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family meals: help grow healthy kids

De-stressing the family

Balancing mind and body



//Legal Disclaimer The opinions expressed within do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. This magazine contains a variety of articles for informational purposes only and is not to be considered as authoritative source material. All links are for information purposes only and are not warranted for content, accuracy or any other implied or explicit purpose. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and currency in the articles presented, information in this publication should not be considered medical advice. Please seek the help of a professional health care provider before making any decisions concerning your health.

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04 De-stressing the family



One of the simplest ways to stay happy is to let go of all the things that made you sad


Action for Kids HealthSafe Plus Pty Ltd ABN 78 620 257 669


MODERN DAY STRESS So much has been written about the topic of stress to help you beat modern day stress, sedentarism (sitting down for most of the day), depression and unhealthy diets. We need to not only manage our own personal stress but also to safeguard our families from excessive, sustained stress at home, school and in society.

//De-stressing the Family: BALANCING MIND AND BODY Habits of Healthy Families

Time Management

• Parents and kids take turns with daily chores and so

Start each day prioritizing the chores, activities and assignments to be done. Try not to compromise on the time set aside for your family.

• •

• •


mum is not overburdened with the cleaning, cooking and laundering. Healthy nutritious foods are bought and prepared in the kitchen, a practice we could all adopt. They enjoy the great out-door activities and can be seen walking, biking and enjoying a wide range of sporting activities. Holidays are a time of true celebration and these healthy families vacation together. The family pet is well cared for and like the family, the pet is well fed and cared for. Here are some basic tips to distress your life and be in balance.

Energy Management Managing how you expend your energy is as important as the time spent on any activity. The investment of time is determined by what will give the returns on your effort. Creative artists are absorbed by their craft whether art, craft, music and dance. Reduce time spent in the kitchen by doing some preparation the day before. Help with school assignments and projects.

Relaxation and Recreation


Spend more time with nature doing an activity that you enjoy as a family. Spending time together indoors is also good to simply relax, play games to distress and enjoy each other’s company. Minimize the use of electronic gadgets when you are having family time.

Devote some family time to discussing difficulties or challenges your kids may be having at school or college. It is becoming too frequent that families were unaware of bullying at school and potentially dangerous cyber activities. Teach your kids to be safe and resilient.

Healthy Eating and Drinking

Building Self-esteem

Eat and drink sensibly. Eat healthy portions of vegetables, legumes, fruits, dairy, whole grain bread and complex carbs. Everything else such as protein from animal can be enjoyed in small portions. Learn interesting ways of preparing and presenting your favorite dishes. Steaming, broiling, baking and grilling are the healthy methods to prepare meals as in so doing there is less oils used.

Reaffirm love and support as this is a great way to impart to your kids the value of family while at the same time building their self-confidence and self-esteem. Reward good deed and behaviour to reinforce this practice. Use corrective counselling to change poor attitudes and behaviours. Whatever is your method of disciplining your children do so without physical and mental abuse.

Unconditional love is the adhesive that will hold your family together.

Written by Dr. Sonia Y Copeland MD MPH Public Health Specialist | Family Doctor | Life Coach | Freelance Writer


//toxic black mould Caution: Toxic black mould syndrome can lead to death. Although not all moulds are poisonous, black mould is highly toxic. It is commonly found growing on the walls of our houses. It is so toxic that the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA has stated that this mould is responsible for over “100 types of lung disorders”. This mould is a slimy, greenish black mould that grows on walls, wood, leather, clothes, food, even in household appliances and air conditioners.

Signs of Mould Moisture or dampness on Surfaces: walls, ceilings, wood and clothes Stains on the Wall: Look for greenish, blackish or brownish-colour patches on walls and ceilings. Cracked or peeling paint can also be a sign of the presence of mould. Unusual Odour: Mildew or musty odours is one of the most prominent signs of mould growth. Also, if you experience this ‘unusual’ smell when your heating, air conditioning or ventilation system is turned on, this may indicate that your equipment is infected with mould. Respiratory System Response in People: If anyone occupying the home experiences some kind of allergic reaction or respiratory problem when indoors, then there is a possibility of high mould growth. Black mould eats up the surface on which it lies and uses it for nutrition to grow, and in the process contributes to the formation of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). High exposure to VOCs formed by mould can affect human respiratory and central nervous systems.


