Browsing Tag

gut-health

Wellness + Nutrition

How Omega 3 helps heal your Gut! Gut Health & Omega 3

18th November 2018

Featured meal idea: Poached wild caught Norwegian salmon, served with avocado, and mixed baby leaves, dressed simply with lemon juice, cold pressed olive oil and lots of sea salt & black pepper, so delicious and nutritious:

Time savers tip; poach a large fillet of salmon and then store it in the fridge to supply 2-3 of these filling salads for your lunchbox or summery suppers for the week.

In addition to this simple salad idea, some really interesting information in the below article about the role of Omega 3 in your gut health from Medical News Today:

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, which means that although we need them to stay healthy, the human body cannot produce them on its own – so we have to get them from food.

The benefits of a diet rich in omega-3s are well known. The fatty acids seem to lower the “bad” kind of cholesterol, lower high blood pressure, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Some studies have also suggested that omega-3 can reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritisand improve bone strength, as well as protect against age-related cognitive decline and dementia.

And now, researchers from the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine, in collaboration with scientists from King’s College London – both in the United Kingdom – add to the long list of omega-3’s benefits.

The new study – led by Dr. Ana Valdes, an associate professor and reader at the University of Nottingham – suggests that the compound can improve the biodiversity of the gut.

How omega-3 may improve gut health

The researchers analyzed levels of DHA, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid, as well as total omega-3 serum levels and microbiome data from 876 twins.

“This cohort of 876 volunteer women had previously been used to investigate the human genetic contribution to the gut microbiome in relation to weight gain and disease,” says Dr. Valdes.

Dr. Valdes summarizes the findings, saying, “We […] found [that omega-3 intake], together with […] serum levels of omega-3, were strongly associated with the diversity and number of species of healthy bacteria in the gut.”

The association was independent of whether or not the participants also had a diet rich in fiber.

First study author Dr. Cristina Menni, of King’s College London, adds, “We also found that specific bacteria that have been linked to lower inflammation and lower risk of obesity are increased in people who have a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids.”

In an attempt to understand the mechanism behind this association, the researchers performed further tests and found that “high levels of omega-3 in blood […] correlated with high levels of a compound called N-carbamylglutamate (NCG) in the gut.”

[NCG] has been shown in animals to reduce oxidative stress in the gut. We believe that some of the good effects of omega-3 in the gut may be due to the fact that omega-3 induces bacteria to produce this substance.”

Dr. Cristina Menni

“Our study is the largest to date to examine the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and the composition of the gut microbiome,” says Dr. Valdes.

For the full article, navigate to the link below:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319375.php

Wellness + Nutrition

The good carb/ bad carb … can potatoes assist in weight loss? Resistant starches explained

5th May 2018

Pretty soon you will be hearing the term ‘resistant starches’ fairly often. Its the latest health discovery and will transform how we think about carbohydrates. Can potatoes (cooked and served in the correct way) assist in weight loss? Read this article below and find out.

Article credit:https://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/resistant-starch-natural-fat-burner

Although this may be the first you’ve heard of resistant starch, it’s likely been a part of your diet most of your life. Resistant starch is a type of dietary fibre naturally found in many carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes, grains, and beans, particularly when these foods are cooled. It gets its name because it “resists” digestion in the body, and though this is true of many types of fibre, what makes resistant starch so special is the powerful impact it has on weight loss and overall health. Not only does it increase your body’s ability to burn fat, but it also fills you up and reduces overall hunger. Its health benefits are truly impressive as well. Studies show it improves blood sugar control, boosts immunity, and may even reduce your cancer risk.

Resistant starch is bulky, so it takes up space in your digestive system. And because you can’t digest or absorb it, the starch never enters your bloodstream. That means it bypasses the fate of most carbohydrates, which gets stored away as body fat when you eat more than you can burn. Here are two more key ways resistant starch can help you drop unwanted weight:

It increases your calorie burn; Unlike some types of fiber, resistant starch gets fermented when it reaches the large intestine. This process creates beneficial fatty acids, including one called butyrate, which may block the body’s ability to burn carbohydrates. “This can prevent the liver from using carbs as fuel and, instead, stored body fat and recently consumed fat are burned,” explains Janine Higgins, PhD, nutrition research director for the University of Colorado’s Adult and Pediatric General Clinical Research Center. In your body, carbohydrates are the preferred source of fuel, like gasoline that powers your car’s engine. Butyrate essentially prevents some of the gas from getting into the tank, and your cells turn to fat as an alternative. One study found that replacing just 5.4% of total carbohydrate intake with resistant starch created a 20 to 30% increase in fat burning after a meal.

