General health, well-being and lifestyle

We all want to be healthier, but the choices we make in pursuit of this are often dictated by lifestyle and other factors that influence us. Whether it’s a lack of time, effort or understanding, simple decisions we make with our diet, exercise and nutrition can impact our general well-being quite significantly.

We regularly consult with clients across Brisbane who tell us “I’m just not feeling quite right”, however it’s quite common for us to find that the solution is a very simple one. If you’re having trouble understanding how to prioritise your health without compromising your lifestyle give us a call to see how we can help.

Some of the problems we help with and services we provide in this area include:

  • Metabolic Rate Testing
  • Immune System
  • Women’s Health
  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol
  • General Lifestyle

What is Metabolic Rate Testing?

Metabolic rate testing measures the amount of oxygen your body uses and the carbon dioxide it produces to determine your calorie burn rate. Your body must utilise 208.06 millilitres of oxygen to burn one calorie.

During metabolic rate testing, you will be asked to breathe into a face mask while sitting in a reclined position. Aside from your calorie burn rate, this test will also measure your heart rate and rhythm using an electrocardiogram. The entire procedure lasts for approximately 16 to 20 minutes.

Why should I go for a metabolic rate test?

Taking a metabolic rate test will increase your chances of achieving your weight loss or maintenance goals. After completing the test, you will know your body’s unique metabolic rate which you can use to customise your weight loss or maintenance programme. The results you may get from one of these tests can be one of the following:

  • Slowed metabolism: If your metabolic rate test reveals slowed metabolism, we can help you achieve better weight loss results.
  • Changes in metabolism: Should this be the case, we can help you overcome a possible plateau in your metabolism.
  • Precise caloric description: This result will help you maintain your ideal weight. 

Your results will also determine if you have a health issue which affects your metabolism. It could pertain to your thyroid, blood sugar levels, or cardiovascular system. A metabolic rate test can also determine if you’re dealing with obesity, which is another metabolic issue. 

What is the immune system?

The immune system comprises several organs, cells, and chemicals in your body which fight infection (microbes). Its main parts include:

  • White blood cells: These cells, which include b-cells, t-cells, and natural killer cells, originate from your bone marrow. They move through blood and tissues to eliminate microbes such as viruses, fungi, parasites, and bacteria.
  • Antibodies: Also known as an immunoglobulin, an antibody is a large, Y-shaped protein which recognises substances known as antigens or invading microbes. Once antibodies recognise the antigens, which are considered threats to the body, they mark them down for destruction.
  • Complement system: This system contains proteins which complement the antimicrobial function of antibodies.
  • Lymphatic system: Lymph nodes, lymph vessels, and lymphocytes comprise this system, which helps manage fluid levels in your body, ward off bacteria, disease-causing cells, and free radicals, and absorb some fats from the intestine.
  • Spleen: This organ filters out microbes from the blood and destroys damaged red blood cells. The spleen also produces antibodies and lymphocytes which keep illness at bay.
  • Bone marrow: This is a spongy tissue inside the bones which produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
  • Thymus: This lymphoid organ filters impurities from the blood and produces white blood cells called t-lymphocytes. 

What is the function of the immune system?

Your immune system fortifies your body’s defence against disease-causing microorganisms through a process known as the immune response. When these foreign substances threaten your body, your immune system cells collaborate to destroy them. 

How do I boost my immune system?

The best way to boost your immunity is by living a healthy lifestyle. More specifically, you can do this by:

  • Not smoking
  • Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Sleeping seven to nine hours every night
  • Avoiding infection (e.g. washing hands regularly, cooking meat thoroughly, etc.)
  • Lowering stress levels

What is women’s health?

Women’s health pertains to the branch of medicine which deals with the treatment and diagnosis of issues related to a woman’s physical and emotional well-being. 

Why is women’s health important?

It’s imperative for women to prioritise their health because of the far-reaching impact their health has on their lives and the lives of everyone around them. 

If you’re a woman and you compromise your health, your family life, relationships, career, and overall well-being will suffer. Aside from these personal consequences, the health of your baby (if you are pregnant or a new mother) and the quality of your relationships and life, in general, will also be negatively affected.

Healthier women result in happier families, communities, and societies. Young and older women alike must make their health a priority not just for themselves, but also for the sake of everyone they care about. 

What is included in women’s health?

Women’s health includes the following issues:

  • Sexual health, birth control, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), and gynecology
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Mammography
  • Menopause and hormone therapy
  • Cancer, particularly breast and ovarian
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Osteoporosis

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder brought about by high glucose (blood sugar) levels or hyperglycemia. There are two types of diabetes:

  1. Type 1 diabetes: In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, a hormone which transports blood glucose into the cells. Genetics and certain viruses may play a role in the development of this type of diabetes. Generally, this disorder begins in childhood and adolescence, but it can also develop during adulthood. 
  2. Type 2 diabetes: When you have this kind of diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it. Despite its reputation as an adult disorder, type 2 diabetes is now more prevalent among children because of the rise in childhood obesity numbers. 

What causes diabetes?

The exact cause of both types of diabetes remains to be determined, but the risk factors for both types have already been identified. The risk factors for type 1 diabetes are:

  • Exposure to viruses
  • Exposure to certain environmental factors
  • Genetics

The risk factors for type 2 diabetes are

  • Environmental factors
  • Excess weight or obesity
  • Genetics
  • Sedentary lifestyle

How do you know if you have diabetes?

