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Eat your way calm – psychobiotics and the gut brain connection

A new and exciting era in the treating of mental illness could be upon us!

I have blogged before about the gut and its affect on our mental state. Though, now money is now being put into research of this fascinating subject.

With the gut-brain connection is now very well established a new wave of research is now being done into psychobiotics.

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These are, in short; biotics for the gut. Were as antibiotics are designed for the killing of bad bacteria. Psycho-biotics will be used for the increasing of good bacteria. Resulting in a much more diverse gut flora and better moods.



So far, the research on psychobiotics is still preliminary. Studies have shown that increasing the amount of “good” bacteria in the gut can curb inflammation and cortisol levelsreduce symptoms of depression and anxietylower stress reactivity, improve memory, and even lessen neuroticism and social anxiety. However, most of these studies were conducted on mice, and more research on humans is needed.”

The unfortunate thing is that approval for this new type of treatment is approximately 10 years away. But there are things that can be done in the meantime.;


1) Consuming probiotic foods


One of the best known probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt, especially handmade. Read your labels, as many popular brands are filled with high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors and are way too close to being a nutritional equivalent of ice cream. As with most food, the most health claims made on the packaging means more marketing, not more nutritional value.


Miso Soup

 Miso is one the mainstays of traditional Japanese medicine and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup.



 Made from fermented cabbage (and sometimes other vegetables), sauerkraut is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but might also help with reducing allergy symptoms. Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins B, A, E and C.

 gut brain health food health wellbeing acupuncture quay health sydney cbd circular quay


Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of goat’s milk and fermented kefir grains. High in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria, kefir is also rich in antioxidants. Look for a good, organic version at your local health food store.



 This is a form of fermented tea that contains a high amount of healthy gut bacteria. This probiotic drink has been used for centuries and is believed to help increase your energy, enhance your wellbeing, and maybe even help you lose weight. However, kombucha tea may not be the best fit for everyone, especially those who’ve had problems with candida.



Although this isn’t a food per se, it’s great to add to your morning smoothie. Microaglae refers to superfood ocean-based plants such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae.



 Believe it or not, the common green pickle is an excellent food source of probiotics. The less commercialized the better, but most pickles will have some microbial value.



 I wouldn’t necessarily call soy a health food any longer as it’s mostly GMO. However, tempeh can be a great substitute for meat or tofu. Tempeh is a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans. A great source of vitamin B12, this vegetarian food can be sautéed, baked, or eaten crumbled on salads.



An Asian form of pickled sauerkraut, kimchi is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage, typically served alongside meals in Korea. Besides beneficial bacteria, Kimchi is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2. Kimchi is one of the best probiotic foods you can add to your diet, assuming you can handle the spice, of course.



 Poi is a staple food of Hawaii, made by mashing cooked taro plant until its consistency is liquid to dough-like. Poi hasn’t been officially recognized as a probiotic food like these others, even though it contains more beneficial bacteria that yogurt. While poi is loaded with good germs, it’s stirred up some controversy as there’s currently no way to mass produce it in a way that’s 100% sanitized. (In order to pass health and hygiene standards in America to prepare and sell anything, everything has to be 100% sanitized.) Too bad, because fresh, fermented poi is teeming with bacteria. In order to reap these benefits from po, you might have to fly to Hawaii to get it, which sounds fine to me!


2) Meditate

wellness quay health sydney cbd circular quay chiropractor, acupuncuture, massageMost people “don’t think” they have time for this. Though, all you need is a quiet room. If you don’t have one I suggest purchasing some noise cancelling headphones. Put and turn them on, sit in a dark room and just concentrate on your breathing. Start trying to do this for only 5 minutes per session and then gradually increase the time as you get better. Meditation is like exercise, you get better with practise.


3) Exercise

for at least 30 minutes per day. You don’t have to train like an Olympian to get the benefits. Though, you have to make the sessions as intense as you can handle to get the benefits in full.


Darren Geer Acupuncturist Quay Health Sydney CBD Circular Quay traditional chinese medicineDr Darren Geer, Acupuncturist

Quay Health

To book an appointment with Darren click here


What is Stress doing to our digestion?

What is stress doing to our digestion?


