Health & Wellness - Summer

  • Summer 2020
  • Health and wellness
  • Read Time: 4 mins

A pill a day

Did you know?

Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are primarily found in nuts, seeds, avocados, vegetable oils and fish. 

Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fat to help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that our bodies need in small amounts and play an important role in keeping us healthy.

Doctors say the essential vitamins are found in fresh fruit and vegetables and other foods. There’s little need to waste money buying supplementary vitamins, which the body ends up excreting, or worse. More on that later.

Based on advertising and the sheer number of vitamin brands we see on supermarket shelves, it seems we can’t get enough. It’s easy to believe a simple daily pill can bolster our immunity, cure the common cold and have us bouncing brightly out of bed every morning with a spring in our step.

For some people, supplements can certainly be beneficial. Vegetarians and vegans may need vitamin B12 supplements, as this vitamin mostly comes from meat, fish, and dairy foods. Iron from plants is less easily absorbed, and may also need supplementation.

Post-menopausal women and older adults may need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements to maintain bone health. Vitamin and mineral requirements vary depending on many individual factors including our age, gender, diet, medical conditions, and even where we live. Apart from vitamin D, which we mostly receive through sunlight contacting our skin, we get most vitamins and minerals through our diet.

If you’re eating a balanced and varied diet, you’re probably getting enough of each nutrient—and importantly, you’ll be getting them in the right amounts. What’s more, when we eat vitamin and mineral-rich foods, we’re eating them alongside other nutrients that can support our bodies to absorb and use them. For example, calcium is better absorbed in our gut when it’s consumed with lactose— both of which are naturally found in dairy
products like milk and yoghurt. When we get vitamins and minerals through a balanced and varied diet, we’re consuming them in the right doses for good health. Taking supplements can make it very easy to get too much of a good thing, which can be harmful to our health.

Supplements can also interact with prescription medications, reducing their efficacy and giving unwanted side effects. In short, just because you can buy supplements over the counter, doesn’t mean they’re harmless. Always speak with your doctor or health specialist to understand your individual needs. 


Living with incontinence

Incontinence ranges from having just a small leak of urine to completely losing control of your bladder or bowel. More than five million Australians have some form of incontinence, from young children to older people living in care. More than six in 10 women and about three in every 10 men will be affected in some way. In women, incontinence is more common as they get older. Most people don’t ask for professional help. However, incontinence can often be cured—or at least treated and managed.

There are two types of incontinence.

Urinary incontinence or poor bladder control. It is more common in women around the time of a pregnancy or after menopause. Some conditions like asthma, diabetes and arthritis can also cause urinary incontinence. Also, prostate issues and alcohol can contribute to the problem for men.

The other form of incontinence is faecal incontinence, or poor bowel control. People with faecal incontinence poo at the wrong time or in the wrong place. They might pass wind by mistake or stain their underwear.

Other conditions linked to incontinence include diabetes, kidney problems, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. The best treatment for incontinence will depend on the cause. There are plenty of effective treatments that will help you manage everyday life.

If you or someone you care for has incontinence, it is useful to set up a routine. Your doctor can refer you to a continence health professional to help you manage at home and work, on outings, while exercising, and in your relationships.

The Continence Foundation recommends speaking to your doctor or a continence nurse adviser on the National Continence Helpline (call 1800 33 00 66). They can recommend the best health professional for you, and this is an important part of managing your incontinence.

Spotlight on sciatica

Sciatica is a condition that can lead to pain in the back and legs. It occurs when pain travels along the sciatic nerve, which starts in your lower spine and travels through your hip and buttock and down the back of your leg.

Sciatica is felt as nerve pain radiating from the buttock down the back of the leg, often when sitting, sneezing, coughing or going to the toilet. You may also feel lower back pain, and/or tingling, pins and needles, numbness or weakness in your leg.

Causes of sciatica include spinal injury or trauma, bone spurs or growths, narrowing of the spinal canal, or tight or swollen muscles in the buttock. Although sciatica pain can be severe, most people find their symptoms improve over time. To diagnose sciatica, your doctor will take a medical history and examine your spine and legs.

Sciatica treatment includes pain relief medicines and anti-inflammatory drugs. Most people with sciatica get better with conservative treatments such as physiotherapy.

Seasonal snacking

While most of us regret that post- Christmas lunch feeling, leading dietitian Susie Burrell says you can still enjoy your favourite seasonal treats without having to compromise on health.

“Relaxing our eating habits during the festive season is expected, but consuming foods with high levels of sugar can leave you feeling more like a Grinch, dealing with mood swings, weight gain, skin issues, headaches and energy burnout from a short-lived sugar
rush,” Susie says.

“In addition to helping reduce headaches and mood swings, baking sweet snacks and desserts that are low in natural sugar is key to achieving a sustainable release of energy.

“Pairing natural sugars with a protein rich base, like Mayver’s 100 per cent natural peanut butter, will also help to keep you fuller for longer and slow down the festive snacking.

“Similarly, if you have a long drive ahead of you this Christmas it’s just as important to be mindful of the nutrition minefield of road trip snacking. “Instead of buying chocolates, chips and sugary drinks at your fuel stops, make sure to pack nutritious, protein-rich snacks to eat at regular rest stops.

“When driving long distances, it helps to pre-plan and pack nutritious snacks that transport well and aren’t sensitive to temperature, especially with our intense Australian heat.”

You can find Mayver’s favourite silly season recipes online at


What's on - Summer 2020
  • Summer 2020
  • What's on
  • Read Time: 3 mins

What's on - Summer 2020

Orange marmalade and cranberry cake recipe
  • Summer 2020
  • Lifestyle
  • Read Time: 2 mins

Orange marmalade and cranberry cake recipe