Craving Chocolate Again? Here’s why…

Craving Chocolate Again? Here’s why…

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with chocolate.  We love it because it lifts our mood and tastes delicious, but we hate it when it causes our skin to flare and adds a few extra unwanted kilos.

Like coffee, eating chocolate can feel like a tricky habit to break.  Before you tackle the task of cutting it out of your daily diet, consider the below reasons of why you may be craving it in the first place.

Hunger

This seems like an obvious one, but perhaps you are just simply… hungry.   Often cravings for quick energy like in sugar-rich chocolate occur when our blood sugar levels are low.  This can occur straight after a big meal, after a period of fasting (eg. after work snack attack), after exercise or even after a stressful situation.  If there is a certain time you are craving chocolate daily, try and preempt this craving by eating a sustained source of energy prior to this time.  Examples include foods high in protein and/or fibre, such as a handful of nuts, a tub of low sugar yoghurt (dairy or non-dairy), a piece of fruit, smoothie or veggie sticks with dip.

Mood Boost

Chocolate can do wonders for your mood-or so you may think.   The combination of refined sugars in addition to caffeine can lead to a quick lift in energy.  Unfortunately, this lift is often followed by a crash.  Chocolate is also a histmaine trigger which can not only stimulate the mind but the skin as well, leading to skin irritation, redness and/or increased itch.  Rather than going for chocolate to lift your mood and energy,  consider these skin-friendly mood enhancing options instead. 

  • Have a warm chai tea
  • Be consistent with daily exercise
  • Watch a good comedy
  • Have a laugh with a friend
  • Eat a diet low in Glycaemic Index
  • Unwind with a relaxing Epsom Salt bath soak with candles and your favourite music

Habit

Are you just used to having chocolate at the same time every day?  Think about when you typically crave the chocolate.  Is it when you are bored at work, when you spend time with your family or when  you have your afternoon cup of tea.  It may not be that you are craving it at all but that you are just used to having it at a certain time each day.  Habits can be changed by being more mindful of the choices you are making and consciously making new, healthy habits in their place.  For instance, if your habit is to come home from work and go straight to the ‘chocolate cupboard’, make it your new habit to get home and unwind away from the kitchen for at least 5 minutes, before going anywhere near tempting foods.  This will give you a chance to take a breath, come back into the present and be more conscious in your decision making. 

Is Chocolate Really That Bad?

At the end of the day, a little bit of chocolate is OK!  It is when it becomes more of a craving and daily habit than a treat and has started to affect your health for the worse that some of these useful tips can come in handy.

Which Exercise is Best For My Skin Condition?

Which Exercise is Best For My Skin Condition?

Written by Phillip Bayer BHSc.Nat

As practitioners we see many patients wanting to incorporate optimal dietary and lifestyle habits in order to improve their skin health. Exercise is certainly an important part of a healthy routine to support chronic skin disease, not only to enhance physical wellbeing, but also for the mental benefits as well. When it comes to your skin health, the type of exercise and the environment you are exercising in are equally as important. See my below tips on which exercise is best for different skin conditions, to help you increase your fitness without the flaring.

Urticaria

If you have a heat-induced urticaria, avoid all forms of hot (intense) exercise and stick to very gentle exercise in the cool time of the day, being careful to remain within your limits to avoid exacerbating the flare. Opt for low intensity where the heart rate does not exceed approximately 110 BPM

Eczema

For eczemas and other allergic conditions where there is an inhalant allergy to pollen/ dust/ grasses and/or native plants, particular care must be taken to avoid exercise during pollination/ spring and when the wind is blowing. Exposure to those allergens may exacerbate your flare-up. During those times, exercising indoors may be a better option. Keep your windows and doors closed.

Psoriasis

In psoriasis, avoid exercise which may press or rub on lesions on contact points of the body, such as the elbows or the knees. Examples can include contact sports, weights or rowing (if hands are affected) and exercises that may involve helmets (if the hairline or scalp are affected). Friction and injury can both induce and exacerbate psoriasis lesions due to what is referred to as the Koebner Phenomenon.