Almost every client I see, tells me they’re having problems with their digestion – but why?


stress and digestion, naturopath Beth Bridges, Quay Health Sydney CBD, Circular QuayWhen you feel like you’re doing all the ‘right’ things food-wise, it can be frustrating to experience ongoing digestive difficulties.


Symptoms such as bloating, excess gas, cramping pains, alternating constipation and diarrhoea, and just general digestive unease, are all too common for many people – but they shouldn’t be.


Most of my clients immediately think that it’s something to do with food – an allergy or intolerance. And, while this can certainly be the case, it’s definitely not the only factor to be looked at.


In fact, the first thing that I consider when I have a client come to me with digestive difficulties is, how stressed are they?


For many people, stress is a major factor in digestive disturbances.


The stress response is so very powerful, that it immediately affects our capacity for digestion, by moving blood away from our internal digestive organs, towards the muscles in our arms and legs – so that we can ‘fight-or-flight’.


This ‘fight-or-flight’ response, is the stress response that is only supposed to be activated when we are in real and immediate danger. However, in our frenetic society, with such a fast-paced and rushed way of living, for many people the stress response is consistently firing.


Every part of the digestive process can be (and will be!) affected by the stress response – it’s a physiological action that’s impossible to avoid.


The only way to fix this element of digestive disturbance, is to work on supporting your body through the stress response, by working on nervous system and adrenal gland function. Nutrition, supplementation, herbal medicine, lifestyle, and emotional / mental stress management are all of fantastic use in this scenario.


I have seen many people who have reduced the stress in their life, and supported their bodies to manage such stress far better through natural medicine, completely overcome digestive troubles.


So, if you’re having ongoing problems with your digestion, and you’re also under quite a lot of stress, I urge you to consider the link between the two.


There is so much that can be done with Naturopathy, and other holistic treatments, to support your body to overcome that constant stress response, and restore natural function to the digestive system.


Please don’t underestimate the massive effect that constant stress has upon your entire health picture. If you feel overwhelmed, burnt out, or depleted, then it’s very likely that stress could be getter the better of your wellbeing.


Come on down to Quay Health, to see me and find out what we can do to help you with your digestive difficulties!

Book Your Online Appointment

Beth Bridges Naturopath Sydney CBD Quay Health
















Beth Bridges Naturopath



Gut Health – You are what you eat

Approximately 6-7 years ago I attended a seminar on “Gut Health”. Ever since then I have been a big advocate of the importance of gut health and the overall wellbeing. In health circles there isn’t a more important quote than; “you are what you eat”!

you are what you eat, healthy eating, quay health sydney cbd


What I am happy to see is the amount of press the results of the relevant studies have received. Just last week a documentary appeared on SBS, The Diet Myth.

With the main aim of the documentary to explain obesity and how the new theories of gut health, relate.


As it turns out, the amount of microbes (bacteria) that live in the gut has a massive effect on your ability to lose weight and why the theory of “eat less do more”, does not work!


But before you “non activity lovers” get too excited. Exercise, is a very important aspect of a healthy body and mind. The human body is supposed to move. Our evolution has not caught up with our lifestyles yet and don’t expect it to any time soon.


Now, back to the track…


The main points of the documentary that relates to human health are:


·      The more gut microbes you have, the leaner you are.


·      If you still can’t lose weight even though you are doing all the right things. The reason is you don’t have enough have a board enough variety of gut microbes.


·      One reason for this is an over use of antibiotics. Use of antibiotics can cause havoc on the gut microbes which can take up to a year to sort themselves out after their use. Use of antibiotics in children increases their chance of becoming obese.


·      Poor diets, if you mostly consume sugar and saturated fat. Your gut microbe diversity becomes limited, at best.


·      Your diet has to be: clean, unprocessed and diverse.


·      Think of your gut microbes like a complete ecosystem. If you pollute an ecosystem what happens?! Species die!


·      Serotonin, our “happy chemicals” are produced in the brain by our gut microbes. If they are unhealthy it can make you depressed and anti-depressants will not work.


In conclusion, as you can see from the few examples I have given. Your gut is you!


If you require more advice on this subject. Book in for a consultation at 


Darren Geer Acupuncturist and Massage Therapist Quay Health Sydney

Darren Geer / Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Expert



Why is Women’s Health suffering?

Women’s health is suffering terribly, and it’s time for something to change.


women's health naturopath quay health sydney cbdIn our fast-paced, modern society, we are seeing ever-greater incidence of challenges to women’s health, including infertility, chronic PMS and period pain, endometriosis, PCOS, burnout, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and sheer exhaustion.


