Hypoglycaemia: Manage Low Blood Sugar Naturally

  • Hello everyone,

    Hypoglycaemia is a condition characterized by low blood sugar, usually happening 3 to 5 hours after a meal. Typical symptoms may include; headache, mood changes, irritability, nervousness, excessive sweating, mental confusion, and blurred vision.

    There can be a few different causes, but far and away the most common cause is from the over-stressing of the normal control mechanisms of glucose storage and release in the body. This happens for 2 main reasons – consistently eating foods that raise blood sugar too quickly alternating with periods of not eating and the biochemical result of chronic stress.

    It is also important to note that hypoglycemia, although seemingly the opposite of diabetes, is a precursor to diabetes, and as such, needs to be seen as a serious potential health risk, as opposed to just an inconvenience.

    There are numerous diagnostic tests that may be used to identify hypoglycaemia, however, the easiest and maybe most accurate way is through a simple questionnaire or a comprehensive consultation with a accredited practitioner. It must be understood that every one of these “symptoms” can occur for other reasons, so other causes should be ruled out before assuming that hypoglycemia is the issue. And yet, when most of these symptoms are present, there is a strong likelihood that blood sugar control is a root cause.

    Because blood sugar is the only source of energy that the brain can use (as opposed to the rest of the body being able to break down muscle for an energy source if needed), low blood sugar can result in all manner of brain dysfunction issues, including confusion, aggression, anxiety, depression, etc. Additionally, chronic headaches, attention issues and even PMS symptoms may all be linked to hypoglycemia. Blood sugar regulation problems should be evaluated and considered much more than it does in medicine today.

    Diet and other lifestyle factors are usually the cause of hypoglycemia. This fact gives us the means to make this problem go away without medical intervention.

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Diet 

Understanding the mechanics of blood sugar management in the body and which foods cause rapid increases in blood sugar are the foundations needed to reverse hypoglycaemia.

  • When blood sugar rises quickly, the body responds by equally quickly releasing insulin to “do something” with that sugar. Instantly raised sugar levels is an indication to the body that sugar will keep coming, and the result is actually an over-production of insulin. The result is actually an “over-clearing” of sugar from the blood. Remember that the brain can only use blood sugar as fuel, so when this happens it is brain function that suffers – thus the hypoglycemia symptoms. Another result of this cascade of chemical events is that the body is instructed to go out and eat more sugar.

    The glycemic index (GI) of a food is a measure of the property of how quickly it causes blood sugar to rise. The higher the GI is, the worse it is for blood sugar control. There is another index used to better measure the effect of a serving of a food – glycemic load (GL). This takes into account the “density” of particular foods and how a serving would affect blood sugar. Keeping the foods under a GL of 15 would be tremendously helpful for helping to control hypoglycemia. For instance, even though the GI of watermelon is 72 (pretty high) the GL of watermelon is only 4. So a serving of watermelon is actually fine. Of course, eating an entire watermelon would be a problem.

    The fiber content of food is also very important in controlling rapid rises in blood sugar for 3 reasons. First, it slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thereby preventing rapid rises in blood sugar. Second, it increases cell sensitivity to insulin, thereby preventing the excessive secretion of insulin. And third, fiber improves the uptake of glucose by the liver and other tissues, thereby preventing a sustained elevation of blood sugar. This is why most processed and refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cereal, most grains) are bad for hypoglycemia; processing = removed or poor fiber.

    The best diet strategy for the hypoglycemic is to replace processed and refined carbohydrates in the diet with more fresh fruits, vegetables and quality proteins. Furthermore, the person suffering with hypoglycemia should never, ever go more than 3 hours without eating something. In between meals, a handful of nuts, a low GI protein bar, or a piece of whole fruit will all work well to keep to eating something every 2-3 hours.

Lifestyle

The biggest lifestyle consideration, other than diet, is consistent exercise. Exercise actually helps to: blood sugar by enhancing insulin sensitivity. The best way to go is to dedicate half of whatever time to have for exercise to building muscle and the other half to some sort of aerobic activity. And the aerobic part should be interval training.

Alcohol consumption also needs to be curtailed for the hypoglycemic. Alcohol induces reactive hypoglycemia by interfering with normal glucose utilisation  as well as increasing the secretion of insulin.

Supplements

B Vitamins: I alway recommend taking an activated vitamin B complex, as they all work synergistically together for many important biological pathways in the body. They aid in energy production and metabolism, cognitive function, mood, and cellular communications.

L-Carnitine: An amino acid that mobilises fatty acids into the mitochondria for ATP production. (Energy production of the cell).

Iodine: An essential component for thyroid hormones and production of T3 and T4 hormones within the blood stream

CoEnzyme Q10: Found in virtually every cell in the body and plays a vital role in energy-dependant processes.

*Disclaimer: This article should be used as a reference guide ONLY. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you experience any symptoms of the hypoglycaemia  Never self-diagnose as it can be dangerous, causing unwanted side effects and possibly cause chronic conditions. 

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

 

 

Flu Season: A holistic Approach to Staying Well this Winter.

 

Statistics: 

Every year in late summer and early fall we begin to hear about the coming flu, how dangerous it is, and how the best way to protect ourselves is by getting the flu shot. Both of these statements are patently false.

First of all, the flu is not really dangerous. When the CDC, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, tells us every year that so many people die from the flu, if you look at the numbers closely you will see that they actually say that so many people die from flu and pneumonia each year. For example, in 2005, deaths for both flu and pneumonia combined were 61,000. But deaths from influenza alone were only around 1800 people. And, in fact, deaths from influenza since 1979 have been fairly consistent, averaging around 1300 people each year.

The second issue is that of the flu shot being useful in protecting ourselves. There is an organization, the Cochrane Collaborative, that is an international collective of individuals who evaluate scientific data from all over the world and publish their findings in the form of reviews. When reviewing scientific data, they throw out studies that are biased and/or designed poorly.

Their reviews of studies looking at the effectiveness of flu vaccines quite clearly show that there is little or no evidence that the flu vaccines are useful in the following populations… babies under 2 years old, children with asthma, adults, elderly adults. Furthermore, Cochrane reviews also show that healthcare practitioners that get flu shots do not protect the elderly in nursing homes that they take care of.

The real reason we get the flu is the combination of a few simple factors that, when adjusted, make it much easier to avoid the flu and much easier to treat the flu if contracted.

