Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Omega-3s and children’s learning, behaviour and mood

By the USANA ANZ
Marketing Team


If you have child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia or dyspraxia, you’ve probably already heard about the encouraging effects of omega-3 fish oils on these conditions. And, you may also know that oily fish is the richest source of omega-3 fats. But if your kids don’t like the strong taste of fish and you don’t fancy forcing a sardine down your child’s throat (joking!) twice a week, a good quality fish oil like BiOmega™ Jr. might help.
Omega-3 fats like these are important for a whole host of functions including eye health and for the correct running of parts of the brain used for memory, learning and reasoning behaviour. In the body, DHA is concentrated in the brain. The two most important omega-3s in human health are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).


Here’s what we know about omega-3s and how they impact children’s mood, learning and behaviour…

ADHD and low omega-3s
Children with ADHD are more likely to show symptoms of having low blood levels of omega-3s, such as dry skin and hair and excessive thirst. Some studies have shown that increasing omega-3 levels reduces the severity of ADHD-type behaviour such as difficulty in focusing and paying attention in some children, too.

Fish oil and behaviour
Australian research  published in The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, found improvements in parents’ ratings of their children’s hyperactivity and inattention after being given fish oil. However, the children’s teachers’ didn’t agree with the improvements seen by the children’s’ parents.

Reading ability
Other studies have linked fish oils with improvement in reading ability. One particular research, led by the University of Oxford in the UK, showed that some children with reading difficulties displayed improved reading after taking fish oil.  And in the group of children with the lowest 10 per cent reading ability, reading age improved the most. So, it may be that getting enough omega-3s may help children catch up with peers.
Although other research had linked benefits of omega-3s in children with conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia and developmental coordination disorder, this was the first research to show positive results in children from the general school population.


Adult studies
Adult studies have suggested that as an adjunct to treatment, fish oil might help with depression. Both EPA and DHA help to carry messages from outside into cells. And, since both EPA and DHA occur together naturally, may be that the human brain would benefit from a combination of the two. Studies are ongoing and more research is needed to confirm the role of omega-3s in children and this kind of mood disorder.
All in all, research suggests that taking a supplement of omega-3s may improve attention, brain function and self-control, attention and behaviour in children who don’t get enough omega-3s via diet.

Could your kids be low in omega-3s?
The modern western diet tends to be short on omega-3s; foods rich in these essential fats include oily fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel and organ meats such as brains. As oily fish tends to have a strong taste – and we’re not sure how many kids would want brains on toast – the average child could well be short on these vital nutrients.

Fish oil: safety
Fish oil is generally considered safe unless your child has a sensitivity to fish, has a bleeding disorder and or/is taking a blood thinning medicine. They vary a lot in their content and quality. BiOmega Jr. is a great choice because it has:

1. High levels of EPA and DHA – two of the most important constituents in omega-3 fats
2. Is a pharmaceutical grade fish oils supplement
3. Is distilled to be free from mercury.

A good quality fish oil is a good way to ensure adequate omega-3s and is generally safe unless your child has a sensitivity to fish oils or has a bleeding disorder, or/is taking a blood-thinning medicine or unless advise not to take such a supplement by a medical professional.
BiOmega Jr.

Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
USE ONLY AS DIRECTED, ALWAYS READ THE LABEL

Friday, September 19, 2014

Stress less for skin health

By Ravinder Lilly
USANA ANZ
Writer and Dietitian


We all need a little stress – that kick of adrenalin gets you go in the morning and it’s responsible for the kind of motivation you need to succeed. But fast-pace 21st lifestyles mean that stress is ever present – and this can cause damage to mind and body – and that includes your skin.

Stress causes a chemical response in your body that causes physical and emotional changes. As far as your skin is concerned, it makes it more sensitive and reactive. Ongoing stress can also make it harder for skin problems to heal.

Do you ever notice that when you’re stressed, your skin breaks out? That’s because stress triggers the production and release of cortisol and other hormones one effect of which is on the oil producing glands in your skin, the sebaceous glands. Stress triggers them to produce more oil. And, as oily skin is more susceptible to skin problems like acne, it may be stress that’s behind  worsening skin problems including rosacea, and eczema.  So what can you do to stress less and help boost your skin health?

