WellBelly

Pathway to Freedom

Tag: nutrition

Run for Your Neurons

Another?  new study on the benefits of exercise? Yes!  A new study with mice finds that physical activity not only increases the quantity of new neurons in the brain, but are qualitatively different than other neurons.

We know that the brain is a dynamic, active organ in which new neurons and neural connections are created throughout life, especially in the areas of the brain related to memory and thinking.

In this study, the neurons created by cardiovascular activity looked unique.  They ware larger, displayed more and longer dendrites after only one week of exercise than brain cells from inactive mice.

Although this study was conducted with mice and not people, it’s a good bet that any physical activity that raises your heart rate for 20 minutes benefits the brain just as cardiovascular activity does for all the other organs.

Remember next time the sofa looks more appealing than putting on your running shoes think about all of those new, high-quality neurons that are going to interact on your behalf to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Choose a Probiotic

 Probiotics can improve the health of your all-important microbiome but choosing one can be mystifying.  There are hundreds of probiotics on the shelves at your favorite health food store.  Equipped with the right information, you won’t need a degree in biology to choose the best product to get great results without doing harm to your community of friendly bacteria.

Who should take a probiotic?

Probably everyone.  Certainly, everyone with digestive symptoms should take a probiotic reflective of their individual condition.  Even healthy people can benefit from a probiotic to protect against daily assaults and expand diversity to the microbiome.

Contemporary life delivers daily environmental injury; nutrient deficient foods and medications  to challenge our gut balance.  Adding a probiotic to a diet that includes a variety of fermented foods within a fresh, whole food diet creates a solid foundation of diverse organisms. Diversity is key and relying on one food source, such like yogurt with live and active cultures does not provide enough variety of organisms. (http://www.wellbelly.net/blog/page/2/).

How to choose the right dosage and the right match for me?

The dosage of probiotics varies from 1 to 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units). One billion meets the needs of a healthy digestive tract.  Think closer to 10 billion if you are taking antibiotics or showing signs of an imbalanced microbiome (http://www.wellbelly.net ). Pricing and marketing claims can be tricky so it’s important to read the label to determine how many capsules it will take to get the dosage you need.  A less expensive product may be misleading as it may take several capsules to reach an adequate dosage or not contain human strains.

How to take an oral probiotic. 

Avoid taking an oral probiotic at the same time as taking an antibiotic.  Mixed together the antibiotic will destroy many of the CFU’s in the probiotic.

Best to take the probiotic away from a meal so less harm is done to the CFU’s by gastric acid and digestive enzymes.  Right before bed can be ideal.

Storage has become more convenient.  Extreme heat and light exposure can damage the organisms but most products, today, are safe at room temperature if packaged in a dark container.  Requiring refrigeration does not make a probiotic more effective, but following the directions on the package does preserve the efficacy.

What bacterial strains should be contained in my probiotic?

The best products contain a minimum of seven, varied bacteria strains most common to humans.

Many probiotics will be derived from soil-based organisms (SBOs).  SBOs are generally less expensive but are not naturally found in the human digestive tract and have never been part of the symbiotic relationship.  SBOs are in the form of spores which can compete with the normal residential community of organisms.  This competition  can be detrimental to the microbiome that is out of balance.  Once established, the SBO spores can be difficult to get rid as they  occupy precious space that human strains need to flourish. Ask the store personnel to direct you to the human strain probiotics.

The research surrounding the microbiome is evolving on a daily basis.  Current thinking indicates that there are at least 500 species of bacteria and yeast that comprise the average 2.2 pounds of microbiome.

Two dominate families of friendly bacteria organisms comprise human strain probiotics, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.  The following describes the strengths of the most common strains.

Lactobacillus

Lacto Bulgaricus, Acidophilus and Casei assist with lactose intolerance.  In addition, Acidophilus may be helpful at reducing cholesterol and Casei supports brain function. Lacto Plantarum can reduce inflammation and Rhamnosus supports the immune system, GI health and eczema.

Bifiodobacterium

Bifido Lactis and Bifidum support immunity, Longum supports brain function and constipation and Beve supports GI health and has anti-aging properties.

Others:

Streptoccus thermophilus which is not related to strep throat is a friendly bacteria that assists lactobacillus bulgar by making nutrients that assist with growth.

Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast that competes with candida albican (an opportunistic yeast), supports immunity, GI health and reduces diarrhea.

Pre-biotics

Some products contain pre-biotics which are nutrients to foster growth of friendly bacteria.  More information on pre-biotics  can be found in the blog dated:

Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to select a perfect match.  The science continues to evolve at this time but is not positioned to offer products with an exact match for every individual need.

Use this information as an engaged consumer in evaluating the multitude of probiotic products and can make an informed purchase that will contribute to your overall health.

Keep it simple: Consider the primary reason you are considering probiotics and select a product that has dominate numbers of CFUs which reflect your general condition.  Probiotics are good for you and should be considered an important tool for maintaining health.

Seven Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Seven Benefits of Dark Chocolate 

Rarely can anything taste so good and be so good for you.  Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively effect your health in seven key ways.