Factor number one has to do with our lifestyle habits that make our immune systems less effective at fighting off the influenza virus. There is more detail about this in the lifestyle section, but here is a synopsis of the issue. October begins a 3-month long sugar eating, lack of sleep, stress-inducing time period that we expose ourselves to. Beginning with Halloween, and then Thanksgiving, the Holidays, and culminating with New Years, we get too much sugar, not enough sleep, and stress galore trying to accommodate family and friends, buy the perfect gifts, etc.

The other factor has to do with our Vitamin D levels dropping. Did you know that there really isn’t a flu season along the equator? That’s because proper exposure to the sun, year round, keeps Vitamin D blood levels elevated; which plays a major role with appropriate immune function!

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Diet: 

  • For dietary concerns there are “do’s” and “do not’s”

    The “do not’s” really revolve around sugar… in all of its various forms. That obviously means cakes and cookies and candies and doughnuts. It also means avoiding too many processed and refined carbohydrates. Too much pasta, bread and cereal can be just as detrimental. Also, take an inventory of how much high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) you are ingesting in your diet. You might be surprised to find that some of your foods, like soups or salad dressing, contain this health-damaging form of sugar. Here is a link to an article for more details about HFCS.

    Fruit juices are also a source of concentrated fructose that should be avoided.

    The ‘do’s” have to do with foods that give your body, and in particular your immune system, what it needs to function optimally at this time of year. It may seem obvious, but I’ll state it anyway… more fresh fruits and vegetables will serve you well. Please also remember that water is essential for all cells to work properly, including your immune cells. Water also helps loosen and break up mucus in the chest and sinuses, so ensure you’re getting adequate supply of water throughout the day. Aim for around 2-3 Litres/day.

  • Adding spices such as ginger, garlic and turmeric to your cooking. Making healing soups, casseroles and stews to warm the body is a wonderful healing tool.
  • Herbal teas including liquorice, eucalyptus, elderberry, ginger and parsley can be soothing and healing for the body.
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    For the Vitamin D issue – there are really no viable ways to get enough Vitamin D from your diet – you must supplement with it – see the supplement section below for more information.

Lifestyle: 

  • The following issues are of equal importance – so don’t just grab on to the one thing here that is easy for you to do. Give each of these areas equal and fair attention!
    • Wash your hands. Often. There is no question that the major way that you get exposed to the influenza virus is from the hands of someone else.
    • Get your sleep. Your immune system is acutely affected by lack of quality sleep. Try to stick to a fairly rigid sleep routine during the cold and flu season. This may be hard to do because of parties, visiting relatives and too many things on your to-do list. It may seem like you’re missing out on some of the fun… but you’ll be the one having fun when everyone else is in bed with the flu.
    • Get your exercise. Again, don’t stray from your scheduled exercise regimen just because of the time of year it is. If walking is your gig and it’s too cold outside, walk inside at one of the local malls. Make sure that at least 4 times a week you are getting some aerobic and some weight-bearing exercise in.
    • Tend to your stress needs. Maybe the biggest factor in a dysfunctioning immune system is stress. And the cold and flu season is the most stressful time of year for many people. So start by pledging to be more observant of how you are feeling and when you are feeling stressed. And when you are, find a way to sooth yourself immediately… don’t wait for “later” because for busy people, later often never comes. Be willing to care for yourself as much as you care for everyone else.

Beneficial Supplements: 

  • There are supplements to use now to help prevent the flu and ones to use if you happen to get the flu.

    For Prevention:

    • Vitamin D3: Activated form of Vitamin D known as Cholecalciferol. It is bioavailable to the body for ready absorption. Getting your vitamin D blood levels to at least 50ng/ml will give you an amazing level of protection, i’d even recommend aiming for up to 80ng/ml. For most people this will require at least 5,000IU – 10,000IU a day. I also recommend that you get your vitamin D blood level checked to best know the appropriate dosage for you.
    • Herbal Remedies: Elderberry extract is a powerful remedy that sort of makes a blockade to viruses being able to enter into your cells. This can be used in anticipation of a situation that you know you are going to be exposed to the flu.
    • Vitamin B Complex vitamin and Zinc.

    For Treatment:

    These supplements are best used at the very first sign of getting the flu. So, if you wake up in the morning feeling that scratchy throat or sinus congestion, you want to have these things in your home already – don’t wait until you get sick to go find these supplements.

    • Vitamin D3. Using high doses of Vitamin D-3 at the beginning of symptoms is a very effective way to avoid getting the full-blown flu. For most people, taking anywhere from 25,000iu to 50,000iu a day for a few days does the trick.
    • Iron Phosphate Mineral Therapy salts. For first sign inflammation and sickness such as a runny nose, tickling throat and headaches. Tablets are safe to use, and safe in efficacy. Usual dose is 2 tablets chewed every 15-30mins until feeling better, used in acute cases, and or chronic 3-4 tablets chewed daily. (Usually this is a preventative measure).
    • Zinc has been shown to be effective at helping to prevent the spread of the influenza virus in the body. These lozenges also contain Vitamin C, Slippery Elm and Bee Propolis. Use up to 3 a day.

*Disclaimer: This article should be used as a reference guide ONLY. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you experience any symptoms of the flu. Never self-diagnose as it can be dangerous, causing unwanted side effects and possibly cause chronic conditions. 

If you have any questions, feel free to get in contact with me

Healthiest regards throughout the colder months,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment 

 

Kids Lunchbox Ideas: How to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

Hello everyone,

When was the last time your child sat down at the dinner table and said, “Gee, thanks for this delicious plate of healthy food! Can I have seconds?” We can’t promise these tips will convert your picky eater into a fruit and vegetable fan, but they should make good food choices more attractive for everyone.

  1. Get them involved

    If you involve kids in planning meals, going grocery shopping, and preparing food, they will become invested in the process and more likely to eat. Even toddlers too young to make grocery lists can help you make choices (pears or nectarines? cheddar or swiss?) along the way. Simple, no-cook recipes like frozen yoghurt popsicles or fruit parfaits are an excellent way to get young chefs interested in healthy cooking and eating.

  2. Go to the source

    Teach kids where their food comes from. Rather than limiting yourself to the weekly supermarket run, take your family to a local farmer’s market (or to the farm itself) and meet the people who grow the food. Picking berries from a vine can help nurture a lifelong love of good eating and environmental stewardship. Visiting a dairy farm can teach children where their milk comes from (and why we should care about what goes in it). Planting tomatoes and melons in the garden may tempt a child to try the fruits of her labor.

