Four Foods to Get Your Gut Health on Track
Mounting evidence reveals there’s more to nutrition than previously thought — a large component of it actually revolves around nourishing the health-promoting bacteria in your body, thereby keeping harmful microbes in check. One of the reasons a healthy diet is able to influence your health is by the fact that it helps create an optimal environment for beneficial bacteria in your gut, while decreasing pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria, fungi and yeast. Among the top contenders in this category are:treatment laser
1.Raw, grass fed kefir. This cultured milk product, which is easy to make at home with raw grass fed milk, is loaded with probiotics. It also contains fiber, which is another important source of nourishment for the healthy bacteria in your gut.treatment laser
2.Fermented vegetables. One of the best and least expensive ways to optimize your gut microbiome is to eliminate sugars and processed sugars and eat traditionally fermented foods. Kefir is one; fermented vegetables are another. Here you have plenty of choices, as you can easily ferment just about any vegetable you like.
Using a special starter culture made with vitamin K2-producing bacteria will also turn your fermented veggies into a great source of vitamin K2. If you like cabbage, check out this simple sauerkraut recipe.
3.Organic bone broth. Bone broth is quite possibly one of the oldest meals on record, going back to the Stone Age. It may also be one of the most healing. Not only is it very easily digested, it also contains profound immune-optimizing components that are foundational building blocks for the treatment of leaky gut and autoimmune diseases.
This includes but is not limited to bioavailable minerals, collagen, silicon, components of bone and bone marrow, glucosamineand chondroitin sulfate and the conditionally essential amino acids proline, glycine and glutamine. However, if you choose this food you must be absolutely certain it is organic, as nonorganic bone broth may be worse than junk food. Bone broth is best made at home from scratch, using organic grass fed bones. You can find a hearty bone broth recipe here.treatment laser
4.Organic psyllium. Psyllium is a healthy dietary fiber that helps nourish healthy bacteria in your gut, reduces intestinal inflammation, and may provide some relief from irritable bowel syndrome. The recommended daily amount of fiber is between 20 and 30 grams, but I believe about 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed is ideal.
Two Potent Anti-Inflammatory Spices
While several of the foods already listed could belong in this section, two potent anti-inflammatory spices worthy of special mention are:
1.Turmeric, nicknamed the “spice of life,” has a long history of medicinal use for Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Its bioactive compound, curcumin, has been found to help maintain a healthy digestive system, modulate some 700 genes, positively control more than 160 different physiological pathways, improve the orderliness of cell membranes, and directly interact with inflammatory molecules to help lower inflammation.treatment laser
Research also shows it has potent anticancer activity. Ready for a tasty novelty? Try this golden cauliflower flatbread recipespiced with turmeric.
2.Ginger is also well-known for its medicinal qualities. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences recently published a review7 showing ginger may protect against a wide range of chronic diseases, in part due to its beneficial effects on oxidative stress and inflammation.
Like turmeric, ginger has also been found to have anticancer activity, driving “mitochondrially mediated apoptosis” (programmed cell death), decreasing the size of prostate tumors without disturbing normal tissues.8 For a tasty, gut-healing beverage, try this dairy-free coconut and ginger kefir recipe.treatment laser
Two Immune-Boosting Superfoods
Your immune system is the first-line defense against all disease, and a majority of your immune function resides or starts in your gut. Hence, all the gut-healthy foods already mentioned will help boost your immune function as well. In addition to those, the following two categories are worthy of special note:
1.Allium vegetables9 — garlic and onions. The unique scent emitted by allium vegetables when cut comes from sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin, which have many health-promoting effects. Studies have demonstrated garlic may inhibit a vast array of diseases by reducing inflammation, boosting immune function and improving cardiovascular health.treatment laser
It’s also been shown to combat at least 14 different kinds of cancer cells, including brain, lung, breast, gastric and pancreatic cancer cells. Sprouted garlic and fermented, black garlic are two variations you can try for variety’s sake as well. Both have been shown to provide additional health benefits over regular, fresh garlic. To learn more, see the link provided above.
Onions also have a wealth of beneficial properties; they’re antiallergic, antihistaminic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant all rolled into one. Polyphenols are plant compounds recognized for their disease prevention, antioxidant and antiaging properties, and onions have a particularly high concentration of them.