1.       Drink more. Water that is… One of the many ways that your body naturally detoxes itself is with pure, clean water. Water helps your kidneys, liver and intestines function properly in their task of cleansing the body. It also ensures that your skin can do one of its many jobs, removing impurities and wastes through sweat.

2.       And talking of sweat… Exercise is an important stress buster. But it has a dual action because it also helps the blood to pump around the body nourished all your organs including your skin. Aerobic exercise – the kind that makes your heart beat faster – is the kind that does this. Exercise can be a healthy diversion from stresses and boosts the release of fee-good chemicals called endorphins to help raise your mood and lower your stress. But aerobic isn’t the only way to go – stretching activities such as yoga and Tai Chi which involve rhythmic breathing and steady, systematic movements help to boost relaxation. Shower and changes soon after exercise to minimise the length of time sweaty material is left against your skin.

3.       Get enough sleep. If you’re short of the ZZZs, your mind and body is not getting enough time to unwind after the pressures of the day. Try to have a regular sleep time. As part of your wind down routine, take 15 to 20 minutes to do some gentle stretches and deep breathing to relax and ease away the pressures of the day. Try to unwind with a good book rather than more screen time – the light emitted from transmitting screens interferes with your body’s natural sleep wake mechanisms and could make sleeping more difficult.

4.       Find time for you. Take time for yourself to do something you enjoy, even if you only have ten minutes. And, if you need to, talk to someone. Your doctor can put you in touch with a suitable professional.

5.       Enjoy a healthy, mixed diet. Go low – low GI that is! Too many sugary foods and drinks leads to a rapid rise in blood glucose. This in turn means that your body releases insulin to try and normalise blood glucose levels. Too much circulating insulin stresses the hormonal responses and could means and putting the oil gland producing action into overdrive!

6.       Nourish with nutritionals. Omega-3 fats help to plump the skin and boost its ability to retain moisture. The result? Fatter, healthier skin. Omega-3s also control the release of irritating substances including leukotriene B4 which is involved with skin problems.

7.       Nourish from the outside in. While there is no doubt that nutrition is vital, the skin-boosting nutritionals only get to the skin when all of the other organs have been nourished. So, a great way to provide food for skin is to apply it. Many preparations use vitamin C because of its radiance producing effects. But not all vitamin C products are stable. USANA’s Sense™ range is a great way to feed the skin with plant based nutrition and a stable complex of vitamins – including vitamin C.

Our latest issue of Product Focus provides an in-depth information about how you can nourish your skin inside and out. Hop onto USANAToday to find out more and download your free copy of the newsletter and the PowerPoint presentation.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Five love-your-liver foods

By the USANA ANZ
Marketing Team

The next meal or snack you choose, spare a thought for your liver…

 
It's your body’s second largest organ (after your skin), and your liver works hard to filter out nasties and detoxify substances to ensure that your body is kept free from harmful constituents – whether these are from living organisms or chemicals in your foods/drinks and/or those that you breathe in. It also has an important role in digesting foods and storing vitamins.
 
Healthy foods nourish all of your body. But some components in foods are especially liver-protective. So, once you’re in a healthy weight range, you’re sure that you drink enough water for optimal hydration and don’t overdo alcohol, fat or sugar, here are some foods that can boost your liver health.

1.      The green goodness of garden veggies
Eat up those greens!
Sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli contain a wide range of phytonutrients including flavonoids, carotenoids, indoles and the anti-cancer compound, sulphurophane. All of these active ingredients help your liver neutralise chemicals, pesticides, drugs, and carcinogens. These cruciferous veggies also contain an antioxidant substance called glutathione. Glutathione attaches itself to toxins and takes them out of your body. The process works best if the foods aren’t heated though – heat destroys the enzymes they contain so raw is best or lightly stir-fried in olive or avocado oil.

Spinach, kale, bok choy and asparagus contain high levels of sulphur, a mineral that supports your liver’s detoxification processes. Sulphur encourages your liver to neutralise free radicals and other toxic chemicals.

