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Monthly Archives: October 2016

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5 reasons why smoothies are good for you

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Shakes and smoothies have become synonymous with weight loss, but there’s a fine line between detox and dessert. Nutritionist Lucinda Zammit helps us uncover 5 liquid meal myths.

1. Liquid meals contain fewer calories than solid food

It’s surprisingly easy to ‘overeat’ when you’re liquefying your food. While you’d struggle to scarf six bananas, the same quantity of fruit blends to a deceptively small smoothie. Rather than throwing ingredients in a blender ad libitum, measure ingredients beforehand in accordance with what you’d reasonably eat if you sat down to a solid meal. Tip: mix you choice of milk 50:50 with some chilled water, you won’t taste the difference but it will help with your calorie intake.

2. They are better for you

The health credentials of liquid meals ranges from uber-healthy to little better than a burger. Without added flavour, wholefood smoothies can be bland, so they often get a kick along from additives such as honey or nut butter. While a small amount is fine, a liberal serve can turn a healthy liquid meal into a glorified thickshake. 

3. They keep you fuller for longer

Satiety is primarily determined by a meal’s effect on both blood sugar and gastric emptying. Generally, protein is the most satiating macronutrient while fat slows gastric emptying, prolonging satiety. Fibre slows glucose release into the bloodstream, averting the sudden hunger that occurs when insulin sweeps sugar from the bloodstream after a high-GI hit. Tick these boxes, and a liquid meal can be just as filling as a solid meal. Conversely, a drink devoid of protein and fibre and fat can leave you as hungry as you were despite having consumed the calorie equivalent of a full breakfast. Try nut butter, an egg or some good quality protein powder. For savoury liquid meals, steamed and cooled shredded chicken or beef and steamed and cooled sweet potato or pumpkin can serve as protein and fibre sources. 

4. You need to use fruit  

While fruit is the go-to wholefood for blended meals, vegies are worthy contenders – even for sweet smoothies. Using a blender ensures that vegies’ nutrients are kept intact – unlike with juicing. Smoothie-friendly vegies include spinach, kale, cos lettuce and watercress. Superfood powders such as spirulina, maca powder or a greens powder are another way to add nutrients to a liquid meal.

5. You need to eat food 

Just because it’s in liquid form doesn’t mean a meal can’t be balanced. If you don’t have time to sit down for breakfast, throw the ingredients you’d usually serve in a bowl in the blender – think raw oats (carbs), milk (calcium and protein), berries (antioxidants) and cinnamon. For protein, you can add yoghurt and protein powder. Tip: Blend brekkie the night before, place in a jar or bottle with a secure lid and leave in the fridge. In the morning, shake and drink. You can even add a teaspoon of coffee.

Check out these delicious, super healthy smoothie recipes today.

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11 feelgood and inspiring fitspo mantras

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Is fitspo preoccupied with the appearance of health rather than health itself? We put these fitspos through their paces and boy, were we inspired. 

 

Girls Gone Strong

girlsgonestrong.com

“Hot body secret.”

It’s the holy grail of fitness – work hard enough to lose fat without getting bulky. GGS bloggers Neghar Fonooni, Molly Galbraith, and Alli McKee have distilled the science into a lean-out formula and paired it with precision workouts. They also jot the latest science news and have a free recipe book to download. 

 

Neghar Fonooni

negharfonooni.com

“You’ll want to work out.”

For fitness expert Neghar Fonooni, fitness equals happiness. Framed within principles of motivation, infused with her infectious energy, her counsel makes even hardcore kettlebell workouts sound doable (and fun). 

 

Mobility WOD

mobilitywod.com

“Find balance in going hard.”

Don’t know when to return to gym after an injury or trying to find the tricky balance between working out often enough and overtraining? Doctor of physical therapy and CrossFit coach Kelly Starrett has built his vlog around movement and mobility, spanning topics including managing pain and fast-tracking injury recovery to using exercise science to improve athleticism. 

 

Nia Shanks

niashanks.com

“Fit mind, fit body.”

Shanks embraces the relationship between mind and body, addressing psychological and physiological factors with humour and compassion. Her candid exploration of anxiety and motivation and the non-physical perks of working out are a refreshing antagonist to tyrannical body ideals and training manifestos. 

