Posted on 1 Comment

Does Olive Oil Prevent Heart Disease?

With heart disease now the biggest killer in most of the industrialised world people are searching for ways to protect their heart health. Studies have shown that the lowest death rates from heart disease are in the Mediterranean countries where people consume a lot of olive oil. So this poses the question, does olive oil prevent heart disease or is it just another coincidence?

olive oil prevent heart disease

Heart disease explained

Heart disease is a term for a range of conditions that affect your heart and it’s the biggest killer of Australians today with one Australian dyeing of heart disease every 27mins. The diseases that come under the term are diseases that affect your blood vessels that can lead to heart attack, chest pain and stroke, and diseases that affect your hearts muscle, valves and rhythm and conditions of that are that you may be born with.

There are many risk factors for heart disease and roughly 90% of Australians have at least 1 risk factor. These risk factors include; smoking, obesity, cholesterol, high blood pressure, being inactive, diabetes and poor diet. The best thing you can do to prevent heart disease is to limit your risk factors and protect your heart.

olive oil prevent heart disease

The Mediterranean diet

Science is showing that choosing olive oil, alongside a healthy diet, may actually reduce your risk of heart disease and even increase your life expectancy. A study comparing the diets of European and North American diets against the Mediterranean diet over 30 years has shown that the Mediterranean diet is linked with a lower risk of heart disease, lowered risk of certain cancers and a longer life expectancy, despite their higher dietary fat intake!

olive oil prevent heart disease

So does olive oil really help?

Apparently YES! Olive oil really can help to prevent heart disease. Olive oil actually reduces our risk factors for heart disease and helps to protect our heart by:

  • Decreasing plasma triglycerides- elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood are associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
  • Lowering LDL cholesterol- LDL cholesterol is named “bad cholesterol” because it’s simply bad for us. It builds up in our arteries and can lead to heart attacks.
  • reducing inflammation and oxidative damage,
  • Decreasing risk of blood clots- this helps to prevent heart failure and stroke.
  • Increasing HDL cholesterol- HDL cholesterol or “good cholesterol” plays a protective role within our bodies and helps to prevent fatty patches forming. HDL also removes LD cholesterol from our arteries and sends them to our livers to be removed with bile.
  • Olive oil is also a potent antioxidant which also helps to lower our risk of breast, colon, lung, ovarian and skin cancer development.

A number of studies have also shown that olive oil consumption also has positive effects on our blood pressure, arthritis, immune function and can help with obesity.

This means that olive oil really can help with the prevention of heart disease by reducing a number of risk factors!

olive oil prevent heart disease

Olive oil intake for good health?

Just remember that olive oil does have a high calorie count so don’t start drinking a cup a day! 1-2 TBS daily will give you the preventative measures that you need. Also look for extra virgin olive oil as this is a much purer form of the oil and contains more health benefits.

Conclusion

Keeping your heart healthy is one of the best things you can do to prevent and manage heart disease. So I guess it’s time to switch out your butter and vegetable oils and start protecting your heart by using extra virgin olive oil instead!

Posted on Leave a comment

Do I Need Sunscreen With More Than 30 SPF?

Our hot Australian sun doesn’t discriminate and without the proper skin protection its harmful UVB and UVA rays can cause havoc to whomever skin is exposed. Not only does the sun cause sun burn, it also causes premature aging, skin damage and even skin cancer. Sunscreen is one of the defences against the sun but is a sunscreen with 50SPF really necessary or can we stick to our 30 SPF instead?

sunscreen 30 spf

What exactly is SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and you will find a rating of SPF on all sunscreens and even some moisturisers and makeup products. SPF measures the protection that a sunscreen will give you from the harmful UVB rays that come from the sun and cause skin cancer, SPF does not measure the other ray called UVA rays which are also damaging and dangerous. For best protection from the sun the cancer council recommends at least SPF 30+ applied properly (2mg/cm2) and reapplied every two hours.

sunscreen 30 spf

Should I use a higher SPF?

  • SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
  • SPF 100 blocks 99% of UVB rays

You can see that just because it’s a much higher SPF rating it does not actually block much more UVB rays from entering your skin, and there is still no sunscreen that blocks 100% of the sun’s harmful rays.  The problem with higher SPF ratings is that many people are misled into thinking they have a lot more skin protection then they do and they feel they can stay out under the sun for longer, reapply less often and not worry as much. Unfortunately none of that is true, and this type of false thinking can actually lead to more damage in the long run! No matter which SPF you choose you need to apply liberally and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming and towel drying, if you don’t them simply won’t work.

Another issue with higher SPF ratings is they may have higher protection against UVB rays but no protection against UVA, which can also cause damage and lead to skin cancer.

When buying a sunscreen opt for at least 30 SPF and then check the ingredients, look for a combination of these UVA protection ingredients; stabilized a avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc.

sunscreen 30 spf

 Don’t forget to slip slop slap!

Many people think that because they have sunscreen on they are 100% protected from the sun, but remember, no sunscreen blocks 100% of UV rays so you must take further action to prevent skin damage.