  3. Make healthy snacks available

    If you stock the kitchen exclusively with healthy treats, children will eat them. As your children grow, stock good snacks in cabinets and shelves that they can reach without your help.

    Some kids eat more when they’re in the car than when they’re at the table simply because active play isn’t a viable alternative when you’re strapped in. Make sure you’re prepared with nutritious snacks whether you’re driving the carpool or going to soccer practice. Good choices include sliced apples, carrot sticks, whole grain crackers, light popcorn, raisins and water bottles.

  4. Give them freedom of choice

    Like the rest of us, kids want to have it their way. But no parent wants to be a short order cook, making four different meals for four different family members. Instead try the fixings bar approach. Offer a suitable base meal, like rice and beans, whole wheat tortillas or lean ground taco meat. Then let kids (and adults) dress it up with chopped tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, cheese, salsa, jicama, parsley, peppers and other toppings. You might also try a pasta bar with a variety of healthy sauces. This approach works especially well when you?re serving young guests whose food preferences you may have trouble predicting.

    Kids like choices at snack time too, so consider packing an insulated lunch bag full of good snacks so they can make their own smart choices (and you can avoid hearing “I don’t want THAT!”).

  5. Drink to that

    Remember that your child doesn’t have to just eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day he can also drink them. Smoothies can be a fun way to introduce new fruits.

  6. Be a role model

    A recent study found that young children’s food tastes are significantly related to foods that their mothers liked and disliked. Letting your child see you order a fresh salad rather a burger and fries at the drive-through may encourage her to do the same.

  7. Don’t give up

    Studies show that most children need multiple exposures (between 5 and 10) to try new foods. This isn’t to say that showing your child the same papaya or avocado five nights in a row will win her over, but rather to suggest that you shouldn’t give up the first time she rejects something.

  8. Teach healthy eating habits early

    Use meal and snack times as teachable moments to help even the youngest children make wise food choices.

Nutrition Nourishment has been busy researching and trialling new recipes for the young generations and has just opened the new Kids Lunchbox section in the recipes. Be sure to check it out. Below are two recipes taken from Nutrition Nourishments new recipes collection.

5 Ingredient Quiche*

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A simple quiche recipe that can be eaten cold, and packed into a school lunch easy. An easy and tasty way to ensure your children are getting some vegetables in their diet, along with proteins for rebuilding and nutrients to aid in growth and development.

Ingredients:

8 eggs

Handful of Baby Spinach

2/3 Cup of butternut pumpkin, cut into small cubes

1 leek, diced

Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method:

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Step 2: Whisk your eggs until well combined and looking delicious. Mix through the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture into a pie dish, my base measures 18.5cm. I have a fabulous non stick one that the quiche slides straight out of, depending on what you are using you may want to grease it first.

Step 3: Bake for 20 – 25 minutes (I find 20 minutes works perfectly in my oven).

Step 4: Allow to cool. Eat and enjoy.

Vegetable Chips

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Ingredients:

1 Large Sweet Potato

1 Beet

1 Large Parsnips

2 Large Zucchini

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Himalayan Pink Salt

Method:

Step 1: Set oven to 180 Degrees Celsius and line baking tray with baking paper.

Step 2: Wash and peel root vegetables. Thinly slice and layer onto a baking tray.

Step 3: Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with Himalayan Pink Salt.

Step 4: Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven to turn over. Bake for another 15 minutes making sure to check for chips that are turning brown around the edges and remove them sooner if needed. If you have some chips that are still a little moist, leave them in for another 5-15 minutes as needed to crisp them up.

Step 5: Let them cool and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week! Enjoy!

And as always,

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Healing Herb of The Week: Ginger

Hello everyone,

In today’s blog Im continuing on with the Healing Herbs fact sheets with information regarding a delicious and versatile spice, ginger. It has been long used as both a food, and for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Varies dictated notes have been mentioned from Confusious, who wrote about it in his Analects, and from the greek physician, Dicoscorides, who listed ginger as an anti-dote to poisoning.

Commonly known as ginger, Zingiber officinale was named by English botanist William Roscoe in the early 1800s. With green stems that can grow to a metre high, the plant is valued for its rhizomes that can be consumed fresh or dried. Ginger has been used in Asian, Arabic and Indian cultures as a herbal medicine since ancient times. While it originated in South-East Asia, it spread across Asia and other tropical regions and was exported to ancient Rome from India.

Ginger reached the west at least 2000 years ago and was imported in a preserved form. This flavoursome plant is used in many recipes and, in some Asian cuisines, it is pickled and served as an accompaniment. The healing property of ginger comes from the volatile oils, such as gingerols, that are responsible for its strong taste. The rhizomes from younger ginger plants are generally used for cooking because the older the plant is, the more essential oils are present and the stronger the flavour. Rhizomes from older plants are harvested for medicinal uses.

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Fun Fact: In 13th / 14th Century England, a pound of ginger cost as much as a sheep in the trading market.

Ginger

Botanical Name: Zingiber Officinale

Active Constitiuents: Pungent phenolics (known as gingerols, and shagaols), sesquiterpenes (zingiberene).

Part Used: Root (Rhizone)

Main Actions:

Anti-emetic (nausea): Ginger is well known to help ease nausea, particularly due pregnancy, radiation, and motion sickness. 5 HTP influence various biological and neurological processes such as aggression, anxiety, appetite, learning, memory, mood, nausea, sleep and thermoregulation. Ginger acts on (play antagonist to) particular serotonin receptors associated with nausea, reducing their action.

Gastrointestinal Activity: Stimulates the flow of saliva, bile and gastric secretions to aid in metabolism and digestion. Anti-spasmodic to the gastrointestinal tract.

Hypolipidaemic: Scientifically proven to reduce aortic plaque lesions, which are characteristics of heart disease.

Anti-inflammatory/Analgesic: Reduces the promotion of inflammatory cytokines and mediators. Modulates the arachidonic acid cascade. (Inhibits genes involved in inflammatory response).

Anti-emetic: Ginger is a great substitute for anti-emertic drugs without the side effects. Dosage is usually 6grams three times daily. Has been shown more effective than Ibuprofen.

