Have you heard of the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes(TLC) Diet?

It was even ranked number 5 on US News’ Best Diets Overall list by health experts!

Here are easy instructions to follow for a healthy heart and long-term weight loss.

1. Eat more: lean meats, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

2. Eat less: fatty meats, whole-fat dairy products, and fried foods. This can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) by 8~10%.

3. Stay physically active and try to keep to your diet for at least 6 weeks!


Did you know that cholesterol levels tend to spike in January?

According to a three-year study held by the University of Copenhagen, cholesterol levels tend to be 20% higher in January than in June.

They found among 25,764 participants that their average cholesterol level was 197mg/dL in June, while 240mg/dL in January.
The average LDL (bad cholesterol) was 108mg/dL in June, and 143mg/dL in January.

The rise in cholesterol level is likely to be influenced by the fatty foods consumed during the Christmas holidays and lack of exercise!

Why don’t we make January the month to manage our cholesterol levels from now on?

Our Gastric Health

The Importance of Balance in the Gastric System

 In order to function in a healthy way, our gastric system requires a balance between aggressive factors, such as stomach acid, and protective factors, such as mucus. Both of these factors play an essential role in the health of our gastric system.

The Role of Aggressive Factors

Aggressive factors in our gastric system include stomach acid and the digestive enzyme, pepsin. While we often hear about the problems associated with an excess of stomach acid, the presence of this acid is vital for proper digestion to occur.

Stomach acid (primarily hydrochloric acid) has two essential roles in the digestive process:

  1. It triggers the release of pepsin, a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins into smaller peptides.
  2. It sterilizes food particles before they enter the gastrointestinal tract.

Without this acid, our bodies would not be able to break down the food that enters the gastric system, which can have a devastating effect on our health.

The Role of Protective Factors

The gastrointestinal tract is covered by a thin layer of mucus, around 1.5mm thick. This mucus layer acts a protective barrier, preventing harmful bacteria, pathogens and free radicals from passing through the lining. These elements can cause significant damage to the gut in a number of ways, including oxidation of the cells, inflammation, and infection.

Our defensive mucus layer helps to neutralize the acid in the gut, ensuring that pH levels remain at an optimal level for effective digestion to take place.

Maintaining a Healthy Gut Balance

 As you can see, a healthy gastric system relies on both aggressive and protective factors working together to promote gut health and sustain optimal digestive function. This means having sufficient levels of stomach acid to sterilize food and trigger pepsin release, and having a fully-functioning mucus layer to protect our gut from damage and disease.

So, what should we be focusing on when aiming to improve our gastric health?

Given the vital importance of the gastrointestinal mucus layer, it is clear that maintaining an optimal level of this protective mucus is central to a healthy gastric system. Rather than trying to disrupt the balance by reducing stomach acid, we should focus instead on increasing our gastric system’s production of mucus, in order to ensure our gut is healthy and protected.

Just as with many areas of our health, it’s all about balance.

References are available on request

3 Good Reasons to Choose RAYDEL Policosanol 10


Maintaining & managing healthy cholesterol can be difficult especially when it comes to choosing a product that is right for you. Often people don’t want to take the path of conventional medication and opt to try products that are more natural.

There are multiple supermarket products such as milk, cereals, and butters that claim to lower cholesterol. However, many people fail to read the fine print and understand the quantity that you are required to eat or drink in order to achieve the cholesterol lowering benefits

When looking for a product to help manage your cholesterol, one option is to choose a complementary medicine. This class of medicine refers to products that are alternatives to conventional medicine and are more ‘traditional’ in their use.

RAYDEL Policosanol 10 is a complementary medicine with an active ingredient of Cuban Sugar Cane Wax Alcohols. Within the wax and stem of the sugar cane plant lie alcohol molecules (not the alcohol as you know it!) that, when extracted and purified in specific ratios, can have multiple health benefits.

These sugar cane wax alcohols also referred to as Policosanol, have been shown to help reduce the amount of cholesterol that is made in our body and help increase the production of the good cholesterol, HDL. This, in turn, has an overall effect of improving our cholesterol ratio within the healthy range.

So why choose RAYDEL Policosanol 10?

1-RAYDEL’s active ingredient is derived from a natural source, Cuban Sugar Cane Wax.