 

Mile Posts

mile-posts.com

“Love your run.”

Marathoner and mother Dorothy Beal proffers the practical lessons she’s learned during her journey from overweight to super fit. Her inspiring blog spans playlists tailored to motivation and BPM, running technique tips and even hints for hot-footing it with a stroller. 

 

Ask Lauren Fleshman

asklaurenfleshman.com

“Couch to half marathon.”

If you reckon you’re not a runner, Lauren Fleshman begs to differ. As well as penning the blog equivalent of a running encyclopaedia, sorted into categories such as technique, training, recovery, racing and nutrition, Fleshman personally answers reader questions, which are archived for your reference. 

 

Run to the Finish

runtothefinish.com

“Quirky, compassionate running.”

If the pressure to achieve an outcome cripples your buzz, take a step back with quirky running blogger Amanda Brooks, whose disdain for perfection gives this running blog an edge. The paradox is that by focusing on the process (you’ll be amazed by how quickly you forget about PBs), you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by background performance gains. Brooks also canvasses strategies for overcoming sugar cravings and simplifying clean eating. Her relatable personal anecdotes are a pleasure to read too. 

 

Precision Nutrition

precisionnutrition.com

“Fitness myth buster.”

If you like slavishly following fitness tropes and trends, look away. This no-bulltish blog takes an unforgiving look at the fitness industry and scrutinises the merit of trends and ideologies. We love that the sharp wit is backed by solid science. Whether you want to get to the bottom of whether skipping brekkie will make you fat or what to eat before cardio, this is your reality check. 

 

Purely Twins

purelytwins.com

“All about balance.”

Gorgeous twin sisters Lori and Michelle have carved a niche with their fine balance of fitness, wellness and healthy living. With topics including workouts, food and wellbeing, every visit to the site offers fresh inspiration depending on where you’re at and what you’re looking for. 

 

LiVe Life Active

livelifeactive.com

“Reality check trainer.”

PT and fitness model Erin Weiss is a refreshing voice in an often-obsessive industry, calling out unhealthy extremes and the consequences of pressure to maintain an unrealistic body. Delightfully infusing serious topics and fitness training tips with lighter notes such as fashion loves, this resists being preachy while keeping it real. 

 

Comeback Momma

comebackmomma.com

“Big picture body bible.”

Firm legs? Taut abs? Whatever your fitness goal, fitness coach Jenn Mitchell has thought of it first and written a program to suit. Her blog, which she started after struggling with depression and weight gain, is sorted into specific goals. Her down-to-earth wisdom and a big-picture perspective to topics spanning family, food, fitness and fashion are genuinely inspiring.

Looking more motivational stories? Check out our September cover model story with Alexa Towersey. 

 

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8 essential tips for dyeing your hair

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Are you in need of a hair revamp? Before you jump on the boxed hair dyes, here are eight things to keep in mind before you dye your hair at home.

1. Check the ingredients

Filling your car with the wrong type of petrol can cause serious damage to your vehicle, so it’s important for you the read the signs. The same concept can be applied to dying your hair. According to Vince Sferlazza, owner of Vince and John New Image Salon in Melbourne, it’s crucial to check how many chemicals are in the hair dye to avoid damaging your locks. “The fewer chemicals there are, the better it will be for your hair, so always be sure to check,” says Sferlazza. “Strong chemicals like ammonia shock the hair shaft open, leaving it looking dry and dull after a colour. Herbatint hair colours gently open the shaft of the hair to deposit colour while maintaining the shine and health of your hair.”

2. Opt for natural botanicals

Hair dyes that contain natural botanical ingredients help to restore moisture throughout the dyeing process. “It’s a synergy between nature and technology; different botanicals have different uses,” says Sferlazza. “They can protect the scalp, add shine, moisturise the hair and skin, enhance colour, strengthen and soothe. So ensure that all your hair products are enriched with certified organic extracts.”

WHF pick: restore moisture with Herbatint’s range of hair dyes, which contain aloe vera to protect and nourish, and meadow foam to moisturise and add shine and condition.

3. Select your colour wisely

To find a shade that suits your complexion, Sferlazza recommends picking a colour that’s a few shades lighter or darker than your natural tone. While you can play it safe with the base colour, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with highlights. “You can always play with tones, add some warmer tones, like copper and mahogany, or cooler tones, like ash, to your natural colour to enhance your skin tone.”