At the very root of such issues, is the chronic and constant stress that the majority of women face. For many women, life is just one big, frantic, double shift – tending to their careers during the day, and their loved ones at night and on the weekends.


Consequently, women have little to no time for themselves – to rest, recuperate, and tend to their own basic needs. This is taking a huge toll on our health.


The pace of modern life, and the stress and pressure that this has created for so many women, drives the constant production of stress hormones. When not addressed, this leads to chronic nervous system depletion, and a stress-related condition known as adrenal fatigue.


When a woman is experiencing adrenal fatigue, it is next to impossible for her delicate reproductive hormones to be balanced. Stress hormones are extremely dominant, and drastically interfere with a woman’s ability to experience a healthy monthly cycle.


Contrary to what we have been taught, PMS and other female hormonal conditions are NOT normal. And unfortunately, there’s no ‘quick fix’ for overcoming them. However, with a commitment to addressing stress, nutrition, and lifestyle, it is more than possible to get your hormones back in balance.


As a naturopath, I often work with women to get their hormones back in shape. To begin with, we work to get a holistic picture of what’s going on in the body, through a thorough case history, and often with a variety of hormone testing. This gives me a clear understanding of exactly what is happening for each woman, so that I can tailor a treatment plan that is precisely indicated for her individual needs.


In the course of treatment, we work to address BOTH stress hormones and reproductive hormones, in a way that is long-term and sustainable. The ultimate aim is to get these hormones back in balance, and keep them that way – for good!


Because hormonal imbalances often occur as the result of many years of constant stress, it can take a number of months to get them back to their normal, balanced state. However, the dramatic change in health and wellness that women experience as a result of doing this, makes it well worth the effort.


As women, nothing is more important that our hormonal health. Our hormones literally have the ability to change our entire experience of life. They affect how we feel on a day to day basis – how much energy we have, whether we can jump out of bed in the morning, how we interact with the people we love, and whether or not we suffer each month with our cycle. Our hormonal status also dramatically affects our digestion, often resulting in symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Of course, all of these signs and symptoms can be drastically improved once hormones are addressed.


There is SO much that can be done to help your precious hormones get back to balance. Please don’t feel helpless – come and see me for a consultation, and let me help you change your health (and consequently, your life) for the better.


Book Your Online Appointment


Beth Bridges Naturopath Quay Health Sydney CBD

Beth Bridges | Naturopath

Why am I so exhausted? The low-down on adrenal fatigue.

Why am I so exhausted? The low-down on adrenal fatigue.


Chronic exhaustion is often the product of long-term stress, which results in adrenal fatigue. In modern society, where stress and busy timelines prevail, adrenal fatigue is becoming more and more common, with many people finding it hard to get themselves out of bed, let alone get themselves through the day. We’re relying more and more on stimulants such as coffee and alcohol to keep up going – but in the long run, this simply isn’t sustainable for our health.

adrenal fatigue, naturopath quay health sydney cbd beth bridges

What is adrenal fatigue?


Your adrenal glands are two walnut-sized glands that sit above your kidneys. Despite their small size, they exert a powerful effect upon your entire wellbeing. The adrenal glands are responsible for secreting your two main stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, in response to stressors in your environment.


For many, many people in today’s fast-paced world, stress hormones are being secreted all day, every day, due to over-activation of the nervous system, and a dominance of what we call the ‘fight-or-flight’ nervous response.


Our bodies enter a state of ‘fight-or-flight’ whenever we find ourselves in a challenging situation. This can be something as simple as bad traffic, getting the kids out the door to school, a stressful conversation, or an excessively tight daily schedule.


When we exist in this state of ‘fight-or-flight’ for too long, it’s easy to enter a state of adrenal fatigue, where our adrenal glands can no longer keep up with stress hormone production.


In this state, we feel burnt out, exhausted, rundown, and irritable, finding it hard to face our daily lives, with no energy. This poses a particular problem for women, whose delicate reproductive hormones are profoundly affected by their adrenal status, and who consequently may experience symptoms such as imbalanced hormones, chronic PMS, endometriosis, challenging menopausal symptoms, amongst others.


Many of today’s modern health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, challenged immunity, and poor digestion are hugely influenced by the state of the adrenal glands.