Symptoms of Black Mould Poisoning Symptoms range from chronic fatigue and reddening of eyes to infertility and miscarriage. The most common symptoms are:

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Difficulty in breathing Vision problems Reddening of eyes Ringing in the ears Hearing loss Sensitivity to sound Dirt like taste in mouth Chronic fatigue Lethargy Headaches and dizziness Hair loss Muscle twitching Joint pains

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Nausea and vomiting Allergies to food Panic attacks Anxiety Depression Mood swings, irritability Inability to cope with stress Memory loss Lack of concentration Chronic cough Swollen lymph nodes Stomach ulcers

High level or prolonged exposure to toxic black mould can also cause: • • • • • • •

Asthma Seizures Heart problems Bleeding in lungs Nosebleeds and pulmonary haemorrhaging (especially in infants.) Development of rashes and hives on skin. Problems caused due to irritation in mucous membranes. Irregularity in blood pressure. Damage to the digestive and respiratory systems. Infections of urinary tract, problems in urination, etc. Pain in liver and other internal organs.

• • • • • Anaphylaxis on re-exposure to toxic moulds

How Can Toxic Mould be Controlled? • Ventilate rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and laundrys by •

• •

• •

opening a window or door or using exhaust fans. Repair leaky plumbing, roof leaks, condensation problems etc. Ensure that all heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and ducts are clean, as the mould formed in these systems usually goes unnoticed and therefore is more dangerous. Bathrooms are the most prone places for mould growth, and therefore the tiles, curtains and appliances inside the bathroom should be cleaned regularly. Use air purifiers Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter (a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air). Otherwise, dust and mould spores are recirculated in the air. Replace mould spoiled absorbent things like carpet, ceiling and tiles. Generally, if you can see or smell mould, you need to clean up and remove the mould immediately because mould can damage what it grows on. The longer it grows the more damage it can cause.

on the surface will kill the mould and prevent it from returning. Tea tree oil would not only kill the colonies but would also help to reduce the mould smell in the area. Wear safety glasses, a face mask and long rubber gloves and take care not to splash the cleaning solution. Ensure the area is well ventilated. Don’t dry brush the mouldy area as the brush can flick mould spores into the air, which may cause health problems. Dampen first with the solution. Dispose of the black mould garbage safely.

If you think there is widespread toxic mould, contact a mould removal professional. I live in a rental property that has mould. Where can I go for help? The owner should remedy mould caused by faults in gutters or other fixtures, but the tenant must ensure there is adequate ventilation throughout, to help avoid mould problems. Tenants seeking further advice on their rights as a tenant should contact the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA).

How to Kill Mould Here are two of the best methods using all natural products that are safe for your family and pets:

• Vinegar - can kill 82% of mould species. Natural and

safe, non-toxic and doesn’t give off dangerous fumes. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar. Do not add water to it. Spray the vinegar onto the mouldy surfaces in generous amounts. Wait an hour, and then scrub the mould using a hard-bristled brush. Wear a mask and a pair of disposable gloves. Then, wash the area with a soapy solution, and then again with clean water. Wipe the surface using a clean cloth and ensure that the surface is dry. Tea Tree Oil – the most effective of all ‘natural’ mould killing solutions. An essential oil, harmless to people and pets. Antifungal, capable of killing all types of moulds and antibacterial. Make sure your Tea Tree Oil is derived from the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree. Fill a spray bottle at the ratio of one cup water to one teaspoon tea tree oil then spray the solution onto the surface. Wait one hour then wipe the mould away. There is no need to rinse since leaving the tea tree oil




What Is Diabetes: Diabetes refers to a group of metabolic disorders that affects normal utilization of blood glucose which leads to high amount of blood glucose known as hyperglycemia. Blood glucose is very important energy source of tissues, brain and muscles. Normally Glucose level is maintained by insulin hormone which is produced from pancreas, but due to decrease insulin production or less response to insulin, our body fails to maintain level of the blood glucose. Type 1 diabetes commonly appears in young people and type-2 in old people.


