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Pure Vitamins Blog

  • How Do I Choose A Protein Shake?

    Incorporating a protein shake into your daily routine can add nutritional value to your overall diet and when compared to the cost of most traditional sources of protein such as meat, dairy, fish and eggs, protein shakes can be quite economical.

    HOW DO I CHOOSE A PROTEIN SHAKE? HOW DO I CHOOSE A PROTEIN SHAKE?

    The main sources of protein used in shakes are derived from animal sources such as eggs and cow’s milk, and include casein, whey and egg whites. For people who want an alternative to animal-based proteins, there are vegetable derived forms like soy and rice protein. Most people who choose a vegetable protein are using the shakes to supplement a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle.

    The most common animal protein found in commercial protein powders is whey, which is extracted from milk. Whey is thought to be the most neutral-tasting protein, and is naturally low in fats. There are two main types of whey protein- whey concentrate and whey isolate. Whey protein concentrate is normally cheaper per gram than whey protein isolate. Whey protein concentrate can be further processed to make whey protein isolate. The isolate usually contains more protein per gram than concentrate, and because more of the extra components have been removed, is usually lower in fats, carbohydrates and lactose. Many protein shake producers use a combination of whey isolate and whey concentrate in their product.

    Some other sources of protein that can be found in commercial protein powders or homemade shakes are casein and egg protein. Casein is the other major protein found in milk and absorbs slowly into the digestive system – great to keep up a slow dose of protein intake. Egg whites aren’t found in many protein shakes available in Australia, but are naturally high in protein and cholesterol free.

    The most popular forms of vegetable proteins are soy and rice. Some people find the texture of rice-based protein powders can be a little gritty, but newer technology has largely overcome these issues.

    Most protein powders utilize a mixture of natural and artificial sweeteners such as sucralose or stevia, so if you have a preferred sweetener, or you’re trying to avoid artificial sweeteners, make sure you check the ingredients list. Sometimes, artificial sweeteners will be listed by their ‘additive code’ number rather than their name, so you may need to do some detective work. There are a wide variety of flavours available, so you should try a range to identify the ones you like best.

    Manufacturers may add additional ingredients to protein powders to make them tastier or easier to use. Lecithin is usually added to improve mixability and reduce clumping. Amino acids are often added, since some people claim amino acids like glutamine, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and arginine aid in muscle recovery and retention, although the evidence for this is still lacking.

    Because the taste and nutritional content of protein powders varies so widely, it’s a good idea to try a few and see which ones you like. Make sure you check the amounts of fat and carbohydrates in the product – some can be surprisingly high.

    We recommend you start by purchasing the smallest size of a product to see if you like it, and then buy in bulk (to save money) once you have settled on the best product for you. So start experimenting and find the perfect protein powder for you!

  • Summer Holiday Survival Guide

    Summer Holiday Survival Guide Summer Holiday Survival Guide

    It’s coming up to that time of year again where you get the chance to relax, put your feet up and enjoy the festivities with family and friends. But it can be a busy time of year, with parties, late nights, present shopping and other occasions. Diet choices are frequently poor. The following tips might help you take care of particular areas of your health that could experience the strain of the holiday season.

    DIGESTIVE HEALTH

    As socialising comes to a peak at Christmas and New Year, healthy eating habits often go out the window. We easily consume excess alcohol and party foods that wouldn’t normally enter our diet, potentially leading to upset digestion, weight gain and hangovers. During the summer, people might also travel overseas or on family road trips. To help get your digestive system through the festive season, try the following tips:

    • Interchange alcoholic drinks with water.
    • Be food wise: instead of eating chips, lollies and cakes, choose unsalted nuts, cheese on crackers or fruit.
    • To soothe an upset stomach, try Chamomile.
    • Try taking a Probiotic as poor diet and travelling can cause the healthy bowel flora to become imbalanced. A probiotic will help to replenish the normal flora.
    • Milk Thistle can be very beneficial to consume when drinking alcohol and eating rich, fatty foods, as it supports your liver and digestion.
    • Try ginger or travel sickness bands for car or motion sickness.

    EMOTIONAL HEALTH

    The holiday season can be a rather stressful time, with lots to do and seemingly little time. However, try to take 30 minutes of relaxation time for yourself each day which may help to minimise your stress levels. When it comes to stressful holiday events, like Christmas dinner with the relatives and Christmas present shopping, leaving extra time to prepare could help you to reduce your stress levels. Congested roads on public holidays can also be a source of anxiety so if possible, try to avoid travelling at these times.

    The body’s adrenal glands release hormones during stressful situations. You can support this response by taking supplementing with some of the key nutrients required to produce these hormones, such as magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin C.

    IMMUNE HEALTH

    Late nights, poor eating habits and stress can make us vulnerable to catching a cold during the summer holidays. The following nutrients and herbs can help to bolster a healthy immune system:

    • Echinacea: it is thought that Echinacea can stimulate the immune system’s “non-specific” defences involved in fighting infections.
    • Garlic may help the immune system to defend the body against upper respiratory tract infections and colds.
    • Vitamins C and E are needed to help maintain the proper functioning of the immune system.
    • Zinc is necessary for healthy immune function.

    SKIN HEALTH

    Your skin will need special care during the summer, as it receives more sun exposure. The following tips may help:

    • To relieve dry, scaly skin, use nourishing body butters, drink 2L of water every day and take essential fatty acids like flaxseed oil.
    • Try to avoid getting sun burn with Slip, Slop and Slap; that is, put on a shirt, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses.
    • When outside, apply a natural insect repellent and burn citronella candles to reduce insect bites.