4. Prep your space

Before you embark on a DIY colouring session at home, ensure you’ve prepped your space and have the right equipment. “Make sure surfaces are covered and you have all the right tools for the job: a colouring cape, old towel, measuring cup, tint bowl, tint brush and a comb,” says Sferlazza. “And make sure you aren’t wearing your Sunday best when you’re applying your colour.”

5. Read the instructions

While this seems like an obvious tip, you’d be surprised how many people don’t actually read the instructions from start to finish. And perform a skin test to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the product.

6. Show your locks some love

So, you’ve dyed your hair and you love the new colour, but the hair care doesn’t stop there. It’s important to use products that will nourish and restore moisture. “It’s in your best interest to invest in products containing natural ingredients to restore the hair after colouring,” says Sferlazza. “Allow yourself five to 10 minutes when washing your hair to leave the Herbatint Royal Cream Conditioner on as an intensive regenerating treatment.”

WHF top pick: Herbatint’s Normalising Shampoo and Royal Cream Conditioner. Enriched with aloe vera, jojoba and wheat germ, it nourishes and revitalises dry, damaged and colour-treated hair.

7. Space out your colouring

It’s tempting to reach for the colouring brush as soon as re-growth starts to show. But Sferlazza advises waiting a minimum or four to five weeks between colourings to allow your hair enough time to repair itself.

8. Practise long-term hair care

While many will admit to getting extremely irregular haircuts, they’re vital for healthy, glossy hair. Sferlazza recommends getting regular haircuts every six to eight weeks and using a good-quality hair brush. Also, avoid overusing hair dryers and straighteners, but if you are using them, always use a heat-protecting serum or cream.

WHF pick: TEK wooden hairbrushes help stimulate blood flow to the scalp, promoting hair growth.

Discover more about Herbatint’s philosophy and you’ll be on your way to having lucious, healthy locks.

 

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6 ways to manage PMS

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PMS is no fun. Here, we share six ways to help and manage your PMS.

1. Food

Stabilising blood sugar will favour consistent energy levels and moods according to dietitian Melanie McGrice (melaniemcgrice.com.au). “Grains that have a low glycaemic index, which means that they provide longer-lasting energy, can also help to increase the hormone serotonin in the brain, so try some chickpeas, brown rice or quinoa,” says McGrice.

2. Diet

According to accredited practising dietitian Lisa Yates, some studies show that PMS may be exacerbated by too much caffeine, sugar and alcohol. To minimise symptoms, she suggests that you reduce your alcohol, caffeine and salt intake, and follow a low-GI diet.

3. Supplements

Professor Kulkarni says supplements such as evening primrose oil can be effective for relieving PMS symptoms and favours these as a primary intervention before resorting to the contraceptive pill. “The two supplements I suggest are vitamin B6 and evening primrose oil, which has healthy essential fatty acids. Both supplements have been shown in studies to help alleviate some symptoms in women with PMS and many women benefit from them,” Prof Kulkarni says. A study published in 2010 found that the combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 was particularly helpful for decreasing PMS symptoms. “Nuts are rich in both magnesium and B6, so I’d recommend taking 30 g unsalted nuts daily in the week prior to your period,” says McGrice.

Correcting iron deficiency may also ease syptoms as women who consume insufficient iron are at higher risk of suffering PMS according to University of Massachusetts research. Women with higher non-heme iron, which comes from plant sources, are 30 to 40 per cent less likely to experience PMS. This is possibly because low iron affects levels of serotonin, the hormone that elevates mood. Good sources of non-heme iron include silverbeet and spinach, broccoli, bok choy, soybeans and lentils.

4. The Pill

Contraceptive pills can help ameliorate symptoms of severe PMS and PMDD, but not all pills are equally effective. “Women should not take older-style progesterone pills as these can actually contribute to emotions like anger and depression,” warns Prof Kulkarni. “Some of the newer varieties of pill such as Zoely, Diane and Juliet can be very beneficial.”

To establish a more stable hormonal pattern, women may take the pill with the active hormones for three cycles then go on to a sugar pill for one week only, so that within a three-month cycle they only have one week of bleeding.

