The Healthiest Foods on Your Christmas Table

 

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During the Christmas period it becomes easy to give in to temptation and consume any number of foods that would not constitute our recommended daily diet.

It is possible, however, to indulge in traditional Christmas foods and eat in a healthy and controlled manner.

This year, whilst sitting down to the table for Christmas lunch or dinner, look for options with a higher nutritional value. Not all dishes will have been cooked and prepared equally, so it’s important to plate up those which will benefit you and your body.

Below are some foods which you will find on almost any Christmas table, which prove to be better options when it comes to what you eat on Christmas Day.

Roast Vegetables:

Whilst it’s true that vegetables subjected to an intense heat can alter their nutritional profile and compromise some nutrients, it’s also true that it can boost others. Roasting tomatoes, for example, increases levels of lycopene (a cancer fighting antioxidant) and roasted carrots have a higher level of carotenoids which is rich in antioxidants.

Essentially, vegetables are vegetables, whichever way they have been cooked. They offer fibre and are filling without too many calories. Avoid adding excess oil or salt or anything with an added sauce (such as cheese or white sauce).

Turkey:

Turkey remains one of the most traditional meats to serve at Christmas, yet is also one of the healthiest options. Turkey is a lean, low-GI meat which can also aid in maintaining steady insulin levels. It also contains the amino acid ‘tryptophan’ which in turn produces serotonin (a chemical which is believed to affect our mood and cyclic body processes). Turkey has also been shown to offer a good source of selenium which is essential for our thyroid hormone metabolism.

Lobster:

Whilst it’s not the most traditional of Christmas foods, lobster and other seafood options are becoming commonplace within Australia as they are a fitting accompaniment to a warm Summer’s day.

Lobster, though considered a luxury, is surprisingly low in calories and contains a significant amount of protein which we need for healthy growth and development.

Lobster also contains a negligible amount of fat or carbohydrates. It does promise large amounts of B vitamins for a healthy metabolism and skin, as well as phosphorous, potassium, zinc and magnesium which contribute to bone health, energy, glucose regulation and healthy cell function.

As always, lobster should be eaten in moderation as it does also contain high amounts of cholesterol and sodium. However, as a treat during the holiday period, it promises to be an option rich in vitamin and minerals.

Christmas Pudding:

Whilst the best dessert you could opt for would be a fresh fruit salad with a dollop of natural yoghurt, Christmas is a time to indulge just a little. If you wish to celebrate with a more traditional dessert, we recommend a modest portion of Christmas pudding.

Being wary of the sugars and syrups contained within the dessert, there are also ingredients which are beneficial to your body.

Common dried fruits such as sultanas and raisins provides potassium, which aids in minimising high blood pressure, and iron, whilst currants are believed to contain up to 4 times the amount of vitamin C than oranges.

Nuts within the pudding also nourish the body with healthy fats and the likes of vitamin E.

And finally, the all-important mixed spice which is responsible for the overall flavour contains cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger. These spices can work to prevent the attacks of food-poisoning bugs such as salmonella and E-coli. Ginger is also effective in reducing nausea and cinnamon aids in the lowering of blood pressure and improving insulin production.

As always, moderation is key. Remain wary of your portion size during the festive season, yet allow yourself to enjoy what you are eating.

 

Main Image Credit: Foodiful

What Is Keratosis Pilaris?

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Keratosis Pilaris is a common chronic skin condition that affects between 50-80% of adolescents and approximately 40% of adults. It manifests itself through small light or red coloured bumps on the skin, most characteristically on the upper arm and thighs.

Keratosis Pilaris is not contagious; it does not tend to come with any health issues, save for some occasional itchiness and has been known to appear alongside other skin conditions such as eczema.

Whist professionals are not certain of the triggering causal factor, it’s understood the condition may stem from an overproduction of keratin (hyperkeratinisation) in the opening of the follicle. Keratin is the protein responsible for protecting the skin from infections and the like. This build up develops a plug within the follicle which creates the characteristic bump on the surface of the skin.

While there is no cure, there are measures one can take to minimise its effect.

Dehydration has been found to acerbate the condition so it’s recommend to apply a heavy moisturiser daily. It can worsen during the winter months with the drop in humidity in the air. Keeping skin hydrating levels up is key to controlling the symptoms during the colder season.

Avoiding too much time in the shower and keeping the water from getting too hot will also have a positive effect on the condition as heat and water can actually dry skin further.

While it’s not considered a medical concern, it can cause people embarrassment or body-confidence issues. To further ‘treat’ the symptoms, a topical exfoliant or topical retinoid may aid in cell turnover. For more stubborn incarnations of the condition, a laser treatment may minimise the effects.

The Truth About Extractions

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There is a lot of debate in the aesthetic and beauty industry about the necessity of extractions.

While some believe it is a great way to maintain a clear complexion, others argue that it only damages the skin.

Are extractions a safe component in a facial and how much difference can they make?

We look at situations where a client should consider extractions and best practice for the safest and most successful outcome.

