Category Archives: digestion

The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has received a lot of press recently, after a Florida doctor claimed that she reversed her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease using four teaspoons of coconut oil daily.

Dr Mary Newport gave her husband Steve four teaspoons of coconut oil each day, and saw dramatic improvements in his Alzheimer’s symptoms in just two weeks. “He began to get his short-term memory back,” says Dr Newport. “His depression lifted, he became more like his old self. The problem he’d had with walking improved. An MRI scan showed his brain had stopped shrinking.”

She has since been gathering testimonials from others who have followed her example. “I do have a collection now of almost 220 reports, mostly from caregivers and some from the person themselves, reporting that they saw improvement after they started taking coconut oil” she reports.

The brain is fuelled by glucose. It appears that in Alzheimer’s patients, the brain has problems processing insulin, leading Alzheimer’s to be labelled ‘Type 3 diabetes’ or diabetes of the brain (1).

Dr Newport believes that coconut oil heals Alzheimer’s by enabling the brain to use an alternative fuel source, ketones, which are created in the body after consuming coconut oil.

Larger studies are needed to determine whether coconut oil offers hope to Alzheimer’s sufferers. In the meantime, Dr Newport provides access to her research to date on her website.

Coconut oil is thought to have a number of other health benefits, as a result of the unique properties of its fats. Coconut oil is a source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are digested more easily than other types of fat, and have beneficial effects such as boosting metabolism. The fats in coconut oil are also known to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Coconut oil has been linked with reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease

Below are five key health benefits attributed to this unique oil.

1. As the gallbladder is not needed to emulsify the fats in coconut oil, this oil is a good choice of fat for those who have had their gallbladder removed, or those who have problems digesting fats.

2. Oils such as vegetable oil and sunflower oil can get damaged during heating, leading to the production of trans fats. Coconut oil on the other hand is ideal for cooking as it is a heat-stable saturated fat.

3. Coconut oil in the diet does not raise cholesterol levels, and has been linked to a decrease in abdominal fat (2).

4. Coconut oil has antifungal properties, and has been found to kill Candida albicans, the most problematic of the candida species (3, 4).

5. Coconut oil has natural emollient and antibacterial effects when applied directly to the skin. Studies have suggested benefits for those with eczema and acne (5,6).

My view is that those who don’t consume coconut often would benefit from adding a little fresh coconut or good quality (unhydrogenated) coconut oil to their diet. For those who would like to try adding coconut oil to their diet, mixing a teaspoon of coconut oil into your morning oatmeal is a simple way to do this. Coconut oil can also be used as a spread in place of butter or margarine. Finally, coconut oil is ideal for cooking as it is stable when heated, making it perfect for baking and stir-fries.

References

1. Accardi G et al (2012) Can Alzheimer disease be a form of type 3 diabetes? Rejuvenation Res Apr;15(2):217-21

2. Assuncao et al (2009) Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids. Jul;44(7):593-601.

3. Ogblu DO et al (2007) In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. Jun;10(2):384-7.

4.Agarwal V et al (2008) Prevention of Candida albicans biofilm by plant oils. Mycopathologia. January, Volume 165, Issue 1, pp 13-19

5. Verallo-Rowell et al (2008) Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis.  Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15.

6. Nakatsuii T et al (2009) Antimicrobial property of lauric acid against Propionibacterium acnes: its therapeutic potential for inflammatory acne vulgaris. J Invest Dermatol 129(10):2480-8. 

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5 Tips for Healthy Travel

‘Buy an adaptor, find my swimsuit, pick up the dry cleaning, pack the phone chargers!’. When you’re rushing around last minute preparing for a holiday, your health is often the last thing on your mind. However when you put your body in an unfamiliar environment, often with little sleep along the way, it’s important to look after your health. What’s more, your holiday should be a time to explore, relax, and let go. You certainly don’t want an upset stomach or heavy case of jetlag ruining your fun time so we’ve prepared 5 simple steps to enjoy your holiday, the healthy way.

