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
Gut Health Series Part 2: Gut Health and Inflammation
Gut health and inflammation are two subjects that have been receiving increasing interest from the medical community in recent years and also serves as a premise of our program.
Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to injury, infection, or stress. This is a healthy and natural process for our body to heal. However, chronic inflammation is not natural, nor healthy. Chronic inflammation can cause different health issues such as autoimmune disease, chronic arthritis, Alzheimers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and even cancer.
The gut, on the other hand, contains trillions of microorganisms, also referred to as the microbiota. It assists in regulating the immune system and keeping your gut healthy.
This blog aims to explore the relationship between inflammation and gut health and offer recommendations for keeping the gut healthy.
Tips in Maintaining a Healthy Gut
First, let’s take a closer look at inflammation.
As a reaction to irritants like pathogens or toxins, the immune system releases cytokines that prompts the immune cells to migrate to the site of injury or infection to initiate healing. Inflammation naturally recedes once the threat has been resolved. However, chronic inflammation happens when the body experiences prolonged stress, environmental toxins, or a diet high in processed foods and sugar, resulting in an overactive immune system.
Now, let’s talk about gut health.
The gut microbiota is a thriving community of microorganisms. These tiny creatures keep our immune system in check and support a healthy gut. The mucosal layer is a special lining that protects the gut. It acts as a defense against harmful substances from penetrating the bloodstream. For the layer to be strong, the gut microbiota produces short fatty acids to nourish the cells.
So, what can we do to maintain a healthy gut and reduce inflammation? Here are some tips:
- Observe a whole food diet.
Eat foods that are higher in fat content, but lower in carbohydrate count. Here is a list of many healthy recipes to consider. (Insert link to our recipe page on website)
- Avoid processed and sugary foods.
Process and sugary foods can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiota, resulting in inflammation and a range of health problems.
- Consume probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that nurture the gut microbiota. You can find probiotics in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, and prebiotics in foods like garlic, onions, and leeks. Although not all prebiotics and probiotics are created equal, it is generally a healthy habit to consume them.
- Manage chronic stress.
Regular stress is a very natural and healthy thing. Stress is your bodies natural response to a situation, which often induces focus. In short periods of time, there is a big upside to stress. However, chronic stress leads to the over-activation of the immune system and chronic inflammation. Reduce stress! Try practices like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing, as well as proper rest. We have found that measuring things like sleep will create personal accountability, and thus assist in stress reduction.
To sum up, gut health and inflammation are two topics that are almost intertwined. The gut microbiota regulates the immune system and maintains gut health. A healthy gut can help to minimize inflammation and prevent a variety of health problems. By following the tips outlined above, you can take steps to maintain a healthy gut and reduce inflammation in your body.
We are excited to provide to you the last installment next in this three part series related to gut health and your diet! Stay tuned!
- Ciorba, M. A. (2012). A gastroenterologist’s guide to probiotics. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 10(9), 960-968.
- Gibson, G. R., Hutkins, R., Sanders, M. E., Prescott, S. L., Reimer, R. A., Salminen, S. J., … & Scott, K. (2017). Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology
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
The Dorito Effect
A Book Summary
“The Dorito Effect” by Mark Schatzker explores the impact of industrial farming and food production on the taste and nutrition of our food. Schatzker argues that as modern agriculture has focused on producing more and bigger crops, it has also inadvertently stripped food of its natural flavor and nutrients.
The book begins by tracing the history of flavor, examining how early humans evolved to seek out foods that provided them with the nutrients they needed to survive. As humans have developed new farming techniques, however, the flavor and nutritional content of our food has suffered. Schatzker argues that the food industry has responded to this by adding artificial flavors and other chemicals to enhance the taste of food, leading to a “Dorito effect” in which we crave the intense, artificial flavors of processed foods over the more subtle flavors of natural foods.
The book goes on to explore the impact of this phenomenon on our health, arguing that the nutrient-deficient diets many of us consume are contributing to a host of modern health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Schatzker concludes by calling for a return to more natural, flavorful food production methods and a renewed focus on the nutritional content of our diets.
He argues that the overconsumption of highly processed, artificially flavored foods has led to a host of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Schatzker explains that when we eat natural foods that are rich in nutrients, our bodies are able to regulate our appetite and metabolism effectively. However, when we consume foods that are nutrient-deficient and artificially flavored, our bodies struggle to recognize when we are full, leading us to overeat and consume more calories than we need.
Furthermore, Schatzker highlights how the lack of natural flavor in modern foods has led to a rise in the use of artificial sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup, which have been linked to a host of health problems. He notes that these sweeteners are often added to processed foods to mask the absence of natural flavor and to make them more palatable to consumers.
Schatzker argues that in order to address these health problems, we need to focus on consuming more natural, nutrient-rich foods. He calls for a renewed focus on sustainable agriculture and the use of natural flavorings, such as herbs and spices, to enhance the taste of our food. He also stresses the importance of reading food labels and avoiding highly processed foods that are loaded with artificial flavors and sweeteners.
Overall, “The Dorito Effect” is a thought-provoking exploration of the impact of modern food production on our health and our taste preferences. It challenges readers to reconsider our relationship with food and the role that industrial farming and food processing play in shaping the flavor and nutritional content of the foods we eat.