What are extractions?

Extractions are essentially the physical removal of oil, dirt and debris from the skin’s pores, most often in the form of blackheads or whiteheads (clogging and congestion).

How are they performed?

Extractions should only be performed by a professional. The skin is first prepared with a thorough cleanse and often a light peel which loosens the stratum corneum, the topmost layer of the skin.

Steam is applied to warm the skin and soften the built up oil and debris in the pores.

Once steamed, the aesthetician will perform the extraction, often with gloved hands and tissues to provide pressure to the pore. Some aestheticians use a metal extraction tool, however most prefer their hands as they are better able to judge the pressure they are applying to minimise potential damage the skin.

Extractions are followed by a light toner (if preferred) and the appropriate moisturiser.

How to find the right aesthetician:

Not everyone will perform extractions and some have more experience than others. It’s important to do your research to find someone who will suit you. Looking at reviews will be your first point of call in finding someone who will do the job well, and ideally the aesthetician will have at least two years’ experience in extractions.

Things to consider:

After an extraction, it’s best to leave skin make-up-free until the next day. This gives skin a chance to breathe and settle after the procedure.

An aesthetician can usually only extract a blackhead or whitehead. A cyst is an infection deep within the pore and cannot be extracted in a salon-setting without further dermal training. Milia (a white lump that looks like a whitehead but cannot be extracted via squeezing) can be extracted with a lancet by a trained aesthetician or medical practitioner.

A blemish can take 5-7 days to heal after an extraction therefore it’s best to book in at least  a week before a big event.

Main Image Source: Starlight Med Spa

Post-Operative Nutrition

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During and post-surgery, the body is put under an incredible amount of stress. Not only is it dealing with the physical shock and ‘trauma’ of the procedure, it also requires more fuel in order to heal itself quickly and effectively. Add a cocktail of medications for pain and antibiotics into the mix and you’ll find that nutrition plays a huge role in aiding the body to perform its best after surgery.

It’s important to understand which nutritional components the body seeks as it heals itself so that one can provide it with the best dietary choices in the days and weeks afterwards.

We’re looking at three key elements to focus on post-surgery.

Protein:

As the muscle tissue is often damaged during invasive surgery, the body begins to repair itself by creating new fibres. In order to make these muscle fibres, it needs protein. If it isn’t receiving enough protein from your diet during this stage, it will find it from elsewhere. This can lead to non-essential muscles deteriorating as the body takes protein from them in order to heal.

What to eat: poultry, fish, lean meat, soy based foods, beans, lentils, eggs, natural yoghurt.

Vitamin C:

As it’s responsible for the creation of connective tissues, vitamin C is a crucial element in the healing process of the body. This is because the enzymes which help form the collagen (which is responsible for the structure of connective tissue) cannot function without its co-factor – vitamin C! It is also a powerful antioxidant which can help stabilise your immune system when it might be weakened by surgery.

What to eat: citrus fruits, strawberries, pineapple, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, kale and tomato.

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A plays an important role within cell regeneration which is key in the healing process. It also helps to lower risk of infection as it aids the immune system and can help with inflammation.

What to eat: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, dark leafy greens and cantaloupe.

A word on healthy fats:

It is common knowledge that healthy fats are a huge benefit to your overall diet but they are especially important during a period of healing. Not only do good fats assist in the body’s immune response, they also play a big part in its ability to absorb vitamins.

It’s important to note that this post focuses nutrition through your diet. Should you be considering boosting your intake of any of the above via supplements, first speak with their doctor or dietician first.

 

Main Image Source: Nutrition Stripped

Microblading

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With brows having a strong moment in the cosmetic world, it is little wonder that the trend has seeped into the aesthetic world as well.

Microblading is a treatment that is quickly gaining traction in salons with clients looking for a way to minimise their morning routines and still look fresh, youthful and ready-to-go.

While the term ‘eyebrow tattoo’ can conjure up images of solid, block lines faded to a blue grey that our grandma might have, microblading is a whole new ballgame in the concept of semi-permanent make-up.

Also known as feathering, brow embroidery and etching, microblading is semi-permanent treatment which uses a handheld device with very fine needles.

The procedure can take approximately two hours, with a lot of the appointment being devoted to drawing on a customised brow first. The aesthetician considers aspects such as the individual’s face shape, brow bone and natural brow colour in order to develop the ideal shape to apply.

A numbing cream is then applied to minimise discomfort. The needles on the device are dipped into a cosmetic-grade eyebrow dye and which is strategically placed and deposited just below the skin surface. Microblading does not penetrate the skin as deeply as the average tattoo and each individual ‘hair’ is created one by one.

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Before and after: Jenn Boyd Ink

There is very minimal downtime after the procedure, yet some people experience slight irritation, redness or itchiness, which is a normal for any kind of tattoo treatment. A client is advised to refraining from picking and scratching the area, and avoid wetting the brows over the following week.

