Follow these 10 Golden Rules to optimize your health with simple, everyday habits.
Truth: you can have low levels of gut bacteria even if you've been taking probiotics for years.
We live in a world where digestive issues are becoming more problematic and also, the new normal. As someone who has been working with clients who have a multitude of digestive issues — bloating, poor absorption of nutrients, food intolerances, H. pylori, the list goes on — I know a thing or two about digestion both personally and professionally. Poor digestion can be caused by many factors that affect gut bacteria, including a poor diet (i.e. lack of whole foods, fiber, nutrients), repeated and frequent use of antibiotics and some prescription medications, stress, genetics, and underlying medical issues.
Until recently, scientists believed that taking probiotics was the best way to increase the levels of healthy gut bacteria. Yes, it is a magical pill filled with little bacteria that has the ability to regulate your gut health, however...
recent research has shown that while probiotics have numerous benefits, they don’t quantitatively increase beneficial gut microbes over the long term.
If not probiotics, then what does?
We have enzymes in our gut to break down large molecules, such as protein, carbohydrates and fat. That does not happen with fiber. Instead, it passes through our stomach, drawing out waste, and remains completely intact before entering the colon, where it becomes “food” for the beneficial microorganisms that live there.
Studies have shown that fiber has the incredible ability to increase levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Fiber is a “prebiotic,” which is defined as a nutrient that is not digestible by humans but that increases the levels of beneficial gut bacteria.
So, if you have low levels of beneficial bacteria, don’t forget to include fiber/prebiotics in your strategy, along with your probiotics.
They support each other: the probiotics are the beneficial bacteria themselves, and the prebiotics are the food these bacteria need to thrive.
Leaky Gut Syndrome and Candida are very often linked, and indeed a Candida overgrowth is one of the most common causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Leaky gut is a condition that occurs when the Candida yeast cells transform into their pathogenic, fungal form and start to grow small branches named hyphae. These branches can attach themselves to the mucous membrane that forms the inner lining to your intestine, literally breaking through it and creating a hole in the wall.
As a result, the body begins to develop food sensitivities and intolerances, which leads to uncontrolled weight loss. People with candida may find themselves having itchy skin and yeast infections more than the average person.
The mucous membrane in your gut is important because it is the lining that prevents food particles and other substances from leaking out into your bloodstream.
When this lining is compromised, undigested food particles can enter into your blood. Once there, they are recognized as foreign substances by your immune system, triggering an immune response. Your immune system remembers this, and triggers a similar immune response the next time you eat that food. This results in chronic inflammation and other symptoms that are typically associated with food allergies.
Food sensitivities are not the only health problem related to Leaky Gut Syndrome. It has also been associated with auto-immune diseases like fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The best way to prevent Leaky Gut Syndrome is by reversing your Candida overgrowth and avoiding other common culprits like inflammatory foods. In order to do so, it is important to take a food sensitivity test and start with anti-fungal supplements.
By preventing the Candida yeast cells from multiplying and transforming into their fungal form, you can maintain the integrity of your intestinal walls through proper diet and supplemental precautions, and prevent substances from leaking through into your bloodstream.
Is it just me or is the new health trend starting to look like we are micromanaging our lives?
We’re tracking our calories, tracking our steps, restricting our carbs and counting our nuts. What happened to intuitively eating and exercising for fun? Has it come to running around our kitchen table just to fit in those 10,000 steps by the end of the day?
A study published in 2016 shows no difference whatsoever between those who used a fitbit for a year and those who didn’t. This kind of data should have you rethinking these expensive devices. Stop stressing about the numbers, for all we know it’s probably negating the health benefits of exercise!
I have even seen some patients who sacrifice their yoga workout to go on a run instead. That way, their doing something that will add more steps to their day. What good is that? Yoga has many health benefits but the obsession with tracking steps seems to be able to override that.
The trackers are definitely pretty but the symbolism is not.
Trackers show the world we need to be monitored, and that is certainly the opposite of nutrition counseling (by a dietitian, at least.) As a Registered Dietitian, my job is to guide and educate my patients until they reach the point where they finally believe that they can trust themselves to make good food decisions.