2-It has been clinically studied for over 20 years with results supporting its quality and efficacy. It has been shown that within 12 weeks, healthy individuals can improve their LDL/HDL ratio by up to 27%*

3-Finally, many products just lower the bad LDL cholesterol, however, RAYDEL Policosanol 10 also may help increases the good, HDL cholesterol. HDL is needed to help clear away excess cholesterol from areas that it does not belong. When maintaining healthy cholesterol, a balance of both HDL and LDL is important.

To find out more about RAYDEL Policosanol 10, ask your pharmacist today or visit us at www.raydel.com.au

*Ernesto Lopez et al. Effects of sugarcane wax alcohols in subjects with normal or borderline serum cholesterol levels. Revista CENIC Ciencias Biológicas, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 31-37, 2010

Always read the label Use only as directed

The Story of Cuban Sugar Cane

“Lady Sugar was one of the main characters in Cuban history.” Dive into the story of cuban sugar cane and its myriad uses in the modern world, from rum to natural complementary medicine.

Cuba’s agricultural history is entwined with its rich abundance of sugar cane. So much so that renowned Cuban essayist, anthropologist, and scholar of Afro-Cuban culture, Fernando Ortiz once said that “Lady Sugar was one of the main characters in Cuban history.”

After an upswing in the cultivation of sugar cane in the early 19th century, by 1870 more than half of the world’s cane sugar came from two sources, Cuba and Java – a dominance that lasted well into the 20th century and beyond. Cuba in particular is synonymous with rich products made from its sugar cane, from rum to natural complementary medicine. Let’s take a look at the story of Cuban sugar cane and its role in the agricultural history of Cuba.

Sin Azucar no hay Pais

There is a famous saying in Cuba, “sin azucar no hay pais,” which literally translates to “without sugar there is no country.” And this is an excellent summation of the relationship between the two. However, sugar cane did not always flourish in the Caribbean. In fact, the crop’s origins in Cuba can be traced back to the Middle East and Christopher Columbus is often credited with bringing it from there to the Canary Islands, and then to the West Indies.

Going even further back, the domestication of the sugar cane crop is widely attributed to the New Guineans. From there, cultivation spread to Southeast Asia, India and into the Middle East. Medieval Arabs were skilled cultivators of sugar cane, and their techniques were adopted by Spanish conquistadors who brought the crop to Cuba.

The commercial production of sugar cane in Cuba expanded rapidly in the early 17th century, initially in parts neighbouring Havana, due to the capital’s large harbour port. Because of Cuba’s warm tropical climate, crop harvests had to take place in the dry season, between December and April.

Throughout the 17th century, the production and export of sugar cane in Cuba exceeded that of any other crop considerably, and through expansion of infrastructure in different parts of the island, the industry well and truly flourished into the 18th century. With good reason, the product cultivated in the country became known as one of the best in the West Indies, and even the world – a distinction that has carried on well into the present day.

Some of the Best Sugar Cane in the World

The importance of sugar cane in the global economy reached new heights in the 18th century, and Cuba was very much at the epicentre of this phenomenon. Factors such as the formation of the Royal Trade Company of Havana and the expansion of sugar cane farming in and around the capital saw production surge from the 1740s. By the 1850s, Cuban sugar cane was providing roughly 30% of the world’s sugar – an absolutely staggering amount!

In the latter half of the 19th century, the structure of the agricultural and manufacturing industries for sugar cane began to change, shifting from a fragmented model to one that was more cohesive and that offered larger production capacities. In 1894, Cuba produced more than 1 million tons of sugar for the first time. A large portion of this was bought by neighbouring America, who were fervently investing in Cuban sugar cane. By 1895, American investors had poured roughly $50 million into the industry – roughly $1.4 billion today.

Sugar Cane Wax

American Influence

The same year saw the start of the Ten Year War that resulted in Cuba’s independence from Spain in 1898. During this time, the cultivation of sugar cane dropped dramatically, however, the lull was taken as a chance for the industry to streamline and modernise itself, setting a new base for the crop to bloom in the 20th century.

In the three year American occupation of Cuba between 1899 and 1902, US corporations played a large role in establishing the foundations for the Cuban sugar cane industry to prosper in the years ahead, and a decade into the 20th century, production was on its feet once again. By the outbreak of WWI in 1914, 25 modern sugar cane manufacturing facilities has been established, and by 1926 this number had doubled. During the Great War, the majority of European sugar beet fields were destroyed and the world turned evermore to Cuba for its sugar. Between 1913 and 1919, production figures almost doubled from 2.7 million tonnes to 4.4 million.

