All posts by PVH Medical Team

Coronavirus what you can do

Coronavirus – what you can do now

As you may be aware, the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic, acknowledging the virus will likely spread to all countries around the world.

To help slow the spread of coronavirus in Australia and keep you and your loved ones safe, there are some important things you can do now.

1. Call to book

All consultations are currently being carried out over the phone, known as telehealth. Your doctor will assess if your healthcare needs can be managed at home or if you need to come in. You can book online or call us. Please do not come to the clinic without booking first.

We’ve made this temporary change to ensure patients with serious health conditions, including those who may have contracted coronavirus, are prioritised. It also helps contain the spread of coronavirus and protects other patients and staff.

In addition, we’ve set up dedicated Respiratory Clinics to take care of patients with respiratory-like symptoms like colds and chest infections. We’ve also set up Flu Clinics for flu vaccinations.

While we manage our call volumes at this busy time, we appreciate your patience and understanding.

2. Wash your hands often

One of the best ways to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

Watch the video below for the correct way to wash your hands with soap and water.

 

Want to see how germs can spread so easily?

In the following 10-minute video ‘experiment’, watch what happens when fake germs are placed on just a few kids’ hands. It’s a great reminder for all of us!

3. Cover your mouth and nose

Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

This is because when someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus.

4. Keep your distance

In addition to practising good personal hygiene as basic measures against the coronavirus, you should also practise what is known as social distancing.

This involves staying at least one and a half metres away from other people, especially if they’re coughing or sneezing.

Do your bit by avoiding handshaking and other physical greetings, buying goods and services online, reconsidering outings and avoiding large gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

5. Self-isolate

You must self-isolate if:

  • you have COVID-19
  • you’ve been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or
  • you arrived in Australia after midnight on 15 March 2020.

Refer to this government website for more information about self-isolation.

Woman with coronavirus

There are self-quarantining measures in place for coronavirus.

6. Stay safe in our clinic

When you come to our clinic, please don’t bring additional people into the waiting room. If a family member needs help with translating, it’s best to do it over the phone. If you really need to accompany a family member, do the translating on the phone from inside your car and then come in if there are any issues.

If you have a child, bring your own items (e.g. toy, iPad) for your child to play with. This is because we’ve removed our toys from the waiting room.

Every little thing helps to stop the spread of the virus.

7. Practise good health habits

Changes to our daily lives, like social distancing, can affect our mental health, fitness and occupational health.

Many people will be spending much more time in their home, so we need to think about how to adapt our daily lives.

Things like getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking lots of water and eating nutritious foods are particularly important.

Here’s a great guide to help you navigate the change.

8. Look after yourself and each other

Staying healthy should be your number one priority right now. It’s also important to reach out to elderly relatives and neighbours to help them reduce their risk.

There are lots of myths about coronavirus. It’s therefore important that you keep following the advice of doctors and healthcare practitioners, as well as the state and federal government.

Together, we’ll get through this.

 

Source: Department of Health and World Health Organization

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

Last updated 22 March 2020

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Coronavirus

Coronavirus information

*If you’re experiencing a fever, cough or runny nose and you’ve travelled overseas OR you’ve been in close contact with an overseas traveller who is sick OR you’ve had contact with someone who has confirmed coronavirus, please call us straight away.*

You’ve probably heard about the coronavirus by now. Known as COVID-19, it’s a new virus that may spread into our community.

To ensure you’re best prepared, it’s important you read the following information.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to symptoms of a cold or flu. This includes things like fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath.

In severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia (infection of the lungs).

How can you help prevent coronavirus?

The best way to protect you and your family is the same as you would against any respiratory infection.

Practise good hygiene by:

  • making sure ​you clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing and sneezing, and
  • avoiding close contact with anyone with flu-like symptoms.

Make sure you stay at home if you’re sick.

Medical experts in Australia agree we must pause, think and act differently. You can follow the ‘PAWS’ acronym as outlined below.

Stop the spread of coronavirus

You can also read our article on what you can do now about coronavirus.

Is there a cure or vaccine?

Currently there is no vaccine available to prevent coronavirus, and there’s no specific treatment to cure it. People with more serious complications can be treated in hospital.

What should you do if you think you have coronavirus?

If you’ve recently been overseas and you’re experiencing cold and flu symptoms, you should immediately phone us and explain your symptoms and travel history.

Please don’t come to the clinic without calling us first.

We’re here for you

Please don’t panic – we’re well prepared for virus outbreaks and here to help you.

If you have any questions or need to see us, please call 9304 0500.

For coronavirus updates, you can refer to the Victorian Government website or call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

 

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

Last updated 12 March 2020

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Travel health tip - wash your hands

8 helpful travel health tips (how to stay safe overseas)

You’ve probably heard about the coronavirus by now.

Originating in China, it’s a new virus that can cause respiratory illness, including pneumonia.

There are thousands of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world, including Australia, and some people have even died (you can get the latest coronavirus updates here).

While our travel health checklist has tips to help you before you go overseas, we thought it was timely to provide advice on how to stay safe once you’ve actually arrived at your destination.

1. Keep your hands clean

Proper handwashing can protect you and others from a range of diseases.

Make sure you wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before eating, when handling food and after you use the toilet.

You could also carry hand sanitiser with you as a back-up, to help keep the germs at bay.

2. Avoid sick people

This might seem obvious, but keep your distance from sick people.

And, keep your immune system strong by drinking lots of water, eating a balanced diet and sleeping well.

3. Think before you eat and drink

Getting gastro overseas is common. But you can try to minimise the dreaded ‘traveller’s diarrhoea’!

While a glass of soft drink might be safe, the ice in the glass could be made with contaminated water.

High-risk foods include raw meat and seafood, salads and unpasteurised dairy products.

4. Don’t get too drunk

The alcohol content of drinks varies between countries. So, a vodka soda in Europe could be twice as strong as what you drink here.