The Good Stuff dark chocolate is primarily made from  at least 60% organic cocoa powder, coco butter and sugar (milk chocolate packs more sugar and fat while white has nearly no health benefits).

Dark chocolate contains soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals and antioxidants.  The primary minerals in dark chocolate include iron, magnesium, copper and manganese accompanied by smaller amounts of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. The fat content is mostly saturated and monounsaturated with small amounts of polyunsaturates.  It also contains caffeine and theobromine but in small amounts that should not keep you awake at night.

Enjoy one to two ounces of dark chocolate guilt free to reap the following benefits:

Brain:

1. Powerful antioxidants (polyphenols) increase blood flow to the brain boosting smarts and memory.

Skin:

2. The flavinoids contained in cocoa can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.

Heart:

3. Epicatechin one of the compounds that lends cocoa its bitter taste lowers blood pressure.

4. Raises HDL and protects LDL against oxidation.

Energy:

5. The same epicatechin can boost your cells’ mitochondrial function.  Mitochondria are the organelles, little energy factories, found in the nucleus of every cell in the body.

Weight Loss

6. Research has found the regular chocolate eaters were slimmer than those who abstained altogether.  Chocolate satisfies cravings as it  lights up your grain’s frontal lobe, its reward center.

Mood:

7. Cocoa butter fats trigger natural endorphins (natural opiates) and serotonin (a mood modulator).  These brain chemicals induce calm, decrease pain sensation, improve sleep and elevate mood.

Weight Loss Made Simple

Celebrations took a toll on your waistline and you jut don’t want to face another diet of measuring, calorie counting and special diet foods to purchase.  Here is how to make it simple with choices you can adjust to fit your preferences.  Eat until your stomach is no longer hungry.  Whenever possible choose clean food sources which are organic and non-GMO.

Follow these guidelines to establish a smaller waistline and a healthy pattern for 2017

  1. Protein breakfast such as eggs, paleo granola or vegan protein shake (see Healthy Recipes  page for ideas)
  2. Lunch and dinner meals are comprised of 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 protein (your choice of non-GMO, pesticide free, animal or vegan protein)
  3. One cup of fruit daily, eat the whole fruit, avoid fruit juice
  4. Plan for a go-to alternative when you experience cravings.  Snack on vegetable sticks with yogurt dip or hummus,  handful of nuts or cup of hot tea
  5. Strive to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water  every day
  6. Use raw, organic agave or stevia, no artificial sweeteners
  7. Move…… your choice of 10,000 steps and 30 minutes of elevated heart rate activity 4 times a week

Enjoy the shrinking waist and create a eating style that will sustain you through 2017.

2017 Body Reset

Most of us have done some slipping off our health routine between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  If you have just run off the shoulder of the road a couple of times or careened over the cliff, now is the time to reset our body for 2017 with these five easy steps:

  1. Morning Body Wake-up Ritual.  Begin each morning with lemon tea:  Add the juice of 1/2 organic lemon to a cup of hot water.  This simple warm beverage stimulates your liver to kick into detox action.
  2. Add a Dash of Gratitude.  While quietly sipping your lemon tea, recall five things for which you are thankful.   The attitude shift can last the whole day.
  3. Enjoy an infrared sauna session.  Infrared heat increases metabolism as it raises your core temperature and mobilizes the lymphatic circulation to hasten detoxification.  It is one of my favorite ways to untangle muscle stress and take 45 minutes just for me.
  4. Drink water, lots of it.  Wash out the sugar and sodium intake from holiday foods.  How much?  Divide your current body weight in half.  This is the number of ounces of water you should drink daily for your body size.  Add to this number the ounces of dehydrating beverages you’ve consumed such as coffee and alcohol plus some extra to replenish what you loose in exercise or sauna.
  5. Just move.  Don’t jump in to make up for lost exercise during the holidays.  Walk, stroll or hike with a friend.  Gently commit to moving your body into recovery.

Taking time to reset builds a foundation to succeed in all your resolutions to improve your health in 2017.

 

Zinc…More May Not Be Good

Zinc…More May Not Be Good To Manage Your Cold

It is important to read the labels of all natural cold remedies to know how much zinc you are taking to manage your cold (use the information below on zinc for best results and avoid damaging the balance of micro-organisms in your gut).

Zinc is one of 24 micronutrients essential for survival.  It is found in meat, egg and legumes.  Oysters are particularly high in zinc.  The benefits of zinc include:  optimal function of the enzyme, hormone and immune systems; a potent antioxidant; testosterone booster; treatment of acne; and an anti-microbal effect similar to an antibiotic.

Like many nutrients, some is good, too much may be harmful.  High doses of zinc can can change the gut microbiome and even make the gut susceptible to infections such as Clostridium difficile or C. Diff.

Which brings us to how high much is too much?

The most frequently recommended dosage of elemental zinc is in two to three small doses equaling a total of 50 mg. per day.

However, different forms of zinc result in varying doses as follows:

50mg elemental zinc in the form of zinc citrate, equals146 mg zinc citrate.

50mg elemental zinc in the form of zinc sulfate, equals 220 mg zinc sulfate.