Boosting adrenal health requires addressing both physical and lifestyle factors, including diet, supplementation, exercise, sleep, stress, and more. Balancing your stress hormones and adrenal gland function will, without a doubt, contribute to your greatest health picture.


In my personal and client experience, these are 7 common reasons why people can be experiencing exhaustion due to adrenal fatigue.


Can you relate to any of them?


  1. Too much caffeine.

The second that coffee (or any other caffeinated beverage) hits your stomach lining, caffeine passes into your blood stream, which leads to stress hormone release from your adrenal glands. For someone who has multiple caffeinated beverages daily, this can contribute significantly to the development of adrenal fatigue.


Caffeine may pep you up in the short term, but it inevitably leads to a crash in energy. Try cutting back, or replacing your coffee with a gentler caffeine hit, such as black or green tea. Even eliminating coffee from your diet for one week will have you feeling SO much better if you’re experiencing ongoing exhaustion.


  1. Too much alcohol.

It’s wise to be mindful of alcohol consumption when you’re feeling particularly stressed. Alcohol, despite feeling like it relaxes you, concurrently raises your stress hormone production, just like caffeine. So, although you might feel nice and sleepy after a few wines, you’ve got extra stress hormones circulating through your body. This contributes to exhaustion more than you might like to believe.


Giving yourself a couple of alcohol free days a week can do you the world of good if you’re experiencing stress, hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue.


  1. You get to bed too late.

Our body biologically needs sleep. Adequate sleep does wonders for lowering stress hormones in the body, as well as allowing hormones to naturally balance overnight (the body does all sorts of miraculous things as we sleep).


It’s amazing how many people are exhausted, rundown, and burnt out, but not willing to prioritise their sleep. Aim to get however many hours of sleep you know your body thrives on. It’s usually around 7 hours.


Sleep is free, and it’s honestly the most underrated thing we can do to achieve great health, and beat the exhaustion.


  1. You’re too wired in the evenings.

Following on from above, it’s no use getting to bed earlier if you’re too wired to actually fall asleep. Nighttime is for winding down. I get that this may not be an option every night, but for the most part, it’s ideal to be getting into ‘wind down’ mode by around 8.30pm each evening. Dim the lights, have a warm shower, read a book, do some gentle stretches. Nourish yourself.


You need to feel calm when you get into bed, to maximise your sleep quality. Do what you can to reduce disturbances before and during sleep time, and you’ll find you may sleep a lot more soundly.


  1. You can’t say no.

Inability to draw gentle, healthy boundaries, and say no to things that you feel are a bit much, or that deplete you, is the quickest way to exhaustion. Even if you had all the physical vitality in the world, it’s genuinely exhausting to spend your days consistently doing things that you don’t want to do, just to please people.


It’s so important to prioritise. There’s seasons in life, and depending on the responsibilities that are currently on your shoulders, you’re going to have to learn to say no to things that just aren’t important. Other people will get over it when you say no to their requests, but you’ll continually suffer if you keep on saying yes, yes, yes.


Say more ‘no’ to other things, so you can say more ‘yes’ to yourself.

healthy eating beth bridges naturopath quay health sydney cbd

  1. You have a problem with delegating.

As much as we need to learn to say no, we also need to learn to delegate. We must be able to delegate non-essential tasks to other people. We cannot do everything ourselves. Asking people to help, allows them to step up and grow into their potential. It also means we don’t exhaust ourselves by trying to take on the world.


The mindset of ‘no one can do it as well as I can, so I’ll just do it’, or, ‘if I don’t do it, it won’t get done’, can contribute majorly to your exhaustion.


  1. You’re not creating ‘nothing’ space in your life.

If you’re feeling exhausted, often, it’s a sure sign that you’re likely filling your days, and leaving zero space for rest. If you’re feeling stressed and rundown, it’s important to schedule small pockets of space to do ‘nothing’. To just relax and recuperate. Our bodies are not designed to operate, without some degree of rest.


So, how do I heal my adrenal fatigue, and help my body cope with stress?


Most of the things that we turn to when we’re exhausted – caffeine, alcohol, sugar, late nights in front of the TV – they’re an attempt to combat the exhaustion.


Except, they only make us more exhausted! It really is a vicious cycle. To beat exhaustion, you often have to get really back to basics.