1. Beat the jet lag

The real pros will try to adjust their sleep schedules 2–3 days before leaving on holiday. If you know that you’re going to be sleeping and waking up later once you reach a different time zone, try to work your way into that time zone before you even leave home. Even if all you can manage is half an hour or an hour of difference, it should help to make life easier (and your holiday more relaxing!) when you’re trying to adjust to a new time schedule abroad.

2. Pack healthy snacks

Spend time preparing healthy snacks for you and your family before you leave for the airport. It will be much better for your body, and likely better for your bank balance, than picking up sugary or carb-loaded snacks at the airport. Cut up some apples, carrots, or try things like sugar snap peas – they’re good raw too and with an extra crunch which should go down well with the kids.

 3. Wear sun cream

Even if there is cloud cover, the sun can burn. Choose a sun cream with at least SPF 15, or at least SPF 30 if you’re off to a hot and sunny destination. Do not forget to top up on your cream throughout the day , this is where a lot of people slip up – it’s not enough to put cream on once in the morning then forget about it! Make sure you have a good sized day bag to carry all your essentials including your sun cream, snacks and water.

4. Water, water, everywhere!

Optibac can help with bowel calm when travelling abroad
OptiBac Probiotics for travelling abroad helps support a traveller’s digestive health

Do not forget to hydrate. Carry a bottle of water around with you. A lot of us forget to hydrate properly when we’re not in our usual place (e.g. at our desk at work) and hydration is all the more important when you’re enjoying a warm, sunny holiday. Water will flush the pathogens out of your body, and help to prevent any stomach upsets.

5. Look after your gut health

When visiting a new country, the body, and in particular your digestive system, have a tough time adjusting to a new environment and to new foods. Up to 50% of travellers are said to experience traveller’s diarrhoea because the ingestion of foreign microbes can upset the stomach (not much fun when you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself!).

Look after your digestive health whilst abroad by taking a probiotic especially made for travel. OptiBac Probiotics ‘For travelling abroad’ supports your body’s natural defence against bad bacteria whilst travelling. Get 60 capsules for £19.99 (usually £30.57) – perfect for those travelling as a family, or going away for a significant length of time.

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Beetroot Juice Found to Lower Blood Pressure

A new study published just last month in the journal Hypertension suggests that drinking just one glass of beetroot a day can reduce blood pressure.

The study was conducted by researchers at Queen Mary University of London, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. It involved eight women and seven men who had high blood pressure and who were not taking blood pressure medication.

Blood pressure is normally given as two numbers, which represent ‘systolic’ and ‘diastolic’ pressure levels. The first number, the systolic level, is a measure of the pressure created in the arteries when the heart beats. Normal systolic blood pressure is 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or below. The second number, the diastolic level, represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. Normal diastolic blood pressure is 80 mm Hg or below.

The study participants all had raised systolic blood pressure of between 140 and 159 mm Hg.

The beetroot juice in the study provided about 0.2g of dietary nitrate, levels that might be provided by two beetroots. Nitrate reduces blood pressure by widening the passageways for blood. The body converts dietary nitrate into a chemical called nitrite and then to nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide is a gas that widens blood vessels and aids blood flow.

The study involved eight women and seven men who had a systolic blood pressure between 140 to 159 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), did not have other medical complications and were not taking blood pressure medication. The study participants drank 250 mL of beetroot juice or water containing a low amount of nitrate, and had their blood pressure monitored over the next 24 hours.

Compared with the placebo group, participants drinking beetroot juice had reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The reduction was highest three to six hours after drinking the juice. Interestingly, blood pressure was still reduced 24 hours later, even after levels of nitrate circulating in the blood had returned to normal.

Study leader Amrita Ahluwalia, Ph.D., professor of vascular pharmacology at The Barts and The London Medical School, was surprised by how little nitrate was needed to produce these results. “This study shows that compared to individuals with healthy blood pressure much less nitrate is needed to produce the kinds of decreases in blood pressure that might provide clinical benefits in people who need to lower their blood pressure.”

High Nitrate lettuce is a good source of nitrate
High Nitrate lettuce is a good source of nitrate

Those drinking beetroot juice should be aware that this juice can cause a temporary pink colouration of urine and stools, which can be a little alarming but is completely harmless. Of course beetroot is not the only nitrate-rich vegetable. For those who don’t enjoy the taste, try nitrate-rich lettuce, rocket, spinach, celery, cabbage or fennel.

