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April 19, 2022 4 min read
Jessica Hoskins, BHSc, Clinical Nutritionist & Herbalist takes us through 5 easy swaps to help take you from Meh to Marvellous.
If the last two years have taught us anything, it is that both our health and resilience are indispensable. We might not know how the year ahead will pan out, but it is important to know there are still things that we can do to help us thrive even through uncertainty.
Although 2022 may continue to challenge us, there is still room to thrive, despite challenges that we may face in the future. There are so many things you can do to nourish yourself this year, but I suggest keeping it impactful and achievable. Here, I have narrowed it down to five changes that you can implement right away.
My number one tip for this year is to ensure that you are looking after your emotional and mental health as an absolute priority. Our ability to adapt, and resilience to uncertainty is undeniably important now more than ever. Adopting strategies such as mindful breathing exercises (try this one), meditation, outdoor exercise and keeping connected to community, are all ways that can help to manage emotional wellbeing during times of stress. For some, seeking professional support can also be immensely valuable.
"My number one tip for this year is to ensure that you are looking after your emotional and mental health as an absolute priority."
Your digestive system is more than just where your food is processed- it is central to your entire wellbeing. The gut has over 500 million nerve cells, holds the greatest concentration of serotonin (the happy hormone) in the body, and contains at least 70% of immune cells- and that is just the beginning! Research shows that diverse and thriving gut bacteria is associated with overall better health. But this bacteria can be easily disturbed by stress, diet and lifestyle. So making healthier choices around these factors can make a huge difference in your overall health. One specific way to encourage healthy gut-flora is to consume a wide variety of probiotic sources such as miso, yoghurt and fermented vegetables, as well as a good broad-spectrum supplement.
Whenever you can, unplug (i.e. turn off social media and the news). When we spend time in nature not only does it improve brain function, but research has shown improvements in emotional wellbeing, mood, and mental health (1). Being outside in nature whether it be amongst the trees or by the water can be beneficial to many aspects of our health. Though activities such as heading into the bush or other biodiverse areas are most beneficial, just heading to your local park or green space can also have positive outcomes (2).
Flavonoids are a group of phytochemicals found in plant foods, best known as powerful antioxidants. Different flavonoid types have various benefits within the body including protection against toxins and stressors (3,4), prevention against inflammatory processes (5), as well as strengthening and maintaining collagen. Additionally (and importantly), flavonoids have been identified as important for the prevention and treatment of viral infections (6).
To increase your intake of flavonoids, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, berries, red grapes, organic tomatoes, and citrus- the more colour, the better! Capers and onions are particularly great sources of the flavonoid quercetin. While tea, (good quality) dark chocolate, and culinary herbs such as oregano and parsley will also contribute to your intake of flavonoids.
Sleep is really healthy living 101. Without sleep you may be compromising your cognitive ability as well as your immune system. Making steps towards enhancing your sleep quality involves improving your sleep hygiene; i.e. the rhythm surrounding your sleep. This may include avoiding caffeine after lunch (and not too much before then); maintaining a regular bed time, and creating a good pre-sleep routine such as dimming lights and switching off electronic devices an hour before you plan to retire. I also suggest exploring meditation and/or journaling (7,8).
For those who have trouble sleeping or are not waking refreshed, there are supplements and herbs including magnesium, Zizyphus, and Passiflora incarnata that can be very helpful. However, I suggest consulting with an experienced nutritionist/ herbalist to help you get to the root cause and prescribe appropriately for your individual needs.
Berman, M. G., & Schertz, K. E. (2019). Understanding Nature and Its Cognitive Benefits. Current. Directions in Psychological Science, 28(5), 496-502. 10.1177/0963721419854100
 Berman, M. G., & Schertz, K. E. (2019). Understanding Nature and Its Cognitive Benefits. Current. Directions in Psychological Science, 28(5), 496-502. 10.1177/0963721419854100
 Chahar MK, Sharma N, Dobhal MP, Joshi YC. Flavonoids: A versatile source of anticancer drugs. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011;5(9):1-12. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.79093
 Carvalho, Mikaella & Araújo-Filho, Heitor & Barreto, Andre & Quintans-Júnior, Lucindo & Quintans, Jullyana & Barreto, Rosana. (2021). Wound healing properties of flavonoids: A systematic review highlighting the mechanisms of action. Phytomedicine. 90. 153636. 10.1016/j.phymed.2021.153636.
 Maleki SJ, Crespo JF, Cabanillas B. Anti-inflammatory effects of flavonoids. Food Chem. 2019;299:125124. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2019.125124
 Badshah SL, Faisal S, Muhammad A, Poulson BG, Emwas AH, Jaremko M. Antiviral activities of flavonoids. Biomed Pharmacother. 2021;140:111596. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2021.111596
 Rusch, H. L., Rosario, M., Levison, L. M., Olivera, A., Livingston, W. S., Wu, T., & Gill, J. M. (2019). The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1445(1), 5–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13996
 Rachel Neuendorf, Helané Wahbeh, Irina Chamine, Jun Yu, Kimberly Hutchison, Barry S. Oken, "The Effects of Mind-Body Interventions on Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review", Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, Article ID 902708, 17 pages, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/902708
You can find Jessica on Instagram@nourishedbyjessica or her website jessicahoskins.com
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