Clinical Uses: In practice, varies medical practitioners can therapeutically use ginger for nausea related to motion sickness, pregnancy of chemo-induced, inflammatories disorders such as arthritic conditions, dysmenorrhoea, dyspepsia, fever, internal colic, common cold/flu, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis.

Topical Application: Reduces pain, due to its action of modulating substance P.

Colds/Flu: Ginger acts as a circulatory stimulant, while dilating blood vessels and stimulate perspiration to reduce fever.

Simple homemade recipes to soothe colds/flu.

Make a hot tea to soothe a sore throat, unblock congestion and relieve pain by combining Lemon, Honey and Ginger into a hot tea; you may also add lemon balm, and fennel if you have then on hand.

An Onion Syrup can be made as a home-made cough syrup. Combine one chopped onion and put into a small bowl, cover with Manuka honey. Cover with cling-wrap and sit in fridge for 24-48hrs. Ginger and thyme can be added to this to add extra benefits. Get the kids to help make it, then they’ll be more inclined to try it.

Dysmenorrhoea: Medical term used to describe painful, heavy periods. Suffers can benefits from ginger 250mg four times daily for 3 days before expected menstruation.

Actions Overview: Anti-inflammatory, Anti-ulcerative, anti-microbial, anti-platelet, anti-emetic, carmitive, cholagogue, hypolipidaemic, stimulent, spasmolytic, expectorant, and analgesic.

Caution: Individuals with peptic ulcers, as this may aggravate associated symptoms. Noted High doses with anti-platelet medications including warfarin are know to interact. Other possible safety precautions need to be considered in diabetes, and bleeding disorders.

Note: Sushi bars/Japanese restaurants with pickled ginger (gari) contain MSG and Aspartame in high concentrations. This is why the colour is pink rather than a yellow colour.

Pregnancy Morning Sickness: There have been scientific research studies showing ginger along with B6 supplementation at 25mg three times daily helps improve symptoms.

http://www.imuneksfarma.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/EME-5.pdf

Blackmores professional do a combination supplement, however, it is always best to seek medical advise before starting a new supplement. Also before sitting up in bed of a morning, eat a couple of dry crackers before drinking any water to calm the stomach.

http://www.chemmart.com.au/product/blackmores-morning-sickness-formula-tablets-90-s-p93258

Dosage: Doses up to 10-15grams per day have been found quite safe, however, consult your medical practitioner before taking ginger in a supplementation form.

My Final Thoughts:

Ginger is an incredible healing herb that, when used in as a food source, is unlikely to induce any unwanted side-effects. Ginger is considered one of the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet. It can make a great compliment to fresh juices, curries, herbal teas, stir-frys and stews. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.

Please be advised, if you are thinking of taking a ginger containing supplement, to first speak to a medical professional. As a whole food nutritionist, I would always advise adding these healing herbs to your daily diet to get the optimal benefit it can offer.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment 

Mother’s Day 2017: Give the Gift Of Fudge!!

Hello everyone,

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful, selfless, hard-working mothers out there! Show your mother how much you love and appreciate her with the gift of rich, gooey chocolate fudge. And it’s a sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan/paleo-friendly treat full of heathy anti-inflammatory fats, proteins and anti-oxidants!! See Recipe Below!!

Raw Vegan Chocolate Fudge – Makes 12 Slices

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Ingredients:

1 Cup Raw Walnuts

1/2 Cup Raw Almonds (Activated if possible)

1/2 Cup Raw, Organic Cacao Powder

1 1/2 Cups Medjool Dates, Pitted

1/4 Cup Organic, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Chia Seeds 

1/4 Cup Mayver’s Orginial Super Spread (4 nuts, Chia seeds and Sesame Seeds) or Almond Butter

1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

**Optional decoration: Goji berries, nuts, extra cacao dusting, coconut flakes or cranberries.

Method:

Step 1: Add walnuts and almonds to a food processor and blend until finely ground. Add cacao, salt, and cinnamon, blend.

Step 2: Add pitted dates, nut, butter, vanilla extract and coconut oil. Blend until all ingredients are well combined

Step 3: Line square dish with baking paper and spread the batter down into slice tin. Pat this down firmly.

Freeze until ready to eat, usually around 2 hours, and cut into slices when cold. Eat immediately.

Some Background Information on Cacao:

One of the most wildly popular trees on the planet is the cacao, the plant species from which cocoa – and chocolate – is derived. While some might think cacao and cocoa are one in the same, they’re not, exactly. Cacao is the tree, while cocoa is the product made from it (not to be confused with coca, an evergreen shrub from which cocaine is concocted). Edible parts of cacao pods and the beans inside them can be processed to make cocoa powder, cocoa butter, or chocolate after being dried and fermented.

Because cocoa beans were prized for their medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties, they were traded just like currency among ancient South American civilizations. Rumor has it Casanova was fond of them.

The earliest known evidence that cacao was processed for ingestion goes back as far as 1,400 B.C.E., gathered from discoveries of its residue on pottery excavated in Honduras, possibly to ferment the pulp for making an adult beverage. Sweetened forms came about when the Europeans landed in the New World and tasted cacao in liquid form. Although they hated it at first, someone discovered that adding honey made it downright palatable. By the 17th century, this form of chocolate was all the rage in Europe, and subsequently, the world. It still is.

Health Benefits of Cacao

There’s been a lot of discussion about free radicals and antioxidants, but some are unsure of what these terms mean in regard to our health. Exposure to the sun, cigarette smoke, pollution, and toxic chemicals, such as chemical weed killers, and unhealthy foods can all release free radical activity in the body, however they also can be produced by factors like stress, damaging healthy tissue. Antioxidants in the foods you eat reverse that process, helping to combat disease by zapping harmful free radicals.

That’s where cacao comes in. Raw cacao powder contains more than 300 different chemical compounds and nearly four times the antioxidant power of your average dark chocolate- more than 20 times than that of blueberries. Protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are also present. The precise blend of all these elements combined serve to kick in naturally occurring phytochemicals that have incredible benefits throughout the body, such as lowered LDL cholesterol, improved heart function, and reduced cancer risk.

Phenethylamine, or PEA, is one of them. Large doses of this compound are said to be released into the brain when we’re attracted to someone, but natural pain- and stress-relieving chemicals known as neurotransmitters stimulate the secretion of endorphins to help us stay alert and focused.