Increasing dietary intakes of nitrates is simple. Try adding beetroot juice to a smoothie, or lunch on beetroot soup. Use spinach and lettuce as salad bases, or snack on celery with hummus or peanut butter during the daytime. At dinner, include nitrate-rich vegetables such as bok choy, cabbage, leeks and broccoli.

“Our hope is that increasing one’s intake of vegetables with a high dietary nitrate content, such as green leafy vegetables or beetroot, might be a lifestyle approach that one could easily employ to improve cardiovascular health,” said Amrita Ahluwalia. She nevertheless advises caution in interpreting the results of this small study, as “we are still uncertain as to whether this effect is maintained in the long term.” It is hoped these preliminary findings might pave the way for more larger-scale studies in this area.

References

1. American Heart Association (2013, April 15). Drinking cup of beetroot juice daily may help lower blood pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved 28/04/13

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May is M.E. Awareness Month: Part 2

May is M.E. Awareness Month, aimed at promoting a greater understanding of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, for patients, their families and healthcare practitioners. Part 1 looked at the most common symptoms of ME, along with common myths and misconceptions about this poorly understood disease. Part 2 presents five simple dietary guidelines for chronic fatigue suffers along with five supplements believed to help manage symptoms and improve their health and well-being.

In ‘Beating Chronic Fatigue’ Dr Kristina Downing Orr writes that many chronic fatigue sufferers have a dysregulation of blood-sugar levels (1). It is certainly true that poor blood sugar control can create symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, dizziness and emotional disturbances. It makes sense that managing blood sugar levels through smart dietary choices may be helpful. The following five guidelines should improve energy levels by regulating blood sugar throughout the day.

Eggs are a high source of lean protein and can easily be fitted into the diet

1. Include lean protein at every meal – chicken, game, fish, organic red meat, eggs, tofu, yoghurt, fresh nuts and seeds are good options.

2. Cut out alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee or cola.

3. Eliminate hidden sugars lurking in pre-packaged foods. Look out for ingredients such as dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, galactose, lactose, polydextrose, mannitol, sorbitol and maltodextin.

4. Eliminate refined grains that release sugar into the bloodstream quickly. These include corn flour, white rice, and white flour.

5. Aim for a balance of one third protein to two thirds ‘smart’ carbs at every meal. This means roughly a handful of protein to two handfuls of veggies.

Nutritional supplements are often used by those with CFS as they may help correct deficiencies, support the immune system and the liver, and support processes such as cellular energy-production. Here we look at five supplements commonly recommended by nutritional practitioners.

Vitamin B12
Some small studies have suggested a link between B12 supplementation and relief of symptoms, possibly because B12 improves the delivery of oxygen to the body’s organs. Vitamin B12 injections have been found to result in increased wellbeing in CFS patients when compared to placebo injections (2).

D-Ribose
A recent pilot study of 41 CFS patients found that D-ribose improved symptoms such as energy, sleep, mental clarity, pain intensity and well-being (3). In energy-depleted states, ribose levels tend to be low. Ribose increases cellular energy by raising levels of ATP (the body’s ‘fuel’) because ribose is a key component in these ‘energy molecules’. D-Ribose supplementation appears to be well tolerated. While the initial findings are promising, more research is needed in this area.

NADH
NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is simply a reduced form of vitamin B3, and it is essential in maintaining sufficient levels of the fuel ATP. One good quality crossover RCT showed statistically significant effects of NADH (10 mg daily) on symptom scores when compared with placebo after 1 month of treatment (4).

Magnesium
The onset of CFS is linked to stress, and stress in turn is known to deplete levels of magnesium (5). Many CFS specialists believe that CFS patients have low intracellular magnesium levels, even when blood levels of magnesium appear to be normal. A randomised, double-blind controlled trial found that treatment with magnesium sulphate injections improved energy levels, emotional state, and pain scores in CFS patients (6).

