Your Gut Health and Stress

brain-gut connection diagramIt has become widely known that stress directly impacts health. This is true for many aspects of health, and the healthy bacteria within the gut are no exception (). This study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition also helped confirm a connection between stress, inflammation of the colon, and the gut bacteria.

Ross Maltz at Nationwide Children’s Hospital explains, ”Part of the microbiome is bacteria lining the GI tract. The bacteria break down food and produce many metabolites, which have the ability to communicate with the intestines and immune system, and we believe disruption of this mechanism is contributing to the inflammation seen in inflammatory bowel disease.”

 

How Does Stress Affect The Gut?

When present over a long period of time stress hormones such as cortisol can reduce the number of protective Man On Sofa Having Headache and Stomach Achebacteria in the intestinal walls. Another factor is that during stress, the body routes blood away from the intestines, depriving the area of oxygenation as well as nutrients. This can contribute to the weakening of the bacterial population.

These studies indicate, for example, that if an infection happens along with chronic stress, the amount inflammation seen in the colon is much worse. This linkage between gut health and stress may help uncover mechanisms of action for Irritable Bowel Disease and Leaky Gut Syndrome.

The bottom line is that it is absolutely key to take mindfulness seriously.

Garlic Tomato Soup

Tomatoes cooked with olive oil are a great and healthy way to prepare them. Give this easy soup a try.

You’ll Need

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Combine garlic and onion in a bowl.
  • Heat oil in a large pot.
  • Add garlic and onion and; saute till soft.
  • Do not brown.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and; stir in well.
  • After a few minutes, stir in stock and; pepper.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add salt if desired.

Black-Eyed Peas and Rice Salad

Beans are a super food and this is one of the many bonuses they may offer our health. This is a unique dish that is easy to prepare.

You’ll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
  • 3 cups hot cooked rice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup minced parsley

Continue reading “Black-Eyed Peas and Rice Salad”

Your Gut Health: Sugar

Follow along with me on the logic here.

Woman Suffering Stomach Ache After Eating Too Much CupcakeFirst, and you may not have know this, but the fungus and bacteria in your gut exist in a dynamic equilibrium. When the population of one grows large, the other is diminished.

Next, add to this the fact that diets high in sugar content can increase the population of the fungus Candida (the predominant fungal species of the gut), which can harm the population of the helpful bacteria.

This may be another reason why that extra sugar in your drinks and foods and everything else is associated with poor gut health.

By the way, if you’re thinking that you can keep your sweet tooth intact by moving to artificial sweeteners, there’s some concerns with this approach as well. Specifically, Maltodextrin and polysorbate-80 induced low-grade inflammation, obesity, and dysglycemia and promoted robust colitis in experimental animals [read this when you’re really out of things to do].

The most conservative solution to protect the healthy gut bacteria that are protecting you is to reduce the overall sugar content in your diet by eating real foods, and doing that in control.

Spicy Collard Greens

Collards are a super food, and are a great source of vitamins A, and C, calcium and cholesterol. This recipe is easy to make and is super flavorful!

You’ll Need
  • 1 pound collard greens
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger root, grated
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Directions

  • Rinse greens well in tepid water and slice into thin strips.
  • Place in a saucepan with the stock and basil, cover and cook about 30 minutes, until greens are tender.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute onion and garlic; stir in ginger root and jalapeno pepper.
  • Add to collard greens and stir until liquid is nearly evaporated.
  • Add sesame oil and pepper to taste; stir.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  •  

Pine Nut Lemon Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the world’s most popular health foods and is a wonderful food to try. It is a delicious grain that can work well as a side dish to a piece of fish.
You’ll Need
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Toast the pine nuts briefly in a dry skillet over medium heat. This will take about 5 minutes, and stir constantly as they will burn easily. Set aside to cool.
In a saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, approximately 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then fluff with a fork.
Transfer the quinoa to a serving bowl and stir in the pine nuts, lemon juice, celery, red onion, cumin and parsley. Adjust salt and pepper before serving.

Gut Health: About Colon Cancer

As a cancer of an internal organ, colon cancer often starts and then grows silently without symptoms. This is why it is so important to be aware of the risk factors, and if you meet the criteria to get your screenings done.

Please review these two informational flyers and if you have any questions at all, please contact your physician.

Infographic of Colon Cancer Facts and Stats

Colon Cancer Risk Factors

Your Gut Health: Probiotic vs Prebiotic?

When reading about gut health, you will almost certainly come across the terms “probiotic” and “prebiotic”. What is the difference between them?

pic of probiotic foods on a counterProbiotics: These are live bacteria found in the lining of your gut that are very important for overall health. You get these healthy bacteria by consuming bacteria-fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, or kimchi.

Prebiotics: These are kinds of plant fiber that we can’t digest. But the probiotic bacteria can digest them. In fact, prebiotics are critical for the health of your probiotic population, and therefore your overall gut health. Excellent prebiotic foods include oats, bananas, apples, cocoa, sweet potatoes, and all forms of beans.

A diet rich in prebiotic foods to nourish your probiotic population is a perfect recipe for excellent gut health.

Carrot Soup with Dill Pesto

Many herbs are super cancer preventers. Incorporate dill into your dishes with this delightful dill, carrot soup recipe.

You’ll Need:

  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh dill
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Saute carrots, onion, and dill seeds butter until tender about 10 minutes.
  • Add 4 cups broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 35 minutes.
  • Transfer soup to blender in batches and puree.
  • Thin with more broth if desired.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pesto:

  • Combine fresh dill and pine nuts in processor and chop finely.
  • Then, slowly add olive oil and process until well blended.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle into bowls.
  • Swirl pesto into soup bowls.

Gut Health: Is that a real thing?

Woman holding drawing of intestines over her gut

We often think of bacteria in terms of diseases. However, many bacteria are beneficial for many aspects of your health, such as your heart, immune system, mood, and even weight. In fact, our bodies are filled with trillions of microorganisms.

If you’re squeamish about the idea of bugs living inside you, you might want to skip to the end right now because your gut seethes with over 200 bacteria, viruses, and fungi that wriggle around down there. The good news is that they provide unique metabolic functions for you that are fundamentally important for your good health and disease prevention.

Collectively, they are known as the microbiome. They are so important for health that your body actually contains more bacterial cells than human cells!

Most of these microbes exist in your intestine and are known as your gut microbiome; they are critical for gut health. Here are some tips to develop a healthy microbiome for optimal health.

  • Good bacteria thrive on fiber. Make the base of your diet rich in fiber. Some examples are vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and fruits.
  • Eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kim chi, yogurt and vinegars.
  • Antibiotic regimes that are so important for fighting bad bacteria will also attack the good gut bacteria as well. Consume fermented foods when needing to take an antibiotic.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can damage healthy bacteria. Drink alcohol in moderation and choose the beverages that are made up of real ingredients.
  • Finally, much attention is being given to stress and our gut microbiome health. Managing stress is key!

 

Sausage Patties

This is a great dish to serve at brunch..

You’ll Need
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Cooking oil
Directions
  • In a bowl, combine pork, garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, and salt; mix until just combined.
  • Cover, refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  • Shape mixture into patties.
  • Lightly coat skillet with cooking oil.
  • Place skillet over moderate heat until it is hot.
  • Add patties to skillet.
  • Cook about 7 minutes on each side or until browned.