Studies have shown that chocolate affects your emotions and mood by raising serotonin levels, which explains why chocolate is often craved when gloominess looms. Also to the rescue is a neurotransmitter called theobromine, a mild stimulant sometimes used as a treatment for depression. It releases the compound anandamide, which produces uniquely euphoric feelings of relaxation and contentment.

For those who think chocolate must be bad for you (it has to be if it tastes so good, right?), rest assured: there’s only one gram of sugar in a half-cup serving of raw cacao. It’s what’s done with it that makes the difference. Unfortunately, high heat from processing and refining to produce different types of cocoa or chocolate damages the cocoa bean’s micronutrients, along with the health benefits.

Not only that, but additions like High-fructose Corn Syrup, sugar, and partially hydrogenated oils limit the amount of actual cocoa, and dairy products actually block the absorption of antioxidants, so if it’s nutritive benefits you’re looking for, your average chocolate bar isn’t likely to supply much.

Cacao Fun Facts

The Aztecs gave cacao the name “yollotl eztli,” meaning “heart blood.” They may have understood even then the heart-benefiting aspects of eating what is now known to be a boost for the cardiovascular system.

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Summary

I say cocoa, you say cacao, but there is a slight difference: Cacao is the tree; what’s made from it is cocoa. This moderately addictive plant-derived substance contains such amazingly powerful nutrients. Raw cacao powder has more than 300 phytochemicals and nearly four times the antioxidant power of regular dark chocolate, and contains protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, and sulfur. These properties can be destroyed by high heat, so it’s important to know just what type of processes your cocoa powder and baking chocolate have undergone.

Cacao can improve heart health, cholesterol, stress levels, and inflammation, to list just a few physical advantages. Fringe benefits cacao releases into the brain include anandamide, endorphins, phenylethylamine, and serotonin, all sparking descriptives like “blissful” and “euphoric.” All this satisfying goodness comes from a frothy mug of hot cocoa or a creamy bar of unadulterated chocolate. It’s no wonder the Spanish called it “black gold.”

Healthiest Regards, And a Happy Mother’s Day

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Healing Herb of the Week: Turmeric

Hello everyone,

In today’s blog, I’m going to talk briefly about turmeric, its main actions and its clinical uses. Turmeric, particularly its active constituent, curcumin, has become a popular supplement in our western world, for inflammatory concerns, however, turmeric has been long used for medicinal purposes, and its discovery dates back to 2500BC. It was traditionally used to colour french robes a mustard colour and also the robes of hindu priest, before both Indian and Chinese Traditional Medicine therapies began to use turmeric for the treatment of inflammatory and digestive disorders. I’ve written this out in a convenient and easy to read fact sheet format.

Turmeric

Botanical Name: Curcuma Longa

Active Constituents: Curcumin. This is a collective description for a group of phenolic compounds called curcuminoids. It also contains Essential Oils, 1.5-3% total mass, along with resins and starches/fibres.

Part Used: Root (Rhizone) 

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Main Actions:

 Demonstrated to modulate over 150 different physiological pathways in the body. 

Anti-oxidant: Scavenges free radicals, enhances the activity of endogenous antioxidants such as glutathione peroxidase. Induces Phase II detox pathways, more potent than Vitamin C. Reduces inflammation and protects the cells from oxidative damage.

Gastrointestinal Activity: 

  • Hepaprotective, which means it protects the liver from chemical induced damage.
  • Antispasmodic, meaning it relieves spasms within the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Cholagogue. Main action in stimulating bile form the gall bladder to help break down fats in the body.
  • Hypolipid. Aids in protection against oxidative damage from crystallise plaques in the arteries. This is why it may be benefically in Cardiovascular disease to help lower LDL cholesterol (known as the ‘bad’ type) and reduce total cholesterol plasma levels.

Scientifically Proven Alzheimers Fighter.

Alzheimers is characterised by a build-up of amyloid beta plaques (a tangle to protein fibres) in the brain. The active form of Vitamin D activates type I macrophages and churchmen activates type II, to help protect further damage from the disease.

Cancer-Preventative: Inhibits invasion, proliferation (rapid-growing) and metastasis (spread) of various cancers.

Immunomodulation: This relates to the immune system and its ability to fight foreign invaders that attack the body on a daily basis. Turmeric has shown to increase White Blood Cell production, and circulating antibodies.

Clinical Uses: In practice, varies medical practitioner can therapeutically use turmeric and its concentrate, curcumin, for concerns such as cancer, psoriasis, peptic ulcersm dementia, Rheumatoid arthritis, Auto-immune disorders, Carodivascular disease, liver disease and diabetes.

Actions Overview: Anti-oxidant, Carminitive, Anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet, hypolipidaemic,anti-ulcerative, hepatoprotective, immune enhacing and chemoprotective.

Clinical Indications: Suffers of Oestoarthritis/Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer patients, dyspepsia, liver insufficiency, alzheimer patients, high cholesterol and peptic ulcers.

Caution: Relatively safe to use, however, caution needs to be taken when prescribing for patient with gallstones, and anti-platelet medications, due to turmeric increasing these areas of metabolism within the body.

Dosage: 4-10gram daily in divided doses (dried whole root). This can be incorporated into herbal teas, curries or stews. With supplementation, generally its active constituent curcumin, it can be found upwards of 300mg.

My final thoughts: As a Whole Food Nutritionist and an avid reader of current/past scientific research studies, I encourage the use of turmeric in your diet, rather than curcumin, in supplementation form. This is due to turmeric containing the addition of Essential Oils and Resins/fibres, found within the original plant material, that can provide exceptional anti-inflammatory and into-oxidant benefits that unfortunately curcumin cannot live up to in terms of proven medicinal therapies. Turmeric has been used as a food accessory nutrient for thousands of years, and the benefits have long been know. It’s only recently that we have been able to extract the curcuminoid compounds form the plant materials for use in supplemental forms of therapies.

As much as I have seen these supplements benefits clients, it is no match to adding turmeric into the diet, along with other healing herbs such as garlic, ginger, parsley, thyme and coriander. These herbs are not only safe to use in our diet, they can add so much flavour and depth to our cooking at home, without the need to adding sugars or salts to find a suitable flavour.

I hope your’ve been able to increase your current knowledge on turmeric and curcumin from this fact sheet. I encourage you to always seek medical advice before starting a new supplementation, as these can have cautions, interactions, warnings and contra-indications just a prescription medications do.

