How to Boost Your Child's Immune System This Winter

Posted by Rita Texeira on 24 June 2015
How to Boost Your Child's Immune System This Winter
When you have kids, the arrival of winter seems to always be followed by an endless round of colds, sniffles and ongoing ear and chest infections. 

This constant illness through winter can lead to weakened immune systems and affect the whole family.  But by incorporating the following eight tips to boost your child's immune system this winter you can break the cycle and sleep a little easier this winter.  

1. Goodnight sleep

We know the effects on behaviour when young children have not had enough sleep, but we don't often think about the effect on their health.  For healthy bodies and minds, children should have at least 8-10 hours sleep to perform at their best.

2. More exercise

Children who spend too much time watching TV or playing video games are compromising their immune system.  We now know that the effects of the 'blue screen' can affect sleep patterns but exercise enhances sleep patterns.  On the other side, too much exercise and sports can have an adverse effect, so be sensible as to the number of sporting activities your child is enrolled in.

3. Limit sugar

It is sometimes tempting to 'reward' your child with a sweet 'treat' after school or sport, but the effect of refined sugar on their immune system is anything but rewarding.  Before leaving home take the time to prepare a healthy snack such as nuts and seeds or chop up their favourite fruit and vegetables. Be sure to let them see you eating healthy as well so it becomes normal to them.

4. Increase the garlic

Garlic has long been recognised in both ancient and modern times for its medicinal and healing properties.  Include it in as much of your cooking as possible.

5. Give probiotics

Known as 'good' bacteria probiotics assist with healthy digestion. With most of your child's immune system residing in their gut, this can be the quickest and easiest way to increase their immunity. 

6. Watch their stress

Adults are sometimes so used to living with stress and we forget that life can be stressful for our children as well.  The daily round of school, peer pressure, daily popularity even at a young age, can place significant stress on their young shoulders. 

If necessary, cut back on unnecessary items on their daily or weekly agenda and take the time to laugh out loud with your child.  Encourage them to see the funny side of situations and then look for solutions rather than stress about it.  Not only will you be boosting their immunity, but also teaching them valuable coping skills they will need.

7. Use herbs and supplements

When all else fails and your little one's health is being compromised, don't rule out herbs and supplements. Zinc and Vitamin D top of the list for boosting a weakened immune system and don't forget Omega 3 as well. Be sure to talk to your Naturopath, who will be able to recommend a personalised combination to address your child's needs.

8. Make smoothies

One of the easiest ways to include good healthy food in your child's diet is a smoothie, particularly a green smoothie. Include carrots, spinach oranges, lemon, banana and acai berry or acai berry powder that has more than 40 times the concentrated antioxidant than blueberries.

Experiment with different flavours to see if you can come up with your very own green smoothie immune booster!

What are your tips for keeping kids healthy through winter?

Posted in: Immune Boosters Wellbeing Building Your Immune System Children Health Cold and Flu  

Australia's New Healthy Eating Pyramid

Posted by Rita Texeira on 3 June 2015
Australia's New Healthy Eating Pyramid
As you have no doubt heard, we finally have a new Healthy Eating Pyramid that more closely reflects our modern day diet and what we know about health and nutrition. 

Last updated over 20 years ago, the new Healthy Eating Pyramid is a reflection of the most recent Australian dietary evidence-based guidelines after a large study of over 55,000 research papers.

What is the Healthy Eating Pyramid?

The original Food Pyramid was introduced in Sweden around 1974 when as a way to introduce nutritious and supplemental foods that were affordable for everyday consumers after food prices soared. 

Divided into basic food groups, the base of the pyramid included staples such as milk, margarine and cheese, and bread, cereals and potatoes. Next came vegetables and fruit and at the apex of the pyramid, meat, fish and eggs.

In 1980, Nutrition Australia presented their first Food Pyramid, based on the same 'more to less' ideas developed in Sweden.  Over time, it has been modified and updated to encourage Australians to eat a balanced diet according to what was considered healthy at that time.

Why a new Healthy Eating Pyramid?

With the growing prevalence of fast food outlets and restaurants and overscheduled, fast-paced lifestyles, it has become convenient for Australians to embrace takeaways, sugars and fatty foods.

As a result, 65% of Australian adults 18 and over considered overweight and of that number, 25% of are considered severely obese. Even more alarming is that every fourth child is overweight.

Without a conscious change to our health and eating habits to decrease these alarming statistics, a heavy burden will be placed on our health system and economy, not to mention our quality of life will decrease.

What are the changes?

Although varied over time, previous Healthy Eating Pyramids showed a much larger proportion of fats, oils and sugar, with threetiered food groups.  However, the new Healthy Food Pyramid has five clearly defined food groups and sugar has been removed. 

In the new Healthy Eating Pyramid, plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables and legumes take up the bottom, largest layer with whole grains appearing on the second largest tier.

The third tier includes milk, yoghurt, cheese and dairy alternatives, alongside lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. Lastly, the fourth tier includes only healthy fats.