5. Hormone therapy

The next line of defence is hormone therapy according to Prof Kulkarni. Oestrogen patches or oestradiol patches and progesterone can cause a kind of hormone detour. “For some women who are very sensitive to hormones, another alternative is to deliver the progesterone via the Mirena IUD, which is placed in the uterus. This allows the hormones to go directly into the surrounding organs rather than passing through the bloodstream first, where it may cause more side effects,” Prof Kulkarni says.

6. Antidepressants

For women who feel their lives are hijacked by hormones every month, antidepressants can provide enormous relief. “The antidepressants stabilise the level of hormones like serotonin, so some women with PMS or PMDD no longer experience those huge mood swings from hormonal fluctuations,” says Davison. 

A new approach to this treatment is to take the antidepressant intermittently. “It may be taken for one week or 10 days of each month when symptoms occur,” says Prof Kulkarni. “To ensure the dose and type of antidepressant suits your system, speak to your GP about having a blood test or swab to get background on your metabolic system and guide the choice of antidepressant.” 

If antidepressants are not effective, women who suffer severe symptoms of PMS may then choose to undergo a ‘chemical menopause’, where strong hormones are used to stop ovulation and give women a break from the terrible hormonal and mood swings. “This approach sometimes needs to be permanent but can also have a kind of resetting effect on the brain,” Prof Kulkarni explains. “If women choose to come off the hormones, their impact is usually reversible and even when no longer on the therapy, the hormonal-related moods swings may be greatly reduced.” 

 

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How to Start a Gratitude Habit in 21 Days

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Why give thanks? Plain and simple, feeling grateful is good for us. Research shows that counting your blessings has many benefits, from better sleep to reduced depression. “It helps you connect to others and be more optimistic and less likely to ruminate over the negative,” says Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, science director of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Cementing the habit takes minimal effort. Follow this 21-day path to more appreciative living. 

Week 1: Notice the good

“Gratitude isn’t one-size-fits-all,” says sociologist and happiness expert Christine Carter, PhD. These tips help you be thankful in a way that makes sense for you. 

Think in threes: Start off each morning by identifying three things you’re grateful for (your kids, your comfy bedsheets, your cute toes—anything). Try not to repeat things, advises Carter, and get more specific and detailed as you go: “For a daily gratitude practice to really be effective, there needs to be novelty so you don’t just get on autopilot,” she says. 

Choose your weapon: For some, journaling about the three good things works; others may prefer sharing them with a friend via text or using the voice recorder on their smartphone. 

Talk the talk: The most grateful people have learned to use language that emphasizes gifts, blessings, fortune, and abundance, says gratitude expert Robert Emmons, PhD. “Less grateful people are preoccupied with burdens, deprivations, entitlements, and complaints,” he explains. Instead of saying, “Ugh, I cannot believe I had to wait so long to get a day off,” try, “What an opportunity this free time is.”

RELATED: How You Answer This Question Says a Lot About Your Happiness

Week 2: Go beyond yourself

Improve how you dish out thanks toward your loved ones and community, still keeping in mind the gratitude guidelines from week one. 

Upgrade “thanks”: Express appreciation to someone every day this week, being super specific. "Thank you for taking care of the kids while I was away on business" is much more powerful than "Thanks for everything this weekend."

Pen a letter: Write a heartfelt note to a mentor, family member, or friend detailing how he or she has impacted your life in a positive way. If possible, read it aloud in person, or schedule a video chat session to share it.

Be of service: "Most people end up feeling extra grateful for their own blessings when they give back in some way," says Simon-Thomas. Find a volunteering opportunity that interests you and schedule time to participate.

RELATED: 22 Ways to Get Happy Now

Week 3: Think outside the box

Now it’s all about seeing good fortune everywhere. 

Look for unexpected heroes: Don’t journal just about people who’ve helped you, says Emmons, but also about those who’ve been there for your loved ones. When you list your three good things this week, call out these indirect joy bringers (like the caretaker who assists your ailing mom, the teacher who is endlessly patient with your child or the great guy about to marry your BFF).

Find silver linings: Write down three less-than-perfect experiences and consider how they actually benefited you. Perhaps quitting a bad job opened the door to a new opportunity. Or maybe you’re thankful that an ex was brave enough to end your relationship when you both knew it wasn’t working anymore.

