Exercise Archives - Health Tea Box

September 28, 2020


A Holistic Nutritionist’s Guide to Feel Good from the Inside Out

It’s nothing new to hear that what we put into our bodies has a massive impact on how we feel – on both the outside and the inside. The food part is typically well understood: eat lots of fruit and vegetables, choose complex carbohydrates over simple sugars, opt for whole foods and reduce processed food consumption. As Michael Pollan put it, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”


But that plant aspect is where it can get a little more complex, especially when you stray from the typical broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and carrots. What if you started to explore the health benefits of herbs? And more than that, what if you started to use these in combination with healthy, daily habits and lifestyle changes? Check out these four changes to get you started:

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Feeling good at the beginning of the day – and then for the rest of the day –  starts with the night before. Adopt a nightly sleep routine, which starts in the hour before bed, reducing your exposure to screens and blue light, having dimmer lighting around you and refraining from any physically or mentally energetically stimulating activities. You can also add a sleepy time tea option with sleep promoting ingredients:

  • Chamomile
    If you have reached for a chamomile tea in the hours before bed (maybe even in our night-time tea!), or in a quiet moment in the afternoon, you already know the calming effects of this herb. Another one to have on your radar for reducing anxiety and helping quiet the brain, chamomilehas antioxidants which also help promote sleepiness and improve sleep quality. Consume this flower turned tea after eating however, and you will be privy to additional benefits: chamomile has been shown to promote digestive health and lower blood sugar levels in the body, which helps protect against diabetes.
  • Lemon Balm
    Similar to chamomile, lemon balm is another herb to have on your radar to help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep quality. Research has shown its ability to help ease insomnia and sleep disorders and as having a calming affect on the mind, boosting cognitive function. The special thing about this herb however, is that it not only helps reduce anxiety, but can also relieve anxiety symptoms, such as indigestion, nausea and headaches. Enjoy Lemon Balm in the night time tea with chamomile.

Find Your Mind

Another aspect of reducing stress is becoming aware of what causes stress and focusing in on getting mindful instead of letting your mind be full. When was the last time you stopped and took a breath? Like a real, complete, diaphragm filling breath. Inhale, exhale. Have you let your mind wonder lately, just letting the thoughts come and go, getting curious and not being judgemental of what shows up. You can be an observer of your thoughts, without becoming attached to them. This is an aspect of meditation, one way to help you feel good and be more in control of your thoughts and emotions. Start your day with some meditation or mindfulness and some energizing tea to feel good and stay on track after your good night’s sleep. These herbs are a great place to start:



Hit up Nature

The research abounds that supports the role nature has in promoting the reduction of stress hormones. In an article published last year in Science Daily, researchers showed that just a 20 minute stroll in nature was enough to reduce levels of cortisol released into the blood stress. Keeping these at a base level is important to reduce the occurrence of chronic stress and fend off the development of anxiety and chronic stress related illness such as adrenal fatigue and burnout. Having a stress-reducing routine, which includes time in nature, and other things such as activities that bring you joy, things that make you laugh and your favourite calming tea can help. Choose teas that include adaptogens, anti-stress and anti-inflammatory herbs, as all of these help mitigate the negative effects of stress on the body:

  • Rhodiola
    An adaptogenic herb, rhodiola delivers its benefits through modulating the stress response in the body. In times of stress, the sympathetic system is activated, which inhibits parasympathetic activities like digestion, sleep and deep breathing. Adaptogens however, let your body adapt more efficiently to stress so that the byproducts of the stress response do not negatively impact you health long-term
  • Turmeric
    Perhaps the more well-known member on the list, turmeric is commonly known for its anti-inflammatory effects. The yellow colour of this popular plant comes from curcumin, an antioxidant-rich plant compound which also elicits anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Inflammation is a natural and necessary part of healthy systemic function, as it is an immune response. Present in excess however, it can lead to poor health outcomes including decreased energy, gut distress and other disease processes.
  • Valerian
    These uncertain days of 2020 present with no shortage of anxiety and stress, but there is definitely lots that is in your control that you can do to help alter the outcome. In addition to practicing mindfulness, going outside and moving your body regularly, valerian is a calming, anti-anxiety herb which can play a positive role in reducing your anxious feelings, inability to sleep or difficulties concentrating. This ancient herb has several compounds which inhibit the chronic stress-inducing breakdown of GABA in the brain, an important step in maintaining mental clarity and feeling energized.

