An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

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That quote that your mum used to (or still does!) repeatedly drum into your ears is actually truer than you think, unlike eating your crusts to make your hair go curly. Apples are packed with many fantastic vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to the body. By consuming a minimum of one apple a day it helps you meet the nutrient requirements for maintaining optimum health.

Did you know that apple can make you have whiter teeth? Biting or chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, which decreases the chance of tooth decay and levels of bacteria. Much better than that caffeine and a healthier source of energy!

The fibre intake from apples is also linked to lower cholesterol levels, giving you a healthier heart! The high soluble fibre found in apples reduces the build up of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries, which can cause a reduction in blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

The consumption of apples could also reduce the risks of developing some cancers. It has been found that the apple peel contains compounds that act as anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, lung, colon and breast, and with its high fibre content can reduce chances colorectal cancer. Apples also reduce problems involving the respiratory system associated with asthma and smoking.

Although apples help your insides they can also improve your outsides too! It sounds funny in this context but apples are strongly linked to weight loss and clearer skin. Having a fibre rich diet is recommended when trying to lose weight as foods with high fibre fill you up easily. Apples are high in fibre, not to mention that apples are also negative calorie foods! So you burn more calories eating them than they actually contain! Apples are also a great anti-aging mask, by providing the skin with antioxidants. They balance the oil production in the skin and provide great hydrating, cleansing effects by acting as an exfoliant.

On top of all this apples also contain quercetin, an antioxidant which has been shown to sharpen memory and learning. It helps with the prevention of age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Show me one good reason why you shouldn’t have an apple a day, and I’ll show you a liar!

Negative calorie foods

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I thought since tomorrow is Friday I would add to the good news and provide you with some light reading on negative calorie foods! Negative calorie foods don’t literally have negative calories, but your body burns more calories digesting the food than the actually contains. So get chomping on these delicious fruits and veggies!

Fruits

apple
cranberries
grapefruit
lemon
mango
orange
pineapple
raspberries
strawberries
tangerine

Vegetables

asparagus
broccoli
cabbage (green)
carrot
cauliflower
celery
cucumber
dandelion
garlic
green beans
lettuce
onion
papaya
radishes
spinach
turnip

Ever thought about playing a musical instrument?

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The Chinese philosopher Confucius said long ago that “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” It is no surprise that he was right. Music creates an indescribable internal happiness and pleasure. There are many benefits with playing a musical instrument, including capacity for memory, improved perseverance, enhanced coordination, better mathematical skills, relief of stress and promotion of happiness.

 

Research has shown that playing a musical instrument can enhance the capacity of your memory by stimulating the brain. This strongly refers to the use of words as opposed to images. The parts of the brain that is linked to learning an instrument is also used to control motor skills, hearing and storing audio information. These parts of the brain become larger  and more active when learning an instrument.

 

Learning an instrument also takes time, effort, patience and perseverance. It is almost impossible to perfect an instrument straight up. By repetition and patience, people tend to teach themselves how to persevere in order to play music. Playing an instrument also requires a lot of hand-eye coordination. You are forced to convert notes on a page to a particular pattern on an instrument, incorporating rhythm and breathing.

 

Many people may be unaware of the mathematical benefits of playing an instrument. It can enhance your mathematical ability by counting notes and rhythms. Pattern recognition and mental representation are likely to significantly improve as a result of learning an instrument.

 

Music is an art and a way to express emotion. It has been proven that music relieves stress and is often used as a form of therapy. It is useful for treating children and teenagers with disorders such as autism and depression. Learning an instrument gives you a sense of pride and achievement. This promotes happiness and joy, which links in with the relief of stress.

 

It is evident that learning an instrument has many benefits for a range of areas. Memory, perseverance, coordination, mathematics, relief of stress and an increase of happiness is just the beginning. Music can be beneficial to anyone and is a fantastic outlet.

Teen self esteem: Should we be worried?