Onions are especially rich in polyphenol flavonoids called quercetin, a powerful antioxidant with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties that may help fight chronic diseases like allergies, heart disease and cancer.10
2.Mushrooms. Aside from being rich in protein, fiber, vitamins B and C, calcium and minerals, mushrooms are excellent sources of antioxidants, including antioxidants that are unique to mushrooms, such as ergothioneine, recognized as a “master antioxidant.” A study in the journal Nature11 discussed the importance of ergothioneine, which appears to have a very specific role in protecting your DNA from oxidative damage.treatment laser
Some of the most potent immunosupportive agents are also found in mushrooms, which is one reason why they’re so beneficial for both preventing and treating cancer. Long-chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha and beta glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms’ beneficial effect on your immune system.
In human nutrition intervention studies,12,13,14 dried shiitake mushrooms were found to have a beneficial, modulating effect on immune system function. For an immune-boosting side dish, try this easy slow cooker garlic mushroom recipe.
Two Muscle-Boosting Superfoods
Proteins are found in every cell in your body. These chains of amino acids are important for repair, maintenance and growth of cells, and are essential for healthy muscles, organs, glands and skin. As protein is broken down and used up in your body, you must replace it by consuming protein via your diet. There’s no question that eating enough high-quality protein is essential to good health, but many Americans tend to eat far more than they need.
Excessive protein can have a stimulating effect on a biochemical pathway called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). This pathway has an important and significant role in many cancers. When you reduce protein to just what your body needs, mTOR remains inhibited, which helps minimize your chances of cancer growth.treatment laser
So, remember, there appears to be a Goldilocks’ Zone when it comes to protein. You want just enough — not too much and not too little — and your individual requirement will vary depending on your age, sex, physical activity and more. As a general rule, most people likely need about one-half gram of protein per pound of LEAN body mass. To calculate your lean body mass, simply subtract your percent body fat from 100, then multiply that percentage by your current weight.
Next, multiply your lean body mass by 0.5 to get your approximate protein requirement in grams. Seniors, pregnant women and athletes generally need about 25 percent more than the general population. When it comes to protein-rich, muscle-boosting foods, quality also matters. Two of the top contenders here are:
1.Grass fed beef. Compared to conventional beef from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations, grass fed beef tends to have significantly better omega-6 to omega-3 ratios, higher concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and antioxidants, and a lower risk of being contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.treatment laser
When buying meat, be sure to look for the American Grassfed Association’s certification mark. At present, this is the only logo able to guarantee the meat comes from animals that have been fed a 100 percent forage diet, never been confined to a feedlot, never received antibiotics or hormones, and have been raised on an American farm (i.e., the meat is not imported).
2.Whey protein, a byproduct of milk and cheese (often referred to as the gold standard of protein), was promoted for its health benefits by Hippocrates as early as 420 B.C. Besides providing all of the essential amino acids your body needs, high-quality whey protein from organically raised grass fed cows also contains three ingredients of particular importance for health: leucine, glutathione and CLA.
Both leucine and CLA can be helpful if you’re trying to lose weight, while glutathione boosts your overall health by protecting your cells and mitochondria from oxidative and peroxidative damage. As with beef, make sure your whey protein is certified organic and derived from grass fed cows, and is minimally processed with no added sugars and preservatives.treatment laser
Three Anticancer Foods to Eat More Of
Many previously mentioned foods also belong in this section as well. Three additional foods with potent chemoprotective activity that many don’t eat enough of are:
1.Broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables). Broccoli has definitely earned its place among chemoprotective foods, thanks to plant compounds such as sulforaphane, glucoraphanin, phenolic compounds and diindolylmethane (DIM). Studies have shown sulforaphane causes apoptosis (programmed cell death) in colon, prostate, breast and tobacco-induced lung cancer cells.
Three servings of broccoli per week may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60 percent.It’s also an anti-inflammatory, and encourages production of enzymes capable of reducing reactive oxygen species by as much as 73 percent.treatment laser
Glucoraphanin also influences the process of carcinogenesis and mutagenesis,while phenolic compounds have a potent ability to eliminate damaging free radicals and quell inflammation.DIM also has multiple potential benefits, including boosting your immune system and helping to prevent or treat cancer.
To really optimize these benefits, be sure to eat your cruciferous veggies with some organic mustard seed powder. If you don’t like broccoli, keep in mind that many, if not most, of the members of the cruciferous family have similar plant compounds and health benefits.treatment laser
2.Leeks, an allium vegetable closely related to onions and garlic, have much to offer in the way of good health. Like garlic, many of its therapeutic effect come from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Leeks also contain kaempferol, a natural flavonol also found in broccoli, kale and cabbage, which research has linked to a lower risk of cancer.
3.Black cumin, also known as black seed (Nigella Sativa), has at least 20 different pharmacological actions, including natural antibacterial properties, antioxidant, renal protective and gastro-protective properties. Some have even called it a “seed of blessing” because it provides protection against both heart disease and cancer.treatment laser