These numbers increased steadily to around 5 million per year in 1950; Cuba had well and truly solidified its place as one of the monoliths of sugar cane production.

A New Outlook

The early 60s saw a drastic change in the direction of the Cuban sugar cane industry. Fidel Castro’s rise to power in 1959 saw much of the sugar imported by the US from Cuba shift to the USSR and China. In the mid-60s, the Soviet Union – one of the world’s largest consumers of sugar cane products – agreed to buy millions of tonnes of sugar from Cuba over the coming years. This ensured stability in the market and lead to some of the biggest harvests of sugar cane the country had ever seen, peaking at 8.5 million tonnes in 1970 and symbolising a triumphant outlook for the industry.

Throughout the 1980s, turmoil within the production industries that relied on products derived from the sugar cane, as well other political factors, saw production in Cuba waver slightly.

Nonetheless, the country continued to establish a network of scientific institutions and modern infrastructures dedicated to sugar cane cultivation and a solid portion of the nation’s most fertile soil was committed to growing crops.

Sugar Cane in Cuba Today

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 saw an overall drop for international trade in Cuba. As one of the country’s key exports, sugar cane production was still at the top of the agenda, albeit with a refined approach to production. By 2002, the Cuban government had streamlined the industry and over the next 15 years, the industry remained stable amidst agricultural turmoil.

Fast-forward to 2017 and the industry is humming along nicely. Technological advancements and a season of heavy rain in 2016 has seen a healthy increase in production, with agriculturalists and economists alike optimistic about the outlook for Cuban sugar cane.

And it couldn’t come at a better time: it ranked among the top-performing commodities worldwide in 2016, and is used in a plethora of flourishing industries; everything from food to natural complementary medicine. The latter in particular is seeing a renewed interest in the Cuban sugar cane industry – in particular, a fascinating substance found in sugar cane wax called policosanol.

Cuban Policosanol is isolated and purified from a natural source, Cuban sugar cane wax, that studies have shown can reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol within the normal cholesterol range. It was first discovered in the early 1990s and was tested and assessed for its health benefits throughout the decades, with clinical and experimental studies.

While policosanol is found in other plant products, the substance derived from Cuban sugar cane wax has been reported to help lower cholesterol. As if this magic little crop hasn’t given enough already! It’s safe to say the future is bright for Cuban sugar cane.v

6 Types of Exercise to Help Manage High Cholesterol

Exercise is one of the two most important factors when it comes to managing your cholesterol. Here are 6 different types of exercise that are perfect for any lifestyle.

When it comes to lowering your cholesterol, diet and exercise strategies are the two most powerful ways to get where you need to be. If you have high cholesterol, implementing a strict exercise regimen is great way to get your numbers down naturally. This will dramatically decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic health conditions, aside from making you feel happier and healthier all around.

The aim of exercise is to lower low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol), lower triglycerides, and raise high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol). Studies suggest that a combination of aerobic exercise (cardio) and resistance training is the best way to lower cholesterol.

But how much do you need to do for exercise to be effective? As a general rule, most healthcare organisations suggest a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. This may be different if you present risk factors for cardiovascular disease or if you have very high cholesterol. What kind of exercise, you may ask? Let’s take a look.

Walking, Jogging or Running

Let’s start with the most simple: walking, jogging and running. These are all great ways to help manage high cholesterol, and are a fantastic option for anyone whose joints are in good shape. You can walk, run or jog anywhere, anytime, with almost unlimited freedom. The key is prolonged exertion. Studies have shown that prolonged, moderate jogging or brisk walking is more effective at lowering cholesterol than sprinting. It is also better for your blood pressure.

No matter what you do though, it’s all about the amount of calories you burn and the amount of energy you exert. Ensure that the exercise you are doing is getting your heart rate up and engaging large muscle groups. It is also important to incorporate this mentality into your day-to-day life: walk everywhere you can; go hiking on the weekends; use the stairs, not the elevator – make exercise part of your lifestyle.