Start Moving

If you’re going out in nature, why not make your 20 minutes count for double and exercise outside? Going for a walk or bike ride on the trails, practicing yoga or Pilates in your local park, or heading out for a run on the beach are all great ways to integrate both movement and nature. Moving your body helps you feel good because it releases feel good hormones, including dopamine and serotonin. In addition, exercises stimulates brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been referred to as fertilizer for your brain. It helps promote neuroplasticity and improves the health of your brain cells. Naturally, this is important to help maintain current levels of cognitive function, but also low levels of BDNF have been shown to be a factor in the development of conditions such as Alzheimers and dementia. And while you’re looking after your brain through movement, why not boost your brain health with cognitive promoting herbs:

  • Ginseng
    A prominent player in the cognitive memory assist day-tea, staying cognitively primed is important for optimal  feel-good function today, and in the days and years to come. Ginseng helps with this by acting as an adaptogen (like rhodiola!) and offering anti-stress effects on the body. It helps improve mental performance and has anti-inflammatory properties which act to reduce the risk of more sinister disease processes such as vascular disease and diabetes.
  • Ginkgo Biloba
    The use of Ginkgo extract has seen a quick uptake in the last several years due to speculation of the plant’s ability to enhance brain function. Additional studies have looked at the mediating affect of Ginkgo in helping reduce the rate of cognitive decline in people experiencing dementia. While none of the studies are conclusive and many of the results are inconsistent, given its powerful plant compounds, it is a benefit to add it to your diet (like during tea time), regardless of the cognitive benefits.

If you’re ready to shake things up with spring and get out of your WFH routine, reach out to us to learn more about how you can get a Tea Box delivered right to your house. With all these herbs and health benefits to speak of, you’ll feel an extra spring in your step and revitalised from the inside out.


Laura Peill
Registered Holistic Nutritionist







We’d love to help you become healthier and be the best version of yourself!

Got a question? Send us an email:
info@healthculturesystems.com.au



March 31, 2020


Immune System, We’re Coming for You!

The time seems more important than ever now to focus in on maximizing immune health. To be sure, there is no magic fix or quick acting ingredient that will make you instantly safe from any immune invading viruses (we’re looking at you Mr. COVID!). But there are some smart things you can do that will help your body be better at what it is already meant to do: activate your immune cells to be able to fight off invaders to keep you healthy.


Eat Whole Foods
Eat Whole Foods

One of the best ways to encourage optimal immune functioning is to make sure your body has everything it needs to support ant reproduce healthy immune cells. When our body is stocked up on nutrients and phytonutrients – like Vitamin C, B vitamins, antioxidants, and magnesium – these are available in supply for the cells to call on when they need them.

  • Consume vegetables and fruit that are bright in colour and in their natural form
  • Choose whole grain sources of carbohydrates to increase fibre intake and maximize B vitamin intake
  • Eat a variety of foods to maintain an efficient level of fat, protein and carbohydrates. All of these macronutrients are important in body functioning.
  • Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, a compound which helps remove free radicals in the body. This is why it is important in immunity, and can be found in red capsicum, citrus fruit, Kakadu Plum and many other fruits and vegetables.