If your skin is flaring but the lesions are not very red/ burning or very itchy, you can increase the intensity of exercise but again be careful to exercise in the cool time of the day and avoid strong direct sunshine on the skin. Chronic plaque psoriasis can often occur alongside comorbidities such as obesity and cardiovascular disease and therefore cardiovascular exercise can be very beneficial.

It is best to avoid swimming in chlorinated pools during a flare of any skin condition, but you may find swimming in the sea or a mineral pool helpful.

As always, listen to your body and discontinue exercise if your skin starts to feel worse – know your limits.

Skin Flaring? Keep your cool

Heat can be a common trigger of skin flaring and itching.

As a general rule, stick to doing exercise in the coolest time of the day, such as early morning or early evening when the sun is low.

If you are having an acute flare of your condition, and your skin is red, hot, burning or intensely itchy, abstain from heavy cardiovascular exercise. If you feel up to it, a gentle walk or stretching exercises such as yoga or Pilates is more suitable during this time. Avoid tight fitness wear where possible and opt for loose fitting clothes instead.

A cool shower or bath after exercise is a good way to cool down quickly and limit the risk of exacerbating your condition. Using a fan during exercise if the ambient temperature is warm can also help.

How does collagen help skin health?

How does collagen help skin health?

Jessica Simonis – Nutritionist and Western Herbalist

Collagen is a protein and a vital ‘building-block’ of skin and joints. For this reason has become a popular supplement in the health and beauty industry. So how does collagen help with skin health? In today’s blog we will break down the facts about collagen and whether this latest craze is really worth the hype.

Skin benefits of collagen

Translating to the word “glue” in Greek, collagen has been well known for its role in tissue renewal and wound repair for many years. Some other skin benefits of collagen can include;

  • improved skin structure
  • Improved skin hydration
  • Improved skin elasticity

For those with chronic skin conditions, wound repair is an important part of healing and therefore optimal nutrition is essential to help restore healthy barrier function. Whilst collagen supplementation is lacking research in regards to specific skin conditions, having enough protein in your diet to support healthy skin function is a good place to start.

How do you know if you are getting enough collagen?

The human body has the ability to self-regulate collagen production. Therefore, a healthy individual will typically have enough collagen to maintain good skin and joint health, simply by eating a healthy balanced diet. However, during times of increased emotional and/or physical stress, the body’s ability to supply enough collagen can be impaired. *For other ways in which stress can affect your nutrition – see here.

Other factors that can increase demand in collagen can include:

  • Low protein diets
  • Conditions affecting digestion or absorption (eg. coeliac disease)
  • Certain medications (eg. antacids or protein pump inhibitors)
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • If you have a chronic, inflammatory skin or joint condition which requires ongoing repair

If you say yes to any of the above, chances are you could do with some extra collagen.

So, should you join the collagen powder craze?

Not necessarily.

Collagen proteins come from both animal and plant sources and therefore a balanced diet, rich in proteins will generally supply you with what you need. One of the richest sources of collagen is bone broth, a traditional food that is both nourishing and restoring. The perfect remedy for skin repair!

For vegetarians and vegans, it is recommended to eat a balanced diet including legumes, nuts, seeds and dairy (if tolerated). Where diet is insufficient, spirulina is a great supplement rich in vitamins, minerals and plant proteins. *See here for more science behind the health benefits of spirulina.

To conclude, collagen forms plays an important role in skin health and adequate amounts of collagen can be obtained by consuming a healthy balanced diet. In cases where diet is inadequate or demand is high, dietary supplements such as spirulina or collagen powders may be of benefit.

For the best advice on natural psoriasis and eczema treatments in Melbourne, contact our friendly reception staff on 03) 9770 5337.

Stress and Skin Flares: Why does it happen and what can you do about it?