When you’re drunk, you might drop your guard and become an easy target for petty criminals, or worse. It’s not worth the risk.

(As an aside – if you need help with a drinking problem please contact us.)

5. Avoid wild and feral animals

The coronavirus is believed to have started in an animal market in central China.

So, when you’re overseas, avoid areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals are slaughtered, including fish and seafood.

If you do come into contact with animals or animal products, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth until you have thoroughly cleaned your hands.

Some overseas destinations, like Bali and Thailand, are known for their street dogs and wild monkeys. Many of these animals have rabies, and if you’re bitten, it could be fatal.

Luckily, you can get immunised for rabies before you go. And remember to stay abreast with Smartraveller updates too!

6. Protect yourself from insects

Similar to wild animals, our insect friends can wreak havoc on our health if we’re not careful.

In many parts of the world, the bite of infected mosquitoes can spread infectious diseases including yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever.

Travel health tip: protect yourself by wearing mosquito repellent, and have a chat with us about vaccinations or medications you can take.

7. Protect yourself against the sun

We know how hot it can get in Australia. But the sun can also hit you in many countries overseas!

Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, and reapply when necessary. There are other ways you can protect your skin from the sun too.

8. Have safe sex

Condoms are not just for stopping pregnancy – they’re to help protect you from sexually transmissible infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS.

The rate of STIs in some countries is very high. So, if you’re sexually active, carry condoms with you.

When you return

Pay close attention to your health in the fortnight after you get back from overseas. If you’re feeling unwell you should see your doctor.

And remember, our team can assist with all your travel health requirements including vaccinations. Stay safe and happy travels!

 

Source: BetterHealth Channel, Smartraveller, Department of Health

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Man with vice

Vices: what will you give up this February?

We’ve all got our vices.

Some of us consume too much sugar, some of us drink too much alcohol, while others don’t exercise enough. The good news is there is help.

Febfast is an initiative where you can call time-out on alcohol, sugar or another vice of your choice, to support disadvantaged young people in Australia.

It’s the perfect excuse to kick-start the year with some good health and good will!

So, what vices will you focus on this February?

1. I’m giving up sugar!

Too many pavlovas, ice creams and sweet treats over the festive season? Is it time for a sugar holiday?

The issue

A lot of our energy intake now comes from processed and packaged food and drinks, like cereal and soft drinks. They often contain lots of added sugar, which isn’t great for our diet.

While eating sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes, it can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. Obesity is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes – a chronic condition affecting over 1.7 million Australians.

What you can do

Challenge yourself this February to cut out the chocolate and cakes, and curb those cravings!

Some ideas to get you started: keep a food diary, check food labels before eating, swap soft drink for water, and up your intake of fresh fruit.

It’s also a good idea to chat to your doctor in Pascoe Vale before starting a diet. You could even make an appointment with Jessica Fuller, our accredited practising dietitian.

2. I’m giving up alcohol!

Are you ready for a break from the alcohol-drenched summer months and the over-indulgence of the silly season?

The issue

Alcohol is a depressant drug, which means it slows down the messages travelling between the brain and the body. There is no safe level of drug use – it always carries some risk.

Some long-term effects of alcohol use include high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and sexual health problems.

What you can do

Challenge yourself this February to banish beer and bubbles!

Some ideas to get you started: catch up over a coffee instead of at the pub, be the designated driver when you go out with your friends, and keep track of the money you’re saving by not drinking.

If you’re a regular or heavy drinker, it can be dangerous to reduce or quit alcohol on your own.

Your GP can refer you to treatment such as detox, medication and even counselling to help manage withdrawal symptoms. You can also have a chat with one of our non-judgmental psychologists in Pascoe Vale, Julie Paschke and Jenny Ricketts

3. I’m giving up Netflix!

Do you find that the only exercise you do is reaching for the remote control? Is it time to give Netflix the flick?

The issue

When you have an inactive lifestyle, your health is affected in many ways. For example, you burn fewer calories (meaning you’re more likely to gain weight), you may lose muscle strength and endurance, your bones may get weaker, and your immune system may not work as well.

By not getting regular exercise, you raise your risk of things like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke – the list goes on.

What you can do

Challenge yourself this February to turn off the TV and get off the couch!

Some ideas to get you started: keep a diary of how many hours you’ve ‘saved’ by doing other activities, take the stairs instead of the lift, park your car a bit further away (forcing you to walk a little further), and give your dog two walks a day rather than one.

One of the best things you can do to get active – especially if you’re just starting out – is to have a chat with our exercise physiologist in Pascoe Vale, Mike Fitzsimon. Mike’s helpful approach will ensure you get that extra spring into your step.

Got any questions about your vices or don’t know where to start? Chat to your healthcare professional today.

 

Source: Febfast, MedlinePlus

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Find out about your risk of ovarian cancer at PVH Medical in Pascoe Vale.

Ovarian cancer – are you at risk?

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest women’s cancer. Unfortunately, this has not changed in 30 years.

Each year, over 1,500 women in Australia will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Held annually in Australia, February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

It raises awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, highlights the risk factors, and educates people on this deadly disease.

What are some of the risk factors for ovarian cancer?

We don’t know the causes of most ovarian cancer. Research into the causes is continuing in Australia and overseas.

We do know that there are some factors that may increase a woman’s risk of developing this cancer, and that there are some protective factors that may reduce a woman’s risk.

Many women who develop ovarian cancer do not have any known risk factors — while many women who do have risk factors never develop this cancer.