Hydration Nation!
Hydration Nation

While you cannot “wash away” a virus, there are many reasons why it is important to consume adequate water or hydrating beverages like herbal teas:

  • Water is required to maintain blood volume, and adequate blood volume ensures consistent blood circulation of immune cells.
  • Hydrated cells are healthier cells! Think about how you feel when you are dehydrated – tired, low-energy, fatigued – and the same thing happens to your cells! Lack of water means they might not have the functional capacity to do their job

Plain water is the most accessible source of hydration for your cells. Other options however, like herbal tea, sparkling water and coconut water all present hydration alternatives. Mix it up in your daily routine to make sure you get enough and aren’t bored by just plain water!



Keep Moving
Keep Moving

If you have always thought about committing to at-home workouts, or want to make use of the set of dumbbells you have in your garage, now is a great time to do so. You can do your own at-home workout with bodyweight or hand weights if you have them, and integrate high intensity cardio activities, like jumping Jacks, running, high knees, jump squats or Burpees. In these times movement is good for many reasons:

  • Helps the movement of lymph which contains waste that your body is trying to get rid of.
  • Encourages the intake of increased oxygen and helps with blood circulation. some immune cells travel through the blood and need to get to their destination!
  • Improves your state of mind, helping reduce stress and anxiety and make you feel happier and more in control
  • Move outside! Doing it outdoors gives you the added bonus of a Vitamin D hit from the sunshine. Vitamin D is important for immune cell function.

Boost Your Body
Herbal Tea

Eating whole foods and drinking adequate water goes a long way in making sure you maintain a heathy body and a fully functioning immune system. However, there are some ingredients or foods that are particularly high on the immunity friendly list.

  • Turmeric – an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce unnecessary inflammation in the body so immune resources can be more efficiently used.
  • Vitamin D rich foods – Mushrooms, eggs and fatty fish contain this vitamin that is essential for immune function. Added bonus if you head out into the sunshine and get a double dose!
  • Peppermint – Great for fighting congestion or helping reduce symptoms in the early stages of illness.
  • Probiotic foods – These help maintain a healthy gut biome and ensure a proper balance of bacteria in your gut. The bacteria function in manufacturing some of the immune cells, so it is imperative that they are able to do this.

There is no one food, one thing or one ingredients that is going to protect you from contracting a virus or instantly give your immune system a boost. But when you stack together lots of healthy habits and stay consistent, there is a great chance that your immune system will be armed and ready in case anything decides to make an entrance!



Laura Peill
Registered Holistic Nutritionist







We’d love to help you become healthier and be the best version of yourself!

Got a question? Send us an email:
info@healthculturesystems.com.au



November 26, 2019


This January, We’re Giving you Permission to Ditch the Resolutions

Tired of the January 1st new year’s resolution that ends before it even starts? Embrace the new decade with something different: this year, ditch the resolution and try a lifestyle change instead. We’ll tell you how!

The holiday season is upon us and amidst all the Christmas songs, shopping lists and card signing, you’re starting to hear the voice in your head that says: don’t forget about your new year’s resolution! If you set a resolution every year, only to find it takes you nowhere or ends badly, it’s time to make a change.



What’s wrong with resolutions?


Holiday season

First off, if resolutions work for you, and you set them every year and find success, maybe nothing is wrong with them. But if you set them every year and don’t see success, your mind is already in that place of “resolutions don’t work for me,” and you are setting yourself up for the opposite of success. And who wants to set themselves up for failure?

Often it’s not that the resolution itself is bad, it’s the conditions (or lack thereof!) surrounding them. For example, you might say “starting January 1st I am going on a diet!” Or, “on January 1st, I am going to start exercising!” Perhaps every year you say, “I am going to start the year off by eating healthy!”

These are all with the best of intentions, but they are broad, lack the ability to be accurately measured or tracked and are too easily manipulated to suit your life versus you having to make some hard changes and restructure your lifestyle.