2.      Garlic
Go for garlic!
The active ingredient in garlic, sulphur-based allicin, can help your liver to cleanse itself. Garlic also contains the mineral selenium which also helps the liver cleaning process.
Onions and leeks, (relatives to garlic) also contain beneficial sulphur compounds to support your liver in its glutathione production. Remember, glutathione is present in every cell of your body and its job is to neutralise free radicals.

3.      Peanuts


Delicious and nutritious!
Peanuts and other legumes like soy beans contain choline which your liver needs to metabolise fats – including the fat, cholesterol. Lack of choline could result in an accumulation of fat in the liver.  Choline also partly powers a chemical process called methylation. This is where the amino acid homocysteine is converted into another amino acid called methionine. This is beneficial because high levels of homocysteine are associated with raised risk of several chronic conditions. But methionine helps fat removal from the liver and protects it from toxins, too!



 
4.      Turmeric



A cousin to ginger, turmeric is a powerful
anti-inflammatory, too!
Used widely in Indian cooking and in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, lots of research is proving the powerful anti-inflammatory effects of this golden yellow spice which works as a detox for your liver. Like its cousin, ginger, turmeric helps your body digest fats and stimulates the production of bile. Ginger also contains antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties; it aids cleansing by encouraging circulation in the liver, lowering blood cholesterol and generally unclogging in your liver.


5.      Artichokes
Artichokes are a member of the thistle family
just like the liver protector, milk thistle
Artichokes are thistles which contain two phytonutrients called cynarin and silymarin (which is also found in a relative to artichoke, milk thistle). Both of these phytonutrients have been shown to nourish the liver, increase bile production, and even prevent gallstones.

If you would like to know more about liver health, talk with your doctor. And, if your liver could do with a little lovin’, USANA’s unique Hepa Plus™ is a great choice.

The active ingredients include broccoli concentrate, turmeric and close to 200mg of milk thistle extract. It also contains Meriva® curcumin in a patented form that has been shown to boost bioavailability by 30 times compared with regular curcumin. It’s a formulation that’s been created based on peer-reviewed science and produced with the same commitment to quality, safety, and purity that you have come to expect from USANA.
    
HepaPlus™                                          
Item# 135                                          
SVP 25
Price $42.60 AU / $55.00 NZ

Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
USE ONLYH AS DIRECTED, ALWAYS READ THE LABEL

 

 

 






Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

 

 

 



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How weight-loss and alcohol affect your liver

By the USANA ANZ
Marketing Team

Some fat in the liver is normal. But if fat makes up more than 5-10 per cent of the weight of your liver (your doctor can advise you), you may have alcoholic or non-alcoholic liver disease. Both of these conditions can lead to serious complications. And, there are no symptoms in the early stages – only a blood test and abnormal liver enzymes can signal an early problem.

Getting into a healthy weight range is important. This helps you to avoid insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of symptoms including belly fat and two or more of high blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood glucose). Insulin resistance can occur when insulin tries to normalise the concentration of glucose in your blood by taking glucose in the blood into body cells (where it can be used as an energy source). Insulin resistance is when the cells become resistant to insulin so that there are high levels of insulin and glucose in the blood. Insulin is a hunger hormone and glucose is converted into fat and deposited around the body – including the abdomen and liver.

And, while losing weight is important, it is very important to go slow and steady with weight-loss. Rapid weight loss is not recommended. For example, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can develop in some people following surgery to reduce obesity and may be due to rapid changes of fats in the blood when the body encourages the liver to produce fats to make up for the fat missing from the diet.

Alcohol is also a well-known cause of liver damage – and if you regularly drink over the recommended lower risk guidelines, you increase your chances of developing live problems which can be irreversible.

The liver turns glucose into fat which it sends round the body to store for use when we need it. Alcohol affects the way your liver handles fat so your liver cells get stuffed full of it.

Alcohol causes oxidative stress when the liver tries to breakdown alcohol into something less toxic. The damage can lead to inflammation and scaring as your liver tries to repair itself. Alcohol also causes toxins from your gut to get into the liver and these can cause inflammation and scarring, too.

What can you do?

Don’t drink alcohol every day. Daily drinking increases the chances of your body becoming tolerant to alcohol. Taking days off alcohol helps to give your body a break and time for your liver to heal itself. It is important not to drink more than the safe limits. If you need help, speak with your GP.