Take it to the office: "The workplace is one of the places gratitude is lacking the most," says Simon-Thomas. Show a boss, peer, or intern some appreciation this week. Don’t be surprised if the good vibes come back to you. Gratitude often has a boomerang effect.

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Immunity Boosters: A Guide to Tea's Health Benefits

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Steamy or iced, chai or green, bottled or not: Tea is hot, and getting hotter. Tea drinkers can be as passionate and picky about their drink of choice as the most snobby oenophile is about her wine. There are more and more choices. And annual tea sales in the United States have jumped from nearly $2 billion in 1990 to $5.5 billion last year, says Joseph Simrany, president of Tea Association of the USA Inc.

What you'll see in restaurants

Chefs across the country are weaving tea into signature dishes and specialty drinks. Munch on tea-smoked chicken at New York Citys Yumcha (“drink tea” in Cantonese), or sip green-tea martinis infused with pear at Jack Falstaff in San Francisco. And the first green-tea liqueur—Zen—hit the U.S. market this summer and is being served up in hot spots like New Yorks Sushi Samba.

Even rock stars are getting in on it

After electronic-music king Moby opened his own New York teahouse, Teany, he decided to get even more creative. “He was a mad professor behind the counter,” says partner Kelly Tisdale, experimenting with different flavors and launching the Teany line of chilled bottled teas, like the new white tea with pomegranate, carried in New York and the U.K.

Tea as wine

At the chic tea boutique Le Palais des Thes in Beverly Hills, sections of the store are devoted to teas from different regions, similar to the way most wine shops are organized. Increasing numbers of tea snobs are seeking out teas sourced from a single place, like Darjeeling Puttabong, the first tea estate in the Himalaya and the mother of the Darjeeling tea industry.

The coffee comparison

While many people still want their Starbucks coffee fix, a growing crowd is looking for a leafier sip. “The difference between people who drink coffee and those who drink tea is similar to the difference between beer and wine drinkers,” says Le Palais des Thes David Barenholtz. Tea drinkers are looking for a relaxing experience, while coffee drinkers tend to slug coffee for a jolt of energy.

The payoff

Beyond its pure enjoyment, tea is packed with health perks. The heart-health and cancer-preventive benefits of black and green teas are well-publicized. And more research is under way; some studies suggest tea may also increase bone-mineral density, boost immunity, fight cavities, combat diabetes, and reduce body fat. What makes it so healthy? Scientists point to a group of natural antioxidants called catechins present in all teas, but not in coffee. Certain antioxidants can protect against exposure to ultraviolet light and its consequences, such as sun damage and skin cancer. And while coffees caffeine is known to sharpen concentration, tea has caffeine too, sometimes as much as or more than coffee.

 

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How Looking at Selfies Affects Your Happiness

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Love them or hate them, selfies have become a staple of social-media culture. Now a new study suggests that the ubiquitous smartphone self portraits don’t just have psychological implications for the people taking them; they can also have a real impact on their friends and followers, as well.

According to Penn State University researchers, viewing frequent selfies is linked to a decrease in self-esteem and life satisfaction. Their findings come from an online survey of 225 social media users with an average age of 33, 80 percent of whom were active on Facebook. The participants also used sites like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Tinder.  

We tend to compare ourselves to others when we see these photos—often carefully curated photos—the authors wrote about their findings, which can lead to feelings of loneliness, exclusion, or disappointment with our own lives.

Somewhat surprisingly, the researchers did not find any connection between posting frequency and self-esteem or life satisfaction. (Other research, however, has suggested that the quest for the perfect photo can seriously undermine real-life happiness.)

In this study, viewing behavior seemed to be more important: The more people were exposed to selfies from other people, the lower their levels of self-esteem and life satisfaction. 

"People usually post selfies when they're happy or having fun," said co-author and mass communications graduate student Ruoxu Wang, in a press release. "This makes it easy for someone else to look at these pictures and think … his or her life is not as great as theirs."

When the researchers broke their results down based on personality traits, they did find one exception. People who expressed a strong desire to appear popular actually got self-esteem and life-satisfaction boosts from viewing selfies. Doing so may somehow satisfy their need for popularity, the researchers say, although the reason why isn’t entirely clear.