Essential Fatty Acids
Researchers have suggested that patients with chronic fatigue have problems metabolising essential fatty acids, leading to problems with the immune system, nervous system and endocrine system. It may be that supplementation with fatty acids such as EPA and GLA improves symptoms by bypassing these ‘metabolic blocks’. Two randomised controlled trials have indeed found that essential fatty acid supplementation to be of benefit in CFS (7,8).

References

1. Beating Chronic Fatigue: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Complete Recovery. Dr Kristina Downing-Orr. London: Piatkus. 2010.

2. Ellis FR, Nasser S. A pilot study of vitamin B12 in the treatment of tiredness. Br J Nutr 1973;30:277-283.

3. Teitelbaum JE, Johnson C, St Cyr J (2006) The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study. Nov;12(9):857-62. J Altern Complement Med.

4. Forsyth LM, Preuss HG, MacDowell AL, Chiazze L Jr, Birkmayer GD, Bellanti JA. (1999) Therapeutic effects of oral NADH on the symptoms of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 82(2):185–191.

5. Werbach M (2000) Nutritional Strategies for Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Altern Med Rev 5(2):93-108.

6. Cox IM, Campbell MJ, Dowson D. (1991) Red blood cell magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome.Lancet. 337(8744):757–760.

7. Behan PO, Behan WM, Horrobin D. (1990) Effect of high doses of essential fatty acids on the postviral fatigue syndrome.  Acta Neurol Scand. 82:209-216.

8. Warren G, McKendrick M, Peet M. The role of essential fatty acids in chronic fatigue syndrome: a case-controlled study of red-cell membrane essential fatty acids (EFA) and a placebo-controlled treatment study with high dose of EFA.  Acta Neurol Scand.1999;99:112-116.

9. Image courtesy of artur84.

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Antibiotic resistance a ‘global crisis’

Antibiotic resistance has been receiving a lot of attention in the media recently. England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Professor Davies is quoted in the media as saying: “Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at a rate that is both alarming and irreversible – similar to global warming.” Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organisation, has also warned of a “global crisis in antibiotics”.

What is antibiotic resistance?

Taking antibiotics unnecessarily can lead to a quicker resistance
Taking antibiotics unnecessarily can lead to a quicker resistance

Antibiotic resistance is quite simply a product of natural selection, or evolution. Bacteria, like any living organism, will occasionally mutate at random. If a particular mutation enables the bacteria to survive an ‘attack’ of antibiotics, then the mutated resistant bacteria will continue to live and multiply.

Several studies have shown that antibiotic usage greatly hastens the development of these resistant bacteria. Other contributing factors include incorrect diagnosis, unnecessary prescriptions (for example, when antibiotics are prescribed for a non-bacterial viral infection) and the improper use of antibiotics by patients (such as not completed the full course of antibiotics).

Antibiotics in the food chain

Perhaps one of the most worrying trends in antibiotic administration is the routine use of antibiotics in the food chain. Antibiotic resistance can be passed on to humans through eating animal products, after livestock are fed antibiotics to fatten them up and to help reduce illness in crowded factory conditions. These antibiotics are often given in long-term low doses, simply to encourage the animals to gain weight and to fend off bacterial infection.

Additionally, research at Minnesota University has found that vegetables can be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as they may have been grown with manure obtained from antibiotic-treated animals (1).

It is interesting that, way back in 1945, Alexander Fleming warned of this problem, voicing it is his speech on accepting the Nobel prize: “there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to nonlethal quantities of the drug make them resistant”.

What can we do?

It will be important moving forward to ensure that antibiotics are reserved only for when they are truly required. Choosing organic foods may well be a wiser choice. Animals raised organically should not have been exposed to antibiotics. Additionally organic fruit and vegetables marked with the Soil Association stamp tend to be grown by organic farmers with their own supply of manure, reducing the risk of bacterial contamination.

In the coming years, it is hoped that pharmaceutical companies are able to offer workable alternatives to antibiotics in light of the current crisis. The use of probiotics may offer a realistic option, especially as harmful bacteria are unable to develop resistance to probiotics – the good bacteria simply crowd them out while producing inhibitors that destroy the infection (2, 3). A recent clinical trial following 155 hospital patients found that daily supplementation with LAB4 probiotic strains alongside antibiotics significantly reduced the number of antibiotic resistant strains by more than 70% compared to the placebo group (4).

