Reducing High Blood Pressure to Support the Immune System.

Last week I chatted briefly about a condition called metabolic syndrome (MetS), and how it’s inflammatory effects can alter the normal functioning of lymphatic tissues involved in the immune response.

Now there are 5 risk factors that fall under the banner of metabolic syndrome, but in today’s post, I’m going to concentrate on High Blood Pressure, also known as hypertension.

First and foremost, something to keep in mind is that high blood pressure is an inflammatory disease that impairs immune function.  That being said, a compromised immune system also leads to inflammation, so it works both ways.

When the immune response becomes dysregulated, it causes the sympathetic nervous system (a fancy way to describe our ‘fight or flight’ stress response), to go into overdrive. This raises our heart rate and blood pressure (which is fine in the short term), but over the long-term, can lead to oxidative damage causing arterial stiffening and hardening of the arteries.

Picture a rusty pipe and this is pretty much what oxidative damage does to our inner piping, so definitely something we want to avoid!

(more…)

Is Your Brain Getting A Signal That It’s Safe To Sleep?


Going to bed stressed will make it near in possible for you to sleep, because the body is in a state of ‘fight or flight’.

This fight or flight mode sends a signal to your brain that it’s actually not safe for you to sleep. Quite simply, you need to stay awake to fight off any predators – real or imagined!

When this happens the body produces cortisol, a hormone that works in opposition to melatonin – a hormone that helps to regulate sleep.

In other words, high cortisol = low melatonin = a delay to sleep onset.

Not ideal if you’re a shift worker – especially on those tight turnaround shifts when sleep is at a premium!

It’s why implementing strategies to help you to relax prior to getting into bed, is absolutely key in helping you to fall asleep.

Audra x

HSW 95 – Exercise, Mental Health and PTSD with Beck Lawther.

Today we’re talking about the benefits of exercise when it comes to managing our mental health – in particular around the topic of PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with Beck Lawther, a Police Officer with the Victorian Police Service based in Melbourne.

Beck is also the co-founder of Triple Zero Fit, a personal training company which runs fitness sessions specifically for first responders and emergency services personnel who are struggling with PTSD, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Things we chatted about:

– What led Beck to set up PT4PTSD?
– Why taking a 9-5 job for a couple of years can be a great strategy to reset our physical and mental health
– Why simply getting to the gym can feel like an insurmountable task, especially for those suffering from PTSD
– How physical exercise stimulates hormone production that improves our mental health
– How you can become a volunteer personal trainer, or utilise some of the services offered by Triple Zero Fit

Links mentioned in the podcast:
Triple Zero Fit Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/triplezerofit/
Triple Zero Fit Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/triplezerofit/
The Code 9 Foundation – https://www.code9ptsd.org.au/

Are You Eating To Support Your Mental Health?

Yesterday I was invited to speak at an event titled ‘Love Yourself Masterclass’ for veterinarian and vet nurses here in Brisbane, because quite tragically, these practitioners have the highest suicide rate in the country.

Yes that was not a typo.

These incredible human beings that do an AMAZING job at taking care of our beloved pets are struggling. Struggling to take care of themselves as a result of a highly stressful and emotionally challenging work environment, that is affecting them physically, mentally and emotionally – right to the core.

This gut wrenching suicide statistic is 4 times higher than the average Australian, and twice as high as other medical professions.

So what can be done to support our mental health in the workplace?

Well there are many things, one of which is critically important, is sufficient quality sleep. Something that I spoke about in detail at this event yesterday because it actually trumps nutrition.

But I’ll save that for a separate post, because it deserves it’s very own.

In today’s post I want to talk about the importance of feeding our bodies with the right foods and nutrients, because this simple practice can make a DRAMATIC difference to our mental health.

(more…)

Poor Sleep – Why Your Diet May Be To Blame.

As someone who works irregular hours, I’m pretty certain that you’d be well aware of how a shift working lifestyle can play havoc on our ability to sleep and sleep well.

Whether it’s due to a rotating roster, long stretches of early or night shifts, or as a result of nasty minimum turnarounds that don’t really allow sufficient opportunity to sleep.

Hmm. Don’t get me started on that one!!

But have you ever considered that your diet may be affecting your ability to sleep as well?

Because most people don’t.

In fact, it never crosses their minds.

We’re usually more worried about how our food choices are going to affect our waistlines (which is a good thing), but the association between how it can impact on our sleep is often overlooked.

So here’s the kicker.

What we eat (or don’t eat) can definitely play a role in how well we sleep (or don’t sleep).

A BIG role.

(more…)