Types of Diabetes Mellitus: 1. Diabetes Mellitus type-1

(previously known as Juvenile Diabetes)

2. Diabetes Mellitus type-2 3. Gestational Diabetes

diabetes mellitus

How to Diagnose Diabetes Mellitus:

Diabetes type-1

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed here, it is advised that you contact your GP for advice.

Also called Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus is caused by autoimmune attack against Beta cells (insulin producing cells) of islets of Langerhans present in the pancreas, which leads to decrease production of insulin so the glucose is unable to transport to cells and builds up in the blood. It is also caused by some genetic factors. According to CDC, diabetes in young people rose about 23% from 2001 to 2009.

Diabetes type-2 Also called NON Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus is strongly influenced by genetic and environmental factors. The cells become resistant to the action of insulin. There is also relative deficiency of insulin. Normally, insulin production increases to overcome insulin resistance, but after some time there is a gradual decline in insulin production which leads to hyperglycemia. It is believed that insulin resistance is due to improper response of receptors to insulin.

Gestational Diabetes Gestational Diabetes is a disorder of pregnancy in which placenta produces large amount of hormones which interfere with normal function of insulin and increase insulin resistance.

Symptoms CAN INCLUDE: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Feeling of extreme thirst (polydipsia) Increase urine frequency (polyuria) Feeling tired Weight loss (common in type-1) Ketones in urine (ketonuria) Deterioration of vision. Frequent infections. Slow healing Increased hunger (polyphagia) Characteristic Kussmaul breathing (common in type-1) Nausea Vomiting Tingling and numbness in hand/feet. Gestational Diabetes is mostly symptomless so it is very important to monitor blood sugar regularly.


HbA1c: This test measures average blood glucose level of past 2-3 months. Recent meal or fasting does not alter HbA1c level. Normal level: >5.7% Prediabetes: 5.7% to 6.4% Diabetes: 6.5% or higher.


Fasting Plasma Glucose (FBG): This test measures fasting blood sugar. For this test you should not eat or drink 8-hours before the test. Diabetes is confirmed if the fasting blood sugar is greater than 126mg/dl.


Random Blood Glucose: This can be checked at any time of the day. Greater than 200mg/dl confirms Diabetes.


Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: Diabetes is confirmed if the level of blood sugar is greater than 200g/dl after 2 hours of a meal.

TREATMENT It is not possible to fully cure Diabetes but the aim of the treatment is to keep the blood glucose level in normal limits. This will reduce symptoms and minimize complications. It is better to diagnose diabetes in early stages. Mostly in type-2 Diabetes, blood glucose and symptoms can be controlled by simply altering lifestyle and avoid fatty foods. As it is a progressive condition you may need to take medications at some part of your life. If blood glucose level is still not controlled after medications, you may need insulin injection.

Keep yourself healthy • • • • •

Avoid smoking Eat healthy diet Avoid excessive use of alcohol Maintain healthy life style Exercise regularly

Author Dr Qazi Muhammad Zarlish


//FAMILY FUNNYS! Q: Why did the banana go visit the doctor? A: Because he wasn’t peeling well Q: Why did the tiger spit out the clown? A: Because he tasted funny Q: Why did the golfer bring along an extra pair of pants? A: Just in case he got a hole in one Q: If 5 cats are on the bridge and 1 jumps off, how many are left? A: None – they were all copy cats Q: Why did the donut go see the dentist? A: It needed a chocolate filling Q: What is a cat’s favorite breakfast cereal? A: Mice - krispies Q: What has four wheels and flies? A: A garbage truck Q: Why was the mouse afraid of the lake? A: It was full of cat – fish Q: What is the biggest type of ant? A: An eleph - ant Q: Why was the number 6 afraid of the number 7? A: Because 7 ate 9 Q: Where do wasps go when they are sick? A: To the wasp - ital Q: Why did the skeleton not cross the road? A: He didn’t have the guts Q: How do you make the number 7 even? A: You take away the S Q: Why did the girl throw the butter out the window? A: To see the butter – fly


Q: How do you stop a skunk from smelling? A: Plug its nose Q: What are the strongest types of vegetables? A: Muscle sprouts Q: What did the tree wear to his pool party? A: Swim trunks Q: What did the rain cloud wear under its rain coat? A: Thunder – wear

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//help to ban fluoride While fluoride is banned in Sweden, Denmark and Holland and abandoned in Belgium and West Germany it is still used in the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. While fluoride is meant to help prevent tooth decay it is interesting to note that the US has among the highest rates of dental decay in the world.

