Blog

It’s been a ridiculously tough year for many people, and what we’re learning about stress and disease reinforces the importance of taking the best possible care of ourselves in difficult times.
A few years ago research on fish oil was so positive that it became the most popular supplement in the world. Now study results vary, so perhaps we need a more nuanced approach to both fish oil and fish.
In spite of their vulnerable health status, older Indigenous Australian women have come through this year’s Covid threat incredibly well. There’s a lot the rest of us could learn from why that happened.
We’ve all tried diets and they work. Until they don’t, right? But while they’re often not a long-term solution, they can teach us something useful.
October is the month when Bakers Delight whips up a gazillion pink buns and we raise funds for breast cancer research. But could we do more to act on the research we already have?
A single, female friend retired a couple of months ago. Retirement involves adjustment at the best of times but it can be especially challenging if you’re single.
A newly published Swedish study set out to determine whether what we eat or what we weigh is the bigger issue for our health in later life.
As former sex discrimination commissioner and NSW MP Pru Goward pointed out in a recent newspaper article, the problem isn’t ageing, it’s the way the way we deal with it. Or more to the point, fail to deal with it.
American author Martha Beck argues that resilience comprises four qualities: honesty, humility, flexibility and patience.
One of the most fascinating new areas of nutrition research is demonstrating that our guts may be as individual as our fingerprints.
Author Trent Dalton recently wrote an article for the Weekend Australian that both touched my heart and reinforced the huge role our female friends play in our mental and emotional health.
As part of the global effort to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, an international team of scientists has published their top 10 recommendations for preventing the disease.
In recent months there’s been talk of vitamin D boosting our immunity in the face of COVID-19. So how much attention should we be paying to our levels right now?
I’ve written before about alternatives to conventional anti-inflammatories, but if you’re dealing with chronic pain here’s an option worth knowing about.
You’ve probably heard of rotator cuff injuries or tears. Frustratingly, we’re more susceptible to them with age, but there’s plenty we can do to keep our shoulders working well.
After the last item I posted on fat and carbs — which I know is at odds with the Heart Foundation’s message — the least I can do is help you make sense of these kinds of contradictions.
Arguments continue about which end of this spectrum is healthier but the results of a recent study give us strong clues.
She turned 79 earlier this year and is an example of the way it’s possible to improve physically as we get older.
There hasn’t been much evidence for this but a research group from the University of Alabama thinks we can.
COVID-19 restrictions might be lifting but it’s still easy to find ourselves eating and drinking more than normal. Here’s how a couple of well-known older people with a health focus are tackling their food intake while largely staying home.
Since the way women dress is curiously linked to the life stages of a sheep, perhaps you’ve looked in the mirror at some point and wondered where you stood on the lamb and mutton scale. If so, this is for you.
While our culture’s obsessed with the female form, that doesn’t include older women. But an arts program in Melbourne aims to shift that.
As writer Ashton Applewhite says, the trouble with ageing isn’t getting old, it’s ageism. I recently read her book This Chair Rocks which made me realise that not only does a lot of ageism go over my head, I’m pretty ageist myself.
You spent Easter and Anzac Day at home, and there’s only so many more park walks and Zoom chats you can take. It’s enough to make anyone reach for their stockpile of rice and pasta or start compulsively baking bread.
If we’re spending most of the next few months inside, it won’t help any of us to emerge from our cocoons fatter, weaker or less fit and healthy. In fact, good health will be a great asset. Even without a pandemic on the doorstep, these four areas are important every year to build our resistance […]
When author Liz Gilbert recently visited Australia, she had a big and probably unexpected message for women. R-E-L-A-X, she said. What was especially sobering was her discussion of the stress levels of so many prominent, high-status women, i.e. women who have ‘made it’, the ones we look up to. “I’ve been in their homes”, she […]
We’ve heard a lot about older people being the ones at risk from this virus, so let’s look at some facts. Older people aren’t more likely to get it or spread it. The problem is that older immune systems can be more vulnerable. While health is a bigger issue than age — our risk doesn’t […]
A few months ago American writer Julia Hubbel published an article entitled Age is NOT a ‘condition’.