Stress and Skin Flares: Why does it happen and what can you do about it?

Jessica Simonis – Nutritionist, Western Herbalist

Stress creates illness and illness creates stress.  It’s a cycle that so many with chronic skin issues struggle to break free from. 

Despite this, stress management often falls to the bottom of the list of “must do’s”, together with the rest of those things we know we should do but for some reason, don’t. 

…but I don’t feel stressed?

Many associate stress with mental/emotional symptoms such as worries, fears, anxiety and depression, not realizing that physical stress is equally as important.  Regardless of whether your stress is emotional or physical, your body responds in the same way; by activating your fight-or-flight response.  Common physical stressors can include long working hours, disrupted sleep, infection, surgery, poor diet and nutritional deficiency to name a few; AKA ‘burning the candle at both ends’.

Common symptoms of stress include:

  • High or low blood pressure
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Digestive discomfort
  • Irritable moods
  • Menstrual irregularities or infertility
  • Poor sleep onset or latency
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Flaring of your autoimmune condition!

If you are experiencing at least 3 of these symptoms, chances are your mind and or body is stressed.

What can I do to manage my stress more effectively?

We are often told by health practitioners to manage our stress, often without the tools and strategies to do so.  Most of us are familiar with stress reduction techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga and meditation, but if these aren’t working for you (or perhaps don’t float your boat), what else can you do to keep your stress levels at bay?

Effective stress management is essentially about improving your resilience (eg. healthy diet, nutrition, regular sleeping hours, exercise, deep breathing) and reducing your stress load (saying no, cutting back, taking a break, eliminating your stressors).  It takes two to tango. Everyone has a certain level of stress tolerance. Some of which is determined by genetics and the rest by our environment.  The less stress tolerance you have, the less it takes to overwhelm your body and cause illness.  For someone with skin disease, this can mean frequent flaring, poor response to medication and difficulty in achieving remission.

For those with a slightly larger stress tolerance, it generally takes more to flare their condition.  This is not always a good thing as it can enable them to ‘push the boundaries’ so to speak, to see just how much they can get away with.  On the up side, small changes can often lead to quick and significant results. 

Regardless of your stress tolerance, implementing the below techniques will help you improve your resilience, step by step.  It can take time, like building a muscle.  With a focus on stress management and stress resilience, you can help to finally break the cycle of stress flaring.

Top tips for stress management (yes they are practical!)

  • Identify and address food triggers – food triggers create a physical stress and increase inflammation.  An elimination and re-challenge diet is often the most accurate way to determine food triggers
  • Set a strict sleep routine:  Set an alarm to remind yourself when to go to sleep and when to wake up.  Routines create a predictable environment for the body which in turn reduces stress.
  • Exercise daily – even if it is only a gentle walk around the block or 5 minutes of stretches.  The gentler the better for those in a flare, however some daily movement is essential.  This can be built up over time as resilience increases.
  • Sunshine – those with skin disease often spend more time indoors or covered up – whether due to fatigue, pain or the visible signs of their condition.  Sunshine is critical to provide vitamin D and vitamin D is an important immune regulator for the skin and therefore taking 5-10 minutes each day to step outside and roll up your sleeves can go a long way.
  • Provide yourself with healing space –It takes a lot of energy to heal and therefore cutting back on social and work commitments where possible is often necessary to provide yourself with the time and space to heal.  Yes, you can actually say no!
  • Connect with nature – Time outside in nature helps to slow and even still the mind.  By simply noticing a bird fly by or the shape of a passing cloud – you are in the moment.  Being in the moment can be a difficult state to achieve in a busy, tech-driven world.
  • Learn to breathe again – Whilst breathing is an automatic process, our state of mind determines how we breathe.  If we are stressed, we breathe more rapidly and more shallow.  The beauty of breathing techniques is they make breathing more conscious, and by slowing and deepening the breath we can in turn influence our state of mind.
  • Perspective – Mental and emotional stress is created from our perspective.  Take death for instance.  Someone could look at the death of a loved one as a tragedy whilst another may take the perspective that they are ‘in a better place’ or ‘finally at peace’.  Try to challenge the way you currently view your stressor/s, even in the most significant life events.  Think about the language you would use for a friend who was stressed about a similar situation.  Try and use that language for yourself.  You deserve just as much care.