What should I do instead?
Resolutions

This year, instead of pegging down a resolution, ditch that mindset and focus on a lifestyle change. Focus on making sustainable changes in your habits – forming them or breaking them – that you can measure, maintain and repeat. Here are some things to consider:

  • Set a goal or a plan to change that is specific
  • Make sure you have a way to measure your progress and a gauge for the final outcome. You need to know whether you are on track and whether you have or haven’t met your goal!
  • Set up a way to stay accountable. Perhaps you check in regularly with a friend or partner, or you keep track on a calendar.
  • Make it time-specific – set a deadline for when you want to reach your goal.
  • Break it down and change one thing at a time. If you are looking to “get healthier,” first set a goal surrounding exercise, then around food choices, then around a healthy mindset. Doing these all at once will likely make you discouraged.
  • Celebrate the small wins and give yourself positive feedback along the way.

Making small tweaks in the goals you set and the way you set them can lead to a make or break outcome. Be open to taking different approaches to change this year and you will be more likely to get a different (more desirable!) result!


How do I make sustainable changes?
Change

When it comes to making changes and adopting new habits, ask yourself: “is this something I could maintain for the rest of my life?” Drastic, large scale changes, like cutting out entire food groups or going from no exercise to an hour a day, are likely unreasonable and unsustainable. Consider some of the following sustainable changes to help you get started:

  • Make a swap – Change your daily consumption of soft drinks to tea instead, or swap to have one night meatless, and power up on veggies for a day.
  • Start small – Incorporate exercise in small amounts to begin, such as 15 minutes of walking three times per week.
  • Make it attractive – If you are trying to do more of something, make it an attractive thing to do! For example, if you want to drink more water, add lemon to it, or drink it in the form of iced tea. If you want to exercise more, choose an activity you enjoy or people you enjoy being with.
  • Don’t forget your brain – Diet and exercise are common targets for change, but it might start in your brain! Giving yourself a cognitive boostcan go a long way in helping you concentrate better, stay focused and ultimately, more effectively achieve your other goals
  • More sleep, less stress – Part of cognitive health is getting enough sleep and cutting down on stress. Start by taking your phone out of the bedroom at night and practicing some deep breathing exercises to destress your mind and body.

Sail into a new decade setting yourself up for success, not failure. Set aside the annual resolution tradition that you do because you “should,” and instead get really specific on some measurable, actionable goals you can tackle to create sustainable lifestyle change. Bring on 2020!


Laura Peill
Registered Holistic Nutritionist







We’d love to help you become healthier and be the best version of yourself!

Got a question? Send us an email:
info@healthculturesystems.com.au



October 1, 2019


Why it’s time to go outside!

If the winter weather had you stuck indoors, huddled under a blanket (with a cup of hot tea!), don’t worry – you weren’t alone. But with the warmer weather now peaking in, it’s time to take advantage of the sun, light and all the fresh air, as you reap the benefits of being outside!
Spring cup of tea

The warm days that have been teasing us off and on these past few weeks are the perfect glimpse into the new spring season that is upon us. More than that though, they are the ideal time to be outside. Winter doesn’t usually lend itself to being outdoors, and in the process of spending all that time inside, we lose the natural benefits of the sun, fresh air, interaction with plants and the natural endorphin release that comes from breathing it all in and being in nature. It’s time to put the winter blues aside and step outside into spring.



Benefits of Being Outdoors

Spring Outdoors Bike

Aside from the bright skies and pretty flowers, you’ll be happy to know there are a few additional reasons why the great outdoors is so great:

  • Japanese researchers have shown that “stressful states can be relieved by forest therapy.” The Japanese regularly walk forest trails and researchers are finding evidence to support that it offers decreases in cortisol, sympathetic nerve activity, and blood pressure.
  • Natural settings reduce directed-attention fatigue, an issue caused by the brain having to constantly manage competing stimuli
  • Recent research looked at the connection between soil and the gut microbiome, concluding that the soil biodiversity we are exposed to is decreasing and our rate of microbiome related lifestyle diseases is increasing
  • Natural light exposure is required for adequate vitamin D, and also helps regulate your sleep schedule. The brain is cued by light changes for when to produce melatonin and elicit sleep.