A follow up appointment is often recommended after four weeks. This allows time for the area to fully heal and the aesthetician can fill any remaining gaps and perhaps add a second coloured dye for an even more realistic finish.

Microblading generally lasts between 1 – 2 years and might require a touch up every 6 – 12 months.

While the treatment is customisable to any face shape, there are some who should avoid the procedure unless approved by their doctor. This includes those who are pregnant, undergoing chemotherapy, diabetic or have used a strong anti-acne medicine within the last 12 months.

Microblading is definitely a treatment that salons are starting to offer more frequently as clients aim for perfect brows that still look natural and believable.

 

Main Image Source: Brows By Jessica Muro

Why Eating Well Can Improve Your Satisfaction With Your Health and Wellness Treatment

 

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The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend enjoying a variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups daily and to drink plenty of water to live a healthy lifestyle. Sadly, based on an Australian Health Survey conducted from 2011-2012, most Australians did not meet these recommendations. Not only is a healthy diet obviously better for your overall health, adding a balanced diet and maintaining good nutritional habits are especially important for those undergoing any health and wellness treatments. Small changes in diet can help speed up the bodies natural healing mechanisms, improve physiological functions, decrease signs of ageing, and make you feel better overall.

The Five Food Groups

The ADG recommends eating a wide variety of foods from the five food groups daily. The five food groups include:

  1. Vegetables and legumes/bean
  2. Fruit
  3. Dairy – Milk, yoghurt, cheese
  4. Protein – Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, tofu
  5. Grain (cereal foods, grain filled bread, etc.)

How eating better can improve wellness treatment results…

Those who strive to eat well both before and after their procedures (if not all the time!) should see positive health benefits. Fatty fish and dark leafy greens help to fight inflammation which can be especially useful after surgery. Oranges and garlic can help to improve circulation and supply blood to tissues producing healthy skin which will complement any dermal treatment. Eating a balanced diet can help maintain a healthy weight after liposuction.

How can you help others?
Students at the Australasian College of Health and Wellness (TACHW) study Nutrition in Practice, which provides training in dietary needs, wellness and anti-ageing which can be applied across many practice settings. Students learn how to create patient-specific nutrition plans based on specific dietary requirements; learn how to help patients understand the importance of exercise on ageing and weight management, and understand the role of hormones and the body in relation the health and the ageing process.  Nutrition is a big part in being able to provide a whole approach to wellness and aesthetics, and gives you the ability to give important and relevant advice to patients regardless of any other treatment or surgery they may be having.

 

Main Image Source: Live Simply Natural

Treatments for Sensitive Skin

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While there are a myriad of options on the market to target skin concerns such as acne and pigmentation, those with sensitive skin can often find it difficult to find a treatment that doesn’t cause irritation. Often their concerns are left unattended due to fear of upsetting their skin and lacking professional advice.

Today we look at treatment options that are, most often, safe for those sensitive skin types. As always, each individual case should be assessed by a qualified skin specialist before undergoing any treatments. It’s important to know the difference between skin type and skin condition; this post looks at sensitive skin as the type, with acne/ dryness/ dehydration as the condition.

Acne

Those sensitive skin types suffering from acne often find it difficult to find an effective treatment that is gentle enough to address their main skin concern . If the acne is active and severe, one might consider SGA (Sebaceous Gland Ablation) which can help to minimise the breakouts. If the acne is not as active and the main concern is the scarring it has left, Emerge Fractional Laser can reduce the appearance of scarring by using microscopic points of light to penetrate the epidermis and dermis to stimulate the skin’s natural healing process.

Hair Removal

Hair removal treatments are really only a concern for people with sensitive skin when it involves a physical removal. With this in mind, waxing and the like are best to be avoided. Treatments such as IPL should be perfectly safe. If you are concerned, notify the IPL technician during your consultation of your sensitivity. They might begin treatments at a lower level to avoid irritation and build up to regular levels.

Dryness/ Dehydration

If you have dry sensitive skin, you can still find solutions in the likes of micro peels. These are the lightest form of chemical peel available in clinics and salons, as a sensitive skin can react negatively to excessive physical exfoliation. The more you physically irritate the skin, the stronger it will react.

Pigmentation

Those who wish to treat pigmentation but are afraid of treatments upsetting their sensitive skin can rest easy. Treatments such as IPL and Fraxel are safe and, when performed properly by qualified technicians, should not irritate the skin. You can also speak with your skin specialist about chemical exfoliation with micro peels using AHAs/BHAs. If you know you are specifically sensitive to the likes of glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid, be sure to communicate with your skin specialist so they can tailor the treatment to you.

As well as tailoring treatments to your specific skin concerns, it’s important for those with sensitive skin to be vigilant about how the care for their skin. Wearing sunscreen every day and avoiding excessive sun exposure can aid in minimising sensitivity, while Antioxidants can help boost the skin’s protective barriers against environmental factors.

If you have sensitive skin with other concerns, it’s important to consult with a qualified skin expert who can help you address such issues.

 

Image Source: Shape Body & Skincare