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5 nutrition tips for what to drink



1  Drink water

Drinking enough water every day is good for overall health and can help manage body weight. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, which can be a particular risk for older adultsTrusted Source. If someone does not like plain water, they can add some citrus slices and mint leaves to increase the appeal, or drink herbal teas.


2  Drink herbal teas

According to researchTrusted Source, catechins in green, black, and other herbal teas may have antimicrobial properties. Herbal teas, such as mint, chamomile, and rooibos, are caffeine-free and help keep someone hydrated throughout the day.


3  Reduce sugar

According to researchTrusted Source, dietary sugar, dextrose, and high fructose corn syrup may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. People should look out for hidden sugars in foods that manufacturers label as names ending in “-ose,” for example, fructose, sucrose, and glucose.


4  Drink alcohol in moderation

Advise up to one drink per day for females and up to two drinks per day for males. Excessive drinking increases the risk of chronic diseases and violence, and over time, can impair short and long-term cognitive function.


5  Avoid sugary drinks

Frequently drinking sugary drinks with: weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, gout, a type of arthritis. People should limit their consumption of sugary drinks and preferably drink water instead.



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How to respond and avoid panic on supermarket shortages




In 2020 and 2021, empty shelves were due to spikes in demand, as shoppers responded to lockdowns by buying more toilet paper, pasta and other consumables. This disrupted the usual rhythms of predictable supply chains. Apart from the first wave in March 2020, shortages were localised.

Now the shortages are due to supply-side problems and occurring (almost) nationally. As Omicron infections surge in every state apart from Western Australia, supply chains are being crippled by the sheer number of transport, distribution and shop workers now sick or required to isolate.

The major problem now is in transport and distribution. The Transport Workers’ Union says a third to half of Australia’s truck drivers are off work. Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said on Friday more than 20 per cent of distribution centre staff and more than 10 per cent of store workers are absent.

There are also problems in production, particularly in meat processing — an industry prone to the spread of COVID-19. Hundreds of workers in eastern states abattoirs are off work, according to Meat Industry Council chief executive Patrick Hutchinson. He has warned of severe shortages within weeks due to the lack of rapid antigen tests.


A self-fulfilling crisis

Then, of course, there is the response of shoppers to shortages (or the expectation of shortages). We’ve seen how this works multiple times: products disappear from shelves, people buy more in response. Fear of shortages becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Coles has already imposed buying limits on certain meat items (except for WA) and warned customers to expect shortages for all of January.

Woolworths and ALDI have not (apart from limits on hard-to-get rapid antigen tests), but they might be forced to. That depends mostly on what happens in the next weeks in NSW, which plays a large role in national grocery logistics and where COVID-19 infections are surging.


What you can do

If you don’t have three weeks’ supply, and have both the space and money to stock, go for it. If not now, because there is a shortage, then in the next opportunity. This is not about panic-buying or hoarding. Not suggesting you buy a year’s worth of toilet paper or tinned food. Just always have enough so you can have peace of mind next time.

Supermarket restrictions

The pandemic has exposed the brittleness of just-in-time supply-chain management, which over decades honed the amount of stock held by manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to a minimum. This was fine for maximising profits in good times. Now the times call for more of a just-in-case approach, with enough flexibility to avoid the system collapsing in a crisis.

Supermarkets have already made changes to avoid repeats of the supply crises of 2020 and 2021 by keeping more stock on hand. But this alone can’t solve the problem. The grocery business is competitive. Floor and refrigeration space is finite. They can’t afford to overstock.

What they can do is move to a more decentralised system for restricting quantities of items customers can buy when shortages do occur.

Every store can calculate safety stock levels to protect them from supply-chain fluctuations. When an item is about to go missing from the shelves, they shouldn’t have to wait for a decision from the central office to restrict quantities. They should be able to do it on the spot, while corporate headquarters work out alternatives.

When the problem is not lack of inventory but insufficient people to move products from warehouses to stores, the solution is visibility — letting costumers know about staff shortages, that there’s more than enough product on its way as soon as logistics allow, and that other stores are better supplied.

Cooperation is key

It is unlikely every store will be equally hit by labour shortages at the same time. Imagine evolving to a point where a Coles store with empty shelves informs shoppers the product is available two blocks away at the IGA.

For this to happen, of course, requires cooperation between competitors, and therefore easing of the usual anti-cartel rules that expressly prohibit collusion. But there is a clear precedent for this. In April 2020, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave temporary authorisation to telcos, banks, medical suppliers and supermarkets to collaborate to ensure the supply of essential goods and services.

There is a clear case for supermarkets to cooperate now — and for the foreseeable future — with the Australian Retailers Association expecting the supply chain issues to continue for at least 12 months.

Both federal and state governments can help set the rules of engagement, and provide accurate and actionable information to give the correct dimension of the problem. They have, for example, data from past decisions such as the effect of Victoria’s restrictions on abattoirs in 2020.

If everyone is ready, doing what they can, we may reach a culture of resilience in Australia where empty shelves in supermarkets are but a bitter memory.



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5 nutrition tips for diet




1  Include protein with every meal

Including some protein with every meal can help balance blood sugar. Some studiesTrusted Source suggest higher protein diets can be beneficial for type 2 diabetes. Other researchTrusted Source indicates balancing blood sugar can support weight management and cardiovascular health.