Eat well. Good nutrition can help to support your liver to function and plays a crucial role in your health. Enjoy two fruits and five veggies or more daily and always fill half of your plate with fresh produce and only a quarter with lean protein and a quarter with wholegrain or wholemeal carbohydrates help to shift the balance to healthier eating. You will automatically consume fewer calories if you go for this kind of portion perfection. A healthy weight loss is about half to one kilos per week.

Try a liver lovin’ cleanse. USANA’s HepaPlus™ supplement contains numerous ingredients including milk thistle extract and alpha lipoic acid

HepaPlus also contains a bioavailable from of turmeric extract to support healthy liver function.




Turmeric is widely used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems and skin conditions. In animal studies, curcumin, the pigment that gives turmeric its distinctive yellow colour can slow the changes caused by excessive alcohol consumption that lead to liver damage.[i] It can also lower the levels of two body enzymes that cause inflammation.


[i] Journal reference: American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology (Vol 284, p 321) Accessed 3/2/2012. Available from:  http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3525-curry-spice-combats-alcoholrelated-liver-disease.html
 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Do you have skinny fat?

By the USANA ANZ
Marketing Team
Skinny fat is a term that describes a person who is in a healthy weight range but has more body fat than is healthy. Skinny fat is also termed Metabolically Obese Normal Weight (MONW). It relates to the way fat tissue is carried in the body. And, whether the body fat is visible or is invisible (i.e. located deep inside you coating vital organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas). Too much body fat (especially belly fat) causes metabolic changes such as inflammation. That’s because visceral fat, the fat stored deep inside you is metabolically active, triggering inflammation which stops blood from flowing freely.

Essentially skinny fat happens when you carry too much fat and not enough muscle.

Dangers of being skinny fat

A staggering one in four people with MONW have pre-diabetes according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association and you may be affected if:

·         You have a waist measurement of greater than 94cm for men or 80cm for women. Belly fat is an indicator of internal fat deposits, which can coat the internal organs, and increase the risk of chronic disease.

·         You have an abnormal blood cholesterol profile i.e. if you have high triglycerides, especially with a low HDL- or good cholesterol.

·         Your blood sugar is consistently higher than normal range and/or if you are diabetic and your blood glucose is not well controlled.

·         You have insulin resistance. This is when insulin is being produced but cannot take blood glucose into the cells in order to keep blood glucose levels to within the normal range. Too much circulating insulin prevents the breakdown of fat in body cells and encourages the production of more fat from the excess circulating glucose.

·         You have an abnormal liver function test. This can be an early indicator of excess fat in the liver. Your doctor will discuss this with you.
 What you can do?
  • Cut down on sugary carbohydrates and white bread, pasta and foods made from white flour.
  • Choose low GI carbohydrates (NutrimealTM and USANA Snacks are both ultra-low GI).
  • Ditch soft drinks (including juices)
  • Moderate alcohol (is also converted into triglycerides and stored in the liver and around the belly)
  • Try cereals like quinoa and amaranth which contain more protein and fewer carbs.
  • Boost your aerobic exercise to cut down fat sores and increase strength training to help muscle fibres grow in size
  • Try a liver lovin’ cleanse with USANA’s HepaPlus™ supplement. It contains numerous ingredients including milk thistle extract, alpha lipoic acid to support healthy liver function. Alpha lipoic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals. Most antioxidants are either soluble in fat or water soluble so they can’t access every part of every cell. Alpha lipoic acid is able to enter both the fatty and aqueous (water-based) sections of the cell, boosting its ability to trap free radicals wherever they are.
HepaPlus contains choline a substance which helps to emulsify (break down) fats. This helps them to be removed from the liver. Food sources of choline include eggs, beef, salmon, wheat germ and broccoli. All of these ingredients not only help cleanse and remove fat in liver but they also help to regenerate cells. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Could your sweet tooth be clogging your liver?

By the USANA ANZ
Marketing Team


Your liver is your body’s waste management system and it performs over 500 hundred functions. It:

  • Filters toxins from the blood
  • Helps with food digestion
  • Regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Helps fight infection and disease.

