Gut Health Series Part 3: Gut health and diet
Gut health and diet
For this 3-part blog series of the week, this last article will focus on gut health and diet. By now, you would have known that gut health refers to the overall health and well-being of your digestive system to put it in simple terms. This includes the stomach, intestines, and other organs involved in the digestion and absorption of food nutrients in a human body.
Good gut health means that your digestive system is functioning properly and efficiently, and that you have a proper bacterial balance. To maintain this, it’s important to follow a diet that is higher in fat content and much lower in simple and complex carbohydrates. When adopting this type of diet, it allows you to utilize healthy fat as fuel, and helps to your digestive system to process the most unhealthy properties first, thus utilizing fat as fuel. When you utilize fat as fuel, you don’t store fat, thus leading to a healthier you. This transformation does not take long to achieve.
In addition to a good diet, a lifestyle including regular exercise and enough hours of sleep can help train your body to avoid unnecessary stress and unhealthy habits such as habitual smoking and drinking alcohol. Although this may be commonly known, there is a more thorough explanation.
When your liver if functioning at a high level, it is not being overworked. When it is functioning at suboptimal level, it is being worked too hard. Your digestive process triggers your liver to help process the most toxic things in your diet first. If it spends all of its time and energy processing the most toxic properties of your diet first, it has no choice but to store the more healthy properties. So if it is spending time processing simple sugars, processed foods, and excess alcohol, it will store fat, thus increasing fat, thus increasing your bodies inflammation. If you limit this unhealthy dietary habits, your body will utilize fat as fuel and the result will be healthier feeling you.
The foods you consume can have a significant impact on gut health and function of bodily systems linked to it. In the previous blogs, you’ve also learned about the use of probiotics and prebiotics that can aid in improving gut health and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in your digestive system.
Your diet can directly impact a healthy gut microbiome which should have a diverse, balanced, and wide range of beneficial bacteria. This complex community of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract play an important role in nutrient absorption, digestion, immune system regulation, and brain function.
Doctors recommend a balanced diet, especially to promote gut health, in order to enjoy these benefits:
- Improved mental health and cognitive function
- Reduced inflammation throughout the body
- Improved digestion and nutrient absorption
- Boosted immune system function
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers
- Improved weight management and metabolic health
In conclusion, taking care of your gut health will have a positive impact on your overall health and well-being. It’s crucial that you pay attention to your body before it gets worse so that you can make good choices that support good gut health.
To read further about our philosophy on diet, click below to learn more!
- World Health Organization (2015). Healthy diet. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet
- Harvard Health Publishing (2018). The gut-brain connection. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (2017). Your Digestive System and How It Works. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works
Top ten myths about a pescatarian diet
Eating a pescatarian diet has become increasingly popular as people seek out more sustainable and healthier options. However, there are many myths surrounding the pescatarian diet.
In this list, we will explore the top ten myths about the pescatarian diet and provide evidence-based resources to refute them. We will discuss topics such as protein sources, vegetables, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and more.
Myth #1. Pescatarians don’t get enough protein.
Some people believe that pescatarians don’t get enough protein because they are unfamiliar with the sources of protein that are available to pescatarians, such as fish, eggs, and dairy, as well as plant-based sources such as legumes, nuts, and seeds. Moreover, some people may mistakenly believe that seafood is not a significant source of protein.
FACT: Pescatarians get their protein from fish, eggs, and dairy, as well as from plant-based sources such as legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Myth #2. Pescatarians don’t eat enough vegetables.
This is not true. Going pescatarian means avoiding eating any type of meat that isn’t seafood but does not necessarily mean not eating fruits and vegetables at all. In fact, pescatarians are defined as vegetarians who also consume fish and seafood products.
FACT: Pescatarians can get their recommended daily intake of vegetables from a variety of sources, including fresh vegetables, legumes, and grains.
Myth #3. Pescatarians don’t get enough iron.
According to the National Institutes of Health, dark leafy greens, tofu, tempeh, legumes, nuts, and seeds, as well as some fortified breakfast cereals, are all good sources of dietary iron for pescatarians. Furthermore, the American Heart Association states that fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are particularly high in iron.
FACT: Pescatarians can get their iron from fish, legumes, and grains.
Myth #4. Pescatarians can’t make a balanced diet.
Pescatarians can make a balanced diet which includes fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Moreover, pescatarians get enough vitamins and minerals from their diet by eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
FACT: Pescatarians can make a balanced diet by eating a variety of foods from all food groups.
Myth #5. Pescatarians don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids
This is a myth because plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and edamame which pescatarians can eat. Some fortified plant-based milks and juices also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
FACT: Pescatarians can get their omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
Myth #6. Pescatarians can’t get enough calcium.
Some fish, such as sardines and salmon, contain calcium. Pescatarians can also get calcium from certain legumes, nuts, and seeds.
FACT: Pescatarians can get their calcium from dairy, fortified plant-based milk, and dark leafy greens.
Myth #7. Pescatarians can’t eat out.
This is a myth because pescatarians can find many restaurants that serve dishes that fit their diet, from sushi to seafood. Also, many restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options that can be adapted for pescatarians. More and more restaurants are increasing their selection of plant-based dishes, making it easier for pescatarians to dine out.