Self esteem is all about feeling good about yourself, which is descended from how much you feel you are worth and how much you feel other people value you. Common phrases heard from teens these days often include ‘I’m too fat’ and ‘Why can’t I look like that?’. This is becoming more and more prominent in today’s society. We should be encouraging our upcoming generation to be comfortable within themselves and their appearance. This self doubt can affect their mental and physical state.

Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses is the key foundation to being able to gain self esteem and accept who we really are. By accepting our faults and recognizing our strengths and talents we will live in a much healthier frame of mind.

Poor self esteem in teenagers is most commonly influenced by going through puberty and the impact of media. Teenagers tend to compare themselves to their peers and role models. As teenagers go through their development stages at different times it is often hard to accept all shapes and sizes. They often wonder why they don’t look like their friends. This is also evident when looking at the subject of media, as it is constantly thrown in our faces that we are not good enough and that we should always be improving our appearance. It is seen everywhere, from magazines to television, video clips and advertisements.

This makes it hard for teenagers to be accepting of the way they look and feel about themselves when they are constantly comparing themselves to celebrities and unrealistic advertisements. It is brainwashing from an early age, we are surrounded by it. The sexualisation in video clips is another factor, it’s encouraging the viewer to have to appear ‘sexy’ to be noticed. Is this what we want teens to think? Looking from a different perspective, the young male generation have this sudden need to ‘bulk up’. Where did this come from? Is it really healthy?

In my opinion I think we should definitely be worried about this subject. It is hard to be accepting of our flaws. With the way our future generation is heading, it seems as if we are going to be a very unhealthy society, both physically and mentally. Do you know any girls that starve themselves just to be skinny? Do you think this is helping their mental or physical state? This is what we should be worrying about.

We should be recognizing and celebrating each individual and their own identity. Think realistically and accept that we are all imperfect, yet we are our perfect selves. Nobody is exactly the same and nobody is the same YOU. Ban all negative comments and thoughts by giving compliments and celebrating our own uniqueness. Teen self esteem is an issue in which is almost impossible to solve, but not impossible to improve. We can all make a difference, whether you are a parent, teacher, student or any member of the public you can encourage the importance of self esteem and acceptance.

The hidden benefits of carrots!

ImageWe all know carrots as one of the most popular and well loved vegetables but they also provide the body with extra hidden benefits! Carrots have been found to prevent cancer and heart disease, improve vision, nourish the skin, improve dental health and also help with anti-aging.

Carrots help with lowering the risk of breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. They are partly made up of a compound named falcarinol, which is a natural pesticide which prevents the roots from fungal diseases. It is also believed that a regular intake of carrots lowers cholesterol, which is associated with lowering the risks of heart disease.

Vitamin A is needed for the retina of the eye in order to function. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a substance which is converted into vitamin A. In addition, beta-carotene is also helpful with preventing the development of cataracts as well as providing anti-oxidants which help to slow down the aging of cells and effects associated with aging. The vitamin A and other nutrients from carrots also nourish the skin and can be effective for treating acne and skin blemishes, due to its strong cleansing properties.

Believe it or not, carrots also help to keep your teeth clean! They act as natural abrasives. This helps to eliminate plague and dirt, as well as triggering saliva which helps to keep your teeth from staining. Carrots also contain minerals which help to kill germs and contribute to prevention of tooth damage.

The hidden benefits of carrots can be extremely  beneficial to the body. They are also easy to add to your diet and don’t require a large amount of preparation. Time to start chomping those carrots!

Green stir fry with sesame and soy

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  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 4 bunches baby bok choy
  • 200g snowpeas
  • 200g sugar snap peas
  • 100g baby corn
  • jasmine rice

Mix together soy sauce, hoisin sauce and stock in a small jug.

Heat wok over high heat and add vegetable and sesame oil. Add garlic, ginger and bok choy, stir fry for approximately 3 minutes. Add snowpeas, sugar snap peas and baby corn. Stir fry for a further 5 minutes. Pour in sauce in toss until ingredients are lightly coated. Once vegetables are tender, serve immediately with jasmine rice.

