resolutions 2018

5 simple health resolutions for 2018

2018-resolutions 5 simple health resolutions for 2018

Another new year is upon us, which brings with it the opportunity to start a fresh and set some resolutions for the year ahead. Although resolutions are set with the best of intentions, they often drop off the radar by the end of January. Over-enthusiasm is often our downfall when setting resolutions, which leaves us feeling like we have failed. So, rather than set you up for another year of failed resolutions, our Naturopath Sarah has come up with 5 simple resolutions that you can incorporate and build into daily practices.

#1 Ten thousand steps

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the most significant risk factors for poor health and the development of chronic health conditions. Ensuring you hit 10,000 steps each day is an easy way to increase daily movement and reduce your risk of chronic health issues. Not quite getting over the line? This article has some great tips to help you get to 10,000 steps.

10,000 steps equates to about 8km of walking and takes on average 1 hour and 40 minutes.

#2 Nourish with good food

The idea of kick-starting the new year with a super healthy (and often strict) diet appeals to most of us when January rolls around. However, it is usually not at all practical. January in Australia is a very social month for most of us with many social engagements, catch-ups and summer barbecues — not all that compatible with a diet. So, instead of that restrictive diet, focus on nourishing your body with plenty of fresh whole foods as often as you can and leave a little space for those social indulgences.

#3 Drink more water

This is such a simple thing you can do and it has so many positive health benefits. Adequate water intake helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, keeps our skin plump and hydrated, improves energy levels and supports detoxification. Aim for 2 litres of water per day (herbal teas are included).

#4 Daily mindfulness

We exist in such a busy world where we are constantly engaging with social media and trying to squeeze 30 hours of activities into a 24 hour day. Often we are thinking 5 steps ahead, instead of giving our full attention to the task at hand. A daily mindfulness practice such as meditation brings us back into the present moment and can help to improve focus, reduce stress levels and anxiety, improve mental wellbeing and enhance productivity.

If mindfulness is on your new year resolutions list, you may want to check out this TEDtalk by mindfulness expert, Andy Puddicombe

#5 Prioritise self care

If there is only one resolution you can manage to take into the new year, then make it this one. Self care practices are so often neglected and yet can have a profound impact on our mental and physical wellbeing. The practice of self-care will be different for each of us — it is whatever nourishes your soul. For some it may be competitive sports, for others it will be reading a book with a cup of tea. Find something that nourishes and re-energises you, then schedule time and space for it on a daily or weekly basis.

Succeed in achieving your 2018 resolutions

When setting our resolutions, goals or intentions for the new year, we often set ourselves up for failure. Over-flowing with enthusiasm, we tend to set goals that in the long term are just not sustainable. So, start small and choose just one resolution to start working on. Make it one that you can incorporate into your daily life and gradually build into a habit. I also encourage you to really think about the ‘why’ or the motivation for each of your resolutions as this will help to clarify exactly what it is that you want to achieve. Finding the specific motivations behind a resolution enables you to create your action plan and keep you on track to achieving your goals.

One last note. Sometimes failing is all part of the process. It is how we grow. Embrace any failure as a learning opportunity and get back on that horse.

Author — Sarah Woolner, Naturopath and Clinical Nutritionist at Total Health Brookvale

sore throat naturopathy nutrition immune health

Natural remedies for a sore throat

feamle-sore-throat Natural remedies for a sore throat

Winter has made its presence felt, which means the cold and flu season will start to take a hold. Often, we get a few niggling signs of a cold or flu a few days before they really strike. A scratchy, sore throat is usually the first to appear and this is the time to take action.

Why do we get a scratchy or a sore throat before a cold or flu?

First things first, let’s start with why you get a sore throat before coming down with a full-blown cold or flu.

Viral infections are the culprit in cases of cold and flu, and these viruses invade the body via mucosal surfaces in the nasal passage, sinuses, mouth and eyes. Once the virus breaks through these membrane barriers, they don’t get far before being detected by the immune cells on patrol in the lymphatic glands located at the back of the throat and under the jawline. These immune cells raise the alarm, creating a localised response to invading virus that results in inflammation, swelling and some discomfort or pain — all of which can cause that scratchy “feels like I have swallowed razor blades” sore throat.

A sore throat is your first indication to take action — nip it in the bud

It is during the very early stage of infection (when you get that initial niggle in your throat) that you can really nip that cold or flu in the bud. There are a few key things you can do to support your immune system in fighting off the infection and prevent it progressing to a nasty cold or flu.

1. Rest

Your immune system is working overtime to quash this infection and this takes energy. So, one of the most supportive things you can do is rest. Skip the high-intensity gym session and opt for a restorative yoga class or a gentle stroll along the beach. Head to bed early with a good book and cup of herbal tea. Carve out some time during your day for restful breaks — do a meditation, sit outside in the sun or even a quick lie down under the desk if you can’t escape the office. Resting doesn’t always equate to sleep, you just need to take things down a notch or two.