Walking, jogging or running isn’t for everyone. You may have bad joints, or you might live somewhere that makes it unfeasible (such as as CBD). Or you simply might not care for it. When it comes to doing exercise to help lower cholesterol, it is all about doing what you enjoy most. This is the best way to ensure consistency.

Swimming is an excellent option if walking, jogging or running isn’t up your alley. It is a great option if you have bad joints. Studies have even shown that it can be more effective for lowering cholesterol than walking or running, particularly in older women and men. If you live near a pool or the beach, try swimming a few times a few week to break up the monotony of walking, jogging or running.

swimming cholesterol

Push-ups, Sit-ups and Lifting Weights

The best way to help manage high cholesterol is to combine aerobic exercise, like jogging or swimming, with resistance training. Also known as strength training, resistance training uses weights or your own bodyweight to engage large muscle groups. The AHA recommends doing this at least twice a week to help lower cholesterol and for overall heart health.

When it comes to weight training, the key is more repetitions, not lifting heavy weights. Doing push-ups and sit-ups is an easy and effective way to engage your core and arms. Work towards being able to do three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. And be sure to allow at least 24 hours rest between sessions to allow your muscles to recover.


Yoga is a little different, as it isn’t an aerobic exercise, and while is does engage your muscles it isn’t classified as resistance training. That being said, it is an effective way to help manage cholesterol, and is another great option to break up the monotony of aerobic activities like jogging or swimming.

Studies have shown that doing an hour of yoga once a day can help reduce LDL cholesterol, and improve HDL cholesterol levels in diabetics. It can also help lower blood pressure.

yoga for cholesterol


Do you live far enough from work that you need to get public transport, but not so far that cycling is out of the question?

Riding a bike to work is a great way to burn calories when you might otherwise be sedentary. It uses about the same amount of energy as jogging does, and it is very easy to incorporate into your daily routine, particularly if you have a busy schedule. Studies have shown that those who ride a bike to work are less likely to have high cholesterol than those who do not. Even riding to work just two or three times a week, as a part of your exercise routine, can have fantastic benefits for your cholesterol levels.

Hobbies As Exercise

All of above are excellent options for incorporating exercise into your weekly schedule. They are simple and easy to achieve. But when it comes to lowering your cholesterol, the key is to make it enjoyable.

The point is to get 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day, every week. If you have any hobbies that fall under this category, then by all means include them into your weekly exercise routine. Tennis, golf, dancing, self defence training, rowing, surfing, touch football; all of these are great ways to burn calories while having fun. Many are even likely to be more effective at lowering cholesterol than brisk walking or jogging. It’s all about consistency. Keep up the hard work, and exercise towards lower cholesterol and better cardiovascular health.

If you have high cholesterol, you may choose to take complementary medicine in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. They can help increase HDL and lower LDL, as well as reduce the oxidation of LDL-c. For more information on complementary medicine for lowering cholesterol, click here.

Do You Know Your Recommended Cholesterol Level? The Recommended Levels by Age

Do you know your what your recommended cholesterol level are? Here we take a look at the different components of a lipid test, and the recommended levels for adults and children.

As you get older, it is important to have your cholesterol checked on a regular basis to help monitor your levels, and to assess your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This involves having a lipid (or lipoprotein) profile to examine the cholesterol-related components in the blood.

What Are The Components of My Cholesterol Level?

A lipid profile test assesses the following:

High Density Lipoproteins – HDL is what is known as “good” cholesterol. It is what collects excess cholesterol and transports to the liver to be broken down and removed. The higher this count, the better.

Low Density Lipoproteins – LDL is referred to as “bad” cholesterol. Our body needs it to transport cholesterol from the liver to parts of the body that need it, but an excess of LDL in the bloodstream can lead to a buildup of plaque the arteries. Low LDL levels are what you should be striving for.

Triglycerides – Triglycerides are what make up the fat content of lipoproteins, and high triglyceride levels in your body can contribute to the buildup of plaque and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These levels should be lower.

Total Cholesterol – Your total cholesterol level is the overall amount of cholesterol found in your blood. It consists of a composite reading of your LDL, HDL, and 20 percent of triglycerides.

Read more about the difference between HDL and LDL here.

Recommended Cholesterol Levels For Adults

Heart foundations around the world recommend that all adults have their cholesterol levels read every four to six years from the age of 20; this is when cholesterol levels tend to begin rising.