I have also had much success supporting digestive health using herbal approaches. Stool testing in clinic can identify antibiotic resistance while also testing sensitivity to herbal treatments, so that an appropriate nutritional therapy programme can be designed. For example, compounds such as those naturally present in garlic and onions, and herbs such as oregano, ginger and cloves, offer antimicrobial properties. Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern, and more research into alternatives is needed. In the meantime, both probiotic and herbal support, included as part of your everyday diet, may help boost the body’s natural defences against pathogens.

References

1. Livestock antibiotics can end up in human foods. Enewswire.com (2007). Retrieved 29/03/2013.

2. Chukeatirot E. (2003) Potential use of probiotics. Songklanakarin J. Sci. Technol. 2003 Mar-Apr;25(2):276-282.

3. Kondadacha OD et al (2011) The role of probiotics in aquaculture in nigeria: A review. Wilolud Journals. Jan;5(1):8-15.

4. Plummer et al. (2005) Effects of probiotics on the composition of the intestinal microbiota following antibiotic therapy. Int Microbial Agents 26 (1): 69–74.

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April is IBS Awareness Month

IBS Awareness Month, observed every April, is an annual campaign aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of irritable bowel syndrome.

IBS is a functional gut disorder, which means that the bowel simply does not work as it should. Around 10% of the population suffers with this disorder, and sufferers can experience a number of intermittent symptoms including diarrhoea, constipation, gas, bloating and lower abdominal pain. While the condition is not thought to damage the bowel, it has a significant impact on quality of life (1).

Before IBS is diagnosed by your doctor it is important that he or she rules out other digestive conditions such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis which are inflammatory bowel diseases.

For many, treatments such as anti-spasmodics offered by the GP have limited success. Sufferers can be left feeling helpless, and do not always have the information they need to manage the condition.

IBS: Four Steps to Digestive Health

1. Optimise digestion

Chewing food thoroughly and eating in a slow and relaxed manner can help improve the first stage of digestion by increasing levels of digestive enzymes and helping them to work more effectively. Plant enzyme formulas, such as papaya enzymes in Caricol, may also be helpful in optimising digestion, and have been found to improve symptoms of IBS (2).

2. Restore gut bacteria

Many studies have drawn attention to a link between IBS and overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Probiotic formulas can help to crowd out these problem bacteria, improving digestion, decreasing inflammatory response and restoring proper balance in the digestive tract. Strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter look particularly promising as natural agents aimed at improving symptoms of IBS (3,4).

Prebiotic foods, such as asparagus, garlic, leeks and bananas can also be helpful as a regular addition to the diet. Prebiotics feed the friendly bacteria in your gut helping it to proliferate.

3. Repair and protect

April is IBS awareness month
April is IBS Awareness Month

While IBS is not classed as an inflammatory condition. However, recent research published in the journal Gastroenterology has actually found ‘mini-inflammations’ in the gut mucosa of IBS patients. This inflammation is thought to upset the sensitive balance of the bowel and cause hypersensitity of the enteric nervous system leading to IBS symptoms. Lead researcher Prof. Schemann explains: “The irritated mucosa releases increased amounts of neuroactive substances such as serotonin, histamine and protease. This cocktail produced by the body could be the real cause of the unpleasant IBS complaints.”

Natural measures to help repair and protect the gut lining, such as supplementing glutamine or omega-3 oils could help reduce this localised inflammation, improving IBS symptoms.

4. Identify trigger foods

While food choices are not the cause of IBS, they can certainly trigger symptoms. Trigger foods can vary from person to person, but common culprits include wheat, fatty of fried foods, milk and coffee. Keeping a diary of your diet and symptoms can help to identify trigger foods. Eliminating possible trigger foods from your diet should be done in a safe and healthy way, and guidance from a nutritional therapist can be helpful for those who need support with this.