And As Always

Healthiest Regards

Tegan- Nutriton Nourishment

 

Recipe of the Week: Barley and raw veg power salad

Hello everyone,

Been super busy getting all the recipe pages updated for you guys, with photos, and easy-to-navigate drop-down menu. Below is one of the recipes I’m really excited about, it’s packed full of nutrients, proteins and anti-oxidants to provide health and regeneration; It’s called the Barley and Raw Veg Power Salad. Just because it’s starting to cool down, doesn’t mean you have to completely remove delicious salads from your daily menu.

Firstly, some health information regarding barley…

Barley is a major cereal grain, commonly found in bread, beverages, and various cuisines of every culture. It was one of the first cultivated grains in history and, to this day, remains one of the most widely consumed grains, globally.

Barley and other whole grain foods have rapidly been gaining popularity over the past few years due to the various health benefits they provide.

Whole grains are important sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are not found in refined or “enriched” grains. Consuming plant-based foods of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. They are also considered to promote a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight. Barley has proven benefits for health including lowering blood pressure, improving bone strength and integrity, supporting heart health, reducing the risk of cancers, particularly colon, reducing inflammation in the body, promoting health digestion and elimination, along with weight maintenance, and satiety (feeling full or satisfied).

Nutritional profile of barley

Barley is commonly found in two forms: hulled and pearled. Hulled barley has undergone minimal processing to remove only the inedible outer shell, leaving the bran and germ intact. Pearled barley has had the layer of bran removed along with the hull.

Half a cup of hulled barley contains:

  • 326 calories
  • 11.5 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 68 grams of carbohydrate
  • 16 grams of dietary fiber (64 percent of daily requirements)

That same serving provides the following portion of your daily allowance of minerals and micronutrients:

  • 3 percent of calcium
  • 18 percent of iron
  • 40 percent of thiamin
  • 15 percent of riboflavin
  • 21 percent of niacin
  • 15 percent of vitamin B6
  • 5 percent of folate
  • 30 percent of magnesium
  • 25 percent of phosphorus
  • 12 percent of potassium
  • 17 percent of zinc
  • 23 percent of copper
  • 50 percent of selenium
  • 90 percent of manganese

Beta-glucans are a type of fiber that is found in barley. Recently, beta-glucans have undergone extensive studies to determine their role in human health.

They have been found to lower insulin resistance and blood cholesterol levels, thereby lowering the risk of obesity as well as providing an immunity boost.

Now to the good stuff…. How can you incorporate this nutritious food into your diet?

Quick tips:

  • Add barley to any pot of soup or stew to make it heartier and more flavorful.
  • Cook barley in your choice of broth and add a variety of vegetables for a tasty pilaf or risotto.
  • Toss chilled cooked barley with diced vegetables and homemade dressing for a quick cold salad.
  • Combine barley with onion, celery, mushrooms, carrots, and green pepper. Add broth to the mixture, bring it to a boil, and then bake for approximately 45 minutes for an easy and healthy barley casserole.

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Barley and Raw Veg Power Salad

A delicious summer-inspired salad, full of nutrients to aid in health and regeneration. Raw cauliflower, when processed, soaks up the dressing and all the lovely flavours. Perfect on it’s own, or paired with grilled lean meat or fish. 

Ingredients:

150g (2/3 cup) pearl barley

2 oranges, peeled

1 lemon, rind finely grated, juiced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons maple syrup

250g cauliflower florets

1 small zucchini, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, thinly sliced

2 green shallots, thinly sliced

280g mixed carrots, peeled, coarsely grated

50g (1/3 cup) dried cranberries

1/2 cup fresh mint (firmly packed), chopped

1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves (firmly packed), chopped

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

200g low-fat feta, quartered

Extra virgin olive oil, extra, to drizzle

Fresh mint and Coriander leaves, extra, to serve

Method:

Step 1: Place barley in a saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-35 minutes or until tender. Drain. Refresh under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towel. Place in a bowl.

Step 2: Holding each orange over a bowl to catch any juice, cut along either side of the white membranes to remove orange segments. Reserve juice. Combine orange juice, lemon juice, oil and maple syrup in a bowl and season.

Step 3: Process cauliflower until finely chopped. Add cauliflower and zucchini to juice mixture. Set aside for 5 minutes to develop the flavours.

Step 4: Add orange segments, lemon rind, celery, shallot, carrot, cranberries, zucchini mixture and 3/4 of the herbs to the barley. Season. Toss to combine. Divide among bowls. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Top with feta. Sprinkle with remaining herbs. Drizzle with extra oil and sprinkle with extra herbs.

Healthiest Regards

Nutrition Nourishment

Guilt-Free Easter Recipes: Egg-cellent Treats for the Family

Hello Everyone,

The kids are now officially on school holidays and Nutrition Nourishment will be posting child-specific blogs to help get beneficial advice regarding health and wellbeing. Keep an eye out for recipes, health advice, kids activities and back-to-school aid over the coming weeks.

Easter is only a round the corner. Do you feel you can’t indulge in traditional goodies with the kids without spoiling your diet? Well check below for these delicious gluten and dairy-free treats that will please the whole family!

Hopping Raw Chocolate Tahini Spread

If your a nutella lover, you’ll adore this nut-free, dairy-free chocolate fudgey spread. It can be used as a ganache on cakes, spread onto toast, accompanied as a dip with berries or even eaten within a spoon. See Below for recipe…

Ingredients:

1/4 C unhulled Tahini

1 Tsp Cold-pressed Virgin Coconut Oil

1 Tsp organic maple syrup or (rice malt syrup if fructose is an issue)

2 Tsp of raw organic Cacao powder

Method:

Step 1: Place Tahini, maple syrup and coconut oil into a food processor and blend to combine.

Step 2: Slowly add cacao powder to ensure a smooth consistency without any lumps.

Step 3: The mixture can be stored in the fridge to create a fudge consistency or stored in an air-tight container at room temperature to make for easy spreading. Enjoy!!!

Tip: to get into the easter spirit, why not roll the mixture up into small egg-shaped balls for a chocolate easter egg treat thats completely guilt free!!! This would make a lovely gift!

Bunny’s Grain-free Hot Cross Buns!!