Here are some of the risk factors:

  • Age: ovarian cancer is most common in women over 50 and in women who have stopped menstruating (have been through menopause), and the risk increases with age. However, it can affect women of all ages.
  • Genetics and family history: if a woman has two or more relatives from the same side of her family affected by ovarian or other cancer, her risk of developing ovarian cancer may be increased. Genetics and family history are responsible for at least 15% of ovarian cancers.
  • Child-bearing history: women who have not had children, are unable to have children, have never used oral contraceptives or have had children over the age of 30, may be slightly more at risk. This is due to ovaries not having a ‘rest’ from the break and repair of the surface of the ovary when women ovulate each month.
  • Endometriosis: this condition is when the tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) is also found outside of the uterus.
  • Lifestyle factors: such as smoking, being overweight or eating a high-fat diet.
  • Hormonal factors: including early puberty (menstruating before 12) or late menopause (onset after 50).

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

There is no early detection test, so all women need to be aware of the symptoms.

The most commonly reported symptoms for ovarian cancer are:

  • Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal or pelvic (lower tummy) pain
  • Feeling full after eating a small amount
  • Needing to urinate often or urgently.

Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer

Some additional symptoms

  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Lower back pain
  • Indigestion or nausea
  • Bleeding after menopause or in-between periods
  • Pain during sex or bleeding after.

It’s important to remember all the symptoms mentioned can be caused by other, less serious medical conditions.

However, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, which are persistent and troublesome, you should see your Pascoe Vale doctor. They’ll be able to examine you and if necessary, do further tests to find the cause of your problems.

Make a booking today

To see if you’re at risk of ovarian cancer, or just for a general check-up, please make a booking today.

You can book online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.

 

Source: Ovarian Cancer Australia

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Fad diet

What are fad diets, and are they good for your health?

We’ve all heard of fad diets.

Do they work? And can you lose weight by going on a fad diet?

Fad diets explained

A fad diet is a popular diet that makes promises of weight loss or other health advantages without backing by solid science.

Fad diets are often highly restrictive. In some cases, they eliminate whole foods such as dairy or grains. They often consist of unusual, expensive and unnecessary food products and ingredients.

Essentially, they deprive you of the essential nutrients that only balanced eating can offer.

You may be looking for a fast way to lose weight and look to a fad diet to solve your problems. Although these diets may provide short-term results, they’re difficult to sustain over the long term.

Any weight you initially lost may be put back on. Some dieters end up in a worse position than when they started.

How can you spot a fad diet?

Typically, a fad diet shares some, or all, of the following characteristics:

  • Promises a quick fix
  • Promotes ‘magic’ foods or combinations of foods
  • Implies that food can change body chemistry
  • Excludes or severely restricts food groups or nutrients, such as carbohydrates
  • Has rigid rules that focus on weight loss
  • Makes claims based on a single study or testimonials only.

Examples of some common fad diets

Paleo

Focusing on eating lots of fresh produce and having minimal amounts of sugar and salt in your food – like our ancestors did – has numerous positive health benefits.

However, removing dairy products and wholegrains is not recommended for a well-balanced diet.

Raw food

This diet requires a lot of time and preparation of unprocessed plant-based food and some raw animal products, and it can be hard to get adequate energy.

However, adding raw foods to your regular diet is a great way to boost health, like having salad with your dinner.

Flexitarian

A flexitarian predominantly eats a plant-based diet, but occasionally eats meat when the urge strikes.

There’s no need to cut out meat to be healthy, so if a flexitarian diet sounds appealing, build your meals around vegetarian protein sources (legumes, beans and eggs), vegetables and wholegrains, and enjoy meat on the weekend.

Sometimes you need a special diet

Of course, some medical conditions do require special eating plans. In these instances, any recommendations from your Pascoe Vale doctor should be followed.

Fad diets can cause health problems

Because they often cut out key foods, fad diets may cause the following symptoms:

  • Dehydration
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Nausea and headaches
  • Constipation
  • Inadequate vitamin and mineral intake.

Fad diets may be unsafe over the long term, and could even lead to an increased risk of various diseases.

So, what should you do?

Try to avoid fad diets.

You can achieve and maintain a healthy body weight by having a balanced diet, and you won’t have to cut out any foods because you can eat everything – in moderation.

If you’re not sure what moderation means or you need any help with diet, nutrition or just food in general, please reach out to us. Our team of experienced doctors and in-house dietitian, Jessica Fuller, can help you.

Remember to combine a balanced diet with regular physical activity too. Our exercise physiologist, Mike Fitzsimon, can help you get active and live life to the fullest!

 

Source: BetterHealth Channel and Sports Dietitians Australia

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Speech pathology for preschool kids

Speech pathology for preschool kids – why it’s important

Have you seen the movie, The King’s Speech?

King George VI tries to overcome his stuttering problem with the help of a speech therapist and makes himself worthy enough to lead the UK through World War II.

What does this have to do with speech pathology for kids, you may ask?

Well, early intervention from a speech pathologist is recommended for those who have speech, language and communication difficulties (though you can seek help at any age).

For stuttering in particular, it’s important to catch it and get it resolved prior to your child starting school.

So, had King George been helped much earlier, he may not have found himself in such a predicament.

Stuttering is only one aspect of speech pathology for kids. Let’s look at the stages of preschool children’s speech development.

Speech – 0 to 3 years

Learning to speak is a crucial part of a child’s development. The most intensive period of speech and language development happens in the first three years of life.

You generally can’t understand babies when they start making noises and try to speak. However, by 18 months, parents can start to understand a bit.

How well words can be understood by parents

By this age A child’s speech is intelligible by
18 months 25%
24 months 50-75%
36 months 75-100%

Source: Lynch, Brookshire & Fox (1980), p. 102, cited in Bowen (1998).

While most children are fully intelligible by 36 months, many toddlers have difficulty saying sounds correctly all the time.

Some words are more difficult than others for children to say, so they may make some sound errors (e.g. “tat” for cat and “pam” for pram).

Sometimes, children are difficult to understand when they’re using longer sentences.

What can parents do to help?

Parents can continue to help their toddler’s speech development by modelling the correct way of saying words, particularly when children make occasional sound errors.