The management of IBS requires a personalised approach, as what works for your neighbour may not be the best option for you. It is important to persevere in order to find the right approach. Hopefully international campaigns such as IBS Awareness Month should encourage sufferers to find the information and help they need to manage the condition effectively.

References

1. Amouretti M et al (2006)  Impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Gastroenterol Clin Biol.  Feb;30(2):241-6.

2. Muss et al (2012) Papaya preparation (Caricol®) in digestive disorders. Biogenic Amines Vol. 26, issue 1 (2012), pp. 1–17.

3. Clarke G et al (2012) Review article: probiotics for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome – focus on lactic acid bacteria. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 35:4. pp. 403–413.

4. Technische Universitaet Muenchen (2010, August 20). Proof that a gut-wrenching complaint — irritable bowel syndrome — is not in your head. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2010/08/100819141950.htm.

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BetterYou: Total Nutrition Superfood Recipes

BetterYou Total Nutrition is a fantastic and popular product representing a new approach to nutrition for people of all ages. Containing pre sprouted Barley, whole Apple, Flaxseed, Barley Grass, Quinoa, Spirulina, Bilberry Fruit, Carrot, Tumeric and Kelp, BetterYou Total Nutrition is also rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.

Total Nutrition benefits the body in 3 distinct ways:

1. Fast acting: Strong antioxidant qualities support the body’s cellular uptake of oxygen, giving the metabolism a boost shortly after ingestion.

2. Stable energy release: Pre-Sprouted Barley’s soluble fibre content becomes gelatinous, protecting its nutritional content and sustaining a stable energy and nutrient release. Pre-Sprouted Barley has the potential to generate 400% more energy than conventional Barley and contains a host of nutrients essential for health and well being.

3. Optimal absorption: The ratio of eight essential amino acids within BetterYou Total Nutrition virtually mirrors those essential for the human body to thrive ensuring optimal absorption and efficient energy distribution.

BetterYou’s Recipe Booklet by Dale Pinnock contains 14 delicious recipes to help inspire you to incorporate the superfood in our busy lifestyles. Here are two of the recipes from the Recipe Booklet by Dale Pinnock which comes free with every purchase of Total Nutrition from bodykind (whilst stocks last):

TotalNut_greenSmoothie-2
Mean Green Morning Smoothie

Mean Green Morning Smoothie Recipe No 1:

This smoothie takes little digestive effort, supply masses of energy, and provide more nutrition in one glass full, than most people get in a whole day. Despite its peculiar colour, it tastes only of fruit and will put a spring in your step, a glow in your skin, and a smile on your face.

Ingredients:

300ml of fresh pressed apple juice
1 good handful of spinach
Small handful of kale
1 banana
1 scoop of Total Nutrition Superfood

Method:

Add ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Take your time as the greens take slightly longer to blend than fruit.

 

Raw chocolate orange truffle torte recipe No 2:

Who doesn’t love chocolate? This version is packed with good fats, mineral rich chocolate, protein, bioflavonoids and antioxidants – healthy food has never tasted this good.

TotalNut_chocoTorte-2
Raw chocolate orange truffle torte

Ingredients:

250g mixed nuts (raw and unsalted)
150g cashew nuts (raw and unsalted)
2 scoops of Total Nutrition Superfood
5-6 pitted dates
3 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder
100g of cacao butter (cold pressed)
2 ripe avocados
Zest of whole orange
Juice of whole orange
1 tablespoon of honey
20g of coconut oil

Method:

In a mixer, blitz the mixed nuts, dates and 1 scoop of Total Nutrition Superfood to a coarse texture. Melt half the cacao butter over hot water and add to mixture. Mix together by hand. Add mixture to 10” tart base press firmly and allow cacao butter to help the base set in the fridge for half an hour. Using a blender, blend avocados, orange zest, orange juice, cashew nuts, honey and second scoop of Total Nutrition Superfood into a smooth silky paste. Melt remaining cacao butter and coconut oil together as before and add to the topping. Mix thoroughly and add to the base. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

References

Content, recipes & images courtesy of the team at BetterYou.