If you’re worried that you have type 1 diabetes, try paying attention to its symptoms, which include: 

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Blurry vision
  • Mood swings and irritability 

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to its type 1 counterpart. In addition, one may experience slow-healing sores, frequent infections, and dark areas in the skin (particularly in the neck and armpits). If you experience multiple symptoms of diabetes, contact your health care practitioner immediately.   

How does diabetes affect my health, well-being and lifestyle?

When left untreated, diabetes can result in sudden mood changes which may strain your relationships and social life. Furthermore, this disorder may also result in a condition called diabetes distress. If you have diabetes distress, you may experience depression, anxiety, and stress because you feel you’re powerless to overcome diabetes. 

When you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you must make specific lifestyle changes to manage it successfully. Sticking to one’s nutrition, exercise programme, and other adjustments entails commitment, discipline, and persistence. It may not be easy, but the long-term benefits far outweigh the potential consequences.  

What are the types of diabetes treatment?

The purpose of any diabetes treatment is to normalise your blood glucose levels. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes treatments require diet modifications, exercise, and home blood glucose testing. If you’re diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you must take multiple insulin injections every day. Roughly 40 percent of type 2 diabetics need to undergo insulin treatment as type 1 diabetics do.

Other types of diabetes treatments include:

  • Medication: Diabetes medicines include alpha glucosidase inhibitors, amylin analogues, biguanides, gliptins, GLP-1 agonists, glinides, gliflozins, sulphonylureas, and glitazones.
  • Artificial pancreas: These include the closed-loop, bionic, and implanted versions which help release insulin and regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Herbal and natural therapies: Among the more effective ones are aloe vera, bilberry extract, bitter melon, cinnamon, fenugreek, ginger, okra, allium, and ginseng.
  • Alternative treatments: This category includes Chinese medicine and acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, dietary supplements, aromatherapy, relaxation therapy, massage therapy and reflexology, homeopathy, biofeedback, and colour, music, and art therapy.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance which your body needs to produce cells. It comes from your liver and dietary cholesterol, which you can obtain from animal-based foods such as meat, poultry, and dairy products.

There are two types of cholesterol:

  1. LDL cholesterol: Cardiologists consider this the bad type of cholesterol because it increases fatty buildups in your arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis. When left untreated, this condition narrows your arteries, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
  2. HDL cholesterol: This is the good type of cholesterol which carries bad cholesterol away from your arteries and redirects it to your liver. This organ breaks down and eliminates the bad cholesterol from your body. Doctors believe healthy HDL cholesterol levels lower the possibility of heart attack and stroke.   

How do I lower my cholesterol level?

One of the most effective ways to lower your cholesterol levels is by modifying your diet. Some of the foods which help you accomplish this include:

  • Oats
  • Barley and whole grains
  • Beans
  • Eggplant and okra
  • Nuts
  • Vegetable oils
  • Apples, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits
  • Plant-based foods rich in sterols and stanols such as legumes and seeds
  • Soy
  • Fatty fish

How does high cholesterol impact my health and well-being?

If you have high cholesterol levels, you increase your risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Your risk is further increased if you have hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes and you smoke.

Having a high cholesterol level means you must make the necessary lifestyle changes: eat foods high in soluble fibre and good (HDL) cholesterol, exercise regularly, and get regular check-ups and screenings. If you do these consistently, you will keep your cholesterol levels in check and enjoy better health and quality of life.  

How do I improve my general health?

Whether you have diabetes, high cholesterol or not, you can improve your general health by doing the following consistently:

  • Eat healthy foods: The great Greek physician Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” It would be wise to heed his words for long-term health: eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and good fats. Hydrate with water and drink freshly-brewed coffee (in moderation), turmeric, and green tea. Eat the occasional dessert, but remember to consider it as your reward for staying on track in terms of nutrition.
  • Exercise regularly: Regardless of your age, staying physically active promotes better sleep, increases your bone and muscular strength, keeps depression at bay, and improves your overall health. Choose an activity which you enjoy so you can have fun while taking care of your health. Whether it’s swimming, working out at the fitness centre, or playing team sports, exercising regularly will pay you enormous dividends down the line.
  • Prioritise rest and recovery: Getting enough sleep helps ward off illness, maintain your proper hormonal balance, boost your learning, and increase your muscle mass. For best results, try sleeping seven to nine hours every night.
  • Practise good hygiene: Washing your hands regularly boosts your health because rubbing your nose or eyes with dirty hands may result in an infection or illness. Clean hands help you offset these.
  • Minimise stress levels: Physicians have linked chronic anger, worry, and hostility to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Try to de-stress by engaging in a hobby, meditating, or reaching out to your friends and family members. When you keep your stress levels in check, you also take care of your mental and physical well-being.
  • Schedule regular check-ups: Seeing your doctor at least once a year helps determine potential health issues. When you get regular screenings and treatments, you are paving the way for your longer and healthier life. 

We can help you improve your general health and well-being

Our team of professional nutritionists and accredited dietitians can help you improve your general health and well-being. We are experts who have been accredited by the Dietitians Association of Australia and have many years of experience helping our clients from all walks of life deal with their various health conditions. When you turn to Julie Masci or any other member of our team, you get a life-changing opportunity to start over and stay healthy for many years to come.

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