Published with the permission of Jean Hailes for Women's Health – tollfree number 1800 JEAN HAILES (532 642) for women seeking further health information.

Best snacks for brain health

Did you know that of all the organs in your body, it’s your brain that uses the most energy? That’s why it’s important to feed your brain steady and nutritious fuel throughout the day. That way, you can think clearly, skip the 3pm ‘brain-fog’ and get through the day without reaching in desperation for the biscuit barrel.

As Jean Hailes naturopath Sandra Villella explains, there are healthy ways to snack and unhealthy ways to snack. “The best snacks for brain health keep your energy stable throughout the day, rather than on a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs,” says Sandra. “They need to be low in sugar and rich in protein, which helps to steady your blood sugar levels, and healthy fats.

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Taking menopause to heart

When you’re going through menopause, it’s not just your hormones that are changing – your heart health can change as well. You may be surprised to know that heart disease is the number-one cause of death for women over 50 years of age. In fact, women are four times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer.

The good news is, most forms of heart disease are preventable and menopause is a great time to get proactive about your health. Making heart-healthy changes at midlife can set you up for better health in later life. Best of all, these changes can not only lower your risk of developing other chronic diseases, but can improve your quality of life as well.

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Silver linings: optimism and your health

If you think the way you think doesn’t count for much, then think again.

Optimism is a way of seeing the world in a positive light. Optimistic people focus on the good parts of a situation and expect that good things will happen in the future.

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Eating more oats may reduce markers associated with cardiovascular disease

The health-giving properties of oats have been known for decades, elevating the humble bowl of porridge to almost 'superfood' status. Consuming oats has been shown to have a range of health benefits, but the most widely known is its ability to reduce a person's cholesterol and, in turn, their risk of cardiovascular disease.

A person's level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or 'bad' cholesterol, is used to assess their cardiovascular risk. Basically, the higher the LDL count, the higher the risk of heart disease.

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