Stress is an important trigger in multiple skin conditions.  At the PEC, we pride ourselves on being a holistic skin clinic, going beyond symptomatic treatments to address the core triggers of your condition, and that includes stress!

Celery Juice – Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Celery Juice – Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Celery Juice is the new “it” trend in health and wellness, but does it really live up to its reputation when it comes to skin health?

Who could have thought so much hype could surround the humble old celery stick? Until recently, celery has been the perfect platter veggie, the cracker replacement when you are in a healthy conscious state of mind. Now, celery is on trend and hailed by celebrities far and wide as the cure-all for chronic disease. Let’s dissect fact from fiction and see if this new trend has much to offer when it comes to improving skin health.

In the context of “food as medicine”, celery is considered a ‘cooling’ vegetable, which is handy given it is a great addition to a summer salad. ‘Cooling’ foods are considered particularly beneficial for ‘hot’ skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, certain types of psoriasis and eczema. ‘Hot’ skin conditions tend to present with significant redness and inflammation of the skin. According to Traditional Medical Systems such as Ayurvedic Medicine, celery is said to possess many medicinal qualities, some of which include;

  • Enhances digestion
  • Supports Liver detoxification
  • Purifies blood
  • Reduces excessive appetite
  • Promotes elimination of uric acid
  • Relaxes the nerves
  • Neutralises acids
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Maintains healthy  joints
  • Acts as a diuretic

Sounds pretty good so far.

Nutritionally, celery provides a dose of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Sodium, Silica and Folate as well as fibre if you are eating it raw (not juicing). Celery also contains additional antioxidants which have their own medicinal benefits.

Ok, so far we haven’t really found a reason NOT to eat it, so are there any down sides?

Apart from a rare group of people who may have an allergy to celery, most people can benefit from consuming celery in their daily diet. Despite being known for its liver supportive properties, celery is also one of the most highly pesticide-sprayed vegetables, and therefore taking care to adequately wash before use, choosing organic celery or growing yourself is advised if you wish to consume frequently. Celery is also very low in calories, which is beneficial for those wishing to lose but no so much for those who are underweight if it is at the expense of more calorie rich foods (*Quick fix – just add nut butter!).

So what is our official verdict here at the PEC? Celery is a fantastic addition to your daily diet, particularly if you suffer from a chronic, inflammatory skin condition.

Managing Hand Dermatitis

Managing Hand Dermatitis

Hand dermatitis, also known as hand eczema, is a very common skin complaint. It has become even more common in recent times due to the increase in hand washing and sanitising practises associated with Covid-19.   The symptoms of hand dermatitis can range from mild to debilitating and can have a significant impact on your ability  to perform basic daily activities, including washing your hands, gardening, cooking and just about anything that involves hands! 

A history of eczema is a common risk factor, as are certain professions including child care, nursing, hairdressing, construction, hospitality and stay at home parents.  However, lately it seems that almost anybody is at increased risk.

Hand Dermatitis Management - Hand Washing

Presentation and Symptoms

Hand dermatitis may have “dry” or “wet” presentations.  Dry hand dermatitis typically presents as dry, flaky and cracked skin. It can be itchy and painful, particularly when there are splits in the skin. Wet hand dermatitis often presents as red, weepy and bumpy skin.  It can feel hot, burning, painful and itchy. Wet hand dermatitis has a significantly increased risk of bacterial colonisation with Staphylococcal aureus, which has been associated with an increased resistance to common treatments including antibiotics and topical steroids.  This is why a holistic approach that includes prevention, management and treatment can be so beneficial.