However, if a toddler’s speech is very difficult for parents to understand, or if children are using gestures (and grunts) in place of words, parents should contact a speech pathologist for further advice.

You can see our in-house speech pathologist, Naomi DeNicolo, here.

You can also have your child’s hearing checked by an audiologist.

Speech – preschool (3 to 5 years)

Progress made in the preschool years is crucial to mastering the rules of language.

Preschool children start to use much longer sentences, yet their speech should still be understood by unfamiliar people (outside of the family) about 75% of the time.

By 5 years of age, anyone (including unfamiliar listeners) should be able to understand the child’s speech in conversation 95-100% of the time.

Some sounds are later to develop and children may still have difficulty with them at this age.

For instance, preschool children commonly have difficulty with “r” (e.g. saying “wed” for red), “v” (e.g. saying “berry” for very), and “th” (e.g. saying “fank you” for thank you).

What can parents do to help?

If you’re concerned about your child’s speech development, their hearing can be checked by an audiologist (as hearing is important in learning how to say sounds correctly).

In addition, speech pathology is recommended if:

  • kids can’t be understood
  • they’re frustrated with attempts to communicate
  • their speech appears very effortful
  • they’re using very few words, or
  • they’re not using sounds at the start of words (e.g. saying “ish” for fish).

Address and resolve issues early

By school age (5+), kids’ speech should be easily understood by everyone. So, it’s important to address any issues early, ideally before your child starts school.

For all ages, you can check your child’s progress according to these milestones. If you’re unsure about your child’s development, or have any questions, please reach out to us.

We’re only a phone call away on 9304 0500. We’d love to help your child reach their full capacity.

 

Source: Speech Pathology Australia

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Tips to survive the heat

Do you know the 5 tips to survive the heat?

Do you know the 5 tips to survive the heat?

It’s been pretty hot and dry lately. In fact, 2019 was the hottest and driest year on record in Australia.

Heat can kill

Did you know that heat kills more Australians than any natural disaster?

In addition:

  • Extreme heat can affect anybody
  • Heat can cause illnesses such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion which can lead to heatstroke (it’s fatal in up to 80% of cases)
  • Those most at risk are older people, young children and people with a medical condition.

 

So, how can you protect yourself and your loved ones during the hot summer months?

5 tips to survive the heat

1. Drink plenty of water

  • Keep a full drink bottle with you.
  • Take small sips of water frequently.
  • If your doctor normally limits your fluids, check how much you should drink during hot weather.

2. Never leave anyone in a car

  • Never leave kids, adults or pets in cars – the temperature can double in minutes.

3. Stay somewhere cool

  • Spend as much time as possible in cool or air-conditioned buildings, e.g. shopping centres.
  • Keep yourself cool by using wet towels, putting your feet in cool water and taking cool (not cold) showers.
  • Block out the sun at home by closing curtains and blinds.
  • Open the windows when there’s a cool breeze.
  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.
  • If you must go out, wear a hat and sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you.
  • Dress yourself and those in your care lightly.
  • Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibres like cotton and linen.
  • Eat smaller meals more often and cold meals such as salads.
  • Make sure food that needs refrigeration is properly stored.
  • Avoid intense activity like exercise, renovating and gardening.
  • Watch or listen to news reports for more information.
  • Don’t forget your pets – keep them cool and give them plenty of water.

4. Plan ahead

  • Keep up to date with weather forecasts.
  • Cancel non-essential outings and plan essential activities for the coolest part of the day.
  • Stock up on food, water and medicines so you don’t have to go out in the heat.
  • Visit your doctor to check if changes are needed to your medicines during extreme heat.
  • Store medicines safely at the recommended temperature.
  • Check that your fan or air-conditioner is working.
  • Prepare for power failures – ensure you have a torch, battery-operated radio, fully charged mobile phone or battery back-up, food items that don’t require refrigeration, medications, plenty of drinking water and other essential items.
  • Look at the things you can do to make your home cooler such as installing window coverings, shade cloths or external blinds.

5. Check in on others

  • Look after those most at risk in the heat – your neighbour living alone, older people, young children, people with a medical condition and don’t forget your pets.
  • Keep in touch with friends and family who may need help. Call or visit them on any extreme heat day.
  • Encourage them to drink plenty of water.
  • Offer to help family, friends and neighbours who are aged over 65 or have an illness by doing shopping or other errands so they can avoid the heat.
  • Take them somewhere cool for the day or have them stay the night if they are unable to stay cool in their home.
  • If you observe symptoms of heat-related illness, seek medical help.

We’re here for you

As always, we’re here for you.

If you’re affected by extreme heat, please don’t hesitate to make a booking with your Pascoe Vale doctor. In the case of an emergency, call 000.

Stay safe this summer!

 

Source: BetterHealth Channel

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Our top reads for 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, let’s look back at our most popular health news articles for the year.

From recipes and exercise tips to getting the flu vaccination, here are the top five reads of 2019.

Happy reading and have a wonderful new year!

#5. Summer recipe – Potato salad with egg

Summer recipe

Tasty, nutritious recipes are always popular with readers. This summer-inspired recipe serves six people and would be a nice addition to any Christmas lunch! Why not give it a go?

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#4. Five exercise tips for spring

Exercise in spring

Our spring exercise tips really resonated with people. Why? Whether you’ve lost strength, gained weight, been depressed or a bit unwell, these exercise tips can change all that.

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#3. What do your feet have to do with diabetes?

Diabetes foot disease

When it comes to our feet, we rarely think about diabetes. Instead, things like calluses and ingrown toenails usually spring to mind. So what do our feet have to do with diabetes?

READ MORE

#2. Winter is coming. Get your flu shot

Flu shot Melbourne

Each year Melbourne braces itself for the flu. Some years are relatively good, while others are bad. Getting the flu vaccination is your best chance at stopping the flu.