Help to ban fluoride in Australian water supplies. The consumption of refined sugar seems to play a much greater role in whether we get dental decay or not. Many native tribes studied by the likes of Dr Weston Price had little or no dental decay and none had fluoride. The idea of adding fluoride to water supplies arose in the USA in 1939. Its main proponent was Dr Gerald Fox of the Mellon Institute, owners of Alcoa Aluminium. Fluoride is a waste product of the aluminium industry. The Mellon Institutes research found that fluoride in drinking water strengthened tooth enamel making it more resistant to decay. Like much industry funded research, the results are predictable when you follow the money. According to Steve Meyerowitz book “Water the Ultimate cure” independent studies have shown that fluoride is implicated in:

• • • • • • •

In the book “Fluoride the great dilemma” Drs Waldbott, Burgstahler and McJinney add to the list:

• • • • • • • • • •

Cancer Hypothyroidism Kidney disease Hypoglycaemia Hormonal imbalance Lowered enzyme activity Reduced fertility Birth defects Osteoporosis (skeletal flourosis) And would you believe it damaging children’s teeth (dental fluorosis)

Other uses for fluoride include:

• • • •

Rat poison Pesticides Deworming pigs Delousing chickens

I think you may be getting the picture by now. Why take the risk of ingesting fluoride if you can improve your dental health by good dental hygiene and not consuming refined sugar?

If you live in an area that has fluoride in the water, we recommend using a water distiller as the only 100% effective way to remove it.

Skin eruptions Gastric distress Immune System problems Downs Syndrome (genetic damage) Breakdown of collagen protein Heart problems Headache


QUIT SMOKING! According to THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION, 100 million deaths in 20th century were associated with tobacco. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated “the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide.�


Smoking is one of the top non-genetic cause of mortality in the world. It is notorious for damaging almost every organ of the body. Tobacco, which is the main constituent of cigarettes mainly affects heart, lungs and liver and may cause heart attack, COPD, strokes and many types of cancers. Extent of disease severity is based on the number of years that a person smokes and how much the person smokes. The age when a person starts smoking also determine the risks of diseases.

6. 7.


Smoking can cause formation of thrombus in legs also called “deep venous thrombus” Sometimes thrombus become unstable due to the action of tobacco and may lodge in the vessels supplying blood to the brain. Hypertension ( Increase blood pressure)

Effect of smoking on Respiratory system: • It affects lungs and may cause

• •

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smokers are 12-13 % times more likely to die from COPD. Smoking may trigger asthma attacks.

Cancers associated with smoking Effect of Smoking on Cardiovascular symptoms Heart and blood vessels are at greatest risk of developing certain diseases due to smoking. Some of the notable diseases are:

1. 2. 3. 4.


Coronary artery disease. Stroke Smoking cause thickening and narrowing of vessels. Due to smoking, fatty plaques which are deposited on vessels may become unstable and rupture to occlude small vessels. Blood supply to the heart can also be affected due to blockage by an embolus (detached mass capable of blocking vessels). This causes less supply of oxygen and nutrient to the heart muscle and heart muscle become ischemic.

Blood cancers like leukemia Urinary bladder cancer. Cervical cancer Colorectal cancer Esophageal cancer Kidney and urinary cancer Liver cancer Lung cancer Stomach and pancreas cancer

Withdrawal symptoms After quitting cigarettes a person may experience following symptoms: • Tingling sensation in hands and feet. • Increase sweating • Headache • Cough and cold signs • Anxiety and depression.

