Senior Naturopath, Shannon McNeill shares her tips for healthy brain and body function
If you've been to a Gwinganna Wellness seminar, the chances are that you've met our incredibly knowledgeable Naturopath and registered nurse, Shannon McNeill.
Shannon brings a wealth of experience to Gwinganna and has provided guests with specialist naturopath advice for over 14 years. Focused on empowering people, whether in an individual consult or in the seminar room, Shannon's approach is to share her health knowledge, so guests will be equipped to transform their own health & wellbeing.
In Shannon's opinion, Gwinganna's philosophy wholeheartedly embraces naturopathy principles and her own beliefs as a health professional. For over a decade, she has inspired life-changing transformations here at Gwinganna and today provides us with some invaluable advice.
1. Sleep well
It's no secret that adequate sleep is essential for optimum health.
Aim for 7-8 hours for a replenishing sleep. Any less than 6 ½ hours is considered sleep debt, which can lead to health issues when accrued.
She advises that it’s beneficial to adopt a healthy sleep ritual and make a habit of it. This could include a device curfew one hour before bed, turning off your wifi, reducing caffeine consumption (particularly after lunchtime) and introducing essential oils or mindfulness practice.
In Shannon's experience presenting Wellness seminars, a large majority of the room acknowledges that they drink alcohol to help them sleep. Shannon strongly suggests breaking this habit because although it may help you fall asleep faster, it diminishes sleep quality.
Shannon tells the class that it helps to have an honest conversation with themselves and acknowledge when alcohol might be more detrimental than beneficial.
2. Move your body
Movement is a key contributing factor when it comes to healthy brain and body function. Regular movement can increase the size of our hippocampus, subsequently improving our memory as well as improve our mood, reduce feelings of loneliness and relieve stress.
In terms of physical benefits, exercise reduces the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, dementia and Alzheimer's disease among many other illnesses and conditions. Shannon says she advises her clients to take part in any movement regularly, but in particular resistance training can show improvements in sleep quality.
When exercise can seem like a chore to many of us, Shannon gives us this piece of advice:
"Seek movement that makes you smile."
3. Eat wholefoods
Shannon tells us that when it comes to our diets, it’s all about balance.
She recommends filling our plates with vegetables (containing fibre and phytochemicals) which provides essential nutrients that repair the body. The Gwinganna philosophy combines a protein, complex carbohydrates, and essential fat in each meal which helps to regulate blood sugar levels and provide efficient brain fuel for an energised and productive day.
When it comes to foods we should stay away from, Shannon tells us it’s the packaged and processed foods. These foods contain very little nutritional value, can be high in added sugars and diminish the body’s ability to repair.
Make small changes and enhance your wellbeing
When it comes to overall health advice, Shannon tells her clients:
“Small changes. Big results.”
Start caring for your brain and body today by guarding your sleep, eating foods that balance your insulin and moving your body.