This week I’m talking about something called Central Adiposity, or the more fancy term being “Belly Fat”.
Why is this important?
Well, just like high blood pressure, obesity has an inflammatory component which means it can interfere with the immune response and vice versa.
In a review published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2012), researchers stated:
Obesity, like other states of malnutrition, is known to impair the immune function, altering leukocyte counts as well as cell-mediated immune responses. In addition, evidence has arisen that an altered immune function contributes to the pathogenesis of obesity.
When we’re carrying extra weight, especially around the middle, it shifts our biology out of balance because fat cells release pro-inflammatory proteinscalled cytokines.
In other words, fat cells are a living breathing thing. They’re not stagnant that just sit there and do nothing!
They’re actually endocrine cells because of their ability to secrete hormones and influence cells in other parts of the body, that in many cases, can lead to further weight gain.
Sorry, not exactly the rosiest of scenarios but it’s important that I tell it as it is!
I’m calling this the “chillaxing smoothie” because it’s filled with relaxing and health enhancing minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and gut-friendly fibre.
Perfect for a tired and weary … and somewhat frazzled shift worker ⏰ 😴!
Bananas 🍌, celery and beetroot all contain potassium – a mineral which helps to lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease by maintaining fluid balance by way of enhancing urinary excretion of sodium.
We want to avoid too much sodium (found hidden in the majority of processed foods), as it draws water into the bloodstream, raising blood volume and thereby blood pressure.
Whole, real foods really are our medicine!
1/4 – 1/2 beetroot 1 x banana 1 x celery stick 250ml of milk of choice 3 x spoons yoghurt
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!
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.