Naturopathy and other holistic therapies, will help you to uncover the ‘why’ behind your stress and adrenal fatigue, and make sustainable, long-term changes towards resolving them for good. The effort will be more than worth it, as you banish burnout and reclaim your vitality!


Beth Bridges is Quay Health’s Naturopath.  She specialises in helping people deal with stress and fatigue.

You can book an appointment to see Beth here

Beth Bridges Naturopath Quay Health Sydney CBD


Virtual Gastric Banding – Regain control of your eating habits

Do you constantly deny yourself certain foods, only to find yourself eventually caving in and then feeling like a complete failure, again and again?

Would you like to be able to trust your own body signals and know the difference between real hunger and head hunger?

Do you wish you could stop “eating your feelings” and regain control of your eating habits?

Hypnotherapy at Quay Health


As the name suggests, the system combines the concept of a ‘virtual’ gastric band and clinical hypnotherapy. It successfully harnesses the power that every individual holds within them to make changes to their lives. Many clients have benefited from Virtual Gastric Band therapy.

So, what is Virtual Gastric Banding?

The Virtual Gastric Banding is a non-surgical technique which uses the power of hypnosis to retrain you to be satisfied with smaller amounts of food. It changes how you think about food and gives very safe, very predictable results. The clinical hypnotherapy convinces the brain that the stomach is full after a certain level of intake and that there is no need for more food. It is most definitely NOT a diet – we know that diets only work in the short term and most often result in overall long-term weight gain.

The Virtual Gastric Banding allows you to eat what you want but will enable you to eat smaller portions and because it’s not a diet, you won’t feel deprived, miserable or hungry which are the issues that cause most diets to fail.

The Virtual Gastric Banding effectively negates these issues and you are left with a sustainable long term solution to your body size and shape. The medical procedure reduces the physical size of the stomach and may achieve the same result
but the Virtual Gastric Band can be undertaken quickly and privately, without the lengthy delay of hospital waiting lists and of course carries no costly invasive surgery, no risks and no on-going medical treatment.

Quay Health’s resident Clinical Hypnotherapist Antonella Franchini is a fully certified practitioner of Virtual Gastric Banding.

Virtual Gastric Banding tricks your mind into believing your stomach is smaller so you naturally eat less.

Regain control of your eating habits


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Antonella Franchini Clinical Hypnotherapist Quay Health SydneyAntonella Franchini, Clinical Hypnotherapist


Diets Don’t Work

All diets are based on food restriction in many different variations but nonetheless – restriction is the norm.

diets don't work clinical hypnotherapist quay health sydney
In a recent article featured in the journal Scientific American , August 2015 author Charlotte Markey points to recent studies which have consistently revealed that dieting leads to weight gain.

Yes, weight gain.

Why is this so?

The unconscious mind will not be ignored and what we restrict using sheer willpower alone can and often will, lead to the “what the hell effect”. This is the thinking that says “I blew it by eating that one biscuit, so I may as well eat the pack and start again another day”. Research shows that the belief that one has violated their restrictive diet is enough to allow the abandonment of self control.
In hypnotherapy we call this the law of ‘positive attention’. This means that what you restrict or have to constantly think about will end up obsessing your thinking – you may even dream about whatever it is you are trying to eliminate. This leads to craving.

Try this little test –
1. Think of a monkey.
2. Don’t think of a monkey.
Still thinking of a monkey??

This can also be enormously stress inducing, as recent studies have also shown that dieting or even having to ‘watch’ your food or calorie intake can increase cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in our systems. This can also result in weight gain. Dieting appears to be counter-productive.
What should you do?
Slow and gradual changes work best, alongside positive mental affirmations. Gradual and sustainable change is what the latest research recommends.
This is where hypnotherapy with a Clinical Hypnotherapist can be enormously beneficial.

Clinical Hypnotherapist Antonella Franchini Quay Health Sydney CBD Circular QuayQuay Health’s Clinical Hypnotherapist, Antonella Franchini offers a very effective weight loss program using the power of hypnosis and encouraging gradual and lifetime behavioural changes without dieting.

NO DIETS and gradual sustainable weight loss is possible.

Make an appointment with our hypnotherapist Antonella Franchini if you would like to know more about how hypnotherapy can help you achieve the size and shape that you desire.  Click here to make an appointment or call 9251 3411

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