Camping herbal Tea

Outdoor Activities.

Here’s the good news: getting the benefits of going outside doesn’t require you to spend hours on a hike or commit to devoting Saturday to Mother Nature:  just 30 minutes of time outdoors can be enough to give you incredible physical and mental benefits. If you’re not sure what to do or where to start however, here are some outdoor activity ideas which are perfect for spring:

  • Go for a walk – down the street, on a local trail, around your backyard. It doesn’t have to be long or to a destination, just incorporating movement is enough!
  • Forage flowers – The next time you drive by a spot in nature that has nice flowers, stop and pick a few! Go for a walk around the area and see if you can forage a nature-made bouquet for your home. Not only will you get the benefits of being outdoors, but you will also be able to go home and bring the outdoors in!
  • Move the Meet – Whether it is a meeting with colleagues or a meet-up with friends, take it outside. For a work meeting, opt to sit outside for coffee instead of in, or suggest a walking meeting. If you are meeting up with friends, think of an outdoor activity, such as a walk along the beach, frisbee in the park, or a walk through the local gardens.
  • Choose Outside – Sometimes getting outside is as simple as choosing to do so. Choose to walk to places when you can; get up from your desk at work and go for a walk outdoors; shop at outdoor farmer’s markets instead of the store; exercise outside instead of at the gym or in your garage.

Use the change in season to change the way you think about the outdoors – a place to be in and visit, not a place to ignore or walk away from. Plus, there are so many great additional benefits to getting outside, that really, you have nothing to lose!


Health Tea Box - Herbs Planter Box

Plants for Purpose.

More than just soaking up the sunshine and getting a dose of those feel-good hormones though, being outside surrounded by plants lets you get an appreciation for the large diversity of plants found growing in abundance in our own backyard. Better yet, did you know that a lot of these plants are edible and have impressive health benefits? In fact, many of them could be considered nature’s superfoods given their nutrient profile. And this is a big reason behind why they are included in some of the teas we offer as part of the Health Tea Box:

  • Hibiscus – While beautiful in nature, hibiscus is that much better in the body: it helps reduce  blood pressure. Whether you suffer from hypertension or stress, the hypotensive properties of hibiscus are the perfect solution. Combined with its antioxidant benefits, it’s a clear winner and found in several of our teas.
  • Rose Petals – Not only are roses beautiful to look at in nature but the petals adds a refined sweetness to desserts and tea, while also providing anti-inflammatory benefits. The red blood-like colour of roses is also symbolic of their ability to act as a blood tonic.
  • Lemon Balm – An Australian native plant, lemon balm adds a subtle lemon flavour to teas and you can use it in your cooking in the same way. In addition, it is rich in antioxidants and can act as a sedative, aiding in sleep and de-stressing.
  • Fennel – A pleasant smell and a delicious flavour, this liquorice like plant has anti-inflammatory effects and is a great digestive aid. Drink the digestive tea after a meal or when you are feeling bloated, nauseas or suffering from unwanted gut distress.
  • Peppermint – Peppermint tea is soothing and comforting, and this is not an accident. Peppermint is great for helping elicit calmness and reduce tension, as well as is a beneficial digestive aid, helping in both chronic and acute gut symptoms.

There are lots of benefits from getting outside, but the only way to reap them is to try it yourself. What are you waiting for? Get outdoors!



Laura Peill
Registered Holistic Nutritionist







We’d love to help you become healthier and be the best version of yourself!

Got a question? Send us an email:
info@healthculturesystems.com.au



August 14, 2019
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We are super excited to be part of the Wests Biggest Bootcamp Event.

Take the challenge and get sweaty with your mates in a 45 minute bootcamp session.
All fitness, ability levels and ages are welcome. Westgate Gym trainers will help to power you through it. You will even be given a bag of goodies to take home.

Don’t forget to check out the health market and sample some of our Health Tea Box teas.

For tickets and more information visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/wests-biggest-bootcamp-tickets-65390848789