As we age, cholesterol levels tend to rise, so as you get older, it is recommended that you get checked more frequently, especially if you present risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or obesity.

High cholesterol is more prevalent in men. However, the risk tends to increase in women after menopause. Let’s take a look at the recommended cholesterol levels for adults.

In a 2013 health survey on cholesterol, the Australian Bureau of Statistics defined high cholesterol in adults as:

Total cholesterol – Greater than or equal to 5.5 mmol/L.

HDL – Generally speaking, the higher this number the better. Less than 1.0 mmol/L for men and less than 1.3 mmol/L for women is considered abnormal. People looking to keep their cholesterol low should aim for HDL levels of 1.0 mmol/L or more.

LDL – Generally speaking, the lower this number the better. LDL cholesterol greater than or equal to 3.5 mmol/L is considered abnormal. People looking to keep their cholesterol low should aim for LDL levels to be lower than 2.0 mmol/L.

Triglycerides – Your triglyceride levels should be below 2.0 mmol/L.

Recommended Cholesterol Levels For Children and Adolescents

Children and adolescents are at a lower risk of having high cholesterol than adults. Especially kids that are physically active, aren’t overweight, consume a healthy, balanced diet, and don’t have a family history of high cholesterol.

Some guidelines recommend that children have their cholesterol checked once between the age of 9 and 12, and once again between 17 and 21. Children who have a family history of high cholesterol should be checked more regularly.

According to the American NIH, these are the recommended cholesterol levels for children and adolescents.

Total cholesterol – Greater than or equal to 5.2 mmol/L is considered high. 4.4 mmol/L or lower is considered good.

HDL – Again the higher the better. Anything below 1 mmol/L is considered low, and anything above 1.2 mmol/L is considered good.

LDL – Again, the lower this number the better. Levels greater than 3.6 mmol/L are considered high. Levels below 2.8 mmol/L are considered good.

Triglycerides – Triglyceride levels should be below 1.1 mmol/L in children younger than nine, and below 1.4 mmol/L in children between the ages of 10 and 19.

Keeping on top of your cholesterol levels is very important as you get older in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also important to make sure your cholesterol levels aren’t too low. We hope this guide helps you on your way to a low reading!

References avaliable on request.

Can Salmon Help Fight High Cholesterol?

Eating salmon is widely considered quite healthy, but can it help fight high cholesterol? Let’s take a look.

When it comes to keeping your cholesterol low, diet plays a very important role. Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies, and our liver produces all that we require for normal bodily function. That means that most of the cholesterol that is consumed in our diet is ‘extra’ that we actually do not need.

Studies have shown a direct correlation between a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats, and high levels of LDL – what is known as “bad” cholesterol. Foods that contain saturated fat include red meat, poultry and dairy products; foods that contain trans fat include fried food and takeaway, processed foods, cakes and biscuits. These should be limited in your diet as much as possible.

Salmon: A Healthy Alternative

Red meat and poultry are high in protein, which is a key component of any balanced diet. So what do you eat instead to get these nutrients? Fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon is a fantastic healthy alternative.

An average size fillet of cooked Atlantic salmon contains roughly 23 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat, most of which is healthy unsaturated fat, and only around 60 milligrams of cholesterol, which is a relatively small percentage of the recommended maximum daily intake of 300 milligrams. However, it should be noted that this cholesterol does not have a significant impact on LDL levels.

On top of this, salmon is packed with other important nutrients. It is high in vitamins D, B-12, and B-6, and is a good source of minerals like magnesium, niacin, and selenium, as well as choline, pantothenic acid, biotin and potassium.

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered essential fatty acids that are an important part of a balanced diet because the body cannot produce them. They play a crucial role in brain development, cell membrane function (for growth and development), and reducing inflammation.

Several studies have also linked omega-3 intake with lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease through a number of functions, one of which is its ability to reduce the impact of risk factors associated cholesterol.

Clinical evidence suggests that omega-3 can significantly reduce triacylglycerol levels, which is a key component of high cholesterol. Studies have also shown that omega-3 intake can elevate high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – “good” cholesterol – and lower very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) – which are considered “bad” cholesterol.

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish have also shown to reduce inflammation in the body through a number of mechanisms, which may contribute to protective actions towards atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque on artery walls, which is a key risk factor for high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease).