Many of us might be surprised to know that Australian women aged 50 to 74 are more likely than younger women to exceed the safe drinking guideline of no more than two standard drinks on any one day. In Western countries generally, since the 1970s middle-aged and older women’s drinking has increased considerably. Yet we […]
As much as we all think our health is important, when we’re busy it can easily slide into the background. So if that’s not enough to keep us motivated, what is? Michigan University researcher Michelle Segar has been studying women’s motivation to exercise for a couple of decades. As she says, many of us struggle […]
If, despite the summer weather, you’ve either started or kept up a walking (or other exercise program) here’s more evidence that it’s a smart thing to do. Of the two lots of research I’m about to refer to, one was carried out in Norway and the other in Canada. The Norwegian study used long-term health […]
It’s easy to feel as though brain health is something beyond our control, so it helps to know there are things we can do to create a calmer, healthier brain. University of Queensland neuroscientist Dr Selena Bartlett talks a lot about this. As she explains, the brain is like a computer and we can learn […]
Last month the British Medical Journal published a study on the relationship between LDL (aka ‘bad’) cholesterol and dying among very high-risk heart disease patients. It showed that (shock, horror) the higher the LDL, the lower the risk of dying. The study reviewed data on over 23,000 people hospitalised for a heart attack or acute […]
In a segment on ABC TV’s 7.30 program this week dementia was described as ‘the tsunami that’s bearing down upon us’. So what are we learning from prevention trials? As the segment pointed out, dementia affects 400,000 Australians and that number is expected to soar over coming decades. Prevention trials are investigating brain training, nutrition […]
The results of an annual online survey into Australian women’s health were recently published and they might surprise you. The survey is carried out by the Victorian-based Jean Hailes Foundation. Each year the questions change a little, and in 2019 quite a few addressed mental health. I should point out that of the roughly 10,000 […]
A new set of guidelines recommends having one if our risk of bowel cancer is more than 3% over the next 15 years. And there’s an online calculator to help us work that out. If we have a family history of bowel disease or we’ve had gut issues or internal bleeding, our GP will probably […]
It’s hard to ignore this trend because vegan recipes and cafes seem to be everywhere. So should you ditch the animal products and jump aboard? If you did, would you be healthier? It’s hard these days to read something about healthy eating that doesn’t throw around the term ‘plant-based’ or quote American author Michael Pollan […]
Stress is not only unpleasant and exhausting, it seems to be the ‘X’ factor in just about every disease. So managing it is important. While that can be easier said than done, it’s useful to recognise that we can do it at various levels. At a macro-level there might be holidays or other changes of […]
When anyone has a sprain, strain or nasty bruise, I remind them about the standard RICE treatment — rest, ice, compression, elevation. It’s what every first aid course teaches and every medical source recommends. But is it the best option? When you injure yourself it hurts and swells up as the body floods the area […]
When it comes to our health habits, sometimes we just need to lower our expectations. ‘Better than nothing’ was coined by the author of several time management and productivity books, American Laura Vanderkam. She says, and I agree, that we waste too much time over goals that are counterproductive. For example, at this time of […]
You’ve no doubt heard that the Heart Foundation has changed its mind about the perils of dairy. For most of us, they say, it’s our call as to whether we choose full-fat or reduced-fat. So why the change? Because research has consistently shown that full-fat diary doesn’t increase our risk of a heart attack or […]
June is 65 and a regular at the gym that I go to. She’s there most days and she’s intentional with her exercise. One day she mentioned that until recently exercise hadn’t been part of her life at all. I was keen to know what shifted. She’s been a stay-at-home mum, and she says, “a […]
Most of us would think so, right? But a study on our national nut intake suggests otherwise. It was done by the School of Medicine at Wollongong Uni using data collected in 2011-2012. Dietary guidelines recommend 30 grams of (unsalted) nuts per day. Nuts provide fibre, healthy oils, and minerals such as magnesium. They’re a […]
Don’t panic over reports that red meat is tied to an increased risk of breast cancer, especially in post-menopausal women. The (American) study that those reports are based on also concluded that white meat is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. In recent times there’s been a steady stream of research linking red […]
It does, in four ways, and it has a lot to do with our liver. As Welsh researcher Zoe Harcombe points out, because the body registers alcohol as a poison, it prioritises its removal before doing anything else. The liver is a workhorse — it’s a busy organ with many jobs. But if there’s a […]
There was a lot of media coverage this month on research published about the sex lives of UK women aged 50-75. The theme of the coverage was that sex dwindles with age. What’s more, only 3% of the women surveyed were positive about it. Hardly a ringing endorsement. So what’s that about? The women involved […]
Not planning to partake in Dry July? Here’s an alternative challenge for July that’s likely to leave you weighing less and feeling better. About everything. The challenge is to eat slowly and mindfully for the month. Most of us get hung up on what to eat. Is it OK to eat bread? And potato? What […]
A new report on cardiovascular disease in women provides important information for all of us. The report was produced by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s national body for the collection of stats and data on health and welfare. Cardiovascular disease is the umbrella term for heart disease, stroke and heart failure. Between […]
Surely one of the best things about winter is winter food. And it’s not just the heartiness of it. It’s that it provides terrific nutrients for older bodies. As much as I’m a fan of root vegies, stewed fruit and hot crumble desserts — winter wouldn’t seem right without those — I’m referring to collagenous […]
