most common advice given to everyone in the community around flu season and it’s easy to see why. Germs and bacteria are spread from person to person via touch and sick people who don’t wash they hand end up spreading this gunk everywhere they go.

Doorknobs and other shared objects are common places where germs are spread and it only takes washing your hands routinely to avoid them. Simply making a habit of washing your hands after interacting with public objects significantly reduces the risk of you getting sick or passing it on to someone else.

Quick drying hand sanitisers are also popular for reducing the spread of germs. Vodka is a great alternative to hand sanitiser because of its high ethanol content.

Cut down on alcohol

Alcohol has plenty of health issues associated with it but one of them is the fact is reduces your body’s immune system. This is why so many people wake up ill as well as hungover after a big night of partying.

Drink tea

Breathing in the steam of and drinking hot tea helps to stimulate the nose’s hair follicles so that they filter out germs more effectively.

Eat more protein

Research has shown that people will low protein are more likely to have depleted immune systems, making them more susceptible to sickness.

Clean surfaces before using them

If you’re going to the gym during flu time, be vigilant around the other people who are excreting sweat and germs everywhere. Make sure you wipe down gym equipment with a towel or wet wipe before using it yourself.

Active exhalation

When you see someone sneeze or cough openly near you, actively exhale and walk away. This helps to keep you from inhaling the germs they just released into the air.

The best ways to cut down on sugar

Sugar is somewhat of a dietary phenomenon and the industry that cultivates, distributes and uses the substance has faced criticism for its role in public health issues like obesity. Scientific studies support the fact that high fructose corn syrup is both very unhealthy and highly addictive.

You might remember as a child it being seen as normal to receive a piece of candy as a reward or treat and therefore entire generations of people have grown up dependant on sugar in the diet. With people now becoming more awakened to the dangers of sugar, it’s natural that they seek ways to cut it out of their diet.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to cut down on sugar in your diet.

Cut out the sweet and soft drinks

The most obvious step in reducing sugar is to get rid of the high sugar concentrated foods and drinks. Soft drinks are especially villainous as they both contain high amounts of sugar but also cause an acidic reaction that damages the enamel of your teeth.

Even one soft drink a day is too much, and the best thing to do is to just replace it with water or at least a naturally sweetened juice. While milk and fruit have sugars in them, they are naturally occurring and should not be a problem in moderation.

While there’s a time and place to enjoy yourself and indulge with piece of cake at a party or a movie snack with a date, you should try and limit your sugar intake to these special occasions so it does not become a frequency in your diet.

Read labels

You’d be surprised how much sugar is added to foods we don’t normally see as sweet such as breads, sauces and dressings. Be mindful while shopping to check the labels of various brands and try and go with the less sweetened one.

Many savoury foods like burgers will have sweetened buns and condiments so it’s good to be mindful of this even when we’re not craving sweets.

There are several codewords for sugar on labels that you need to understand the jargon to avoid. For example, sucrose or anything ending is “ose” will be derivative of sugar.

Cut down slowly

Like quitting anything that’s addictive, going cold turkey the first time round often doesn’t work. Most people will find that cutting down slowly will make the transition more seamless and won’t leave you raiding the pantry for a sugar hit at 3am.

8 important vitamins and minerals as well as which foods have them

Vitamins and minerals are the world’s natural resources that our body needs to survive. Every time we eat food we are consuming an amalgam of nutrients that help fuel our bodies until the next meal.

While some vitamins and minerals are more essential than others, they are all important in maintain a healthy body. This is why there are several vitamin and mineral supplements available for people to buy in order to balance out a deficiency they have.

If you are deficient in a vitamin or mineral, the best thing to do is to change your diet so you are getting it naturally. However, sometimes people will metabolise a particular nutrient poorly and in these cases supplements are necessary to balance out the body’s natural levels.

Let’s take a look at the most important vitamins and minerals as well as where they can be found naturally.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important for general growth and development, including healthy eyes, teeth and skin. It occurs naturally in orange foods such as sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot all of which get their colour from carotene.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is important for iron absorption, immune function and energy production in the body. It occurs naturally in most whole and unprocessed foods such as whole grains, bananas, lentils, beans, molasses and yeast.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for giving blood vessels their strength as well as promoting the elasticity of the skin. It also helps iron absorption and anti-oxidant function.