You already know that alcohol can damage your liver. And you may also know that one of the first stages of liver disease is when fat builds up in the liver. But, did you know that the most common cause of fatty build-up in the liver is being overweight and consuming too much sugar?

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a range of conditions but it is reversible. Around 70-80 per cent of people who are obese are thought to be affected and if untreated, the damage could eventually lead to cirrhosis – tissue scarring which is serious and even life-threatening. NAFLD also raises you risk of conditions such as heart attack and stroke. So, if you are overweight/obese or consume too much of the sweet stuff, here’s what you can do to give your liver a little lovin’…

Limit high GI

Too much sugar (high GI foods and drinks) is difficult for your body to cope with and stresses body systems. While your body and brain rely on a steady supply of glucose which the body tries very hard to keep within a normal range, sugars like fructose (which is added to many ready-prepared foods and fast foods) is processed in your liver. Too much sugar prompts your liver to produces a type of fat called triglycerides which are then deposited around the abdomen and in the liver. Fat in the liver impairs the functioning of the liver. Low GI foods and drinks are easier for the body to cope with.

Snack carefully

Consuming too many calories causes weight gain (no surprise). But recently, researchers, writing in the journal, Hepatology, found that eating frequently – i.e. snacking – increased the concentration of triglycerides – this encouraged belly fat and fat storage in the liver. So, opt for three daily meals and two to three healthy low GI snacks.

Choose nuts 
Nuts are concentrated in protein and healthy fats – walnuts contain omega-3 fats and almonds are a great source of calcium – nutrients that many of us fall short of. Other healthy snacks include veggies sticks and hummus or tomato salsa and wholegrain crackers with peanut butter or good ol’ Vegemite.

Get into a healthy weight range

Doing this gradually helps reverse NAFLD and can also reduce your risk for cardiovascular conditions like heart attack. At the same time, get moving. Exercise helps to burn calories in the form of excess stored fat. Plus, it encourages your body to build more lean tissue and boost circulation to further boost body – and liver – health.

Try some curry

The Indian spice, turmeric which is a relative of ginger and gives curries their golden glow is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Curcumin, its active ingredient, may also protect the liver by helping to expel toxins via phase liver detoxification reactions.

Try a liver lovin’ cleanse!

USANA’s HepaPlus™ acts as a liver tonic by supporting healthy liver function and normal detoxification processes. HepaPlus is a supplement that combines numerous ingredients including milk thistle extract, alpha lipoic acid and turmeric extract to support healthy liver function. These ingredients not only help cleanse and remove fat in liver but they also help regenerate cells. 
Try some today!


USANA'S HepaPlus
 

Vitamin Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

USE ONLY AS DIRECTED. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Eat smart, eat happy, boost your brain!


By Ravinder Lilly
USANA ANZ Writer and Dietitian

Fruit is rich in antioxidants
and vitamins
You already know that what you eat helps nourish your body. But did you know that what and when you eat it can also affect your brain, your mood and your focus (or lack of it)?

Good nutrition may prevent degenerative problems like Alzheimer’s and it may even cut your chances of depression. So, here at USANA Australia, we’re focussing on how food components and nutrients interact to affect your brain health in our latest Product Focus (which you can download from USANAtoday). Plus, we’ve put together a sample day of happy meals and explain how foods, nutrients and USANA products can help nourish your noggin!

Breakfast

The first meal of the day literally breaks the overnight fast. A healthy brekkie will set you up for the day ahead and keep you going. Breakfast eaters also tend to be more focused and less likely to grab unhealthy eats.

Brekkie oats

Oats contain more soluble fibre than other grains and this binds to cholesterol helping to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. This ancient grain can help to keep your cholesterol levels in check (high blood LDL-cholesterol is a warning sign for heart disease which is still Australia’s number one killer).

With fruit...

Since your brain is rich in unsaturated fat, it’s important to protect it from oxidation. Hence, make sure you get your fair share of antioxidants. Antioxidants do just what their name suggests – they counter the damaging effects of oxidation and fight rogue molecules called free radicals. Over time, free radical damage can wear out cells – including brain cells.