50mg elemental zinc in the form of zinc gluconate, equals 385 mg zinc gluconate.

50mg elemental zinc in the form of zinc monomethione, equals 238 mg zinc monomethionine.

Dr. Sandy’s Cold & Healthy Gut Remedy*:

  • L-lysine, 2000mg. twice daily to discourage virus replication
  • Vitamin D-3, 5000mg. twice daily to activate immune activity
    • (D-3 5000, 1 cap AM & PM)
  • Vitamin C 1-2000 mg. as tolerated, twice daily to boost the immune system
    • (Bio C 1:1, 2 caps AM & PM)
  • Saccharomycin boulardii, 500mg., daily, to prepare the gut lining to house healthy bacteria
    • (Saccharomycin DF 1 daily)
  • Probiotics to restore health bacteria
    • (ProbioMax DF, 1 cap daily)
  • 50 mg. of elemental zinc, an antimicrobial similar to an antibiotics.
    • (Zinc Glycinate, 1 cap AM & PM)

*High-quality, bio-available recommended brand and dosage is in bold and available through the Xymogen e-store.  Good quality L-Lysine can be purchased at your health-food store.

Enjoy your holidays cold-free:  identify the form of zinc in your remedy and take the appropriate amount to maintain a healthy gut.

Tending Your Gut-Garden with Fibre

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Fibre plays an all-star role in the mini-ecosystem within our body known as the gut microbiota (gut- garden flora).  Discover the evolving science surrounding your personal gut microbiota and the ten foods to tenderly cultivate your gut-garden.

Importance of the Gut Microbiota

Science is just uncovering the benefits produced by your gut microbiota garden of primarily bacteria with some fungus and virus and a bit of non-threatening free-loaders.  So far we know that the gut microbiota is fundamental to our immune defenses as it shields against opportunistic pathogens; synthesizes vitamins B and K; aids in the absorption of calcium; makes our food digestible; impacts mental and emotional health as well as metabolic functions of energy production and calorie storage.

Comprised of 40 trillion cells, (it only takes 30 trillion cells to make the human body) from 30-40 different microbe species, the gut microbiota was designed to be self-regulating to maintain balance among the microbes of bacteria, fungi and viruses.

However, maintaining balance in this ecosystem has become a challenge for all these little guys in today’s world.  The gut-garden flora we humans inherited from a single ancestor some 15 million years ago is essential for sustaining life.   Since then, these microbes have evolved for better or worse as a consequence of our environment resulting in unique personal gut-garden microbiota.

Your individual gut-garden got its start in the birth canal and has been altered in numbers and specific microbes ever since by mother’s milk, diet; ingested chemicals, medications and medical treatments involving radiation.

Environmentally-altered imbalances in the gut garden are associated with chronic inflammatory disease, auto-immune conditions, obesity and psychological well-being.

Tending your Gut Garden

The gut-garden flora is dynamic and imbalance can be restored to this delicate ecosystem.  Much like tending a garden, discouraging weeds of environmental assaults that destroy the flora and fertilizing growth of healthy flora will allow your gut microbiota to flourish.

A diet of whole, organic foods vegetables and fruit provides the fiber required to fertilize your gut-garden.  This necessary fibre is soluble having both simple (fructooligosaccharides) and complex (inulin) features. Plant sources of these two types of fiber include:  blue agave extract, bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus, jicama, leeks, chicory root, wild yam and whole grain wheat.

New bacteria microbes can be added to your garden with fermented foods that contain live bacteria such as cow-milk-based kefir and yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, pickled fruit and vegetables and fermented meat, fish and eggs.

Two types of supplements are available to complement your diet to both fertilize and add new microbe flora.  Pre-biotics containing both fructooligosaccharides and inulin can fertilize your garden.  Probiotics containing a wide variety of strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium common to human guts can add new microbes to your gut garden.

Tending your gut garden with both all-star fibre and fermented foods remain the most natural, effective and least expensive path to a thriving gut-garden microbiota.

Ole! Healthy Mexican Dining

Guacamole with raw veggies occupies your appetite and aThe word Fiesta written on a sandy beach, with sombrero, traditional serape blanket, starfish and maracas (studio shot - warm color and directional light are intentional).voids starchy, deep-fired appetizers like the chips and salsa.

Fajitas is your healthiest  entree choice.  Combine chicken, shrimp or lean meat with salsa, onions, peppers, black beans and guacamole on top of a big salad.

The salad encourages you to skip the tortillas unless they have gluten-free corn tortillas.  Skip the empty calories by skipping the cheese (cheese look-alike), sour cream and rice.

If you enjoy a Margarita, request a “skinny” one.  It’s made with lime juice, tequila and agave.  No agave? Request a splash of simple syrup and No, No on the sweet and sour.

Ole!

 

 

Stress-less Dining Out

Dining out is such a treat…a great social time with friends and so convenient when I just don’t want to cook.

restaurant, eating pizza and drinking red wine.

Yet, I am cautious about where to go and what to order.

Enjoying an evening out should not mean trading in health and post-meal belly comfort.

Today begins a series on healthy dining out in a variety of restaurants.  Let’s begin with some basics:

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