2  Eat oily fish

According to researchTrusted Source, omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish are essential for cell signaling, gene expression, and brain and eye development. Some studiesTrusted Source indicate that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

3  Increase plant foods

ResearchTrusted Source suggests that plant-based diets may help prevent overweight and obesity. Doctors associate obesity with many diseases. According to some studies, including more plant foods in the diet could reduceTrusted Source the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

4  Eat a rainbow

The saying ‘eat a rainbow’ helps remind people to eat different colored fruits and vegetables. Varying the color of plant foods means that someone gets a wide variety of antioxidants beneficialTrusted Source to health, for example, carotenoids and anthocyanins.

5  Use extra virgin olive oil

As part of the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil has benefits to the heart, blood pressure, and weight, according to a 2018 health reportTrusted Source. A person can include extra virgin olive oil in their diet by adding it to salads or vegetables or cooking food at low temperatures.


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How did the pandemic start?




Two years ago today, as New Year’s Eve fireworks lit up skies across the world, news reached the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of “pneumonia” in Wuhan, China, the cause of which was unknown.

In the two years that followed, more than 5 million people worldwide have lost their lives to the virus; “lockdown” has become part of the world’s common vocabulary and governments and their citizens are still waiting for a “new normal” to emerge.

The virus has also exposed inequalities within countries in terms of the impact on lower-paid, public-facing employees, as well as exacerbating global inequities as vaccine rollouts take place at vastly different rates.

This global retrospective shows, in graphics, the varying impact of Covid worldwide.


Europe and Americas have had the highest caseloads

More than one in 10 people in Europe and America have tested positive for Covid at this stage in the pandemic, according to figures from Our World in Data that run to 20 December. And even this is likely an underestimate, given that case figures do not capture cases that have gone under the testing radar.

Recorded cases rely on the number of Covid-19 tests carried out in a country. Still, we can get a sense of how the pandemic has spread – and how case rates have expanded and retracted – over the last two years by looking at case rates on continents.

The highly infectious Omicron variant has caused cases to surge in Europe in December, meaning the continent currently counts for 60% of all new cases being recorded worldwide.

This wasn’t always the case, however. As the west reaped vaccine dividends to coincide with the northern summer, South America’s case rates soared for several months, starting in April 2021. This was partly driven by consistently high case rates in Brazil, which have had an effect on the continent’s numbers throughout the pandemic.

North America had the highest case rates at the end of 2020 as Trump’s presidency came to a turbulent end. The country recently reported it had surpassed 800,000 deaths, the highest absolute figure reported anywhere worldwide.



While Africa’s recorded cases seem low, the continent has still been hit hard throughout the pandemic, most recently with the Omicron variant which was first reported in South Africa. Case rates are influenced by how much testing a country does, which in turn is influenced by the funding a country has available to combat Covid-19.


The vaccine rollout cause for optimism

As 2020 drew to a close the world’s hopes were pinned on the vaccine rollout. As of 20 December, close to 8.8bn coronavirus vaccine doses had been administered to 4.5 billion people worldwide, of whom 3.7 billion were fully vaccinated. It provided real-life proof that vaccines reduce the risk of a Covid-19 infection leading to hospitalisation or death.

After signing a deal with Pfizer, Israel was the first major country to achieve strong vaccination coverage. The US and the UK also enjoyed early success in their rollouts, unlike the EU which took longer to pass regulations followed by supply delays.

Many countries have since outpaced the early leaders, among them Portugal, Chile, Cuba, Spain, China, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, although another frontrunner, the United Arab Emirates, has managed to fully vaccinate more than 90% of its population.

But the vaccine rollout has been inequitable

While the rollout of over 8bn vaccine dose worldwide is a success, the distribution of these vaccines is unequal.

The latest figures to 20 December show that more than three-quarters of people in high-income countries have received two doses of the vaccine, compared with just 8% of those living in low-income countries.

Data from October revealed how more people have received a Covid booster vaccination in the UK per head of population than are reported to have had their first shot in Africa. Rollout remains stubbornly low in some with dozens of countries – the vast majority in Africa – reporting double vaccination rates of less than 10%.

This doesn’t only affect those countries in which vaccination rates are low: as Omicron has shown, uneven vaccination affords the virus opportunities to adapt and spread through new variants.



Vaccine inequity moved the death burden to poor nations

As vaccination campaigns started to cover the most vulnerable in wealthy nations, the impact was quick to see. Data from late April revealed a record shift in the burden of global Covid-19 deaths to poor and lower-middle income countries.

However, in the months that followed a combination of a relaxation of restrictions, the emergence of the Delta variant, the northern hemisphere winter and vaccine hesitancy in some wealthier nations (most notably the US) has meant that high-income nations are once again recording high levels of deaths.

As 2021 comes to an end, close to half (47%) of all global deaths are being recorded in high-income countries. This is lower than the 57% recorded last winter, but far higher than the 8% recorded in July 2021 when some in richer nations thought that they had vaccinated themselves out of the pandemic.

While large countries such as the US, Brazil and India have recorded the highest overall number of Covid-19 deaths, Peru, Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina are the countries that have the highest death tolls when population is taken into account. Peru has recorded 6,062 deaths per million people over the course of the pandemic.


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