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Sun Chlorella Smoothie Recipes

Healthy eating is one of the most important parts of healthy living. We all try to eat the best quality and the freshest food that we can, but even with our best efforts, sometimes we need to adjust our diets to include supplements.

Introducing Sun Chlorella – once a secret of The Far East, chlorella is now becoming revered in The West as a natural wholefood supplement – good for maintaining optimum health. Simply, Sun Chlorella  supplies your body with some of the important nutrition that your body may be lacking.

Chlorella is rich in a variety of nutrients including:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Iron

Amongst many benefits, they can help to:

  • Fight fatigue/combat tiredness
  • Maintain a healthy immune system
  • Chlorella is also known to help maintain a normal colonic function

Mix up your smoothies and try blending Sun Chlorella into your favourite smoothie. Add fruits such as a kiwi or fresh mango to give sweetness or even tomato for a more savoury flavour. Just remember – all ingredients should be fresh and raw for maximum nutrients! Here are two fantastic smoothie recipes to get you started:

Savoury Smoothie Recipe No 1:

Sun Chlorella Green Smoothie
Sun Chlorella Green Savoury Smoothie

Ingredients:

300ml water, 80g cucumber, 80g spinach, 40g rocket, 15 Sun Chlorella tablets, 20–40g avocado (optional), a pinch of salt (optional), half a clove of garlic (optional), 1–2 teaspoons of lemon juice (optional).

Can also add other greens such as fennel bulb, parsley, pak choi, basil, kale, etc.

Directions:

1. Place water in blender (liquidiser)
2. Chop all ingredients
3. Add all ingredients and blend until smooth
4. Divide smoothie in to two portions (each portion is about 300mls)
5. Consume half before breakfast and second portion refrigerated or placed in a cold thermos flask to be consumed before lunch

 

Sun Chlorella Sweet Smoothie
Sun Chlorella Sweet Smoothie

Sweet Smoothie Recipe No 2:

Ingredients:

300ml water,80g cucumber, 40g spinach, 80g banana, 40–80g strawberries, 20–40g raspberries, 20–40g blueberries, 15 Sun Chlorella tablets.

Directions:

1. Place water in blender (liquidiser)
2. Chop all ingredients
3. Add all ingredients and blend until smooth
4. Consume as part of breakfast and a portion can be refrigerated or placed in a cold thermos flask to be consumed at lunch

 

References

Content, recipes & images courtesy of the team at Sun Chlorella.

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Probiotics – What are they and do you need them?

Probiotics, or ‘friendly bacteria’, are live microorganisms, which when consumed in adequate amounts, are thought to confer health benefits on the human body. Taking a daily probiotic supplement could not only help with your digestion, but could also spark off other feel-good factors, such as good skin health, immunity and wellbeing.

Digestion
Probiotics are key to the digestive system. They help the body to produce digestive enzymes (such as lactase) which breakdown certain food substances (in this case, lactose, found in dairy products.) This is why topping up your levels of probiotics on a daily basis can help with food intolerances.

Probiotics support the digestive system, and various research has shown that these microorganisms can help to encourage bowel regularity, and discourage digestive disorders or conditions such as diarrhoea (1,2), bloating (3) , or constipation(4,5).

High Quality Probiotic
A High Quality Probiotic such as OptiBac For Daily Wellbeing EXTRA Strength can help line the gut wall with good bacteria to fend off pathogens.

Immunity
Probiotics are thought to support the immune system thanks to the ‘barrier effect’. A high quality probiotic is tested for its ability to bind to cells on the gut wall lining. When you supplement with plenty of probiotics they begin to coat your gut wall, taking up space on this lining. This means that when pathogens (harmful microorganisms) enter the body, they reach the gut and have fewer points on the gut wall upon which they can adhere. It’s effectively a competition for space, between the good guys and the bad! The more good guys (probiotics) you have lining your gut wall, the fewer bad guys (pathogens) you should have in turn. This is known as the barrier effect; taking a daily probiotic can support this process.

Probiotics also improve the absorption of vitamins and minerals into the bloodstream. After all there’s no use taking lots of vitamins if your body is not absorbing them. This improved vitamin uptake provides essential support for the immune system, and what’s more, means that a probiotic nicely complements any other daily supplements you may take.