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What does your eye colour say about you?

Brown eyesImage

Those with brown eyes are known to be very grounded and not swayed by materialistic objects or desires. They are independent and strong people who love to make new friends with a polite and caring manner. They have an affectionate nature which helps with the ability to cheer people up and make them laugh. People with brown eyes tend to be self confident and determined with a love of nature.

Hazel eyesImage

People with Hazel eyes are considered to be elegant, independent and courageous. They do not hesitate to try new things and love a challenge. They are fun-loving and spontaneous people.

Blue eyesImage

Blue eyes are very desirable. People with blue eyes tend to be sensitive and romantic with a desire for true love. Blue eyed people are more likely to have long lasting relationships. They are peaceful, kind, sentimental and smart. They are spiritual beings, especially those with deep blue eyes.

Green eyesImage

People with green eyes are curious and imaginative with a certain mysteriousness behind them. They are intelligent and have a connection with nature. They are passionate people who aim to live their life to their fullest potential. They are the most advanced souls and have a great potential in life. Negatively, jealously is a huge part of their personalities.

Grey eyesImage

People with grey eyes are wise and gentle individuals and the least aggressive. They are sensitive with an inner strength beneath them. They think rationally and analytically.

Black/Dark brown eyesImage

People with black or very dark brown eyes are considered to be trustworthy and responsible. They are quite reserved people with strong spiritual minds. They are secretive and passionate with a lively personality. They never leave a friend in need.

Do you have a mix of colours?

If you have colours within your normal eye colour it could mean you have some health problems you weren’t aware about.

Yellow- Suggests poor kidney function

Neon Orange- Suggests blood sugar imbalances and problems with digestion of carbohydrates

Dirty Orange- May suggest gallbladder problems

Dark Brown- Related to liver function

Reddish Brown- Suggests problems blood purification and building. Also possible problems with liver, spleen and bone marrow

It is also known that people with lighter coloured eyes are believed to have fewer obstacles in life.

Teen alcohol abuse

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The misuse of alcohol by teenagers is on the rise. There are many health risks which occur as a result of alcohol such as impaired brain development, injury or death. The abuse of alcohol has also been slowly increasing the rates of drink-driving, unsafe sex and use of drugs. Although underage alcohol consumption can be considered socially acceptable for some, many are not aware of the dangerous side-effects and serious consequences.

Many are unaware that people who consume alcohol under the age of 25 are at a high risk of impaired brain development. Teenagers are particularly at risk as their brains are still developing. During the teenage years the frontal lobe and hippocampus go through dramatic changes. These areas of the brain are linked to motivation, impulse control and addiction. Excessive alcohol consumption also interferes with vitamin B absorption, which prevents the brain from working properly. If the excessive drinking is long-term it may lead to a range of disorders. This can include symptoms such as memory-loss and balance problems. So why is underage drinking acceptable? It shouldn’t be.

It is widely recognized that alcohol impairs judgement. This is very common with the topic of unsafe sex. The risks associated with alcohol and sexual practices include intercourse without a condom, exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), possible pregnancy or rape. If this was happening to your child, friend, relative or anyone in relation to you, would you be worried?

It is more likely that teenagers are going to take risks when drinking. This leads to many deaths, particularly on the roads with drink-driving and drink walkers. Other significant factors which can lead to death or serious injury include drowning, drug overdose suicide or fighting. So what leads teenagers to drink when there are serious consequences? It is mainly caused by peer pressure and the influence of adults, and yes, this does mean parents! Children learn by imitation, and the most influential role in a child’s life is their parents. If parents do not demonstrate sensible drinking behaviours it is more likely that when their child is introduced to alcohol they are going to drink excessively.

Misuse of alcohol is often linked to the use of drugs. Not to mention that many drugs are illegal, but the consumption of alcohol and drugs together can suppress the central nervous system. This causes breathing and heart rate to decrease to a dangerous level, resulting in an overdose. It is also linked to risk taking, putting the consumer and others in potential danger.