Remember, when preparing salmon to eat, grilling, baking or steaming are the best options. Frying fish in butter will negate the benefits of the fish due to its saturated fat content. If you are going to use oil, a drizzle of olive oil is a healthier option!

Are There Any Drawbacks of Eating Salmon?

While salmon is a healthy alternative to eating red meat or poultry, some clinical evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acid supplements may increase LDL-C levels. However, many advise that eating a modest amount of salmon – say one or two servings a week – is a great way to reduce triglycerides without affecting LDL or HDL cholesterol levels.

Also, remember that while the fat content in salmon is healthy, it is still fat that contains calories. So limit yourself to no more than 250 grams of salmon per week.

References available on request.

5 Ways To Help Relieve Stress and Help Your Heart

Keeping your heart healthy is incredibly important for your whole wellbeing! Here are 5 ways to help relieve stress and help your heart.

Stress can have a profound impact on your wellbeing, yet each day we are bombarded with a range of situations that trigger our body’s natural “fight or flight” response. Chronic stress has been linked to a full spectrum of health issues, from problems with sleep to heart disease – the latter being particularly prevalent.

When you find yourself in a stressful situation – be it financial troubles or traffic in the morning – your immune system floods your body with the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and inflammatory proteins called cytokines.

While a constant influx of cortisol and adrenaline most definitely has an impact on mental and physical health, it is chronic inflammation associated with cytokine release that is believed to lead to a hardening of the arteries and heart disease.

Learning how to manage and relieve stress can be difficult, but it is possible if you take a moment to consider the impact your lifestyle is having on your health. Here are 5 ways to help relieve stress and help your heart.

Find the Time to Exercise

Along with diet, exercise is the single most important factor contributing to our physical health. Finding the time to exercise every day can have a huge impact on stress levels in more ways than one. Research has shown that it is very effective at improving alertness, cognitive function, sleep, and concentration, and reducing fatigue overall. Doing exercise also produces endorphins, which are our body’s natural painkillers.

It is recommended that adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 times a week to promote good health. Not only does this help melt away stress, but it also helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and strengthen the heart muscles, which are all great for overall heart health.

Of course, if you lead a busy lifestyle, doing half an hour of exercise a day can be difficult. Try integrating it into your daily exercise routine: ride a bike to work, swim in the morning, or do boxing at lunch.

Find Out What Is Causing The Stress and Root It Out

Everyone will have their own personal triggers that are the source of their stress. It is important to take a moment and identify what these are and devise a way to manage them.

Take a look at your work life, your home life, your social life, and your relationships, assess what the root of your stress is, and work towards managing or removing it. Stress will always be present in our lives, but those who learn to cope with it are often much better off than those who don’t.


Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting enough sleep in one of the most crucial elements of a healthy lifestyle, almost as important as a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise.

Sleep is vital for many aspects of brain function, from cognition and concentration to productivity and performance, and lack of sleep is closely linked with a range of mental health issues, including chronic stress. Adults are required to get 7- 9 hours of sleep every night, but factors ranging from age to health and lifestyle will determine how much sleep you need. If you are feeling stressed, make sure you are getting at least 7 hours, or more if you feel like you need it.

Schedule Time to Unplug and Unwind

Sleep is a basic necessity of life. But when it comes to stress, you also need to find the time to unplug, unwind and have some “you” time. There are a million reasons you might be stressed, but none of these are as important as making time to do the things you love.

This may be something you do with friends or family or something you do alone. What is important is that you remove yourself from the triggers that are causing you to become stressed.

Make it a priority to do this every day for at least 15 minutes. Turn off your phone, computer or TV and immerse yourself in something you find soothing (Tip: try making exercise your way to unplug – you’ll be killing two birds with one stone this way!).

Consider Breathing Techniques and Meditation

Breathing exercises and meditation can help relieve stress in a number of ways, and are an excellent way to unplug and unwind in the evening or prepare yourself for the day ahead in the morning. Both meditation and deep breathing exercises have shown to reduce heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure. Take a look at some simple yet effective breathing techniques here.

Yoga or tai chi are excellent meditative activities. A paper published in Frontiers in Immunology, British researchers analysed the findings from more than a dozen existing studies on the biological effects of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, Qi gong and Tai Chi, and found to suppress the expression of genes and genetic pathways that promote inflammation. Great news for stress and for your heart!

References available on request.