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#1. The Strong Room – our specialised gym in Pascoe Vale

Targeted exercise to help diabetes

Back in May we introduced our gym in Pascoe Vale known as The Strong Room. It’s a friendly place where our allied health professionals work with you to achieve your goals.

READ MORE

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Improve your diet without even trying

10 ways to improve your diet without even trying

Changing your food habits may seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you follow our top 10 tips to eating healthy, you will notice results – without even breaking a sweat!  

1. Go brown or wholegrain

White cereals and grains are often highly processed, with a high glycaemic index (GI). This means they behave like sugars. By choosing low GI wholegrain breads, brown basmati rice, and grains such as barley, quinoa, amaranth and teffyou increase your fibre intake and stay fuller for longer! Quinoa, amaranth and teff are also sources of protein, calcium and iron, making them great for vegans and vegetarians!

2. Use legumes

Legumes are the humblest of super foods. They are a rich source of dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants, and consumption has been linked to reduction in colorectal cancer, diabetes and heart disease risk. Furthermore, studies have shown that replacing meat with vegetarian alternatives can add years to your life! If you can tolerate legumes, try a Meatless Monday burger, replacing mince patties with chickpea patties. Also, replace your regular potato chips with roasted chickpeas, which contain less than half the fat, and over double the protein and fibre.

3. Add vegetables to (almost) everything

There is no dish or snack a vegetable cannot feature in, in our opinion. Try adding more vegetables and less fruit to your next smoothie, and reduce the sugar content. Avoid the mid-afternoon snack attack by bulking up your wrap or sandwich with at least 3 varieties of vegetables to keep you fuller. Reduce the calorie content of your meal by cutting your portion of meat and starch, and adding a veggie side dish. Remember, the aim is 5 serves a day!

4. Eat from a smaller plate

Forget what grandma used to eat. It’s how much grandma used to eat. Our standard dinner plate size has increased by nearly 37% since the 1960s. Eating from smaller dishes can help you feel fuller even though you may be eating the same amount, or less. One study showed that participants switching from a 30cm diameter plate to the recommended 25cm diameter plate ate 22% less. What size are your plates at home?

5. Buy unsweetened varieties

Many low-fat foods contain large amounts of added sugars, particularly dairyIn fact, a typical flavoured yoghurt contains 2-3 tsp of added sugar per serve! If you like a little sweetness, buy the plain option, and create your own flavours. Frozen berries, when defrostedswirl nicely into yoghurt, as do unsweetened apple puree and fresh passionfruit. Even adding 1tsp of honey will result in less sugar. 

6. Opt for Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked with reducing cholesterol, improving eyesight, reducing joint inflammation, and even treating depression. Tapping into these benefits requires an intake of marine-sourced Omega-3 at least three times a week, or daily intake of plant-sourced Omega-3. Opting for tinned salmon or sardines instead of tuna, and choosing walnuts, linseeds and chia seeds over other nut and seed varieties, will help you reach these targets. 

7. Look for calcium fortified

There are so many milk substitutes available today, including nut milks, soy milk, rice milk, etc. Not all of these are fortified with calcium. Calcium is the major mineral responsible for bone heath, and studies show that less than half of us are meeting our daily needs. It’s no wonder, then, that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men develop osteoporosis later in life. The time to develop your peak bone mass is in adolescence and young adulthood. So if you’re choosing a milk substitute, make sure it’s calcium fortified!

8. Choose reduced salt varieties

Did you know, most of our salt intake (about 75%) comes from consuming packaged and processed foods, rather than salt added during cooking or at the table? High salt intake can harden arteries and contribute to high blood pressure, fluid retention and kidney damage. If you’re using packaged foods regularly, which many of us do, look to see whether your favourite items come in a reduced salt variety. Common examples include soy sauce, stock powders and liquids, and tinned soups. Even Vegemite has released a reduced salt option!

9. Trim your meats before cooking

When you cook chicken with the skin on and porterhouse steak untrimmed, the saturated fat melts into your meat flesh. I know you might say – that’s why it tastes better! – but it can also send your cholesterol soaring, even if you don’t eat the remaining fat layer. There are healthier ways to keep your meats tender, for example, marinating in olive oil and fresh or paste herbs, or cooking in a stock or tomato-based sauce.

10. Carry a water bottle

Water is the most underrated, yet arguably the most important ‘nutrient’ for protecting our health. It forms the basis of blood, which flows through all parts of our body, providing nutrients, oxygen and other life essentials. Unfortunately, our bodies are not very intuitive when it comes to hydration, and often, we mistake it for hungerTo avoid fatigue and unnecessary snacking, carry a water bottle with you, sip throughout the day, and aim to drink between 1.5-2L! 

Need nutrition advice?

We hope you liked these tips to improve your diet without even trying. If you need professional nutrition advice, it’s easy with our dietitian in Pascoe Vale.

Simply make an appointment online or call 9304 0500. We’d love to see you soon!

 

This article originally appeared on The Nutrition Code.

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Good night's sleep

How can you get a good night’s sleep?

Like oxygen, food and water, sleep is essential for good health. It refreshes the mind and repairs the body.

But how do you get a good night’s sleep?

It starts with making a commitment to improving your ‘sleep hygiene’. This basically means habits that help you have a good night’s sleep.

Common sleeping problems (such as insomnia) are often caused by bad habits reinforced over years or even decades. You can dramatically improve your sleep quality by making a few minor adjustments to lifestyle and attitude.

1. Obey your body clock

Getting a good sleep means working with your body clock, not against it. Suggestions include:

  • Get up at the same time every day. Soon this strict routine will help to ‘set’ your body clock and you’ll find yourself getting sleepy at about the same time every night
  • Don’t ignore tiredness. Go to bed when your body tells you it’s ready
  • Don’t go to bed if you don’t feel tired. You will only reinforce bad habits such as lying awake
  • Get enough early morning sunshine. Exposure to light during early waking hours helps to set your body clock.