Treatment • Quit smoking and consult your • •

GP for advice. Add healthy fruits and vegetables to diet. Avoid saturated fats. Regular Exercise: Regular exercise may help to reduce smoking addiction.

• Lead a healthy lifestyle


Other health risks Pregnancy - early delivery (preterm) Death of baby inside uterus Ectopic Pregnancy May cause reduced fertility May cause tooth loss Increase risk of cataract Rheumatoid arthritis



Our lives are conducted at break neck speeds nowadays. There are an incredible number of things demanding our attention and distracting us that at times we forget to slow down and just be together. It’s an age-old adage but the saying ‘the family that eats together, stays together’ still holds strong today. A family meal shared together away from the distraction of TV and mobile phones is an opportunity to share the day’s events and to just talk. It may seem trivial, but a family that is used to communicating on a daily basis is more likely to talk openly about the bigger issues. A smart family knows that as well as closeness and unconditional love, each member needs their own space at times and each sub-unit. Whether it’s Mum and Dad having date night, Mum and daughter, or Dad and son spending some quality time together and of course vice versa. Spending time with our families is not only good for them but it’s also good for us. Recent studies on wellbeing showed that families who spent the most amount of time together had a 30% higher wellbeing score than others. Crucially, children who have time made for them by parents tend to perform better in school.


Here are some activitIes to do with your children: • Read to your children. A child who has his or her imagination stirred by books will learn an innate love of storytelling; an invaluable life skill. • Dinner time. Sit at the table together, each member takes a turn telling each other what happened in their lives today that made them smile. • Have a picnic. Eat, play and enjoy the outdoors together. • No TV night. Turn off the TV, mobile phones and computers. One night a week have family game night, play board games, charades, group reading or go for a walk or bike ride. • Chores. Have fun doing chores together. Your kids will learn important life skills, you’re also bonding and spending time with them Family gives us so much and yet it’s so easy to take advantage of because for most of us it has always been there. Family is more than just a word or a group of people related to you, it’s a living, organic being in its own right; constantly changing and growing.

“The homemaker is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career.” CS Lewis

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//Dust Mites in the HOME


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Steps to reduce the presence of dust mites in your home: • Protective covers for pillows and mattresses • Washing and drying sheets regularly at a temperature above 60˚C • Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter • Open windows regularly, lowering humidity levels • Wipe away condensation as soon as possible when it occurs • Make sure that extractor fans in your kitchen and bathroom are working effectively. By taking some simple measures you should significantly reduce the presence of dust mites in your home, hopefully making it easier to breathe at night.

House Dust Mites are the most common household allergen there is. House Dust Mites feed on organic detritus - flakes of skin and dander and are most commonly found in mattresses and pillows where they thrive. We can expect to find something like 100–500 animals/g of dust of our bedding. HDM can also be found in kitchens where heat and moisture are common, carpets and bathroom soft furnishings. There are two ways in which house dust mites can be an allergen: a potent digestive enzyme in their gut which persists in their faeces and then their exoskeleton, which can also contribute to allergic reactions. These factors are a common cause of asthma and wheezing. There are some easy steps to reduce the presence of dust mites in your home. A 1996 British Medical Journal study suggests polyester fibre pillows can contain more than eight times the total weight of mites than feather pillows.


//AROMATHERAPY Combining Aromatherapy with a Body Massage The essential oils used for aromatherapy multiply the effect of the physical massage as many have muscle relaxant and pain relief properties. In addition to the use of the oil, the aroma itself gives a feeling of well-being which helps to relief stress. Massaging aids a quicker absorption of the oils in the skin where it is then picked up by the circulatory system and carried all over the body. Essential oils that boost the immune system are especially beneficial when delivered by means of a massage. Medical Conditions can be helped by an Aromatherapy Massage. The rolling, kneading, rubbing of the skin with the aid of specific essential oils are helpful to relief the following: Stress Migraine Pain relief for cancer patients Insomnia Headaches Flu Nausea Skin ailments High Blood Pressure Joint and muscle pains