Hot cross buns made in health heaven featuring gluten free, dairy free, high protein and low GI! Enjoy heated up with a spread of butter for a perfect compliment to a cup of tea or coffee. See below for recipe…

Ingredients: Fruit Buns

3 C Almond meal

1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

1/2 tsp Baking soda

1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil, coconut oil or butter

2 Tsp Raw Honey, or Rice Malt Syrup

1 Orange, zested and juiced

1 tsp vanilla paste

3 Organic Free- ranged eggs

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp groung ginger

1 large Pear, finely diced

1 C Raisins

White- Chocolate Ganache: Cross

1/4 C Cacao Butter or Coconut Oil (melted)

1/4 C cashew butter or tahini

1/2 C Coconut cream, warmed

1 Tsp Raw Honey or Rice Malt Syrup

1/2 tsp Vanilla paste

Method:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 160 degree. Combine almond meal, salt, baking soda, oil, honey, orange zest and juice, vanilla paste and eggs into a large mixing bowl and stir until combined.

Step 2: Add cinnamon and ginger spices, then the pear dices with raising and mix well to combine. (Using hands for this step may be helpful)

Step 3: use an ice-cream scoop to measure out equal rounds into a baking tray or a 12 muffin tin lined with baking paper.

Step 4: Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through.  Remove from oven and place on bench to cool.

Tip: Insert a clean sewer into the middle of the buns and if it comes out clean the buns are ready! You may even find covering the buns with foil will prevent over-browning of the top.

Step 5: To make ganache for the criss-cross, place all ingredients above into a food processor and blend until well combined.

Step 6: Allow the ganache mixture to cool slightly so it thicken into a piping consistency. Spoon into a piping bah and create the crosses on cooled buns. ENJOY!!!

Easter-ful Chocolate Cake

Completely guilt free chocolate cake for a wholesome and nutritious treat. It’s gluten free, dairy-free and high in proteins. This cake is sure to be a winner at your family gathering! See below for recipe….

Ingredients:

3 C Almond Meal

1/2 C Cacao Powder

2 tsp gluten-free baking powder or baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

4 Organic Free-Ranged Eggs

2 tsp vanilla Extract

1/c C Extra Virgin Olive Oil or melted butter

1/2 C Almond milk, or milk of choice

4 Tsp Raw Honey or Maple Syrup

Method:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 160 degree and line cake tin with baking paper.

Step 2: Combine almond meal, cacao, baking powder and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. For wet ingredients combine in a separate bowl, eggs, vanilla, oil/butter, milk and honey/maple. Mix to combine.

Step 3: Pour wet ingredient into dry mixture and mix. Pour into lined cake tray.

Step 4: bake for 45 mins or until cooked through, then remove from oven to cool on bench top.

Step 5: Once cooled, frost with hopping raw chocolate tahini spread for a delicious bunny-worthy family cake.

Nutrition Nourishment encourages the kids to join in the cooking fun for these delicious easter treats. This makes a wonderful and tasty school holiday activity to keep the kids busy, while providing some gorgeous treats for everyone!!

As Always

Healthiest Regards

Nutrition Nourishment

Eat With The Seasons: How Seasonal Produce Improves Your Health

Hello Everyone,

At last we say goodbye to long, hot summer days and warmly welcome the cooler change of autumn. With it’s falling leaves, cooler, foggy mornings with the sun rising over the country paddocks, the cows and horses begin to stir and look up at the orange and pink sky. Autumn is by far my favourite season, and especially when i live so close to nature on my nan and pop’s farm.

 

Before we started the mass import and exportation of goods a few decades ago, we had no choice but to eat seasonally. That’s all that was available. We had watermelons in summer, when it was hot, and root vegetables in winter. It makes sense, as watermelon will cool us down in the heat of summer and root vegetables are made into soups or roasted – keeping us warm in the cool.

Understanding what your body needs will not only improve the health of our planet, but yours as well. Eastern medicine and philosophies have understood the interconnectedness of the body, mind and spirit for centuries, but only recently has it found its way into Western lives.
These days though, you can pretty much buy anything you want all year around in a supermarket, as it’s more than likely been imported. But learn from farmers’ markets: if it’s not available, chances are it’s not in season – a good sign you’re not meant to be eating it then anyway.

Eating local is a way to cut down on food miles and emissions. Economically, you support your own community, not large companies. Environmentally, your food travels less, and you know more where it’s coming from. Other benefits include solidarity with food producers doing things on a smaller scale, and the opportunity to eat more natural, whole foods. On that note, eating more natural foods is also good for your health — an aspect of local eating that isn’t always the center of the discussion about reducing food miles.

So, what are the health benefits of eating local? If you needed any more convincing in order to get shopping local, here are a few of the health advantages.

 

Local Matters

Just as the leaves start to lose their moisture so do we, both internally and externally. We will likely experience drier skin, coughs, dandruff and constipation. To prevent or reduce these symptoms, eat foods that nourish and moisten, such as nuts and seeds and their oils (tahini, olive, almond and flax oil), wholegrains like barley and millet, and apples, pears and avocado. Foods that build up our blood in preparation for winter are figs, pears, pumpkin, and beetroot. The flavour associated with the lungs is pungent so ginger and wasabi are especially helpful during this season.

Eating local is a way to cut down on food miles and emissions. Economically, you support your own community, not large companies. Environmentally, your food travels less, and you know more where it’s coming from. Other benefits include solidarity with food producers doing things on a smaller scale, and the opportunity to eat more natural, whole foods. On that note, eating more natural foods is also good for your health — an aspect of local eating that isn’t always the centre of the discussion about reducing food miles.

So, what are the health benefits of eating local? If you needed any more convincing in order to get shopping local, here are a few of the health advantages.

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Eating local means fresher food

When produce doesn’t travel across the country, or sometimes the world, its freshness means higher nutrient value. Once produce is packaged its optimal nutritional level decreases, specifically some vitamins such as C, E, A and some B. There are other factors that come into play, such as exposure to artificial lights and air, and temperature changes. Of course produce that has traveled still has nutritional value, but produce consumed immediately after its harvest is not only healthier but tastier as well (ever compared a freshly picked strawberry to a grocery store one?). This is due to the fact that the fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen longer on their branches, vines, bushes, etc. rather than being picked early so as not to spoil during transportation and packaging. Local produce that is destined for local markets is picked at its prime ripeness, meaning your food will not only be healthier but also taste better.

