Does Your Workplace Have A Lollie Jar?

I was speaking at a conference on the weekend, and I asked the attendees the following question:

“Do you have a lollie jar stashed in a drawer at work? There were quite a few nods in the room, and one guy even said they have a Lollie Locker!

Whooska. Well, at least he was honest.

The thing is, they’re pretty much in every shift working workplace on the planet.

Incredibly, (but not surprisingly), they line the drawers of most hospital wards … but don’t get me started about the food in the hospitals. I’m going to save that for an entirely different email!!

Anyway, I digress.

Getting back to the lollie jar. Does your workplace also have those “fundraising choccies” that make several appearances throughout the year??

It’s for a good cause, right?

Well … yes, I’m not going to disagree with that, but at what cost to those who are consuming these sugar-laden treats?

You see, when we’re constantly sleep-deprived our bodies are essentially in a state of ‘fight or flight’ which leads us to crave sugar.

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Is Your Waist Circumference Sabotaging Your Immune System?

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 proteins called 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!

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The Chillaxing Smoothie

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

Enjoy!

Audra x

Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and Immunity

Something which is not often spoken about when it comes to immune function, is how our body composition can play a role in its ability to function at its optimum.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of conditions comprising of:

– excess abdominal weight
– high blood pressure
– elevated blood glucose levels
– high levels of triglycerides, and
– low levels of high-density lipoproteins or good cholesterol 

A person is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (MetS) if they have at least three of these five conditions.

Sadly this is becoming more and more prevalent both here in Australia, and overseas – also raising the risks of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Quite simply, metabolic syndrome has become a global epidemic (Saklayen 2018) – be it a very silent one.

What’s important to understand is that metabolic syndrome (MetS) negatively affects immune function, and does so by altering normal functioning of lymphatic tissues due to high levels of inflammation.

These lymphatic tissues include white blood cells (leukocytes), bone marrow, the thymus gland, spleen and lymph nodes.

So stay tuned, as over the next few weeks I’m going to share some tips and tricks on how to address all 5 of these MetS risk factors, because many people who work outside normal working hours … AKA shift workers ⏰, often present with at least 3-4 of them.

Audra x

A Simply Hilarious Way To Improve Your Shift Work Health In Just 30 Seconds!

If you’re struggling to improve your shift work health, I bet you’ve never realised that there’s an incredibly fast (and funny) way to do it – all in just 30 seconds.

And not only is it fast and easy – it’s also free!

Curious? Well it’s quite simply – LAUGHTER.

You see, laughter is good for you on so many levels. But it’s particularly good for shift workers because it helps boost your immune system – something we struggle with every single day when we work these crazy and irregular hours.

Laughter makes us feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.

But if laughter really is that good for us, then why are so many of us laughing less than we used to? As adults we laugh 3 times less than we did over one hundred years ago. On the other hand, children laugh 300-400 times a day compared to just 10-18 times a day for adults.

Of course a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’re all so darn tired and stressed that we’ve quite literally forgotten how to laugh.

But the good news is that we can change these numbers. We just need to re-train ourselves to learn how to laugh again.

In fact a great deal of research has revealed that laughter is virtually a miracle drug in that it stimulates the immune system. Tests were done on people before and after watching sitcoms for 30-60 minutes and results showed an increase in immune system activity which raises its ability to prevent and combat colds, flu and sinus problems.

Laughter also gives the heart a workout and increases circulation and flow of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues.

And what’s even more exciting is that research undergone by Dr William Fry from Stanford University, led him to believe that …

100 laughs = 10 minutes of aerobic exercise!

How cool is that? So does that mean we can feel guilt-free parking ourselves on the sofa in front of the idiot box instead of going out and doing some exercise? Not quite, but it certainly shows how a good belly laugh does wonders for your health!

So if you’re tired of getting sick all of the time whilst you’re working shift work, stop and think when was the last time you had a really good laugh.

Try watching a funny DVD, delve into a humorous book or just gather up some friends and head out for a night to the local Comedy Club. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just get out there and laugh loud, laugh long and laugh often and you’ll be well on your way to improving your shift work health.