THE ANCIENT PRACTICE OF MASSAGE WITH ESSENTIAL OILS. Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential oils distilled from plants (leaves, flowers, stems, roots and barks) used as therapy to enhanced healing, psychological and physical wellness. Inhaled, the aroma of the essential oils stimulates the brain to give a feeling of well-being. When inhaled some essential oils have therapeutic value for the respiratory system and the use eucalyptus oil to relieve nasal and chest congestion has long since been proven to be effective. The skin is the largest organ of the body and essential oils in carrier oils are used on the skin but in diluted concentrations. Essential oils can also be used in baths. Essential oils for use on the skin include:

• • • • • •

Peppermint Rose Lavender Eucalyptus Lemon grass Orange

A word of caution It is extremely important to note that essential oils are not used directly on the skin in the concentrated form. They are diluted in carrier oils and many are combined together to enhance the health benefits. Carrier oils include:

• • • • •

Macadamia nut oil Sweet almond oil Apricot oil Sunflower oil Coconut oil

Benefits of a Body Massage There are various types of body massages offered in spa centers depending on the technique and the culture from which the massage originated, for example Swedish and Ayuvedic massages. The technique also varies as there are deep tissue body massages. This technique is used to stimulate the circulation and promotes the removal of toxins from the body. It is a method of detoxing the system. To enhance the massage experience there are different techniques added to make the experience more wonderful. Here are a few:

• • • • • • • •

Hot stones Aromatherapy with essential oils Pouring warm oils on the body Hydrotherapy Magnets Crystals Music and sound therapy Candles

Whatever your preference, there is an aromatherapy massage that will not only relax your mind but also bring symptomatic relief from pain, soreness and discomfort.

Written by Dr. Sonia Y Copeland MD MPH Public Health Specialist | Family Doctor | Life Coach | Freelance Writer


SUGGESTIONS • • • • • • • • • • • •

Plan 5-6 meals a week as a family Plan meals at home Turn off all technology, and television Avoid conversation on problems or discipline Be upbeat Don’t answer phones Keep meals positive Keep meals non judgmental Ask questions that show interest Don’t sermonize or lecture Don’t insult Compliment when possible

And to think your kids will benefit so much from just having a home cooked meal. (Your budget will improve too.)



//FAMILY MEALS ARE VITAL Studies concluded that family meals during adolescence may have a lasting positive influence on dietary quality and meal patterns in young adulthood. Teens who have meals with their families are also less likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide, and are less likely to ever be suspended from school. Turn off the TV - Kids who watch television during meals eat less vegetables, calcium-rich foods and grains. They also consume more soft drinks (compared to adolescents not watching television during meals.)

Parents Are Significant Parents play a critical role in the development of children’s eating habits as they are responsible for deciding what foods are in the home.

Doing Too Much: Too many extracurricular activities for children or extra jobs or odd working hours for parents can lead to dependence on fast food. This is associated with obesity among adolescents. Academic Failure: Kids enrolled in alternative schools and at risk to fail school, reported never eating family meals. They were more likely to eat fewer fruits and less breakfasts. They were also more likely to have depression and be overweight. Sexual Habits and Substance Abuse: Eating together was found not only to increase academic performance, but decrease risky behaviours, from early sexual activity to drug use, less stealing and less eating disorders. Aggression and Delinquency: Youth without frequent family dinners had more aggression and violent delinquency.

Obesity: The family meal has the potential to substantially impact the dietary intake of children providing obesity prevention.


//IS JUNK FOOD DAMAGING YOUR BRAIN? There is an epidemic of diabetes and obesity in children. For the adult population, obesity, cancers, heart disease, diabetes and mental illnesses have become more prevalent and the trend is expected to continue growing. What is Junk Food? Commonly known as: • Food with mega calories or supersized foods with low nutritional value • Foods containing chemical additives to enhance the taste • Fried foods or served with a lot of gravy/sauce

Junk food tends to be appetizing and there is a tendency to consume too much as the satiety center in the brain becomes overstimulated and fails to recognize when enough is enough. The appeal comes from the salty or sweet taste which also stimulates the taste buds. There has been the suggestion that some foods and drinks have been formulated to be addictive to the consumer. The Fast Food Industry is beginning to take note and have been making efforts to provide the consumers with healthy choices. They have been reducing portion sizes, improved methods of preparation such as broiled, steamed versus fried and deep fried.