2. Improve your sleeping environment

Good sleep is more likely if your bedroom feels restful and comfortable. Suggestions include:

  • Invest in a mattress that is neither too hard nor too soft
  • Make sure the room is at the right temperature
  • Ensure the room is dark enough
  • If you can’t control noise (such as barking dogs or loud neighbours), use earplugs
  • Use your bedroom only for sleeping and intimacy. If you treat your bed like a second lounge room – for watching television or talking to friends on the phone, for example – your mind will associate your bedroom with activity.

3. Avoid drugs

Common pitfalls of drugs include:

  • Cigarettes – accelerated heart rate and increased blood pressure (caused by the nicotine) are likely to keep you awake for longer
  • Alcohol – alcohol disturbs the rhythm of sleep patterns so you won’t feel refreshed in the morning, and you may wake frequently to go to the toilet
  • Sleeping pills – these can cause daytime sleepiness, and after a period of using them, falling asleep without them tends to be harder. These drugs are generally prescribed under strict conditions.

4. Relax your mind

Insomnia is often caused by worrying. Suggestions include:

  • When going to bed, remind yourself that you’ve already done your worrying for the day.
  • Try relaxation exercises, like consciously relaxing every part of your body (starting with your toes and working up to your scalp).

In addition to these four areas, there are other lifestyle adjustments that may help improve your sleep. This includes exercising regularly and avoiding caffeinated drinks (like coffee and cola).

Our Pascoe Vale doctors can help you make the right adjustments to get a better night’s sleep. In some cases, we may even refer you to a sleep disorder clinic.

If you’ve tried and failed to improve your sleep, it’s time to talk to us. You deserve a good night’s sleep!

 

Source: BetterHealth Channel

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Skin cancer

Checking for skin cancer

Skin cancer is a disease of the body’s skin cells. Skin cancer develops when the cells which make up our skin are damaged and grow abnormally.

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main cause of skin cancer. Each time your skin is damaged by UV, changes take place in the structure and function of the skin cells.

If UV damage keeps adding up, skin cells become less able to repair, increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Early treatment is key

Most skin cancer can be successfully treated if it’s found early. But without treatment, skin cancer can be deadly.

Get to know your skin and what looks normal for you to help you find changes earlier. Get into the habit of checking your skin regularly.

This is also important if you have naturally dark skin. Although your risk of melanoma is lower, it is more likely to be found at a later, more dangerous stage than people with lighter skin.

Checking your skin

Most skin cancers are found by people checking their own skin, or are noticed by a loved one.

So how do you check your skin? First, find a room with good light and a full-length mirror.

If you’re on your own, use a hand-held mirror as well to check skin you can’t see (e.g. your scalp, back, etc.).

Undress and check all of your skin, not just sun-exposed areas. This includes your underarms, scalp, groin, and the soles of your feet.

Examine your skin, body part by body part, until you have checked your whole body.

Watch the video below for a step-by-step approach to a self-examination.

 

You can read about the signs of skin cancer here.

What if you find something?

If you notice anything unusual, including any new spots, or change in shape, colour or size of a spot, visit your Pascoe Vale doctor as soon as possible.

If you’re unable to do a self-examination, you can book in a regular skin check with one of our doctors.

Remember to be sun smart!

It’s never too late to protect yourself from the sun. Remember to follow these five steps:

  1. Slip on clothing
  2. Slop on sunscreen
  3. Slap on a hat
  4. Seek shade
  5. Slide on sunglasses.

Using sun protection will cut your risk of skin cancer at any age. Ask us if you have any questions!

 

Source: SunSmart

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Wendell Vagg

Getting to know Pascoe Vale physiotherapist Wendell Vagg

We sat down with physiotherapist Wendell Vagg to find out about his passion for physio and what makes him tick.

Remember, if you need any help with physio in Pascoe Vale, please reach out to us.

So Wendell, a question that physios often get asked, why physiotherapy?

During school I loved subjects such as sport and science and hated the idea of spending my life doing a desk-based job.

Trips to the local physio as a teenager made me very aware of what a physiotherapist did and it seemed to fit the bill for what I was looking to do.

I have a very down-to-earth and understanding personality, qualities which fit perfectly into this profession. I also really wanted to move to Melbourne to study so chose to do physio and haven’t looked back. 

How does this philosophy translate to a physio consultation in Pascoe Vale?

A consultation with me involves a very open and relaxed environment with a lot of the client talking and me listening to help fully understand what they’re struggling with.

Once we have identified the main issue(s), I work with them to problem-solve the steps and processes involved to achieve their goals.

A large part of the initial consultation will be education to ensure the client fully understands what is happening, how to put the steps in place to improve and have realistic expectations of time frames.

It’s all about developing a trusting and understanding relationship with the client.  

How does your personal academic, family and sporting history influence your physiotherapy practice?

I grew up on a farm, moved to the city to study/work and have also lived overseas.

I have worked in public hospitals, private practices, aged care facilities and with sporting clubs so have extensive experience with all sorts of clients across all sorts of settings.

Like most Australians, I love sport. And just like most participants I have had my fair share of injuries over the years including foot, ankle, achilles, calf, knee, hamstring, shoulder, thumb and back issues. So I know what it’s like to be in pain and have gone through many rehabilitation journeys.

All of these experiences have helped mould me into the understanding and experienced clinician I am today.

In Pascoe Vale, we see many of our valued clients from diverse population groups, with many different problems. How do you personalise your service?

I have extensive experience across many different settings. The majority of my early years were spent working in public hospitals in West Melbourne, a highly multicultural area.

I also spent two years working in London which has a very similarly diverse cultural population. I have been lucky enough to travel to more than 40 countries across the world, spending time in places where many of my clients originated from.