Our skin is our first line of defence against pathogenic infection and protecting the skin on our hands has never been so important.  Follow these useful tips on how to prevent and manage hand dermatitis so that you can get back to being hands on doing whatever it is you love the most!

Cracked Fingers


5 Handy Tips for Hand Dermatitis:

  1. The best treatment is to avoid the trigger:  Identifying and avoiding irritants or allergens that are triggering your hand dermatitis is key.  If you suspect a substance at home or work is triggering your skin, ask your doctor to organise a patch test.  If your trigger is unavoidable, pay close attention to steps 2-5.
  2. The right gloves for the right job – Gloves are an important tool to help protect the hands from common irritants/allergens, however if worn incorrectly can add to the problem.  Choose gloves made from vinyl or plastic, with thin cotton gloves worn underneath if possible.  Latex and rubber gloves are best avoided due to possible allergic reactions.  Long gloves are best for wet work, to avoid water entering the gloves – this will exacerbate the skin.  Avoid gloves with holes and make sure you wash in between use to remove any detergents and dry the gloves by turning inside out.  Leather gloves are great for heavy duty tasks such as gardening, work around the house and exercises that induce friction (such as weights or bike riding).
    It is best not to wear gloves for longer than 2 hours per day.
  3. Gently does it – It is important to keep up with regular hand washing to keep hands clean, hygienic and free of irritants.  It is therefore critical that you chose a hand wash that is gentle, hypoallergenic and moisturising where possible.  Blot the skin dry after washing and follow immediately with a moisturiser.  If you must use a hand sanitiser, avoid the cheap and nasties.  Hand sanitisers with a higher glycerine content are much gentler on the skin. 
  4. Moisturise frequently – Irritants remove protective lipids from the stratum corneum of the skin and moisturisers with a high oil content can replace these lipids and prevent or even heal hand dermatitis.  Whilst over the counter, hypoallergenic creams and lotions are well tolerated and help to keep the skin hydrated, few contain oils that help to restore essential lipids in the skin.   Chose a moisturiser that is hypoallergenic and contains nourishing oils compatible with the skin barrier and always remember to patch test first. 
  5. Get out of chores free card:  There are some household chores that can significantly irritate hand dermatitis, and therefore, doing a chore swap with another house member for a few weeks may be just enough to let the skin heal.  Common chores that can exacerbate hand dermatitis include washing (including dishes, babies, animals, car), cooking with food triggers (such as peeling or chopping garlic, onions, tomatoes, pineapple, kiwi and citrus), painting and gardening.  If there is no one to swap with make sure you use the right gloves for the right job.

Is Stress Triggering Your Skin?

Stress Triggering Your Skin
Stress Triggers

Is Stress Triggering Your Skin?

Written by Jessica Simonis – Nutritionist, Western Herbalist, Holistic Skin Practitioner

Stress is a well-documented trigger AND comorbidity of many skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and acne.  But stress is very much a subjective term.  Learning what it is that your mind and/or body finds stressful is the key to managing your flares and the answer might surprise you…

The skin is innervated by a network of cutaneous nerves and research has discovered that certain neurochemicals play a significant role in many skin conditions by modulating inflammation, cellular growth, immune response and wound repair.  Certain characteristics of chronic skin conditions such as symmetrical distribution, sparing of de-nervated skin and initiation of a flare after stress indicates nerves may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of multiple chronic skin conditions, including psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, acne and more.

What types of stress can flare the skin?

There are 3 stages of stress to be aware of when it comes to skin flares, as different stages can have a different effect on the health of your skin.

  1. Alarm – This stage is also known as fight or flight.  It is the acute stage of stress where your cortisol, heart rate and blood pressure increase as a protective mechanism.  Due to the anti-inflammatory nature of cortisol, you may not experience any symptoms during this phase.
  2. Resistance – During this stage, the body attempts to adapt to the stressful situation.  If the stressful event ceases, the body returns to normal.  If not, the body continues to produce stress hormones, creating imbalances in the endocrine, immune and nervous systems.  This is where symptoms may begin, often with new lesions appearing in new places.
  3. Exhaustion – After extended periods of stress, the body becomes exhausted from trying to maintain a balance in stress hormones.  Your immune system can becomes vulnerable to infection, fatigue and lack of concentration set in and feelings of anxiety and depression are common.  This is where a skin flare can become chronic.