Written by Dr. Sonia Y Copeland MD MPH Public Health Specialist | Family Doctor | Life Coach | Freelance Writer


It is reasonable to surmise that if some food or food additives have deleterious effects on the physical health, there is a possibility that mental health and the brain are being directly affected. Let us explore why this may be so.

Think Postively Exercise Daily Eat Healthy Work Hard

Stay Strong

The Effects of Junk Food on the Brain Cravings are strong and sometimes this overwhelming urge can be triggered by a visual advertisement or jingle. There are university studies which establish that the junk food ads on electronic media can cause children to crave certain foods. Based on these findings some countries have placed a ban on advertising junk foods to children. What has triggered such a drastic action is the scientific evidence that foods high in fat and sugar can be addictive in much the same way as recreational drugs. The area of the brain that is stimulated is the ‘pleasure center”. There are individuals who have developed a bizarre craving for junk food and consume a staggering quantity daily. Is there a way to make healthier choices from Junk Food? Reducing or substituting salad dressing on burgers is a good start. Grilling and broiling meats is a healthy option. We must all reject the use of trans-fats in the preparation of snacks and meals. It gives snacks a delicious taste but unfortunately the evidence is mounting that long term consumption has been linked to cancers. Practice reading food labels. Nourishing the Brain Fish oil fats have a protective effect on the brain and can minimize the damage caused by diets with a predominance of junk food. In other word, it reduces the oxidative stress on the brain. It is the anti-oxidant effect of the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils and fats that counteract the damaging free radicals which result from “bad foods”.

Worry Less

Dance More Love Often Be Happy

Other nourishing brain ‘super’ foods include:

• The rich source of anti-oxidants in blue berries and

• •

pomegranates. These spare the brain from oxidative stress Whole grains are rich in Vitamin E and omega fatty acids, both protect the body from cardiovascular disease Avocado has mono saturated fats which are good for the blood vessels Beans help to normalize the blood sugar as the brain cells need twice the amount of energy when compared with the cells of other tissues Teas, especially green teas are particularly good especially when freshly brewed

The sugar and salt content as well as the method of preparation could tip a healthy meal or snack into the category of junk food. If you find yourself craving a particular type of food or snack and it does not make the list as a healthy choice, this could be a signal that you are developing food addiction. Many health and fitness practitioners recommend a diet that includes a lot of raw foods, limit foods from animal origin, avoid/limit sugar and salt, drink copious amounts of water and work out daily. This may be something we should be working to achieve.


//CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE Heart diseases are leading cause of deaths in the US. 25.5% of all deaths in the US and about one in five men and one in eight women die in UK due to heart diseases.

Cardiovascular disease, also called heart disease, is a broad term covering many diseases of cardiovascular system such as diseases of blood vessels, heart rhythm problems, heart infections, valve abnormalities and congenital heart diseases. Cardiovascular diseases generally refer to the diseases which arises due to the blockage or narrowing of blood vessels that supply blood to the heart and may lead to life threatening conditions such as heart attack, stroke and less severe condition such as Angina. Regular cardio exercises are the best way to prevent heart diseases.

Common Symptoms: • Dull pain in the chest • Pain may radiate to neck, left shoulder or left arm • Breathlessness


Risk Factors: • •

Age: heart attack is more common after age 55. Gender: Males have greater risk than females of reproductive age, though risk becomes equal after reproductive age of female. Smoking. Premature heart attack history in family. Hyperlipidemia ( high amount of LDL). Homocystinemia. Diabetes Mellitus. Hypertension. Obesity.

• • • • • • • • Physical inactivity.

Prevention Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. Quit smoking. Avoid high fat diet. Maintain healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise. Reduce stress. Control blood pressure and diabetes. Eat healthy food. Maintain healthy cholesterol level.


REFERENCES Heart Disease P. 8 & 9 Article.jsp Diabetes Mellitus P. 12 & 13 Hazards of Smoking P. 14 & 15

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