It occurs naturally in citric fruits such as oranges and lemons as well as some vegetables such as peppers and Brussel sprouts.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for the development of strong bones. The most abundant natural source of vitamin D is the sun, but it can also be found in fish, eggs and mushrooms.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is important for protection from free radicals and for blood circulation. It naturally occurs in many nuts including almonds as well as tomatoes and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is important for blood coagulation which is process our body uses to clot blot. It naturally occurs in leafy greens such as lettuce, kale and spinach.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is important from preventing birth defects as well as cell renewal. It naturally occurs in asparagus, beans, peas, seeds, beets and cauliflower amongst many other sources.

Calcium

Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth. It naturally occurs in dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt.

Things you should look for before engaging a psychologist

As the traditional stigmas around mental health and wellbeing are broken down, more and more people are seeing the benefits of seeing a psychologist. These mental health experts are able to relate to and assist people struggling with a range of issues from minor stress to clinical anxiety and depression.

Engaging the right psychologist, like any other health professional, takes some shopping around and evaluation. Finding the perfect candidate means evaluating them on several criteria.

Let’s take a look at the top things you should be considering when deciding on a psychologist.

What do they specialise in?

Depending on the seniority of the psychologist, they may work more generally with less serious cases as they continue to develop their expertise. More experience psychologists will have worked out a niche in which they are most effective.

These niches can become quite nuanced. For example; a psychologist who deals primarily with depression may focus more on male self-esteem issues and wouldn’t be the best fit for a women with depression following a miscarriage or other related issue.

The best psychologists will usually have client profiles that you can try and see if you match with. They will generally have a template of the kind of people they usually help.

Do you like them?

The most important aspect of choosing a psychologist is whether or not you are able to build a rapport with them. After all, this is a professional who you will express personal thoughts and feelings to in a confidential setting, so it’s important that you like them.

While it’s not possible to build a full working relationship on the first consultation, you can get a feel for their bedside manner and determine if you’d want to come back. Don’t settle for a psychologist you are unsure of as having a sincere rapport is the only way to get successful results.

If you don’t find the psychologist likeable or trustworthy, you won’t follow their advice. This is not to say that they are a bad psychologist, but only that they are not the right fit for the kind of person you are.

Finding the right psychologist is like a superhero looking for the perfect sidekick, you need to make sure you work as a team and gel together.

Is it convenient to see them?

Like anything, there are practical concerns to consider. If it takes you an hour by public transport to see the psychologist, you might be less inclined to stick to your commitment and will end up missing sessions.

Make sure you find a professional that you can easily work with on a weekly basis otherwise the progress you make will be soured.

The benefits of getting adequate sleep

Sleeping is an activity we all love but never seem to have enough time for. Whether it’s a day-job or some other commitment, we always groan about not getting enough time in bed and complain about our lack of energy.

Sleep is obviously an incredibly important part of our body’s routine and going without sleep for long periods has been associated with quite severe negative side effects. Without sleep people become more paranoid, aggressive and short tempered as their brain struggles to process the continuous stream of consciousness.

Getting a good sleep isn’t just about avoiding insanity or keeping dark circles at bay; it’s an important part of healthy living. Let’s take a look at the major benefits of proper sleep.

Learning and memory

Despite appearing otherwise, your mind is quite busy during sleep. Via a process called consolidation the memories experienced that day are strengthened along with any skills you learnt.

While learning a skill involves physical practise, there is another stage of practise that occurs mentally while you sleep. This is why you always before better on day 2 of training, because you’ve had time for consolidation to take effect.

This is especially true for school children who are introduced the large amount of new information every school day. Without proper sleep these children struggle to retain information that they are often graded on.

Prevent inflammation

Issues like heart disease, arthritis, stroke, premature aging and diabetes are all linked to inflammation proteins. Studies have shown that people who get more sleep have less inflammatory proteins in their blood.

Creative pursuits

If you’re an artist you’ve probably heard the phrase “sleep on it” and for good reason. As well as the aforementioned proves of consolidation, the brain uses sleep time to reorganise and restructure memory.

This explains why so many artists wake up with new inspiration or a new perspective on work they’ve already done. Sleep has allowed their minds to re-evaluate the art.

Higher concentration

There’s no doubt that an adequate sleep helps you to concentrate on daily tasks and keep you safe during activities like driving. A large proportion of road deaths have been found to have resulted from ‘driver fatigue’ which is often the result of sleeplessness at the wheel.

Improved mood

Feel well-rested and rejuvenated is one of the best ways to curb feelings of stress and even anxiety. A good sleep is crucial in your emotional stability for the day ahead and people will notice your irritability from a bad sleep.