These experiences along with the many different physio settings have equipped me perfectly to easily develop a professional relationship with each patient and appropriately tailor their physio journey to achieve their goals. 

Is there anything that we can do as sub-elite sportspeople to help reduce our own injury risks?

A lot of it comes down to common sense.

Overloading is a very easy thing to do without realising, e.g. running 6km instead of 3km because you missed a session.

Often you will not realise you’re doing too much until afterwards or the next day when symptoms become more obvious. Injuries in elite athletes are inevitable because they are pushing their bodies to their limits on a consistent basis.

However, we can learn from their preparation and incorporate this into our own habit.

There are many factors which help to reduce injury risk including:

  • Consistency
  • Specificity of training
  • Gradual progression/load increase
  • Healthy diet
  • Good sleep habits
  • Incorporating strength training into your routine.

At the risk of alienating the majority of our audience, who are you favourite teams?

Essendon in the AFL, the men’s and women’s Australian cricket teams, Melbourne Storm and Tottenham in the EPL.

And I will happily jump on board the bandwagon of any Aussie national team or individual who is doing well!

For weekend warriors, what are your top 3 tips to reduce injury risk?

  • Don’t overcomplicate it – keep it simple and consistent, and never increase a parameter by more than 20%
  • Strength training is the most underrated tool to prevent injury
  • Prioritise sleep!

And finally Wendell, for all those who need physiotherapy care in Pascoe Vale, how would they book in for an assessment with you? Where are you located?

I’m located within PVH Medical, 124 Kent Rd, Pascoe Vale. It’s easy to book an appointment online or by calling 9304 0500.

 

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Tips for healthy eating on a budget

8 tips for healthy eating on a budget

On a budget, and worried about increased grocery bills?

The truth is – eating healthier will probably save money overall, because you will be purchasing less takeaway, and making more meals from scratch. However, your grocery bills are likely to increase, and this can seem overwhelming!

To help ease you into heavier grocery demands, we’ve compiled eight tips for healthy eating on a budget.

1. Select recipes with fewer ingredients

During your healthy eating journey, you may be experimenting with new recipes using fresh produce.

Why not select meals with fewer ingredients to reduce your costs? Or, consider what ingredients you already have in your fridge and pantry, and select recipes to complement this.

2. Shop seasonally

In-season fruit and vegetables will be cheaper to purchase, so opt for meal ideas and snacks that feature seasonal produce.

For example, spring vegetables include leeks, Asian greens, beetroot, broccoli, peas, asparagus, silverbeet and cauliflower. Fruits include avocados, apples, mandarins, strawberries, rhubarb, pears and bananas.

Also, make sure you check out your local farmer’s markets, and larger fresh food markets. Some greengrocers will have daily specials on seasonal fruits and vegetables.

3. Buy home brands where you can

Sure – for certain products (e.g. bread, crackers and cereals), there may be key nutritional differences between the ‘big brands’ and the supermarket home brands.

However, for wholefood products such as rolled oats, natural yoghurt, frozen berries and nuts – there is little or no difference. So why not save yourself a dollar or two!

4. Choose recipes using mince

Mince is usually the cheapest way to buy meat and chicken, gram for gram.

Mince-based recipes are usually great for cooking in bulk and freezing too, reducing the number of times you need to cook in a week. You know what that means – more time to hit the gym or spend time with family and friends!

5. Incorporate plant-based meals

Including vegan or vegetarian meals in your menu plan will definitely save you some hard-earned cash.

And, studies have shown that transitioning towards a more plant-based diet carries many health benefits, including reduced risk of certain cancers and metabolic diseases.

We suggest looking for plant-based meals that include at least 15-20g of protein per serve, so that you feel full after eating.

6. Make your own yoghurt

If you devour yoghurt like we do, you’d recognize how expensive this habit can be! Specifically, 1kg of Greek yoghurt can set you back at least $5-7.

If you have time on your hands, you can make your own yoghurt for less than $2 per kilogram, using milk and a starter culture.

7. Keep your eye out on specials

This is an obvious one, and applies to all ingredients, from vegetables through to meat. With regard to meat on special, don’t be turned off if the impending use-by date.

If you don’t plan on using this product until later in the week, stick it straight in the freezer straight away and defrost on the day you wish to cook it. When you freeze raw meats, the use-by date no longer applies – in fact, you can extend their ‘life’ for up to 6 months!

8. Don’t feel pressured to buy organic

Organic products are always more expensive. That is, unless they are on special.

And, whilst organic products may be more environmentally friendly (note – this is not always the case!), the jury is out as to whether there are any nutrition or health benefits for the extra dollars you spend. If you are on a budget, consider whether it’s worth spending the extra on organic food.

If you still prefer to buy organic, perhaps you can select some organic products and not others (e.g meat but not vegetables), or make cost savings elsewhere using the tips above.

Need nutrition advice?

We hope you liked our tips for healthy eating on a budget. If you need professional nutrition advice, it’s easy with our dietitian in Pascoe Vale.

Simply make an appointment online or call 9304 0500. We’d love to see you soon!

 

This article originally appeared on The Nutrition Code.

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Foot Health Week 2019

Celebrating Foot Health Week in Pascoe Vale

There are many exciting weeks on the calendar, but for the podiatry team at PVH Medical, none come close to Foot Health Week (October 14-20).

Why? Because we love feet, and loving healthy feet is much easier than loving the not-so-healthy feet.

Foot Health Week is an annual campaign spearheaded by the Australian Podiatry Association (A.Pod.A) where everyone is encouraged to think about those weird things on the end of our legs.

They’re not just for stubbing against the coffee table, or cramming into the latest and greatest shoe. For most of us, feet are the foundations that we live our life on.

Here’s what the A.Pod.A has to say about Foot Health Month 2019:

Now is the time to stand up for your health and well being. Check in with a podiatrist, the experts in foot health that will help you understand and manage your feet so they can support you in leading a happy and healthy life.