The study results also found a difference between selfies and “groupies,” or selfie-style pictures featuring more than one person. On average, looking at groupies seemed to improve self-esteem and life satisfaction for participants. That’s probably because the viewers themselves may be included in these groupies, the authors wrote, strengthening their sense of community and inclusion.

This research is important, says co-author and mass communications graduate student Ruoxu Wang, because it examines a lesser-understood angle of social-media culture. "Most of the research done on social network sites looks at the motivation for posting and liking content, but we're now starting to look at the effect of viewing behavior," said Wang in a press release.

And the findings suggest that even just “lurking”—the act of observing what others post on social media, rather than “liking” posts or contributing content of one’s own—can have a real effect on how people view themselves.

The authors hope that their study, which was published online in the Journal of Telematics and Informatics, can raise awareness among social-media users about how their posts might affect others in their network.

"We don't often think about how what we post affects the people around us," said co-author and graduate student Fan Yang. "I think this study can help people understand the potential consequences of their posting behavior.” Yang adds that it may also help counselors working with young adults feeling lonely, unpopular, or unsatisfied with their lives.

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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What To Know About the ‘Flesh-Eating Bacteria’ That Killed a Man in Maryland

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Headlines this week about a man who died after contracting a “flesh-eating bacteria” in Ocean City, Maryland, may have you spooked to go near the water, or even near seafood. Michael Funk, 67, began to feel ill within hours of cleaning out crab pots at his beach home, and died just four days later.

Doctors say that a cut on Funk’s leg was exposed to a strand of Vibrio bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus, which lives in warm, coastal waters like Ocean City’s Assawoman Bay. He was diagnosed at the hospital with the infection caused by Vibrio, called vibriosis, and had infected skin removed from around the wound. But the bacteria had already entered his bloodstream. Despite having his leg amputated, Funk did not survive.

His wife told local newspaper The Daily Times that the experience was “like something out of a horror movie,” expressing concern that there had been no warning from Ocean City officials about the bacteria or their risks. (The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is investigating the incident. A public advisory has not been issued, although information about Vibrio can be found on the official state website.)

While tourist season on the Maryland coast is over, there are still plenty of places in the United States where people swim, boat, and catch seafood year-round. So Health spoke with Gabby Barbarite, PhD, a Vibrio researcher at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, to find out how much of a risk these bacteria pose to the average person. Here’s what you should know, and how to keep yourself safe.

Vibrio bacteria aren't new

There are about 12 Vibrio species that make people sick, and they've been around for many years. This is likely not the first time you’ve read about them in the news, either. In Florida, at least two people died last year (and at least seven died in 2014) as a result of vibriosis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vibriosis causes an estimated 100 deaths in the U.S. each year. It also causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses—52,000 of which are from eating contaminated seafood like raw oysters.

Vibrio bacteria live in coastal bodies of salt water or brackish water. They’re found year-round in warm climates like Florida; further north, their levels peak in late summer and early fall, when water is warmest.

“People often ask why we don’t just get rid of the bacteria,” says Barbarite, “but in reality, we’re never going to get rid of it all. What we can do is teach people how they can safely handle seafood and safely spend time in the water.”

RELATED: 12 Germs That Cause Food Poisoning

In most cases, it’s not as scary as it sounds

Vibrio has been dubbed a type of flesh-eating bacteria, thanks to the blistering skin lesions that can spread quickly across the body if an infection isn’t treated. But Barbarite says that term isn’t quite right.

“The words flesh-eating might make you think that if you touch it, it will degrade your skin on contact, and that’s not true,” she says. “You have to have a pre-existing cut—or you have to eat raw, contaminated seafood or chug a whole lot of contaminated water—for it to get into your bloodstream; it can’t break down healthy, intact skin.”

Men over 50 are at higher risk

Almost every case of serious illness or fatality from vibriosis occurs in men over 50, says Barbarite, and most are people with compromised immune systems because of a condition like liver disease, heart disease, or diabetes. (Healthy immune systems are usually able to fight off infections before they become life-threatening. News reports have not identified whether Funk had any pre-existing health conditions.)

“Studies have shown that estrogen can actually combat infections, so that’s why we see it more in males than in females,” says Barbarite. Men also tend to have higher levels of iron, she adds, which the bacteria need to thrive.