It shuts down hunger hormones Animal studies have found that resistant starch prompts the body to pump out more satiety-inducing hormones. A meal with resistant starch triggers a hormonal response to shut off hunger, so you eat less. Research shows that you don’t reap this benefit from other sources of fiber.

FIGHTING DISEASE, ONE POTATO AT A TIME

The research on resistant starch doesn’t stop at weight loss. This powerful nutrient is also earning accolades as a major disease fighter from standard bearers such as the World Health Organization. Here’s why scientists around the globe are so excited about its health benefits:

It can prevent cancer Research shows that the butyrate created by resistant starch may protect the lining of the colon, making it less vulnerable to the DNA damage that triggers diseases, such as colon cancer. It can also create a pH drop inside the colon, which boosts the absorption of calcium and blocks the absorption of cancer-causing substances.

6 Best Fat-Burning Foods

TRY: Beans

RESISTANT STARCH: 8 g per 1/2 cup

SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Snack on chilled pinto bean dip with crudites
Substitute hummus for mayo on sandwiches
Add black beans to garden salads

TRY: Bananas (slightly green)

RESISTANT STARCH: 6 g per small
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS Slice and mix with yogurt and oats for breakfast
Dip in yogurt, roll in chopped nuts, and freeze as an ice-cream alternative
Dice and toss with lemon juice, salt, sugar, and onion to make tangy banana chutney

TRY: Potatoes and yams
RESISTANT STARCH: 4 g per 1/2 cup
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Serve cold potato salad as a side dish
Add chilled, chunked red potatoes to a salad
Puree cooked white potatoes to create a chilled garlic potato soup

TRY: Barley
RESISTANT STARCH: 3 g per 1/2 cup
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Add to chilled lentil salad Mix into tuna, chicken, or tofu salad
Sprinkle onto garden salads

TRY: Brown Rice
RESISTANT STARCH: 3 g per 1/2 cup
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Order brown rice sushi
Mix chilled brown rice with fat-free milk, raisins, and cinnamon in place of cold cereal for breakfast
Add to chilled marinated cucumbers as a side dish

TRY: Corn
RESISTANT STARCH: 2 g per 1/2 cup
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS Add to a taco salad, burrito, or quesadilla
Sprinkle into salsa Make fresh corn relish.

 

So now you know whole grains and high carb vegetables can be most beneficial, especially as part of a balanced weigh-loss program. I love potato salad, Santa Anna’s Organic Wholegrain and Non GMO corn chips and tortilla’s, Nature’s Choice non-GMO popcorn kernels, barley soups, as well as roasted sweet potatoes, baked white potatoes (occasionally), brown basmati rice, wholegrain Soba (buckwheat) noodles and pulse pastas. Carbs are not a swear word anymore, yay!!

 

Happy healing and cooking.

 

 

Wellness + Nutrition

Gut Health Explained Gut Health Explained

23rd April 2018

The topic of Gut Health is often discussed in the media, various books have been published on the subject and there is on-going scientific research on how our ‘Gut Health’ can be linked to our overall good health (and on the flip side; many diseases).

Could it be that optimal health, mood and our ability to fight disease resides in our gut? In fact our gut is often referred to as our ‘second brain’.

But which foods and lifestyle practices promotes optimal gut health? Terminology such as the ‘Microbiome’ or Micriobiota may be unfamiliar to you, but they simply refer to the community of internal ‘bugs’ or good bacteria in your digestive system, and more specifically in the large intestine. Our digestive tracts are populated by symbiotic bacteria that regulate, affects and assists with every single body function we have.