    You can be happy and healthy all summer long with a little bit of forward planning and having some natural products at the ready. Happy holidays!

  • The Benefits of Valerian

    If you’re having trouble dozing off in the evening, you may want  to consider taking a herbal sedative. Valerian is probably the most popular of them – but does it really work, and how should you use it?

    THE BENEFITS OF VALERIAN THE BENEFITS OF VALERIAN

    Valerian was one of the first herbal medicines I ever tried. I was working two jobs, studying in the evening, and then lying in bed all night in that wired state where you know you need to sleep but you just can’t get your mind to switch off.

    So when a friend suggested I try Valerian, I was more than willing to give it a go – and I became an instant convert. Not only did I drop off to sleep relatively quickly the first time I took it, but as I continued using it over the next few weeks, my sleeping pattern returned to normal. In a nutshell, it helped me to become much more rested and much less frazzled.

    In Western herbal medicine, valerian has traditionally been used to relieve insomnia and sleeplessness, help improve the efficiency and quality of sleep, and reduce the number of times per night that you wake up or your sleep is disturbed. Its ability to induce sleep has been recognized for thousands of years, and today it continues to be one of the most popular herbal sedatives available.

    Numerous studies have investigated the benefits of valerian for sleeping problems. Unfortunately many of those studies have been poorly designed or haven’t involved adequate numbers of people, making the research results difficult to interpret.

    However, some studies suggest that valerian may be particularly beneficial for people who struggle to fall asleep  (as opposed to falling asleep easily, but then waking up through the night), so if you’re prone to lying in bed bright eyed and bushy tailed for quite some time before you drift off, it’s certainly worth a try.

    Valerian often taken along with other herbs that support healthy, restorative sleep, such as hops, lavender, passionflower and lemon balm. Taken together, these herbs may also be beneficial during times of stress to reduce the effects of nervous tension, mild anxiety and irritability .

    If you only experience insomnia occasionally, valerian can be taken on an as-needed basis, however, those whose sleeping problems are more persistent may benefit from taking it consistently over at least two weeks . Ideally it should be taken an hour or two before bed.

  • Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

    What is CoQ10?

    CoQ10 To Improve the Quality of Life

    CoQ10 is a powerful nutrient, vital for heart health & the production of energy, it is a vitamin-like nutrient that is naturally produced by our bodies. It is considered an important nutrient because it’s needed as part of our body’s process of producing energy; a reaction that happens within every cell of our bodies. Because of this, it’s actually considered the spark plug for cellular energy. It enables the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which is the compound our bodies use to provide energy for all metabolic processes.

    What are the benefits of CoQ10?

    As well as its role in energy production, CoQ10 also provides powerful antioxidant benefits. It’s free radical scavenging ability helps to decrease the damaging effects of oxidative stress and helps regenerate vitamin E to its antioxidant form by transforming it from the oxidised form back to the reduced form, to further enhance the body’s antioxidant activity.

    These antioxidant effects of CoQ10 also extend to helping protect LDL cholesterol – commonly referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ - from the potential damage of oxidation.

    This heart-friendly nutrient also has the ability to help support healthy cardiovascular function, and may help support a healthy immune system.

    As we age, our body’s natural production of CoQ10 begins to decline, and as such, supplementation may be useful to assist in the maintenance of general wellbeing in the elderly. There are some medications that may lower the body’s natural production of CoQ10. For further advice we recommend that you speak with your healthcare practitioner.

    Features

    • Provides nutritional support for a healthy cardiovascular system
    • Energises at the cellular level
    • Acts as a powerful antioxidant against the effects of harmful free radicals
    • Helps protect LDL cholesterol from damaging oxidation
  • Women and Heart Health

    Men are usually considered the primary targets when it comes to teaching people about heart health. As for women, we’re often more aware of issues such as osteoporosis, menopause, weight management and PMS. The truth is that women should pay more attention to heart health because it is a unisex issue. In fact, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in women.

    Heart Health Women's heart health

    The heart consists of pure muscle and delivers blood throughout the body. This hard-working organ beats nearly 40 million times per year, which is why it deserves adequate care. The media constantly pressures women to lose weight so that they can fit a certain standard of beauty. Instead of losing weight to fit unrealistic beauty standards, women should work on getting fit to protect their heart.

    Many products are available that can help people lose weight. With that said, the ideal way to maintain a healthy heart comes down to diet and exercise. Since the heart is a muscle, exercise can help keep it in shape. In addition, people can add ingredients to their food that are valuable to the heart. For example, some nutrients are beneficial because they help the body produce energy.

    One way in which people can improve their heart health is to eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Some possible options that help keep your heart healthy and help maintain balanced triglycerides include salmon, tuna and sardines. Besides omega-3 fatty acids, some other nutrients that promote heart health include vitamin D, magnesium and potassium. Even herbs like garlic, thistle, grape seed and hawthorn can help the heart support efficient heart function.

    Stress is another factor that can have an impact on a person’s heart health. In today’s world, it can feel like women carry the largest load of stress within a family. They must deal with children, health, work and financial issues. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix when it comes to relieving stress. Most women cannot afford to quit their job or take an exotic vacation; therefore, they must find new ways to cope with stressful situations. Those who can manage their stress are more likely to live a long and happy life.

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