As well as containing antioxidant pigments, berries and other fruits also contain antioxidant vitamins including vitamin C. Blueberries and grapes are especially brain healthy – blueberries may even reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Hint; whizz up an easy, speedy Nutrimeal™; formulated to be high protein, low GI and low in calories – important if you’re watching your weight. Throw in some frozen berries for a fast and tasty breakfast on the run!

Award winning Nutrimeal Free


Get snack-tastic

Go nuts!

Just 10 walnuts each day helps to optimise the composition of cell walls. Plus, studies have shown that walnuts can help to lower blood cholesterol levels, too, which in turn helps improve blood flow around the body – including to your brain.

Nuts are rich in vitamin E – low levels of this fat-soluble vitamin are associated with cognitive (brain decline) in older people.

Almonds and cashews are other great choices and Brazil nuts are a rich source of the antioxidant mineral, selenium. Careful how you go, though – nuts are also calorie-rich.

Walnuts are rich in healthy unsaturated oils


Hint; USANA’s delicious Go Nut ‘n’ Berries™ bars contain walnuts and almonds plus cranberries for an antioxidant boost.

Fab fruits

Boost flagging blood glucose levels in a healthy way with fruit. Unlike manufactured snacks, fresh fruit won’t cause a massive surge in blood glucose because fruit is naturally packaged with fibre. Fibre holds onto the fructose and other sugars in fruit releasing it slowly so that you get a steady energy supply. Fresh (and lightly cooked produce) is also rich in vitamins and minerals.

Plump for pumpkin seeds

Tiny nutritional powerhouses, pumpkin seeds contain a wide variety of nutrients from magnesium and manganese to copper and zinc. Pumpkin seeds also contain the amino acid tryptophan which is converted by the body into serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. Your body can convert serotonin into the sleep hormone, melatonin. So snacking on pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed with some carbohydrates (like wholegrain cracker or some fruit) may help promote restful sleep.

Make time for tea

Enjoy your snack with a cup of tea or two – tea contains anti-inflammatory compounds called catechins and a review published in 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that regular tea drinkers reported better alertness and attention. Also, studies of older people have found better brain function associated with drinking tea. Brain-protective compounds in tea include L-theanine and catechins. Caffeine is also a mild stimulant and when it’s used sensibly, caffeine promotes mood, memory, and focus.

Hint; find tea compounds in HealthPak™, Essentials™ and Rev 3 Energy™ Drink contains the goodness of green tea.

Optimal nutrition


Lunch

How about hummus and salad sandwich on wholegrain bread?

Great grains

Wholegrain bread (or brown rice) contains fibre, vitamins and slow-release low GI carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are your brain’s preferred energy source and your body relies on a steady stream of energy. Excess glucose is converted into glycogen and into fat.

Too many high GI carbohydrates cause glucose to rush into the blood system. Detecting the raised blood glucose levels, your body releases insulin to get glucose into body cells and out of the blood. But, a rush of glucose that comes from consuming too much glucose leads to insulin overproduction and ultimately, a low blood glucose, bad mood, poor concentration and a desire for a sugary fix. And so the cycle continues…

Always choose low GI carbs to help to regulate your blood glucose levels and this, in turn, will help maintain energy levels and ultimately, your mood.

Love those legumes!

High in protein, rich in fibre, low in fat!


Chickpeas and other beans – whether you’re talking kidney, soy, borlotti or butter – provide protein and slow release carbohydrates to help regulate the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter serotonin.

Hummus (made from chickpeas) contains fibre to help stabilise glucose levels and provide a sustained energy source. They are also protein-rich which helps to keep you full without filling out. Not having to focus on hunger means you can focus better on tasks rather than your next meal…

Well oiled

Healthy oils are vital to keep the walls of your arteries clear. Obstructive plaques (made from accumulated saturated fats) narrow blood vessels restricting the flow of nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood which all cells – including your brain cells – rely on.

Replacing saturated fats (from animal foods like butter and cheese) with unsaturated oils (from plant sources, nuts, seeds, olives, avocadoes and oily fish) is better for your body – and better for your brain, too.

Wonderful veggies

Add plenty of salad veggies to provide crunch, texture, fibre, water and lots of antioxidants to keep your delicate brain cells protected against free radicals.