Identifying your stress:

Many of us associate stress with a negative emotional experience, such as a relationship break up, argument, loss of job, financial difficulty and so on.  These are certainly stressful events, but they have something more than negative emotions in common….CHANGE.

As a practitioner of many years, I have found that change is a major driver of skin flares, and what we consider a “Primary” or “Initiating” Trigger.  The interesting part is that the change may even be a positive one, such as taking on a promotion, giving birth to your first child, buying your new home or getting married.  Patients with chronic skin conditions are often very sensitive to changes in their environment.  Even simple changes in weather or temperature can be enough to initiate a flare. 

However, once the patient has adapted to the change, the skin should clear, right?

If it doesn’t clear, this indicates that “Secondary” or “Exacerbating” triggers are still present.  This can include everyday stressors such as being busy, poor sleep, poor diet, nutrient deficiencies, obesity and so on.  These place not only a mental but a physical stress on the body, again exhausting its defense mechanisms. 

So how can you manage your stress, even if you don’t feel stressed?

The answer is ROUTINE!  The nervous system loves routine.  Creating a pattern around when you go to bed, when you wake up, when you eat, what you eat and when you exercise, takes a lot of pressure off your nervous system and the stress response, allowing it to adapt, rather than stay in a constant state of alarm.  Of course, if your routine is not so unhealthy, you may need to make some initial dietary and lifestyle changes, such as less caffeine, less technology, more time outdoors, more vegetables, less processed foods, more water and less alcohol (Read more here).  But once you have, keeping them consistent enough to create a new habit, will give your nervous system the rest it needs, in order to start healing. 

If you are suffering from depression or anxiety and need support, please follow this link for more information.

Circadian Rhythm and Chronic Skin Conditions – What’s the link?

Circadian Rhythm and Chronic Skin Conditions

Keeping a chronic skin condition stable when your hormones are running wild can feel like a constant uphill battle.  Not only do we have fluctuating male and female hormones to contend with, but there are stress hormones, sleep hormones and glucose regulating hormones to name a few, all of which work together to create our natural internal rhythm or “circadian clock”.

When we are in balance, our circadian rhythm responds to external cues appropriately.  For example, we are energetic during the day light, sleepy at sun down, hungry during the middle of the day and if female, menstruating in a 4 weekly pattern.   In modern day life, where blue lit screens are often the last thing we see before bed, gyms are open 24/7 and the working day starts and finishes in the dark, it’s no wonder our rhythms go awry. 

So how does this affect the skin?

 Like many organs, the skin is regulated by a central clock known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus which receives light through the retina and passes messages along to other internal clocks via neural and hormonal pathways. It also has its own internal clock system which regulates changes in activity according to the time of day.  For instance, research has shown skin to do the majority of DNA and cellular repair work during the night time.  Skin cells also divide and proliferate more at night, are less hydrated, more acidic and at a slightly higher temperature than during the day, often setting the scene for an uncomfortable night’s sleep for many eczema and psoriasis sufferers.

What can you do to regulate your circadian rhythm and improve your skin?

It’s all in the timing:  Research has shown that the application of topical skin treatments is best timed at night to not only help alleviate the symptoms but to also help optimize repair at a time where the skin needs it most.

Routine, routine, routine:  A regular routine is essential to a healthy circadian and hormonal rhythm.  Chronic disruption to routine such as through shift work, irregular eating patterns or frequent travel can contribute towards flares.  Do your best to time activities within your control, such as regular meal times, breathing exercises, and limiting blue light exposure and/or caffeine before sleep.