Unlike previous pyramids, sugar is excluded with a side note to limit added salt and sugar. Instead, we are encouraged to embrace the use of herbs and spices to flavour our food and to 'choose water' instead of sugary or caffeinated drinks.

Some 'modern' food additions include tofu and soba noodles, as well as soy milk and quinoa that have recently become more popular.

You can view and read more about the new food pyramid at Nutrition Australia.

So what are your thoughts? Do you like the new Healthy Eating Pyramid and will you be making any changes to you diet as a result?

Posted in: Nutrition Healthy Eating Health  

What You Need to Know About Ross River Virus

Posted by Rita Texeira on 13 May 2015
What You Need to Know About Ross River Virus

Ross River Virus (also known as epidemic polyarthritis) is a viral infection that is spread by infected mosquitoes and can cause debilitating pain and discomfort for weeks, months and sometimes years. Originally identified near Ross River near Townsville in North Queensland, there are now over 20 species of mosquitoes all over Australia, Papua New Guinea and other parts of the South Pacific who can carry the virus. 

Each year over 8000 people in Australia are infected with Ross River Fever, with those aged 25 to 45 most affected.  While some simply believe they have lingering flu symptoms, many others infected with Ross River virus, particularly children, don't appear to have any symptoms at all. Evidence shows that symptoms tend to be more severe with increasing age. 

The disease is most prevalent throughout Australia during the months of January to May when most mosquito numbers are at their highest, but in Queensland we are affected all year round.  The recent floods and heavy rains have created great breeding conditions for mosquitoes and, as a result, there have been over 1000 recorded cases in Queensland this year alone.

Native animals, in particular the Kangaroo and the Wallaby are the main carriers, though horses, rats and bats can also carry it, passing it onto the blood-sucking mosquito. The mosquito then in turn transmits the disease through their saliva and into the bloodstream of humans or other animals and the cycle continues. 

What are the symptoms of Ross River Virus?

Symptoms usually develop 2-19 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms can include inflammation, fever, joint pain, rash, swelling of the joints (wrists, fingers ankles and feet) and a fatigue so severe patients can barely get out of bed. 

Only one out of five of those infected will develop symptoms, and the severity can range from barely noticeable to hospitalisation in extreme cases.  Up to 15% can continue to suffer joint pain, lethargy and fatigue and depression for months and sometimes years.

Other symptoms can include headache, backache, loss of appetite, nausea, pins and needles and long-standing arthritis.

The good news is that all infected eventually recover, and the disease itself provides immunity from a second infection.

Treatment for Ross River Virus

There is no 'cure' for Ross River Virus and treatment is directed mainly at reducing the pain and inflammation.  Aspirin and other analgesics are usually the prescription, coupled with bed rest, avoiding alcohol and cutting out excessive physical activity. 

Because the virus affects those in the child bearing and rearing years, it can be quite debilitating for young mothers in particular, caring for their young.

The ideal treatment model for Ross River Virus is the Systems of Medicine approach. This means your practitioner prescribes specific nutrients and herbals based on your present condition and not to a disease label.

With this approach your practitioner will use the least invasive treatment that can yield a system-wide benefit to maximise your body's self-healing abilities and avoid side effects.

Herbals medicine can be a great alternative as it acts as a multicomponent and multitargeted medication. Not only does it have a supportive effect on the body's own regulatory systems, it does not suppress symptoms alone.

At Resolve Health we like to employ medications following a Bioregulatory model where we don't interfere with normal healing mechanism, don't suppress symptoms but instead, facilitate self-healing. An example treatment plan could include using a probiotic, correcting the underlying pH, anti viral therapy with changes in diet (avoiding gluten, dairy, sugar and intolerances)    

Prevention of Ross River Virus

Although a vaccine has been developed, it is not financially viable for the government to manufacture and produce it, so protecting yourself from mosquito bites is still the best prevention.  Ways to avoid being bitten include:

  • Wear loose fitting, long sleeves went going out especially at dawn or dusk and always use a repellant.
  • Screen your windows and doors around your home and repair any holes in them
  • Avoid areas most likely to be mosquito infested, especially during their most active times of dawn or dusk
  • Do a periodic spot check around the house and clean out any areas of stagnant water, such ponds to discourage mosquitoes from laying their larvae

Are you concerned about Ross River Fever or have any questions you need answered? Call us today on (07) 5525 2211.

Posted in: Ross River Virus Chronic Infections  

Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease? Understanding the Difference

Posted by Rita Texeira on 9 April 2015
Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease? Understanding the Difference

Although Gluten insensitivity or intolerance and Celiac Disease are quite often used interchangeably, there is a difference and understanding the difference may well help you to avoid additional discomfort and pain by following a more suitable diet plan. So how do you know the difference?

Gluten

Gluten is the collective term used to refer to the solid proteins found in most cereal grains including barley, rye, oats and, of course, wheat gluten.

Wheat Gluten is made up of a number of protein sub-sections, which are mostly divided fairly evenly into Gliadins and Glutenins. Glutenins are the viscous component formed by the interaction of high and low molecular weight that represents the insoluble components of gluten.