FACT: Pescatarians can find many restaurants that serve dishes that fit their diet, from sushi to seafood.
Myth # 8. Pescatarians don’t get enough B12.
On the contrary, pescatarians do get enough B12. It can be found from fortified plant-based milks and nutritional yeast, for instance. Did you know that some fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, also contain B12? Lastly, some fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast also contain B12.
FACT: Pescatarians can get their B12 from fortified plant-based milks and nutritional yeast.
Myth #9. Pescatarians can’t eat sushi.
This is not true. Pescatarians can enjoy sushi. The only thing pescatarians don’t eat on sushi are those with mayonnaise, cream cheese, and other animal products. Otherwise, sushi is OK. Many sushi restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options that can be adapted for pescatarians.
FACT: Pescatarians can enjoy sushi, as long as it does not contain other animal products such as cream cheese or mayonnaise.
Myth #10. Pescatarians can’t eat fish.
As it has been numerous times above, pescatarians actually do eat fish. What this means is that the fish has been caught in a manner that preserves the population and is not detrimental to the environment. A sustainably sourced fish is typically better for the health of the consumer, as it is not contaminated with pollutants or other toxins. Plus, supporting sustainable fishing practices helps to ensure that future generations will have access to fish.
FACT: Pescatarians are allowed to eat fish, as long as it is sustainably sourced.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8003004/ / https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids
Top ten myths about supplements
Supplements are becoming increasingly popular for people looking to improve their health and well-being, but there is often a lot of misinformation surrounding them.
In this list, we will look at the top ten myths about supplements and debunk them to uncover the truth behind them.
Myth #1 Supplements are always safe and natural.
Not all supplements can be safe and not always natural. It is important to do research on the ingredients, as some supplements may contain dangerous chemicals or additives. That said, what should always happen is to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement.
FACT: Supplements can have side effects and may interact with other medications or medical conditions. Additionally, not all supplements are natural, as some are created synthetically.
Myth #2: Supplements can replace a healthy diet.
Supplements cannot replace a healthy diet. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is the best way to get the nutrients your body needs. So, even if supplements can be beneficial in certain cases, they should never be used as a replacement for a healthy diet.
FACT: While supplements can be useful in filling nutrient gaps, they cannot replace the benefits of a balanced diet.
Myth #3: All supplements are effective.
Just because a supplement is marketed as being beneficial does not mean that it actually is. It is always important to do research and consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplement, as some supplements may not be effective or may, in fact, be dangerous.
FACT: There is no guarantee that any supplement will work for everyone. Additionally, the effectiveness of supplements may vary depending on individual factors.
Myth #4: Supplements are regulated by the FDA like drugs.
Dietary supplements are regulated differently than drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While the FDA does review the safety of dietary supplements, they do not have the same level of oversight as drugs.
FACT: Unlike drugs, supplements are not required to undergo pre-market testing for safety and efficacy by the FDA. However, the FDA does regulate supplement labeling and manufacturing practices.
Myth #5: More is always better when it comes to supplements.
Taking too much of certain supplements can be dangerous, so it is important to only take the recommended dose. Additionally, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplement to ensure it is safe and effective for you.
FACT: Taking excessive amounts of supplements can lead to toxicity and adverse health effects. It is important to follow recommended dosages and seek medical advice before taking high doses.
Myth #6: All supplements are created equal.
Not all supplements are created equal, as some may contain ingredients that have not been adequately tested for safety or may not be as effective as others. It is important to do research and consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplement to ensure it is safe and effective for you.
FACT: Not all supplements are of the same quality. Some may contain impurities or inaccurate labeling, while others may use higher quality ingredients.
Myth #7: Supplements can cure diseases.
While some supplements may be beneficial for certain conditions, they should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. Some supplements may interact with other medications or medical conditions so consult with a healthcare professional first before taking any supplement.
FACT: While some supplements may have health benefits, they cannot cure diseases or replace medical treatment.
Myth #8: All natural supplements are safe.
This is not always true. While some natural supplements may be safe, it is important to do research and, again, consult with a health practitioner before taking any supplement, as some natural supplements may contain dangerous chemicals or additives.
FACT: Natural does not always mean safe. Some natural supplements can have adverse effects, such as interactions with medications or allergic reactions.
Myth #9: Supplements can help with weight loss.
It is not advisable to believe this because while some supplements may have beneficial effects, they should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. Physical activity and a balanced diet are still the most effective ways to lose weight.
FACT: While some supplements may have ingredients that can aid in weight loss, there is no magic pill or supplement that can replace a healthy diet and exercise.
Myth #10: Supplements are necessary for optimal health.
Supplements can be beneficial for some individuals in achieving optimal health, but they are not necessary for everyone. Supplements should be used as a complement to a healthy diet, not a replacement for it.
If you have a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods, you may be getting all the nutrients you need. But, let’s not forget, some people may have dietary restrictions, food allergies, or medical conditions that make it difficult to get all the necessary nutrients from food alone. To that end, supplements can be helpful in filling nutrient gaps.
FACT: While some people may benefit from certain supplements, they are not necessary for overall health and wellbeing. A balanced diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle practices are essential for optimal health.