2. Nourish

Your hard-working immune system needs nourishment, so it’s time to dig out mum’s chicken soup recipe. Soups and slow-cooker meals are really nourishing foods that provide nutrients and energy to keep your immune system going. If you don’t have a go-to soup recipe, this immune-boosting chicken soup is delicious and packed with medicinal foods. Make up a batch and keep and emergency stash in the freezer.

3. Hydrate

Inadequate hydration can impact our health in a number of ways, including immune function. Healthy mucous membranes are normally coated with a thin layer of mucous, which traps particles such as dust or pollen and microbes such as viruses, bacteria and fungi. Small finger-like projections in the mucous membranes (known as cilia) beat simultaneously to sweep the mucous out of the body. With dehydration, mucous membranes tend to be drier and stickier, making it difficult for the cilia to sweep out the mucous and debris it has accumulated, and much easier for pathogens to take up residence and cause infection.

As humidity levels are often lower in the winter months, we can lose more water via our skin without really noticing. Keep up your fluid intake with lots of warming herbal teas, soups and bone broths.

4. Soothe

Soothing your sore throat and preventing a full-blown infection is likely to be the main priority at the moment. So, here is a simple naturopathic remedy you can brew up at home with infection-fighting properties and a soothing, anti-inflammatory action.

feamle-sore-throat Natural remedies for a sore throat

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory herb, traditionally used for infections, head colds, aching joints and sore throats. Sage is also has astringent properties, making it ideal for strengthening the integrity of mucosal tissues.

organic green tea (either bags or loose leaf)
4-5 sage leaves
1 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoons of Manuka honey

Combine the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and honey, then add the sage leaves to soak for an hour. You can also leave it to soak overnight to get a stronger, more potent mixture. Brew up a pot of green tea and add in your sage, honey and lemon juice mixture. Sip on tea throughout the day to soothe that scratchy, sore throat.

Author — Sarah Woolner, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist at Total Health Brookvale. Read more about Sarah

hay fever; allergy; spring

Hay fever & allergy fighting foods

Fruits-and-vege Hay fever & allergy fighting foods

Spring has definitely sprung here in Sydney. It is a gorgeous time of year, with the days getting longer and the sun shining a little stronger. For those with hay fever and seasonal allergies, however, spring can be quite a miserable time. Sneezing, itchiness, scratchy throats, and dripping noses do not make for an enjoyable spring.

What causes hay fever and allergies?

Hayfever and other allergies occur when the immune system becomes highly reactive to substances known as allergens. Some common allergens include pollens, dust mites, cockroaches, animals (saliva), moulds and cigarette smoke. Reactions to allergens vary greatly from person to person and the severity of allergies depends on a number of factors such as genetics, antibiotic use, and dietary. While there is not much we can do to change our genetics and previous exposure to antibiotics, there is a lot we can change about the food we eat.

Allergy-fighting foods

Generally speaking, increasing your intake fruits and vegetables will go a long way in supporting a healthy immune system. There are, however, some foods with specific anti-allergic properties that you may want to add to your diet — especially if you suffer from hay fever.

Kiwifruit, pineapple, and papaya

Loaded with vitamin C and bioflavonoids, these fruits are a fantastic immune food. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids help to prevent the release of histamine from immune cells. Histamine is a chemical that is released in response to allergens and contributes to allergy symptoms.

An added benefit of these lovely tropical fruits is that they naturally contain enzymes that aid in the digestion of foods we eat.

Ginger and turmeric

These spices pack a big anti-inflammatory punch. Reducing inflammation can help relieve congestion symptoms in hay fever, as well as skin irritation and welts that can occur with contact allergies.

Try adding a little fresh ginger and turmeric to your salad dressing or juice/smoothie. You could also try a soothing ginger, turmeric, and honey tea — perfect for that scratchy throat.

Brazil nuts

The humble brazil nut is one of the richest sources of the mineral and antioxidant, selenium. Adequate intake of selenium is essential for a healthy immune system. Unfortunately, our Australian soils are somewhat deficient in selenium, which means our produce will be typically lower in selenium too. So, when buying brazil nuts look for South American origin brazil nuts as they are likely to contain more selenium.

Eating 4-6 brazil nuts per day will provide a healthy daily dose of selenium and keep your immune system in check.


Lentils, legumes, and beans provide prebiotic fibres that feed our gut bacteria, known our microbiota. Why is feeding our gut bugs important? Because our microbiota makes up a significant part of our immune system and can help in controlling the allergic response. If you are new to trying legumes, introduce them slowly — they have a tendency to create a bit of wind.

To help reduce the wind-producing factor, soak dried legumes/lentils for 24 hours in cold water and rinse thoroughly before cooking.

Naturopathic care for hay fever and allergies

While a diet full of healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds will provide a solid foundation for balancing an overreactive immune system, sometimes a little herbal intervention is required to help ease acute symptoms. There may also be other environmental or dietary factors contributing to your hay fever symptoms, which can be assessed in a naturopathic consultation.

Sarah Woolner
Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist

If you are in need of support for hay fever, allergies or allergic asthma, I would love to help you. You can book in a naturopathic appointment to see me in clinic or phone us on (02) 9907 3339.