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As many as 326,000 Australians may be unnecessarily avoiding gluten. Martin/Flickr

Health Check: should I choose a gluten-free diet?

Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, rye and barley. For people with the autoimmune condition coeliac disease, eating foods that contain gluten can damage the lining of the intestines. Over time…
Ideally lollies, biscuits, sugar-sweetened drinks, potato crisps and processed meats will never appear in your shopping trolley. Matt/Flickr

Health Check: five foods to always avoid at the supermarket

Want to stack the nutrition odds in your favour? The key is good food so here are five things to never let into your shopping trolley: lollies, biscuits, sugar-sweetened drinks, potato crisps and processed…
Timing matters. Stacey Newman/Shutterstock

Health Check: how to get pregnant

For couples trying to conceive, the chance of this happening within a year depends on their age. The monthly chance of pregnancy for couples where the woman is 35 years or younger is about 20% and 80-90…
While there’s evidence for the efficacy of some supplements as potential treatments for depression, there’s none for others, and some have been found to be ineffective. Михал Орела/Flickr

Health Check: five supplements that may help with depression

Over two-thirds of Australians are thought to use complementary medicines ranging from vitamin and mineral supplements to herbal to aromatherapy and homeopathic products. Mental health concerns are one…
Alternating between sitting and standing is best. ramsey beyer/Flickr

Health Check: sitting versus standing

It seems the world is finally coming to terms with the fact that humans evolved to stand, not to sit – well, health researchers, savvy office workers and many commuters, at least. The evidence is mounting…
Re-fuelling after exercise is important for maintaining adequate energy stores for beneficial changes in your muscles (training adaption). Szabó Varga Katalin/Flickr

Health Check: tips on eating to recover after exercise

Sports performance was once thought to be enhanced by practices such as drinking cognac before an Olympic marathon run. Thankfully, today’s nutrition strategies are more scientific and properly researched…
Adult acne is very common and usually affects women women in their 20s, 30s and 40s. alri/Shutterstock

Health Check: why do I still get zits?

You may have battled blemishes in your teens, or made it through puberty and early adulthood with relatively clear skin, but it always feels particularly unlucky contending with zits in adulthood. Adult…
Yoghurt is one of the products containing probiotics that do confer a health benefit. Flickr: Mark Kenny

Health Check: what’s your gut feeling about probiotics?

You don’t usually have to look far to find news about the virtues of probiotics, but should you go out and seek probiotic-laden products to cultivate a healthier gut? Probiotics are micro-organisms that…
Most gum disease is preventable through good dental hygiene. Inside and Out/Flickr

Health Check: why do my gums bleed and should I be worried?

Bleeding gums are very common but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. They’re usually a sign of gum (periodontal) disease. If treated in its early stages, periodontal disease can be easily reversed…
Energy requirements don’t rise much but nutrient requirements do, so women need to be mindful of the quality of their diet. Shutterstock

Health Check: eating for two during pregnancy

Women are often encouraged to “eat for two” during pregnancy. While this is right in terms of eating to meet both mum’s and baby’s needs, it doesn’t mean doubling her total food and energy intake. The…
Undue emphasis on individual nutrients rather than on the diet as a whole leads to an unhealthy reductionism that has no scientific basis. U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

Health Check: eat food, not (blockbuster) nutrients

Turmeric is said to be the latest “blockbuster nutrient”, helpful for “everything from heart disease to Alzheimers, asthma to arthritis.” But is there any scientific evidence behind this claim, or is it…
They may not cure your cold but they’ll will help you forget your miseries. Drew Leavy/Flickr

Health Check: a hot toddy for the winter chill

Feeling miserable? Is your nose blocked and your throat sore? If not, it will be sometime this winter, probably at least a couple of times. And then someone will probably say at your low ebb that “you…
It’s been suggested that fish oil is the snake oil of our generation. exoimperator/Flickr

Health Check: fish oil, anyone?

An estimated one in four Australians currently take fish oil supplements daily because of its perceived benefits. There are suggestions that fish oil is good for a range of health conditions including…
About 40% of people produce smelly gas because of a certain bacteria in their bowels. HyoJung Kim

Health Check: the ins and outs of burping and farting

To understand why we fart, you need to know something about the volume of gases produced in the bowels first. Imagine how much space 25 litres of gas would occupy – about one third of the interior of a…
Eating is clearly more than just about getting the right nutrition. Brianna Lehman/Flickr

Health Check: how food affects mood and mood affects food

Eating good food promotes overall health and well-being, but what you eat may also impact how you feel. Research suggests that not only can the food you eat affect your mood, but that your mood may influence…
As they transport blood against the force of gravity, veins require special mechanisms to ensure that blood doesn’t flow backwards. Colin Davis/Flickr

Health Check: what you should know about varicose veins

Veins are part of the body’s extensive network of blood vessels, returning blood back to the heart to maintain a continuous circulation. And when things go wrong with them, you can end up with varicose…
Only around 10% of the codeine dose will give you analgesia, but 100% of it will give you side effects. Andrzej Wilusz

Health Check: how do you choose strong painkillers?

Commonly used over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen will usually be strong enough to alleviate common aches and pains. But if you’re suffering from acute pain from dental…
Healthy or harmful? Matthew Rogers

Health Check: does alcohol have medicinal properties?

Since the late Stone Age, people have been drinking alcohol to help them feel better. For the most part, this has been in order to “remember their misery no more” (Proverbs 31:6-7). But it’s widely believed…
You are what you eat: these five foods are proven to improve your health. bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock

Health Check: five must-have foods for your shopping trolley

If you eat to improve your health, here are five foods to put in your supermarket trolley every week. All pack a proven punch in terms of health gains if you have them regularly. 1. Oats Oats are a wholegrain…
Unfortunately, nothing really works – or works that well – to prevent or treat colds. Jacob Spencer

Health Check: can you treat the common cold?

With symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, cough, headaches and fever, the common cold can leave you feeling rotten for up to two weeks. As the name suggests, they’re annoyingly common…

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