Oysters Anyone?

Given that it is Valentine’s Day, it is the perfect time to talk about oysters and their purported aphrodisiac properties. Although there is no scientific basis for the theory, perhaps the impotence effect of zinc deficiency is where the secret behind oysters and their aphrodisiac effect lies. Oysters are by far the richest food source of zinc.  Zinc is a mineral that our bodies need for growth and repair and is essential for sexual maturation.  One dozen oysters contains close to 79mg of zinc while the closest non-seafood competitor is liver (100 grams) at 7.6mg. Given that our zinc requirements are approximately 12mg daily, one dozen oysters are not needed every single day!  Other sources of zinc include seafood, lean meat, and poultry.  If a deficiency occurs in children, this can result in growth failure and delay in sexual maturity and in adults deficiency may result in dermatitis, loss of hair, poor immunity and impotence.  Zinc deficiency is now included on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global burden of disease list and one third of the world is at high risk of zinc deficiency. In Japan, Valentine’s Day goes beyond edible.  Many companies have made time-limited gifts such as chocolate -flavoured lip gloss and chocolate-scented nail polish.  I know from my own shopping experience in Japan last year that these products are the real deal.  I couldn’t resist buying Fruit Loop and Hershey lip balm (in separate flavours of course) and they do taste like the real thing.  Not that I was actively trying to eat them.   Apparently we females can inadvertently consume just over 3 kg of lipstick or the like in our lifetime. Think I will stick to the oysters.

Fat Cat

Our furry little feline friends are growing more like us every day.  As we all know, pussycats spend a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing.  Their daily schedule includes plenty of sleeping, eating as often as they are allowed to and if they are lucky a pat or two.

This idyllic life has apparently led to an epidemic of feline Type 2 Diabetes.  The Small Animal Medicine Department at the University of Queensland say that Type 2 diabetes is concurrent with the rise in obesity in Australian adults.  Now would be a good time to declare that despite not really being a cat person, I do in fact have a cat by the name of Napoleon and he has a weight issue.  He is a Cat Haven cat so we are not sure of his ‘pedigree’  but we do know that he is part crazy and part food obsessed.  He does have big bones too.

Cats are designed to do hunting and eat a diet high in protein and fat but many supermarket dry biscuits and canned wet foods contain too much carbohydrate and in fact more than 50% of the calories are often derived from carbohydrates. And of course, what about the other part of the equation, exercise.  How does one get a cat to exercise?  I have seen cats (okay, maybe two) being walked in the neighbourhood on a lead.  Napoleon is not one of those fitness fanatics and would rather take a chunk out of my leg than move his fluffy backside.

The latest figures put cat obesity rates at 35 percent, but they can lose weight and be treated successfully for diabetes with a change to their diet.  Dogs on the other hand, only get Type 1 diabetes and need daily insulin injections.

If you have a Burmese cat, look out.  They are about three times more likely to develop diabetes but domestic short-haired cats are also prone.

In Australia, one household in every four has a cat, so have a look around, does your cat need a health assessment?

Mr Weight Challenged

My top 3 Tips for keeping health goals on track

My Top 3 Tips for Keeping Health Goals on Track for 2011

1. Map out your path
What are your goals, what do they look like and how will you get there?

2. Buddy Up
Having a friend to walk with or meet on early mornings or just someone to chat with when you need inspiration is the secret weapon to success

3. Be a Scribe
W rite things down and keep a diary or journal detailing your journey, it makes you accountable too.

I dare you to break through the 3-month barrier.
Go on, you can do it.

Sleep, oh sleep, where art thou?

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A few years ago, pharmaceutical giant sanofi-aventis sponsored an anonymous, Web-based survey of 4,200 workers at four health care, transportation, and manufacturing companies. The first part of the survey included 55 questions about health and sleep.

The second part was the 25-question Work Limitations Questionnaire, which aims to measure the affect of health-related problems on job performance and productivity. Survey participants said they needed an average of 7.6 hours of sleep a night — but got only 6.4 hours. About 10% reported having insomnia, 45% said they had some trouble sleeping, and the remaining 45% were good sleepers.

Performance and productivity, as measured by the Work Limitations Questionnaire, was significantly lower among workers with insomnia and other sleep trouble than they were among those who usually slept well. Writing in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the researchers estimated that lost productivity due to poor sleep cost $3,156 per employee with insomnia and averaged about $2,500 for those with less severe sleep problems.

Across the four companies, sleep-related reductions in productivity cost $54 million a year. Wow.

Do you need to detox your body regularly?

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The human is body is very clever. So clever, that it rids itself of toxins whenever they come by, using helpful organs like the lungs, liver, kidneys, also aided by our gastrointestinal tract and our immune system. The liver plays a leading role as most of the end products of digestion of food are transported directly to the liver and poisons and drugs are metabolized and detoxified in the liver. You do not need to externally detox your body and there is no scientific evidence to suggest that detox diets actually work.

Detoxifying the body is not new, but every New Year detox diets are really quite fashionable. Apparently, if you are feeling a bit low and lacking in energy, a spot of detox will do the trick.

There are many detox diets around and all fit into the ‘fad diet’ category. These diets often remove whole food groups or may rely on liquids only, and if followed for any length of time can actually be quite dangerous. This is especially so for children, teenagers, pregnant or breastfeeding women and the elderly.

If you want to gain energy and get revitalized it is far easier and more effective to reduce your intake of cigarettes, alcohol, saturated and trans fats, sugar and sugary foods. Plus, think about boosting your intake of fruit, vegetables and whole grains and, of course, get your body moving.

The other really popular thing to do is have a wheatgrass shot when swanning past the local juice bar. It’s the beautiful looking green grass on the counter. You will love it if you have the appetite of a cow and don’t mind the flavour of grass. There are many touted benefits of wheatgrass and I think the only thing it supposedly doesn’t do is wash your clothes. None of the claims have ever been proven.

Have you heard?

For those of you who are able to listen to talkback radio in the mornings, my segment on 6PR has moved to alternate Wednesdays (on air this week) at 10am with Paul Murray. We will be talking about the latest nutrition hot topics and answering listeners questions. Just turn the dial to 882AM …

The last word

Have you ever walked through your office around 3pm and noticed your staff gazing into space or getting up close and personal with the desk? Many businesses are surprised to learn that their staff may be productive for only 2 hours each day and certainly not after 3pm. The health and performance of your employees increases your bottom line. Give me a call and I will tell you how.
Yours in health and performance,
Julie