In more detail, our microbes are responsible for:

  • Converting sugars to short chain fatty acids for energy.
  • Crowding out pathogens (bad bacteria).
  • Digesting food
  • Helping your body absorb nutrients such as calcium and iron
  • Keep your Ph. balanced
  • Maintaining the integrity of the gut lining
  • Metabolising drugs
  • Modulating genes
  • Neutralising cancer-causing compounds
  • Producing digestive enzymes
  • Synthesizes B-complex vitamins
  • Synthesizes fat-soluble vitamins
  • Synthesizes hormones
  • Training the immune system to distinguish friend from foe

Below I dive a little more deeply into how our immunity, risk of inflammation, mood and weight management can be influenced by our gut health:

Immunity:

In modern society where cancer, digestive- and auto-immune disease is rife, science is discovering the connection between gut health and a strong or weak immune system. Our microbes are in charge of the correct gene expression, which means our microbes can switch gene expression on, or off, as well as having the ability to crowd out the bad guys, making our gut health an essential component in a strong immune system that wages war against disease, not against our own bodies

Researcher’s findings suggest that 70 per cent of the immune system lives in the gut and gut bacteria assist your immune system’s T cells to develop—teaching them the difference between a foreign substance and the body’s own tissues. This is an extremely important process that determines how and what your immune system responds to, and the success of this critical process is determined, in part, by the health of your gut. When there’s a mistake in the process, for instance; if there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, it can lead your body’s immune system to begin waging war on your own cells, the hallmark of autoimmune disorders.

Inflammation & Leaky Gut Syndrome:

In addition to regulating our immune responses, on-going research also suggests that our microbes regulate which particles pass through the intestinal lining into the rest of your body. Healthy digestive tracts are designed with small gates that allow digested foods to pass while keeping out larger food particles and other antigens (foreign particles that cause immune reactions). However in a leaky gut, the gates in the intestinal lining have become damaged by a western diet rich in refined- and gluten-rich foods, once the gut’s lining has been compromised with these perforations, it allows large food particles and unwanted substances to enter the rest of the body. Once inside, they are rightly treated as foreign invaders and cause immune reactions that trigger inflammation, and in turn inflammation triggers disease.

With its roles in training your immune system and acting as a gatekeeper to the rest of your body, the gut is arguably the centre of your health. For those with arthritis and other autoimmune conditions whose symptoms are exacerbated or created by poor gut health, healing the gut can help reverse their conditions. For everyone else, healing the gut makes developing an autoimmune condition, food sensitivity, and/or inflammation less likely.

 

Weigh management:

We have always known that there is a communication pathway from our gut to the brain, but what science has discovered recently is that messages from the gut to brain doesn’t simply just say “feed me”, messages from the gut also tell our brain which foods to choose, in other words by restoring your gut health, your cravings can be controlled and changed from unhealthy- to healthy foods, promote feelings of satiety and extract fewer calories from food.

Mood:

On-going studies indicate there could be a link between intestinal dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter; it is responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. The right amount of serotonin in the brain produces a relaxed and positive outlook. As it turns out, approximately 90% of the serotonin in the body is located in the gut. Can we treat depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems by normalizing the bacteria in the bowels? Perhaps by addressing gut health one can also move from chronic low mood to chronic good mood.

Breakfast, Crushes + Product Reviews

Breakfast just got better. superfood start to the day

1st July 2017

The Yoga Kitchen is crushing hard on Health-Connections new breakfast porridge and cereal range.

There is the delightful Chocolate Chia Oats. Its is simple and quick to prepare, but also delicious and perfect for winter when a warm breakfast is what we yearn for. The ingredients list is pretty perfect, with only 3 ingredients listed; Oats, Cacoa Nibs & Chia Seeds, all of the highest quality and crammed full of real nutrients. There is no sugar, and no preservatives or additives of any kind, this is clean eating of the highest order.

Then for those who are high on Low Carb food options, the Flax & Coconut Porridge is a match made in heaven. Its high in Omega 3 and fibre, two food stuffs that we can all do with more often. I really like the flavour and texture, it’s nutty and although it is a porridge it still has enough texture. To prepare one simply has to add either hot water, or milk/ or any milk substitute that you prefer. I also added the Flax & Coconut porridge to a banana & peanut butter smoothie with a pinch of cinnamon and some almond milk and it worked really well.

But my very best out of these three (difficult as it was) is the Sprouted Buckwheat Cereal, buckwheat has become one of my favourite things this year, it is high in protein and has a delicious flavour. This cereal works really well with a dash of almond or coconut/ rice milk and has sliced almonds and goji berries added into the mix. It has lots of crunch and keeps you going until lunch.

Now I guess there is no excuse not to have a super healthy start to the day.

In dedication to your best health,

Marlien x