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6 Astonishingly Simple Tips for Having a Healthy Heart

6 Astonishingly Simple Tips for Having a Healthy Heart

Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest causes of death in many countries. Yes, the science is constantly improving, and some problems can be solved, but isn’t it easier just to do something to prevent this?


The good news is that there are certain steps you can take in order to reduce the risk for heart diseases. These suggestions don’t require a complete transformation of your life. However, have in mind that a healthy lifestyle immediately means a healthy heart.


If you adopt at least some of the following tips, you will feel the benefits very quickly.


Stop smoking. If you are not smoking, excellent! Your heart is very grateful to you. However, if you have this unhealthy habit, quit it right away! Since smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks, it is easy to realise that this is the most important thing to do for your heart.


Sleep well. Some people are not aware of the power of a good quality sleep. While you are sleeping your heart is resting. Also, the heart rate and blood pressure reduce. Don’t forget that your heart works extremely hard all day, so getting an adequate sleep is the best way to return the favour.


Exercise. Don’t think right away that you have to spend half of a day in a gym or run 10 miles every day. Definitely not! Physical activity is precious for your overall health. It is way more than burning calories since it provides great cardiovascular benefits. Therefore, take your dog for a short walk, or walk to your office instead of driving. Even doing the chores will do the job, believe it or not!


Calm down. Stress is an inevitable part of human lives today. People live very fast and have numerous tasks to do during the day. However, you have to find a way to deal with stress! It is crucial since your body has to release adrenaline in order to cope up with all that stress. Too much adrenaline can easily cause the heart to overwork. Discover an activity which calms you down, and try to do it at least 15 minutes a day.


Eat chocolate. Although it sounds odd, chocolate actually helps in keeping your heart healthy. It is due to flavonoids which are found in dark chocolate because they help arteries stay flexible, and prevent bad cholesterol from oxidising, thus lowering the possibility of forming plaque. Also, dark chocolate is rich in fibre and magnesium. So, go ahead, take one bar right away!


Drink water. Since 80% of our body is water, you can only imagine how significant it is for our general health. Drink 5-8 glasses of water every day to keep your body hydrated. Hydration ensures proper blood flow.


Make sure you implement at least some of these habits into your daily routine. If you spend many hours in your office, you can always hang an inspiring heart health poster, which will remind you to take care of your heart.

Guest Writer Katrina McKinnon


What Is Our Gut Telling Us About Our Lifestyle?

Written By: Tania Leishman  The Create Team Wellness Coach

Written By: Tania Leishman  The Create Team Wellness Coach

There has been lots of talk lately about the importance of listening to our gut. For some of us it’s almost impossible to ignore our gut. Our gut talks loud and clear to us on a regular basis, but not always in a nice way!!! Does this sound familiar?

Our gut guides our overall health and well-being, it’s like our control centre constantly ‘talking’ to our brain and other vital organs.

Research now shows how important diet and environmental factors are in modulating our gut microbiome. The good news is, we can improve the health of our gut by making a few changes to our diet and lifestyle.  By eating unprocessed organic food, including foods that support gut health and including good quality probiotics (live beneficial bacteria) in our diet, we can begin to improve the balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut.

But it’s not only what we consume via food and drink that is upsetting the balance of gut microbiome. Non-dietary lifestyle factors can also have a damaging effect on the health of the gut.

Some contributing factors include:

  • Chronic stress
  • Severe gastro or travellers ’diarrhoea
  • Traumatic life events
  • Substance abuse
  • Not being breast feed
  • Being born by C-Section
  • Using anti-microbial soaps, hand washes and body lotions
  • Environmental Chemicals
  • Chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides in food
  • Chemicals in drinking water
  • Antibiotics and medications

So, what are some of the signs our gut is not happy?

  • Waking up feeling sluggish
  • Annoying dull headaches
  • Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Brain fog – poor memory and concentration
  • Digestive issues, bloating, gas and diarrhoea or constipation, acid reflux
  • Food Allergies or sensitivities
  • Skin problems
  • Type two diabetes
  • Autoimmune disease and suppressed immunity
  •  Sugar Cravings
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Frequent infections

Chronic stress is an important contributing factor worth highlighting. So many people are working long hours with little or no down time. It’s almost as if we have reached a point where an eight-hour day is considered a luxury.  Are you spending 10-12 hours or more a day sitting? Are you eating high caloric low nutrient dense foods? Are you getting little or no exercise, little or no sunshine and to top it off you go home and down several glasses of alcohol to wind down. Do you have poor quality sleep, you go to bed and your brain is still racing, and you wake up groggy, battle brain fog during the day, and the cycle continues.  