So, what do our podiatrists have to say?

Let’s have a chat with them about what good foot health means to them, and how you can get healthy feet, and keep them healthy too!

Tim Mulholland – Podiatrist

Tim Mulholland

To me, good foot health means no worries.

No worries whether I’m going to go for a long run in my lightweight training shoes. No worries if I decide to go for a long walk on the beach barefoot. And no worries because I know my good foot health gives me plenty in reserve to try to test my feet without too much grumbling.

This doesn’t mean I take good foot health for granted, you’ve got to work at it. For me this work is making sure I get my calf raise exercises done most days, wearing the right shoes, tidying up any callus before it gets out of hand.

To get or keep good foot health I recommend a variety of different things for different people. However, two of the universals are:

  • Calf raises. Truly. The calf raise is one of the greatest exercises for increasing the capacity of your feet to handle different activities. A quality calf raise doesn’t just strengthen the back of the leg, your intrinsic muscles in your feet will also work hard.
  • Well-fitting shoes for the right activities too. If you’re running, wear runners. If you’re hitting the town, go for shoes that look the part but don’t cause too much grief.

Ben Westaway – Podiatrist

Ben Westaway

To me, good foot health is having feet that you don’t have to think about. Feet that allow you to do whatever it is that your life involves.

If you ever think to yourself “I better not do that, my feet won’t be happy” that doesn’t mean bad foot health. It probably means that with a foot-focused strength and mobility plan from your podiatrist you won’t have so much of that ‘can’t’ approach to your own foot health.

To maintain good foot health I recommend using them regularly.

Sit down in the office, or on the couch at home and lace up your running shoes. Head out the door and move for 20 minutes. Walk if it’s comfortable, run if you’re feeling more energetic, meet some mates for a PT session in the park.

Whatever it is, move. If you get into the habit of doing it three times a week it might just change your life.

Rachael Leary – Podiatrist

Podiatrist Rachael Leary

To me, good foot health means taking the time to look after them, whether that be getting a foot massage, buying yourself a new pair of runners or booking in with your podiatrist to have your feet checked!

It doesn’t matter how small or big it is, taking the time to make sure our feet are healthy is important.

We spend a lot of time making sure we look after our bodies by doing things like going to the gym, taking vitamins and eating healthy. When we consider how much our feet have to do every day, it is just as important to add them to our list of things to take care of.

To get or keep good foot health I recommend:

  • Comfortable, supportive footwear! This one is at the top of my list because a really good pair of comfortable, supportive, stable shoes is what our feet need.
  • Wash and dry your feet thoroughly – making sure you get in between those toes!
  • Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with a nail file if needed, to avoid those stubborn ingrown toenails.

We hope that everyone is celebrating Foot Health Week every week, and particularly October 14 to 20. If you’re in need of some assistance getting that good foot health, you can book in with our expert team online or by calling 9304 0500.

 

Source: PridePlus Health

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Dietitian Pascoe Vale Melbourne

What to eat before and after a workout

Physical activity is important for so many different reasons.

It can help lower your risk of chronic diseases, improve mental health and aid in weight management.

Your nutrition and diet in conjunction with your exercise is important too.

We’re often warned not to ‘undo all our good work’ by making poor food choices when exercising. But equally as important, you should not deprive yourself, or you will have a poor quality workout and increase your risk of injury and exhaustion.

Consider your energy goals

When choosing appropriate pre- and post-workout meals and snacks, it’s important to consider your energy goals.

To lose weight, your energy targets will be smaller, so select foods and portions that pack only just enough of the right nutrients to fuel your exercise and recovery.

If you’re looking to add muscle mass, you will have higher energy targets, and may opt for larger pre- and post-workout meals.

What should be in your food pre-workout

Your pre-workout meals should be centered on low GI carbohydrates, which provide a constant and stable stream of energy for periods over an hour. The best meals will also contain:

  • Electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, which assist in nerve and muscle function
  • B vitamins, which assist in energy metabolism
  • Proteins, to protect and repair the working muscle.

It is recommended to limit fats pre-work out, as they delay the digestion and availability of carbohydrates and protein.

Good meal options

Some good options include:

  • Oats with low fat milk and berries(for higher energy targets, add banana and a drizzle of honey)
  • Fresh or frozen fruits with low-fat natural yoghurt (for higher energy targets, add ½ cup of natural muesli)
  • Green smoothie with 1 piece of fruit, a variety of vegetables and your choice of milk (for higher energy targets, add an additional fruit and ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1-2 slices of grain toast with low fat cottage cheese, sliced cucumber and tomato (for higher energy targets, add an additional slice of toast or a glass of Milo).

What should be in your food post-workout

While pre-workout meals are all about low GI carbs, the ideal post-workout meals will focus equally on high quality proteins.

This includes all essential amino acids, mostly sourced from animal products including eggs and dairy.

For vegans, soybeans and their products are a reasonable alternative.

Proteins are most important after a workout, and studies show that the ideal target is 20g for both men and women. This can easily be reached without splashing out on expensive protein powders.

Include low GI carbs as well, otherwise the protein in your meal will be used instead to replenish your energy stores.

Good meal options

The following examples contain at least 20g of high quality protein, low GI carbohydrate, and electrolytes:

  • 2 poached eggs on 2 slices of grain toast and roasted tomato
  • 1 small tin of tuna and 20g of low fat cheese in a wholegrain wrap with salad
  • 100-150g of lean chicken breast or fillet steak with 1 cup of mashed sweet potato and greens
  • Vegan curry of 100g of firm tofu with ½ cup of chickpeas, ½ cup basmati rice and mixed vegetables.

For higher energy targets, increase your portion size of protein and low GI carbohydrate.

Need help?

We understand that eating the right food and managing your diet can be difficult. That’s why we have an in-house dietitian who can help.

Enjoy your workout!

Further reading

 

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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