Contact with contaminated fish and shellfish is also a risk factor, and crabs are known to carry Vibrio bacteria on their shells. “If that bacteria gets into a cut, it can get into your bloodstream and progress very rapidly,” says Barbarite. “Within 12 hours it could be fatal.”

RELATED: What You Really Need to Know About Brain-Eating Amoebas

Prompt attention is vital

Healthy people don’t need to avoid the water or stay away from seafood, says Barbarite. Still, it's important to keep open wounds away from seawater and raw seafood. If you do get cut in or around a marine environment, wash the area thoroughly, and as soon as possible, with soap and clean water.

“People need to know that if they get cut, to clean it out right away and to seek medical attention within four to five hours if they see redness or swelling,” says Barbarite. Fever and nausea are also red flags that the vibriosis infection has spread to the bloodstream. If caught early enough, treatment with antibiotics can be life-saving.

Climate change may mean more infections

In August, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that warmer ocean temperatures may be fueling the growth of dangerous bacteria—including Vibrio—in northern seas. This could explain an increase in the number of people in Europe (where the study was conducted) getting sick from swimming or eating tainted seafood, say the study authors, and it could make infections more likely in other warm climates as well.  

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Health and fitness with Alexa Towersey

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The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

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We chat to September cover model, Alexa Towersey about all things fitness, health, career and self-love. Check out the exclusive cover story interview below!

 

ON CAREER

I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for over 15 years. I’ve played pretty much every sport known to man including American football, boxing, soccer, skiing and horse-riding. I completed a Bachelor of Science in biology and psychology and went on to do a post-graduate diploma in sports management and kinesiology, and then I interned with an All Blacks-endorsed Pilates studio.

ON EXPERIENCES

When I was 27 I moved to Hong Kong, where I was the senior strength and conditioning coach at a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym. I decided to get into half-Ironman events and I took two years to qualify for the world champs. Living in Asia gave me the opportunity to travel and learn; I spent five years commuting between HK and the United States, learning from the legendary Gym Jones (the outfit responsible for training the cast and crew for the movies 300, The Immortals, Repo Men and Superman) and internationally recognised strength coach Charles Poliquin.

ON PASSION

When I was younger, I was bullied for being too skinny.  My nickname at school was Alexa Anorexia. I started going to the gym when I was 15 on a mission to create muscles and it was the first place I ever truly felt in control of my body and my mind. I want to be able to educate, empower and instil that passion in everyone I work with.

ON HEALTH

Both my parents passed away from lifestyle-related diseases – my mum from lung cancer and my dad from alcoholism.  This led to me giving up alcohol six years ago and is the reason I remain such a passionate advocate of living a healthy lifestyle.

ON DREAMS

For years, I was limited by own lack of self-belief. It wasn’t until I moved to Australia two years ago and immersed myself in a community of likeminded people that I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I truly believe that if you’re driven by passion and positivity rather than profit, then success is organic.  

ON BODY IMAGE

I think it’s a really exciting time to be in the industry as the landscape is definitely changing for the better. Women seem to be less focused on wanting to lose weight and be a size zero and more excited about getting stronger, feeling better in their own skin and wanting to develop shape.  

ON CREATING CURVES 

I love celebrating the strength of the female form. For me, as both a trainer and a female, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a woman become empowered in the gym and watching how this translates into the rest of her life. 

ON SELF-LOVE 

I have a very holistic approach with both myself and my clients. I’m a big advocate for learning to listen to your body and trusting your gut instincts. Your body is a very clever instrument and it will tell you in no uncertain terms what it likes and dislikes.

ON WHAT’S NEXT

I’m rolling out my Creating Curves workshops internationally, including Kuwait, the US and New Zealand. I’ve almost finished my second e-book program with Renae Ayris (former Miss Universe Australia). I’ve also recently started public speaking on behalf of the charity Livin, which is an organisation aimed at educating people about mental health issues and suicide prevention. I love being able to be involved in such an incredible and relevant cause. Twenty-sixteen is shaping up to be a huge year, so watch this space!

 

Alexatowersey.com // @actionalexa

Photography: Emily Abay // @emilyabay_photographer

Hair & Make-up Artist: Mae Taylor // @maetaylor_makeupartist

Dressed in: PE Nation // @p.e.nation courtesy of StyleRunner // @stylerunner

 

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