Chronic stress has a profound impact on colonic motor activity via the gut brain axis which alters the microbiome profile, lowering beneficial bacteria in the gut. The gut-brain axis is bi-directional and regulated at a neural, hormonal, and immunological level and is vital for maintaining homeostasis.

So, how do we break this unhealthy cycle and improve the health of our gut therefore improving the overall health of our body and mind and relieve these debilitating symptoms?

  • Eliminate processed foods and food toxins from your diet – eat seasonal foods free from pesticides and herbicides  
  • Start adding whole real foods, good fats, and therapeutic foods
  •  Add fermented foods to your diet – prebiotics and probiotics, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and other fermented vegetables
  • MOVE – start exercising
  • Get some sunlight
  • Get good quality sleep
  • Include activities to help manage stress and quiet the mind
  • Eliminate as many toxins from your environment as possible – cleaning products, toxic skin care products, hair care products

If this all seems a little overwhelming, start by making small changes. First and foremost, if you are a smoker – that needs to go!!!! That really is a no brainer, but I am assuming smokers are hardly going to be bothered reading a post on ‘gut health’.

For the rest of us, get rid of the crap from your diet. Stop buying ‘food like substances’ in packets and start by increasing your intake of fresh (if possible organic) fruit and vegetables and good quality proteins – meat, fish, chicken. I often tell my clients ‘if you want to buy food from a large supermarket, you can only shop from the outside isles’ this eliminates most of the packaged crap from their trolleys.  

Include some quality probiotics in your diet – visit a local health food/whole food shop, they will be able to guide you. Move your butt more, even if that means just getting up from the computer every hour and walking to the photocopier, it’s a start, reducing time spent sedentary is so extremely important. Lastly find an activity you enjoy away from work and lock in time each day to do it!!! This might be with your family, friends or just ‘you time’, destressing your life and gaining some balance is vital to your long-term health.


Phillips, M. L. (2009). Gut Reaction: Environmental Effects on the Human Microbiota. Environmental Health Perspectives117(5), A198–A205.

Conlon, M. A., & Bird, A. R. (2015). The Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Gut Microbiota and Human Health. Nutrients7(1), 17–44.

Grenham, S., Clarke, G., Cryan, J. F., & Dinan, T. G. (2011). Brain–Gut–Microbe Communication in Health and Disease. Frontiers in Physiology2, 94.

Cyndi O’Meara – Changing Habits Changing Lives

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Why workplace health and wellness must come from the top – lead by example!

Why workplace health and wellness must come from the top – lead by example!!

As a Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer and Nutritionist, I often hear the words “you fitness nuts just want everyone to be like you.”  Well I guess a part of us does,  but only because we know have wonderful it feels to be fit,  healthy and getting the most out of life….. this is how many of my clients begin, they want to feel what I feel, energetic, happy, fit, and well.

 In my experience the same philosophy applies to workplace wellness programs, if the executive staff are invested, the ripple effect applies, staff jump on board and fly…..

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Are you or your employees stressed, unhealthy, unhappy?  We all know we should be moving more, eating healthier less processed foods, getting better sleep quality, and living life more mindfully. BUT, honestly many Australian’s aren’t, and their whole world suffers from their current state…family, friends, and work colleagues…  it’s no surprise to find their creativity, productivity and efficiency are also diminished.  We should be living life as if it’s our last… but many of us aren’t!!!

Chronic disease is our biggest health challenge in Australia, alarmingly the incidence is continuing to rise. This is having a huge impact on the Australian workforce with research showing people with chronic disease are 60% less likely to participate in the workforce. In addition, depression, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure are estimated to account for 44% productivity loss.

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Late last week I had the great pleasure of attending an inspiring breakfast presentation in Melbourne from Sue Langley of ‘Langley Group’ and Scott Nell from ‘Schneider Electric’.

Attending presentations like this one and having the opportunity to chat with like-minded people is always so inspiring, this one was no exception. Having the opportunity to network with like-minded people who share the vision of improving health and wellness through the principals of positive psychology and neuroscience to form health habits, enhance positive emotions, build resilience and tune into people’s strengths.

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Let take a look at just some of the alarming statistics:

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  • One in two long-term smokers is killed by smoking
  • 30% of all deaths from cancer are due to smoking
  • The risks associated with smoking 10 cigarettes a day are similar to the risks of death associated with being morbidly obese
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Most of us don’t realise that sleep has a strong relationship to our health. Long term health consequence like higher risk of diabetes type 2, high blood pressure and heart disease are all associated with lack of sleep. Equally alarming are the brain consequences of sleep disturbance or lack of sleep on a regular basis.

Science has shown us that sleep not only allows our bodies to rest and repair, but new evidence shows sleep is required to flush toxins from the brain.

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