It’s common to assume that with age we get more set in our ways and that our brains don’t work as well as they used to. But MRI scans show something interesting: older brains work in a more integrated way. Carl Honoré, the London-based journalist who wrote a book about the ‘slow’ movement (slow food […]
We recently had a fabulous lamb dinner at a friend’s place. She’s divorced, in her early 60s and lives on her own. “I love cooking,” she said, “just not for one.” I hear that a lot, so I asked her to help me come up with suggestions that might help other women in the same […]
Although thyroid issues are more prevalent in older women, this little butterfly-shaped body part is still a mystery to most of us. Here are a few basics we should all be aware of. You probably know that your thyroid gland sits at the base of your neck, but you mightn’t appreciate that it’s part of […]
You’re not into gyms, exercise classes or personal trainers. You don’t want to put on a special set of clothes and take time out for those things. But you’re happy to move, especially if you can slot it into your daily routine. The good news is you can largely stay fit by making your days […]
Two UK women in their 50s who’d seen family members succumb to diseases such as cancer and dementia resolved to do what they could to avoid the same fate. For five years they studied the latest research and applied it to their lives. Now they’ve published a book based on their findings. Annabel Streets and […]
Whether you did it in grand style traversing the slopes on your skiing holiday or pulling weeds in the garden, at some stage we all manage to hurt ourselves and need to recover. There are a few basic things we can do to help that along. Even minor injuries take their time when we’re no […]
High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for heart disease, stroke and dementia, so keeping it healthy is vital. But where should you start? Traditionally, patients whose blood pressure climbed above 140/90 mm Hg were recommended for treatment, but in the US it’s recently been recommended that doctors start treatment at lower levels. […]
How often are older people encouraged to move into a house that has no stairs? Simply because they’re older. That mightn’t be good advice. The term ‘exercise snacks’ has been used to describe the way a longer bout of exercise can be broken up into smaller bits that are done throughout the day. You might […]
Fruit is healthy, but here’s why it’s also smart to limit the amount we eat. The trouble is that we humans keep tampering with it. Last month it was reported that a research team from Griffith Uni has been at work transforming the humble pawpaw (or papaya). They’re creating new varieties that will have a […]
A New Zealand study has linked fibre with a lower incidence of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. But when the study leader says this means we should think twice about low-carb diets, I think he’s barking up the wrong tree. This study got a lot of media coverage, […]
Mainstream medicine advises against bioidentical hormones, but for some of us they could still be a useful part of our healthy ageing kit. I’ve been using a bioidentical hormone cream for nearly five years. It was never part of my plan. In my early 30s I’d been involved in research with women who used conventional […]
The moral of the Aesop fable is that slow and steady wins the race. In recent years though it’s been high-intensity intervals that have won all the accolades. But are intervals more effective when it comes to fat loss? The focus on high-intensity has been good news to anyone who’s short of time, likes to […]
You might’ve heard that there was more flu than usual around this summer and that hospitals are preparing for a big winter season. So give some thought now to how you’ll protect yourself. Swine Flu or the H1N1 virus is expected to be the most prevalent strain. It’s a type of Influenza A. I know […]
The moral of the Aesop fable is that slow and steady wins the race. In recent years though it’s been high-intensity intervals that have won all the accolades. But are intervals more effective when it comes to fat loss? The focus on high-intensity has been good news to anyone who’s short of time, likes to […]
Even among the pro-statin camp there’s been uncertainty about the use of statins for people over 75. This month the authors of a new paper claim that in Britain up to 8000 deaths a year could be prevented if everyone in that age bracket took them. Needless to say not everyone agrees. Two big medical […]
A recent hunt for alternatives to anti-inflammatory drugs for a client opened my eyes to the range of natural anti-inflammatory products available now. For anyone who has a chronic inflammatory muscular, nerve or joint condition, or for those of us who injure ourselves from time to time, that’s good news. Treatment for these types of […]
When Welsh researcher Zoe Harcombe discovered that the Brits and Americans consume around 1100 calories a day from just two ingredients — sugar and flour — she set out to match that number of calories with real food items that would meet the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Here’s what she came up […]
ABC radio’s Amanda Smith recently interviewed American cardiologist Ben Levine who outlined his method for keeping our heart and blood vessels ‘young’. A young heart is a supple heart. He says our heart and blood vessels are like rubber bands. Rubber bands start off springy and elastic, but if they sat in a drawer for […]
I wrote a post on salt a couple of summers ago, and it’s a topic worth revisiting, especially since the research of late has scientists shaking their heads. In 2017 I said we’re often wary of salt because of its link with high blood pressure, so stay away from the refined stuff and use better […]
As someone who started the year by having a mole removed from my back, my ears pricked up when a client said her doctor recommended taking vitamin B3 to help prevent her BCCs (basal cell carcinomas). While I didn’t have one of those, there’s nothing like a few stitches in your back to make you […]
Here’s a fascinating yet completely unsurprising observation about women’s health behaviour, and it goes to the core of why so many of us don’t seem to take our health more seriously. Let me take a step back to provide some background. A Melbourne study published in 2017 reported the results of an online questionnaire completed […]
Lately I’ve heard of two women in their 60s and 70s who’ve gotten dehydrated, to their surprise. But as we get older dehydration is a greater risk. Most of us know — even if we sometimes forget — that water keeps our kidneys healthy and helps us to avoid cramps, headaches, constipation and urinary infections. […]

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