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…)

Needing Help With Sugar Cravings?

The other day it was raining ☔️ here in my hometown of Brisbane, so I thought what better way than to experiment in the kitchen!

Now given the majority of shift workers experience “hangry” moments thanks to blood sugar dysregulation as a result of sleep disruption, I wanted to come up with a recipe that would help to keep sugar cravings at bay.

Meet Mr Macadamia Nut Hummus– the perfect sugar craving antidote whether you’re on an early shift, late shift, night shift or heaven forbid a “normal” shift – lol

Macadamia nuts are high in healthy monounsaturated fats to keep you feeling fuller for longer, and are a great source of magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, vitamins B1, B3 & E, phosphorus and zinc.

Chickpeas are packed with gut-friendly fibre which help to stabilise blood sugar levels (and fend off those “hangry” cravings), as well as making them great for insulin-resistant individuals or diabetics. Health conditions which are becoming increasingly common in those who work 24/7.

In addition, chickpeas are a great source of protein and contain minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and zinc.

What’s in it?

  • 2/3 cup roasted macadamias
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Handful of parsley

How to make it?

Throw everything into a food processor for 10-15 seconds (I like a chunky consistency), or longer until smooth.

Store in a container to bring into work to have with crackers or veggie sticks and share with workmates (maybe?!) It’s also delicious as a base on sourdough toast topped with eggs, mushrooms and/or roasted tomatoes!

Enjoy,

Audra x

How Fast Are You Eating?

Have you ever thought about how fast you might be eating?  

Seem like a strange question?!!

Well, the reason I ask is because according to a study published in the British Medical Journal (2018), eating speed was shown to affect obesity, BMI and weight circumference of subjects.

This is because eating quickly is associated with impaired glucose and insulin resistance, a known risk factor for diabetes – which is a condition prevalent in many who work 24/7.

Eating quickly can also lead to an increase in BMI and obesity because fast eaters may continue to eat despite having consumed sufficient amounts of calories.

When we’re running on reduced sleep (like most shift workers!!) we also don’t always receive a signal telling us that we’re feeling full because sleep deprivation suppresses an appetite regulating hormone called leptin.

So whilst we often have to inhale our food at a rate of knots thanks to time restraints around our meal breaks, being mindful of the speed at which you are eating can be a simple (and free) strategy for minimising weight gain whilst working irregular shift rotations.

Audra x

References:

Hurst, Y & Fukuda, H 2018, ‘Effects of changes in eating speed on obesity in patients with diabetes: a secondary analysis of longitudinal health check-up data’, British Medical Journal, vol. 8, no. 1.

Paz-Graniel, I, Babio, N, Mendez, I & Salas-Salvado, J 2019, ‘Association between eating speed and classical cardiovascular risk factors: A cross-sectional study’, Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1-10.