Dinner

Try fish curry with brown rice, broccoli, carrots and tomatoes.

In it for omegas

Oily fish like salmon and fresh tuna is rich in omega-3 fats (salmon contains 1.7grams per 100g fish) and omega-3s are on double duty where it comes to brain health. As well as being vital for brain function, most of your body’s omega-3 fats are located in brain tissue. Omega-3 fats are potent anti-inflammatories and by helping to reduce inflammation, you may help your brain to function more efficiently. Getting enough omega-3s has also been linked with better mood in some studies.

Omega-3s also have a powerful role in improving cells’ ability to take up essential hormones, including those involved in mood regulation. Your body can’t make omega-3 fats so you need to get them from your diet. Veggie choices include walnuts and omega-3 fortified foods, flaxseeds and canola oil.

Hint; USANA’s BiOmega™ contains a therapeutic concentration of omega-3 fats DHA (which is concentrated in the brain) and EPA. Plus, our award-winning Go Nuts ‘n’ Berries™ bars provide a vegan source of omega-3s coming in with a whopping 500mg omega-3s!

Each BiOmega capsule
provides a whopping 550mg
marine omega-3s!


Go low!

Low GI that is. GI relates to the length of time it takes the body to break down carbohydrate foods. It takes your body longer to break down low GI foods (compared with high GI foods and drinks) and these results in a slow and steady energy release which keeps body and mind fuelled for longer. High GI (sugary) foods and drinks, on the other hand, provide a rapid surge of energy followed by an energy slump as insulin is overproduced by your body as it tries very hard to keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels to within normal – and very narrow limits. Couple low GI eating with some protein and fibre to keep you fuller for longer and you will be able to concentrate for longer without being bothered by hunger.

Don’t get so inflamed!

Turmeric is a cousin to ginger

With age, brain cells spurt inflammatory (and fast-spreading) chemicals. And, while inflammation is the body's normal response to injury, chronic (long-term) inflammation can destroy brain cells, potentially leading to dementia. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric (a cousin to ginger) which gives Indian curries their golden glow could help beat inflammation – even inside brain tissue. In fact, scientists are researching whether the high levels of turmeric in the sub-continent could account for India's amazingly low rate of Alzheimer's.

Find curcumin in turmeric, curry powder and mustard. Eating turmeric with black pepper increases the body’s ability to absorb this zingy curry spice.

Colour crazy

Cruciferous veg – broccoli and cauliflower – seem to be particularly beneficial brain protectors. And, carrots are a great source of antioxidants carotenoids and vitamin A. Red produce like tomatoes are a potent source of the antioxidant lycopene – cook and/or serve with a drizzle of olive oil to boost your body’s absorption of this deep red pigment. Deep green leafy veg like spinach, kale and broccoli provide both flavonoids and carotenoids – you could say they are on double nutrition duty!

(Hint; USANA’s HealthPak™ and Essentials™ contain a wide range of antioxidants).

Darker leaves mean
more nutrients


Delicious dessert

And now for the best news ever! A good quality chocolate contains a powerful mix of antioxidants and several stimulants one of which is caffeine. Caffeine can stimulate the production of feel good chemicals, endorphins, which improve mood. When choosing chocolate, go for a product that contains at least 70% cocoa. And just two to four squares will do the trick – it’s a case of less is more! Or, finish your meal with another flavonoid-rich food such as apples or red and purple grapes, washed down with a glass of red wine (but just the one glass!).

And also…

Three-quarters of your brain is water and it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day for general good health. As far as brain health is concerned, one small study from Ohio University in the United States study found that people who were well hydrated scored better on tests of their brain function compared with those who weren’t drinking enough.

Get moving!

According to Australia’s Black Dog Institute, exercise can lift mood and even treat depression. How? It raises your energy levels – so you feel better able to cope with daily tasks. It provides a distraction from concerns – especially if you exercise with some upbeat buddies.

Choose something you love and you’ll love to exercise.

And, if you work out on an empty stomach in the morning, your body goes directly into the fat stores for energy. Then, enjoy a deliciously healthy brekkie.

Yep, that really is a win, win!