  • Wear a hat
  • Protect your eyes with sunnies
  • Wear clothing that covers most of your skin when outdoors
  • Sit in the shade
  • Do not linger out under the sun
  • Use tints on windows of your home and car because UVA rays can and will penetrate glass.

sunscreen 30 spf

Conclusion

So there you go while a higher SPF rating on a sunscreen may offer more protection it’s only marginal and no sunscreen offers a full 100% protection from our sun. Grab your 30+ SPF, apply liberally and often remember to slip slop slap and stay skin cancer free!!!

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Is Breast Cancer Inherited?

If one of your close family members has been diagnosed with breast cancer you may be quite concerned about the chance of yourself receiving the same diagnosis in the future. Read ahead to find out if breast cancer is inherited and what you can do about it.

breast cancer inherited

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Australia. It is the abnormal growth of the cells that line the breasts; these cells can grow uncontrollably and spread to other areas of the body if not caught in time. Although breast cancer is mostly associated with women, men can also develop this disease too. The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer by age 85 is 1 in 8 for women and 1 in 631 for men and the overall 5year survival rates breast cancer is actually quite high at 90%, if the cancer has not spread from the breast then it rises to 96% yet if it has spread to the lymph nodes it lowers to 80%.

breast cancer inherited

Breast cancer and genes

The biggest fear when it comes to developing breast cancer is when a close family member gets the diagnosis, as most people realise that they too may develop hereditary breast cancer. Unfortunately this may be true for some, as breast cancer can be inherited but this happens in only a small 5-10% of breast cancer diagnosis. Hereditary means that it is passed through certain gene mutations from either your mother or fathers side. The most common hereditary gene mutations for breast cancer are BRCA1 and BRCA2 although there are also a few other mutations that can also cause breast cancer but these are far less common.

If you have a family history of breast cancer you could possibly have a gene mutation that is being passed down, now I know that this sounds scary and this gene does significantly increase your risk of developing breast cancer to 30-60%, but not everyone with this gene mutation actually develops this disease. There are also a number of other lifestyle factors that can influence whether you develop breast cancer or not.

breast cancer inherited

Other risk factors

A risk factor is anything that may increase your chance of developing breast cancer. While most risk factors can influence a person’s development of cancer, most risk factors do not directly cause breast cancer. It is important to know that not everyone with risk factors will develop cancer, and that some people with no known risk factors may unfortunately still be diagnosed with cancer. By understanding your risk factors you can learn how to make changes to your lifestyle and how to keep your health.

Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Age- most breast cancers are found in women who are over the age of 50.
  • Personal history of breast cancer- if you have previously had breast cancer then your chance of getting it in the other breast is higher.
  • Family history of breast cancer.
  • Exposure to female hormones
  • Unhealthy diet
  • High alcohol consumption.
  • Family history of ovarian cancer
  • If you are a smoker

breast cancer inherited

What should I do if I have a family history of breast cancer?

If you do happen to have a family history of breast cancer then you can do a simple blood test that screens for the genetic mutation. This DNA sample is searched for a fault in the genes which can take a while to get results back; if a previous family member has been tested the results will be much quicker as they simply search for the same fault.

All women who have the breast cancer gene mutation should have regular breast check-ups including mammograms and should discuss options and prevention methods with their DR.

While there is no proven prevention method as yet, you can greatly reduce your risk by lowering alcohol intake and by maintaining a healthy weight.

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer may benefit from hormone treatment such as tamoxifen which is usually administered over 5 years. Another option is a mastectomy, which is complete removal of all breast tissue.

breast cancer inherited

Conclusion

While it can be inherited it’s not a definite diagnosis, if you think you are at risk of breast cancer then speak with your DR today, prevention and early detection are key!

Posted on Leave a comment

Can Drinking Water With Lemon Prevent Kidney Stones?

If you have ever passed a kidney stone, you won’t easily forget the sudden and intense pain that comes along with it, it’s a pain no one wants to experience once let alone repeatedly. So how can we prevent the formation of these stones in the first place and put an end to the terrible, painful passing of stones?

lemon kidney stones

What are kidney stones?

Have you ever passed a kidney stone? You will defiantly know if you have, but what are these terrible stones we hear about?

A kidney stone is the formation of hard, rock like stone within the kidneys; they can be as small as a grain of sand or grow as large as a golf ball! This stone forms within the kidneys or urinary tract and cause severe pain in the abdomen flank or groin. It then is eventually passed out with the urine. Unfortunate once you have one stone you are more likely to get more so learning ways to prevent them is key.

More often than not it is not understood why a stone has been formed but there are some common causes:

  • When calcium, oxalate, cysteine or uric acid are at high levels in the urine. Although stones can form when these substances are at normal levels.
  • When there is a decrease in urine output.
  • Diet and lifestyle factors.
  • Certain medical conditions can cause stone formation.
  • Certain medications for treating kidney disease, cancer or HIV can also cause the formation of kidney stones.

lemon kidney stones

How to prevent kidney stones?

Most kidney stones form in those who are between the ages of 20-45 and once you have one stone you are likely to get more. This is why prevention is key in managing the symptoms that come along with kidney stones.