Rise with the sun:  The best way to reset your rhythm is to rise with the sun.  Get your 15 minutes of vitamin D exposure and enjoy what nature has to offer before – there’s no better way to start your day. =2

Heart Health – The Importance of Omega 3 fatty acids in Cardiovascular Health

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Omega 3 fatty acids have long been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. They are a type of unsaturated fatty acid, found most commonly in fish.

When a diet high in saturated fatty acids, such as those in meat, is substituted for unsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in fish, we see several benefits in the cardio vascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure slightly, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke and heart failure risk and reduce irregular heartbeats. Eating at least one to two servings a week of fish, particularly fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, particularly sudden cardiac death. Omega-3 fatty acids may also reduce inflammation, which is associated with damage to blood vessels and, if left unchecked, may lead to heart disease and strokes.

Which types of fish are most beneficial?

Fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and therefore the most benefit, but many types of seafood contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Not all types of fish are equal

Fish that do not contain as high levels of omega 3 and those which contain higher levels of unhealthy fatty acids are not as beneficial for heart health, examples include tilapia and catfish. Also pay attention to where your fish comes from- fish from countries known for their bad pollution is not a good idea. Some fish are also higher in dangerous toxins, for example mercury is found in higher concentrations in larger predatory fish, such as swordfish. Farmed fish may contain antibiotics and other chemicals so pay careful attention where you source your fish from. In addition, fish is not be that healthy if it is prepared in an unhealthy way, for example fried fish opposed to steamed or baked fish.

How much fish should you eat?

For adults, at least two servings of omega-3-rich fish a week are recommended. A serving size is about 100 grams, or about the size of a deck of cards. Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant and young children should limit the amount of fish they eat because they’re most susceptible to the potential effects of toxins in fish.

Are there other options if I dislike fish?

Researchers are divided as to the health benefits of taking omega-3 supplements, however, they are an option if for any reason foods high in omega-3’s cannot be included in the diet. Good non-fish sources of omega-3’ oils include flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, soybeans and soybean oil. Bear in mind the evidence of heart-health benefits from eating these foods isn’t as strong as it is from eating fish.

Senior Practitioner- Phillip Bayer- Psoriasis Eczema Clinic

How to deal with the post-festive season slump?

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A how to list from our Integrative Dermatology Specialists at Psoriasis Eczema Clinic.

This time of year, many people may feel overwhelmed and exhausted following the build up to Christmas and New Year festivities. Facing the prospect of returning to very busy, high demand lives can be unnerving.   If you are feeling unwell, fatigued and having trouble getting back into the swing of things you’re not alone!

Here are some tips to regain your energy and feel ready to tackle the year ahead:

  1. Take a break from alcohol – Holiday time can mean more consumption of alcohol, which sometimes can become a regular part of dinnertime. Alcohol consumption can lead to excess weight gain, headaches, and difficulty in sleeping, so try and limit this to weekends or eliminate altogether.
  2. Invest in some vitamins to support adrenal glands– Vitamins C, and B complex, as well as Magnesium. These supplements will support the nervous system as well as helping adrenal glands in meeting more physical and mental demands.
  3. Get back into exercise – you may not feel like you have the energy, but start small and build up to at least 30 mins exercise 3-4 times a week, even if this is just an evening walk. The key is raising your heart rate and getting more aerobically fit, you will soon see that your energy improves.
  4. Eat well – This requires planning so make sure that you have an organised approach to the weekly shop so that you have enough to cover healthy lunches and snacks while at work / home. If you are a busy person buy snacks that you can eat on the go such as nuts, seeds, fruit, dark chocolate. Try making your own trail mix with your favorite raw nuts and seeds with a small amount of dried fruit of your choice. Make dinners easy with grilled fish or meat and salad, or veggies.

Would you like to know more about how to manage your Chronic Skin Condition? Our team of Integrative Dermatologists would enjoy showing you how!

The Psoriasis Eczema Team.