Skin health
Probiotics are also thought to help support healthy skin, as often acne or spots are caused by bad bacteria, or toxins in the body. Supporting your gut with friendly bacteria means that the body will digest foods more efficiently (producing fewer toxins in the first place) and what’s more, probiotics help to displace toxins or bad bacteria in the gut (through various mechanisms, including the barrier effect mentioned above.) Probiotics have even been shown to help with atopic allergies such as eczema (6). Supporting your gut health from the inside should hopefully see you benefiting on the outside too.

Frequency of Use
Some specific probiotics can be effectively taken as a ‘one-off’ treatment, for example Saccharomyces boulardii to support gut health in those suffering from diarrhoea. However if you’re taking probiotics for general support to your digestion, immunity, energy & skin, best to take them every day for at least a few months; giving your gut time to top up its friendly bacteria levels. Many people safely and happily take probiotics on an ongoing basis for years.

 

References:

1. McFarland, L.V. & Bernasconi, P. (1993) Saccharomyces boulardii: A Review of an Innovative Biotherapeutic Agent. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease; Vol. 6 pp. 157-171.
2. Hochter, W. et al (1990) Saccharomyces boulardii in acute adult diarrhea. Efficacy and tolerance of treatment. Munchener Medizinische Wochenschrift; Vol. 132 (12) pp. 188-192
3. Paineau, D. (2007) Regular consumption of short-chain fructo-oligosachharides improves digestive comfort with minor functional bowel disorders. Br. J. Nutr. Aug 13:1-8 [Epub ahead of print]
4. Matsumoto, M. et al. (2001) Effect of Yoghurt with Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-12® in Improving Fecal Microflora and Defecation of Healthy Volunteers. Journal of Intestinal Microbiology; 14(2): pp. 97-102
5. Pitkala, K.H et al. (2007) Fermented cereal with specific bifidobacteria normalizes bowel movements in elderly nursing home residents. A randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Nutritional Health and Aging; 11(4): pp.305-311.
6. Isolauri, E., et al., Probiotics in the management of atopic eczema. Clin Exp Allergy, 2000. 30(11): p. 1604-10.

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Vitamin B12 – the modern day deficiency

Simon Cowell, Katy Perry and Madonna all apparently have injections of B12, the nutrient which helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia that makes people tired and weak.

The total amount of vitamin B12 stored in body is about 5mg in adults with around 50 per cent of this being stored in the liver – for several years if needed.

This sounds positive – and it’s fair to say that nutritional deficiency of this vitamin should be rare. But as approximately 0.5 per cent of this is lost per day by secretions into the gut, and not all these secretions are reabsorbed, deficiency is becoming more predominant than ever.

How fast B12 levels change in the body depends on the balance between how much is obtained from the diet and the amount lost.

However the vitamin is very poorly absorbed and the rate of absorption is decreasing rapidly as our modern Western diet moves from one of fresh meats and seasonal vegetables to more processed foods, resulting in our digestive efficiency reducing.

BetterYou B12 Boost Spray
BetterYou B12 Boost Spray is an excellent supplement that increases absorption rates through the lining of the mouth

A healthy digestive system will absorb only one per cent of the B12 from our diet. However our ability to produce the acids necessary for absorption is reducing dramatically and deficiency is now being reported more and more, even amongst the most seemingly healthy. Worryingly deficiency in infants appears to be becoming even more prevalent than amongst adults.

The result is that more and more of us now require B12 supplementation.

The tissue lining of the mouth offers a strong alternative for effective absorption of our nutrients. Vitamin sprays like the BetterYou B12 Boost supplement spray is a good option.

Research carried out by Cardiff University investigating sublingual vitamin absorption found that nutrients are absorbed faster through the sub-lingual membrane – below the tongue and soft palate, and the buccal membrane – the inner lip and cheek area, than any other tissue area, other than the lungs.

Absorption rates were found to vary depending upon the type of the nutrient. B12 offers potentially better absorption rates than other nutrients, as this vitamin is water soluble, entering the membrane tissue more readily.

Written by BetterYou

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