Gliadins make up the more soluble elements, which can be divided into smaller sub-fractions such as a-gliadins, -gliadins, -gliadins and -gliadins.

Why does Gluten cause so many problems?

Gluten is naturally highly resistant to digestion and has been associated with a number of digestive and inflammatory complaints.  So many consumables have hidden undeclared traces that it can be frustrating and difficult to avoid gluten altogether.

While the list of problems associated with eating grains containing gluten is extensive, an individual nutritionist or health specialist assessment will assist in determining more accurately whether the reaction is:

  • Allergic to wheat, which is extremely rare in the true sense of the term (involves immediate IgE antibodies)
  • Sensitive to gluten and its many components e.g. Gliadins (Involves delayed IgA or IgG antibodies)
  • Celiac involves auto-antibodies

Celiac Disease

Having an allergy or sensitivity is not as complicated or as damaging as Celiac Disease. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their body creates an immune response that attacks their small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, the tiny, fingerlike protrusions lining the small intestine that allow nutrients to be absorbed.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

While symptoms of celiac disease can vary from person to person, common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Bone loss or osteoporosis
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Tingling numbness in the hands and feet
  • Seizures

Diagnosis

While celiac disease is now known to be a common genetic disorder, recognising celiac disease can be difficult because some of its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. As a result, it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

If you do suspect you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, it is important to talk to your health practitioner immediately. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can start changing your lifestyle to improve your health and wellbeing.

Don't let your allergies or intolerances run your life, call us today on (07) 5525 2211 to be among our many patients who have dramatically reduced or eliminated their allergy symptoms permanently and naturally.

Posted in: Wellbeing Food Allergy Food Intolerance Nutrition Allergies Health Celiac Disease  

What you need to know about Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Posted by Rita Texeira on 19 March 2015
What you need to know about Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Concerned about the amount of wind you're passing or the constant cramps, constipation or diarrhoea that's been plaguing you?  

Chances are you may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).   As many as 15% of adults experience IBS at some stage, but many go undiagnosed because their bowel shows no indication of any damage or disease when examined. 

So what is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?  

If you have recurrent upper and lower gastrointestinal tract discomfort and abdominal pain with symptoms of constipation, diarrhoea or both at least once every ten days, then you may have IBS. 

The condition is fairly common, although often not diagnosed.  It is believed that as many as 1 in 7 people in Australia suffer this condition, which can mean chronic and constant symptoms for some. 

Women are three times more likely to suffer IBS than men and the condition is exacerbated around menstruation.  While symptoms and severity differ from person to person, some common indications are:

  • Nausea
  • Excess gas/wind
  • Bowels never feel fully emptied after going to the toilet
  • Mucus in stools
  • An urgent need to get to the toilet quickly
  • Abdominal pain, bloating and cramping relieved by going to the toilet or passing wind
  • Changes in bowel habits either constipation, diarrhoea or both

These symptoms may also include and are sometimes brought on by the above symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion and burping
  • Headaches especially with constipation
  • Poor appetite
  • Back pain
  • Problems with your bladder

There are three diagnoses of Irritable Bowel Syndrome which include:

  1. IBS with constipation - Symptoms include stomach pain and discomfort, bloating, gas and infrequent or abnormally irregular bowel movements with lumpy or hard stools
  2. IBS with d diarrhoea - This condition also includes stomach pain and discomfort, an urgent need to go to the toilet, abnormal frequent bowel movements with water or loose stools.
  3. IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhoea as described in the above two types of IBS

Causes of IBS

While it was initially believed to be a combination of physical and mental issues, such as stress or anxiety, doctors now agree that while emotional stress may irritate or worsen IBS symptoms, they are not causative.  

There is no known specific cause for IBS, but it is believed to be a combination of:

  • Genetics
  • A higher sensitivity to the gases inside the bowel
  • Persistent and stronger contractions of the muscles lining the bowel
  • Infection - people are more susceptible to IBS if they have had gastroenteritis previously
  • Dietary Intolerances i.e. sugar lactose that is present in dairy products and most processed food

Treating IBS

Unfortunately there is no known cure for IBS. Sufferers may experience symptoms for a short time only, where others will live with chronic symptoms.  However, research has found that avoiding certain foods and medications may assist in the management and severity of IBS.  The following is a list of foods and medications to avoid that can irritate and/or trigger symptoms:

  • Alcohol 
  • Coffee
  • Carbohydrates
  • Spicy foods and fatty foods
  • Dairy products
  • Caffeine in Green Tea taken in large amounts can worsen diarrhoea and symptoms of IBS
  • Antibiotics
  • Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Ibuprofen

Suspect you have IBS? Keep a journal of your symptoms and note any food or medications you have had at times symptoms appear. Learning relaxation techniques and stress management will also help as will good sleep routine.

Don't suffer in silence with your IBS or feel that medication is the only light at the end of the tunnel. There are some very natural ways we can help you identify your triggers, reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life without any added side effects.

Call us today on (07) 5525 2211 to make an appointment with one of our highly experienced naturopaths and get back on the path to health and wellness.

Posted in: Wellbeing Irritable Bowel Syndrome Health  

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