Eating local means seasonal

Eating local also means following the natural flow of the seasons if you’re eating whatever the closest farmers have to offer (such as picking up a CSA box). For ecologists, this means following the natural flow of diversity and discovering local varieties, which might not exist in increasingly uniform grocery stores. This certainly helps to avoid the issue of eating the same foods all year round, which is not ideal for your health. In addition, Japanese research found that spinach harvested in the summer vs. the winter had three times more vitamin C. Additionally, food that is grown seasonally and close by might contain more nutrients that we specifically need at that point of the year. It’s very easy in our big, box store world to forget what foods we should be consuming at which points throughout the year, but finding a balance with what we eat and the seasons can benefit us as well as the planet.

Eating local means being engaged

Many of our current environmental and health issues are due to modern agriculture, and if we engage with our local, natural sources of food, we not only help out local producers, but help our own health. Modern food is packed with sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, all of which have been linked to chronic diseases. Getting our food from local sources (ideas below), means having a lot more fresh produce on our hands.

Engaging with what has traditionally been grown in an area is becoming increasingly popular. The website of the Decolonize Your Diet movement speaks of food as medicine; not just for the body, but for the soul as well. The site encourages eating the local, indigenous foods of an area in order to reconnect with culture and health. Good resources for indigenous eating may be found through their work.

In this same vain, the Guardian posted an article recently on the ability of indigenous diets to fight modern diseases. It explains that many micronutrients have been lost in the modern, processed way of eating, which are still present in local foods. Above and beyond the health benefits, such a shift could help bring humans closer to the Earth, and foster a more concrete link between consumers and producers. The story cites millet, spirulina, roots and tubers as regional foods grown in different parts of the world that contain disease-fighting micro-nutrients. In addition to the alternatives of indigenous crops to modern agriculture, wild foods also offer nutritional bonuses. And, when it comes to such nutrient-dense foods, it’s quality (not quantity) that matters, meaning that only a small amount of a wild food can contain large health benefits.

Fortunately, eating more locally is becoming easier as it becomes more popular. Farmer’s markets have sprouted up all over, some even during the winter. So what have you got to lose? Get out there and get cooking local!

Healthiest Regards

Nutritionnourishment

 

Gut Health: Probiotics and Prebiotics

Hello everyone,

Hippocrates didn’t hold back when he claimed “death sits in the bowel”.

There are 10 times more bacteria in the digestive system than there are cells in the body. Known as microflora, this internal ecosystem weighs up to two kilograms and makes up most of the dry weight of faeces. Before you reach for the antiseptic, it is important to know that many of these bacteria are beneficial to health. The good guys are referred to as probiotics, which breed in the bowel and can be found in food or taken as a supplement. Every person’s assembly of microflora is unique to them, like fingerprints and DNA.

Only a few of the more than 500 species of bacteria found in the bowel have been studied in depth. Some create vitamins such as K, B5, B9 and B12. Others help improve absorption of magnesium, calcium and iron.

The good bugs defend their turf from pathogenic intruders, which is why a course of probiotics before travelling can prevent stomach upset. A large percentage of the immune system is located around the bowel and probiotics are important for the maintenance and regulation of immunity, helping prevent coughs, colds and infections. Other conditions that respond well to probiotics include diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, eczema and asthma. Studies have shown certain probiotics help prevent bowel (colorectal) cancer.

Prebiotics are food for probiotics. Prebiotics are found in asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, beans, chickpeas, lentils and supplementary fibres such as psyllium, pectin, guar gum and slippery elm.

Foods that contain probiotics include yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, natto, tempeh and kimchi. To maintain a healthy microflora, small amounts of probiotic foods need to be consumed several times a week.

Nutrition nourishment recommend regular consumption of pre- and probiotic foods for good health and when the condition warrants it – such as after a course of antibiotics – I prescribe a high-dose probiotic supplement.

  • Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that are used as nourishment by probiotics allowing them to survive in the gut.
  • Working together pro- and prebiotics have positive benefits on the health of the digestive system.
  • There is still insufficient evidence for many of the health claims associated with taking probiotics.

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What they are

Probiotics and prebiotics are beneficial to digestive health because of the positive effect they have on the bacteria that lives in our digestive systems. Probiotics are live micro-organisms (mostly bacteria), and prebiotics are the non-digestible foods, mainly carbohydrates, which stimulate the growth of probiotics.

Our gut is home to numerous bacteria, otherwise known as gut flora. A healthy digestive system has a good balance of both good and bad bacteria.

If the balance is upset (often due to lifestyle and dietary factors), harmful bacteria can flourish increasing the risk of diarrhea, vaginal yeast infections and many other health problems.

Causes for the probiotic balance of your digestive system to be disturbed include:

  • Taking antibiotics.
  • Eating a poor diet high in refined carbohydrates.
  • Insufficient dietary fibre.
  • Exposure to environmental toxins.

Probiotics and prebiotics work together to maintain a healthy digestive system. Because probiotic bacteria are often eliminated in the gut, prebiotic foods are needed to ensure their survival. Beneficial bacteria needs to be supplied with the correct nourishment in order to thrive. Scientific research regarding the benefits of probiotics potential for preventing and treating health conditions is still in its early stages.

Benefits of prebiotics

Prebiotics – indigestible carbohydrates – are found in a variety of plant foods as well as saliva and breast milk. They create balance in gut flora by promoting beneficial probiotic microorganisms to grow and multiply and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Sources or prebiotics include soybeans, asparagus, artichokes, garlic, tomatoes, greens, legumes, raw oats, bananas, berries, unrefined wheat and barley.

Benefits of probiotics

Benefits attributed to these live micro-organisms include aiding digestion, fighting off harmful bacteria, making nutrients available for your to use and keeping the bowels functioning.

Probiotics are available in the form of foods and dietary supplements such as tablets and powders. Other sources include probiotic yoghurts, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, and some juices and soy beverages.

While probiotics have been shown to help those with infectious diarrhea, little scientific evidence exists as to their benefits for healthy people In short, if you are eating a healthy mixed diet with lots of vegetables, your digestive system is likely to function well without the need to take specific probiotic supplements. Foods with probiotic properties may, however, assist when people have been ill or have been taking antibiotics.

For more information regarding probiotics, prebiotics and gut health click on the links below.

https://www.thehealthychef.com/2016/03/is-your-gut-happy/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3983973/

http://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/articles/2012/june/five-golden-rules-digestive-health

http://www.med.monash.edu.au/cecs/gastro/prebiotic/faq/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/

Healthiest regards

nutritionnourishment