Ashleigh is an accredited practicing dietician and owner of Feed Your Future Dietetics. She believes everyone deserves to live a life of health and wellness. She is passionate about helping people achieve their highest quality life through nutrition, mental health and exercise.
“I have been exercising for as long as I can remember. Knowing the benefits of moving the body and eating well, and the impact that awareness and nutritional education has on quality of life, I want to give back to the community in ways that I know best.”
Master or Nutrition and Dietetics
Bachelor of Human Nutrition
Qualified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor
4 year Australian Representative in Rock Climbing
Blog Articles Written by Ashleigh:
The Role of Nutrition in Endometriosis
By Dietician: Ashleigh Feltham @feedyourfuturedietetics
Did you know, up to half of women who are unable to conceive discover they have endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus (endometrium) begins to grow outside of the uterine wall. This lining can spread to surrounding organs, causing painful and/or heavy periods, pain during sex (dyspareunia), musculoskeletal pelvic pain throughout day-to-day life, and altered and/or painful urination and/or defecation.
Endometriosis is exceptionally prevalent; with 1 in 10 Australian women diagnosed with it throughout their life. There is a large range of symptom type and severity, leading to the potential for this statistic to be conservative and a large number of women to remain undiagnosed.
Endometriosis has no clear research indicating its cause or what causes progression of the disease. There is however, preliminary research showing particular dietary components which seem to have positive impacts on endometriosis:
- Dairy – potentially due to high vitamin D levels contained in its products.
- B vitamins – found in breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal products (specifically for their B12).
- Antioxidants – found in all fruits and vegetables, with particularly high concentrations found in dark coloured fruits and vegetables (berries, dark leafy greens, tomatoes and other red/purple vegetables).
- Fibre – Meeting 25-30g of fibre/day is key (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds). Fibre is critical for feeding your beneficial gut bacteria. These little critters make an enzyme which changes oestrogen’s function, reducing its stimulating role in endometrium growth.
- Healthy fats – particularly from fish or fish oil, have been shown to reduce endometriosis onset.
- Brassica Vegetables – containing insoles, which assists the liver’s ability to naturally detox excessive levels of oestrogen (thought to exacerbate endometrium growth). These vegetables include: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and kale, all of which are also high in fibre.
A 2007 study reported a link between high level red meat, trans fat and fruit consumption being shown to increase the risk of developing endometriosis. Scientists in this study speculate that the link with fruit was more due to consumption of the pesticides on the skin of the fruit rather than the fruit itself. Pesticides can be removed easily by washing fruit with water and baking soda, the alternative is purchasing organic products which inherently contain none of these damaging chemicals.
Research into whether soy impacts risk or endometriosis onset/progression due to its oestrogen-like receptors remains unclear. The current dietary recommendations remain that, particularly minimally processed soy products, are still safe to consume. Soy offers a great source of both protein and calcium, which is particularly critical for those following vegan diets. If you are not exceeding the recommended 2 serves of soy/day (with strong emphasis on consuming unrefined soy products rather than ultra-refined meat-like substitutes), the benefits still outweigh the potential risks at this point.
Take home message: nutrition alone is unlikely to solve endometriosis, but it does play a role in how it should be managed. Diet, in combination with support from your doctor, can help you to live your fullest, best life despite your condition.
Coffee: More than an Essential Start to your Day
By Dietician: Ashleigh Feltham @feedyourfuturedietetics
You are not alone if life does not begin before your first cup of coffee. The health benefits of coffee have been mixed over the years but with more and more research on this delicious beverage the odds are in favor of coffee.
The ritual of a drink of coffee is pure perfection. This experience is enjoyed in over 2.2 billion cups worldwide daily as the world’s second most consumed beverage in the world after tea. Coffee contains riboflavin, potassium, niacin, magnesium and is abundant in antioxidants and other plant chemicals. Putting all these nutrients aside the main reason most chose this drink the delicious beverage is due to its caffeine content.
Caffeine has an ability to reduce tiredness and improved alertness. It blocks the neurotransmitter in your brain called adenosine and increases the activity of norepinephrine and dopamine. This can improve your mood, cognitive function and reaction time.
A strong study assessing over 12000 studies showed some of the positive effects of moderate coffee intake (3-4 cups of coffee a day) can include:
- Type 2 Diabetes – Coffee drinkers have 2 times reduced risk of developing type 2 Diabetes.
- Cancer – Reduced risk of liver and endometrial cancer. Also mouth, larynx and pharynx. Drinking coffee is not linked to increased risk of any cancer.
- Reduced risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers. Good news Decaff has the same effects showing it may not be the caffeine in coffee but the other nutrients in coffee which may increase your lifespan.
- Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s disease – reduced risk. Those who already have Parkinson’s disease, drinking coffee showed improvements in movement. Reducing muscle stiffness and motor ability.
- Depression- Reduced symptoms.
If you are interested in sport performance, coffee also improves sports performance. It acts as a neuromuscular stimulant; in other words, you can work harder for longer and with more power. Around 3mg/kg body weight is recommended for improvements in performance and taken shortly before an event to gain the benefits.
Not everyone responds to coffee the same and is due to a gene sequence called CYP1A2. Meaning you could be a rapid or a slow responder to caffeine. The rapid responder to caffeine seems to be those who benefit more from using caffeine as a stimulant for performance and health.
If you are in these special groups take note:
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding having up to 200mg of caffeine (around 2 cups) is the safest dose to stick to.
- If you have high blood pressure and are not used to drinking coffee, it can lead to even high pressures.
- Too much coffee and caffeine can increase the risk of insomnia (coffee has a half-life of 6 hours), anxiety, jitteriness and can exacerbate panic attacks.
Take home message: Keep enjoying up to 400mg (3-4 cups of coffee) a day as a healthy habit. It will be doing adding to your health with each delicious sip.
At Entire Physio, our staff work hard to stay as up to date with the most cutting edge research they can. To book an appointment with our dietician, Ashleigh, please follow the link below:
Pourshahidi, L.K., Navarini, L., Petracco, M. and Strain, J. (2016), A Comprehensive Overview of the Risks and Benefits of Coffee Consumption. COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS IN FOOD SCIENCE AND FOOD SAFETY, 15: 671-684. doi:10.1111/1541-4337.12206