  • Hydrate- while exercise, saunas and hot yoga may all be good for our health they can also cause us to loss excessive amounts of water through sweat basically the more we sweat the less we urinate causing a build-up of stone causing minerals in the kidneys and urinary track. So always keep on top of your H2O intake.
  • Don’t cut out calcium- many people cut back or completely cut out calcium from their diets when trying to stop stone formation, this is not a good or healthy idea and can actually increase the risk of more stones forming. Instead combine calcium rich foods with oxalate rich foods, and defiantly try cutting back on your sodium.
  • Pair these- oxalate rich foods are another food source that people with kidney stones tend to avoid. Examples of high oxalate foods are rhubarb, chocolate, sweet potato, beets, peanuts and spinach. People like to cut them out to prevent calcium oxalate stones from forming when in fact cutting them out actually increases your chance of forming these stones. Instead eat high oxalate foods with calcium rich foods so the two properties bind to each other instead of to your kidneys. This is much safer for your health and for your kidneys.
  • Amp up your potassium citrate- fruits like lemon and limes are high in natural citrate which is one of the treatments for kidney stones! So next time your choosing a beverage pick lemonade, beware of the sugar content though, opt for sugar free or make your own lemonade at home.
  • Medication- if you are prescribed medication for kidney stones ensure you take it as instructed, many people fail to do this and find that symptoms return and can be worsened.

lemon kidney stones

When life gives you kidney stones, make lemonade!

Kidney stones are not a pleasant experience and prevention is key, talk to your DR, check your diet, keep hydrated, stock up on sugar free lemonade and keep those stones at bay!

lemon kidney stones

Posted on Leave a comment

Vegetarians – How To Get The Protein You Need

Possibly the biggest questions posed to vegetarians, “where do you get your protein from?” Well the same place vegetarians animals do (like gorilla and elephants), from plants, duh!

Just like vegetarian animals, human vegetarians can also thrive from a plant based diet and even get enough protein to support their daily needs. Read on and find out just how easy it is to get protein in your vegetarian diet.

vegetarian protein

Types of vegetarians

A vegetarian is someone who chooses (for a variety of reasons) not to consume meat, instead they live on a primarily plant based diet including vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, yeasts, fungi and some eat not meat animal products. There are a few types of vegetarians all who need to gain protein from a variety of sources:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians include both dairy and eggs in their diets. This is the most common type of vegetarian.
  • Lacto-vegetarians include dairy products but do not eat eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarians will eat eggs but no dairy.
  • Vegans are the strictest of vegetarians and do not consume any animal products including dairy and eggs.

vegetarian protein

Protein needs

As most of us know now protein is the building blocks of muscle and tissue within the body and without sufficient protein we will not grow, we can’t gain muscle and we can end up very sick and frail.

While both animal products and plants all contain protein, it’s important to know not sources of protein are created equal. As humans we require 9 different essential amino acids to fully function day to day. The 9 amino acids are found in protein and when they all come from one source this is called a complete protein. Animal products are complete proteins so meat eaters have no problems with reaching their daily protein goals. Vegetarians are a little different most plant products do not contain all 9 amino acids and they need to be combined to achieve a complete protein profile. That being said if you are vegetarian or vegan it is actually quite easy to get all your 9 essential amino acids in a day.

The minimum required protein per day for an adult female is 46g and for an adult man its 56g, this changes though with our activity levels, age, muscle mass, physique goals and health status.

If you are looking to lose weight you should aim for 30% of your calories to be protein, this will allow for sufficient protein needs and boost weight loss. If on the other hand you’re looking to gain muscle then you should be eating 2.2g of protein per kg of body weight per day.

vegetarian protein

Complete sources of protein for vegetarians

Here are some ideas to get a complete protein into your diet, they are actually surprisingly easy:

  • Quinoa- 1 cooked cup contains 9grams of complete protein, plus a whole lot of other goodies.
  • Peanut butter on toast- 11g protein
  • Lentil soup and bread
  • Spinach and salad
  • Pita bread and Hommus

vegetarian protein

Protein sources

Incomplete proteins that you can mix and match with each other to create a healthy vegetarian diet include:

  • Seeds, nuts, legumes and nut butters
  • Whole grain breads
  • Green leafy vegies like broccoli (1 cup= 6.8g) and spinach (1 cup= 13g)
  • Hemp, pea and rice protein powders
  • Yeast (4.9g in 1TBS)
  • Spirulina (4g in 1TBS)
  • Vegetables

If you are consuming dairy and eggs then you have even more choices, as eggs and dairy are another good protein source. Eggs contain 13g of protein per egg, 8g in a cup of milk and 7g in a slice of cheese.

So as you can see vegetarians can eat a range of nutritious foods to get their protein needs and as a bonus they actually receive more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants then the average meat eater due to the high amount of fruits, vegies and wholefoods!

vegetarian protein

Conclusion

So there you have it, vegetarians need no longer fear, it’s easy to get all your protein and eat delicious healthy foods while you’re at it!

Meat eaters beware, the vegos have got this!