The rise in teen alcohol consumption is a topic that will never be at rest, but there are things we can do to help prevent the consequences caused by the abuse of alcohol. It starts at an early age; parents should monitor their drinking and become a positive role model for their children. Information should also be provided by schools to increase the knowledge on the effects of alcohol for teenagers in today’s society. It’s not too late to make it safer for our teens.

The dangers of food poisoning

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I am sure we have all heard of food poisoning, but do we really know what the common causes actually are? Many different types of food can make you sick. When the handling of food is poor it can contain harmful bacteria and viruses which lead to food poisoning. Sometimes the food may not look, taste or smell any different than it normally does but in reality you could be consuming more than you bargained for.

The risk of food poisoning can be minimized by taking simple precautions. Some of the more common high risk foods include raw and cooked meat (such as chicken), dairy products, eggs, prepared salads, smallgoods (ham, salami), seafood and ready-to-eat meals. It is important that food is stored outside the ‘temperature danger zone’. The danger zone is from 5 to 60 degrees Celsius, which is where the bacteria grows the fastest. This means that we need to keep food either very hot or very cold in order to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

When preparing food it is important to separate meats from fresh food, as well as raw and cooked meat. If they are not separated, it is known as cross contamination. This occurs when a bacteria or virus is transferred from a contaminated food to a non-contaminated. This happens more frequently when using raw and cooked meat together or raw meat and fresh foods together. This can be minimized by using separate chopping boards, knives and plates when preparing food.

For obvious reasons we should be washing our hands before handling food, after touching raw meat or unwashed vegetables, after using the bathroom, blowing your nose or touching a pet. These are small factors that people often forget. You should be thoroughly washing your hands with hot water and lathered soap, then drying your hands completely with a clean towel. It is just a simple step to reducing the risks of bacteria.

Lastly, the storing of food is an important step to avoid food poisoning and it is often done incorrectly, both in the household and other environments such as supermarkets and restaurants. In your fridge, make sure you are separating raw food from cooked food. Store the raw meat at the bottom of the fridge to reduce chances of dripping juices onto other foods. Also check the temperature of your fridge, as it should be below 5°C and your freezer at below -15°C. Cover all foods with lids or plastic wraps and don’t use or store any opened tin cans.

By following these simple steps we can all reduce the risk of food poisoning in our homes. Make sure you are preparing your food safely, using clean utensils and storing your food correctly in safe conditions. Did you know that severe cases of food poisoning can kill? Don’t take these precautions lightly , bacteria can multiply very quickly and it won’t stop for anyone.

For more information on the prevention of food head to http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Food_poisoning_how_to_prevent_it

One for the tea drinkers

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Here’s to the hidden health benefits of drinking tea!

Black tea

Consumption of black tea is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart disease due to its abundance of antioxidants. Black tea also contain tannins and fluorides that help to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Green tea

Green tea lowers cholesterol, aids digestion, reliefs bloating and prevents aging. It also assists with weight loss by increasing your metabolic rate. Green tea also has particularly high levels of antioxidants, which help protect against cancer and other diseases as well as prevention of acne.

White tea

White tea is the least processed of all teas. Due to it’s minimal processing it is believed to have even higher levels of antioxidants than other teas.

Rooibos tea

Made from the rooibos plant, it is not strictly a tea, as it is non-caffeinated. It is high in vitamin C and antioxidants and is often used to treat insomnia, hay fever and skin irritations. It is known to be good for reducing inflammation and improvement of skin conditions such as eczema.

Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea is great for relaxation ad stress relief. It has also been known for resolving digestive problems and warding off the common cold.

Oolong tea

Oolong is great for relieving stress and is most commonly known for it’s metabolism boosting properties.

Rose hip tea

Rose hip has a high source of vitamin C and is a good remedy for the common cold.