Posts

7 Herbs and Spices that Boost Gut Health

Your gut microbiome plays an important role in keeping your immune system healthy as well as in managing your mood.

Eating the right diet is essential for keeping the microorganisms that make up your microbiome healthy and happy. Foods that keep the gut lining intact and help in the proper movement of food through your digestive tract are necessary to keep your gut healthy.

Today I’ll share with you 7 herbs and spices that boost gut health.

Ginger

Ginger is famous for its culinary value and use in folk medicine. Ginger stimulates the migrating motor complex, the movement of the smooth muscles of the digestive tract that propels residual food forward. Without the migrating motor complex, food sits in your gut and ferments…and eventually causes bloating, gas, and stomach aches.

Ginger also promotes tissue repair in the gut lining and prevents symptoms of inflammatory conditions. In addition, ginger protects the liver from alcohol-induced damage. Most importantly, ginger feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut!

Try this yummy recipe of ginger beef to help you kickstart a diet with more ginger (can substitute for other proteins if you don’t eat beef).
 
Turmeric


Turmeric is a natural carminative–meaning, it relieves flatulence. As early as 600BC, people already used turmeric for its medicinal properties. It helps in preventing indigestion and inflammation so that incorporating turmeric in your diet can be part of an approach to preventing leaky gut from happening.

Check out the 37 turmeric recipes for vegetables, meats, and more. Turmeric supplements can be hard to digest so using the spice in your cooking is a great way to access its health benefits.

Dandelion

Dandelion is not your ordinary flower. This plant is considered as an herb because all of its parts are used for medicinal purposes. The roots are rich in a soluble fiber and prebiotic called inulin–making it suitable to ease constipation and to nourish the gut microbiome.

Dried dandelion roots make a great tea. You can also mix dandelion greens with other greens for an even healthier salad.

Parsley

Parsley also holds a lot of powerful health benefits for the gut. Adding some parsley in your daily meals could help prevent indigestion and gas. Parsley is pretty versatile. Use it in your salad, soup, stews, garnish, and more to give your gut a health boost.

Basil

Basil leaves, interestingly, have a lot of gut benefits. It has been actually used in traditional medicine to treat indigestion, bloating, and water retention. But above all, basil leaves feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.

Chamomile

Aside from the calming effect of chamomile tea, it is also good for the gut. It has been used to comfort upset stomachs, indigestion, and abdominal gas.

Chamomile tea comes from the dried chamomile flowers and contains flavanoids and antioxidants that make it an ideal herbal remedy.
 
Bay Leaf


Bay leaf is an aromatic leaf famous in the culinary world, but it is also effective in the relief of indigestion. It also helps in decreasing our bodies’ level of toxicity and soothes symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

You can use bay leaf in pickling, marinating, and adding flavor to your dishes. I love to use it in soups, chili, and spaghetti sauce! Check out different bay leaf recipes here.

So I hope you will use this information to make your meals both delicious and gut healing.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca


How to Manage Anxiety through Gut Health

It’s normal to become anxious when there is something you fear or when you face an unfamiliar situation (like this pandemic!). Your fight-or-flight response gets activated and so your breathing quickens and gets more shallow, your heart rate increases…these 2 reactions alone can lead to feeling anxious!

While this anxiety response is normal every now and then, anxiety disorder is a whole other story. It happens when a person stays in fight-flight and fails to go back to the rest-and-digest response. When this happens, the feeling of anxiety interferes with a person’s daily life so much that it feels very challenging to maintain even basic well-being and productivity.


 
There are a lot of things that can trigger anxiety: A traumatic experience, health problems, work or personal relationships, financial stress, or school challenges are common triggers. When we experience anxiety, inside your brain, a chemical imbalance occurs. The hormones that are responsible for mood, energy, and how we handle stress (neurotransmitters) can get thrown out of balance.
 
Cutting-edge research tells us another culprit plays a role in anxiety: Your gut microbiome.
 
Yes, your gut and nervous system are interconnected.
 
Have you experienced “butterflies in your stomach” during a presentation?
 
A “gut-wrenching” experience?
 
A “knot in your stomach” when facing an uncomfortable situation?
 
Well, your gut and brain are in constant communication.
 
In fact, the gut has this mesh-like network of neurons along its walls, called the enteric nervous system (ENS). It receives and sends signals from and to both the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). It sends signals to the brain via the vagus nerve.
 
So how does your gut microbiome cause anxiety?
 
Consider your ENS as your second brain.  It has profound influence on your emotions. How? It produces and moves serotonin, the neurotransmitter that maintains mood balance.
 
95% of serotonin is produced by the gut microbiome.
 
The health of your gut microbiome definitely influences your mood, how you deal with stress, and in the development of anxiety disorder.
 
So how do you keep your gut microbiome healthy so that it becomes a source of happiness and ease?

Boosting Your Gut Health

The goal is to increase the good microorganisms in your gut while decreasing the bad ones. Your diet plays a key role in helping you achieve this.
 
Your diet is not only a source of nutrition for your body: It also feeds the trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes in your gut.
 
Here are some changes you can apply to your diet to improve your gut health:

  1. Eat varied foods with plenty of good quality protein and plants at each meal.
  2. Reduce or totally get rid of highly processed food.
  3. Eat fiber (because your gut bugs eat it too!).

Please note that an abrupt switch to fiber-rich foods can make your stomach bloated, so just take it easy by doing it gradually and drink more water.
 
Since antibiotics are hard on your gut microbiome, make sure to compensate by eating more plant-based food if you are on antibiotic therapy.
 
Taking probiotics is also important for gut health, especially ones containing Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus. Studies show that this particular strain of probiotic greatly lessened anxiety on test subjects. This bacteria is naturally occurring in Parmesan cheese.
 
Your gut is at the root of your health. Today we focused on the gut/mental health connection and I hope what I shared here is helpful for you.
 
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

How Gut Health & Weight Are Connected

How Gut Health & Weight Are Connected

Maintaining a healthy level of muscle and body fat (which is what most of us actually want when we refer to our weight) is one of the most impactful toggles on your overall health, longevity, and medical expenses. In the U.S. alone, in the U.S., 2 out 3 people are either overweight or obese. Furthermore, obese individuals spend 42% more of direct healthcare costs than normal-weight adults!

And guess what?  Your chances of gaining or losing weight can be determined by the health and diversity of your gut microbes.
 
Let’s explore some links between your gut microbes and your ability to gain or lose weight.

But first I’d just like to remind you that there is still time to sign up for my free online class tomorrow (details here. Hope you will join me!).

Dysbiosis

The bacteria in your gut have more essential functions to your health than you know. We discussed in the past how your gut plays a role in strengthening your immune system and in keeping your mood in check. But basically, your gut microbes regulate your metabolism, help in the absorption of nutrients, and even manage your weight.
 
Gut bacteria are essential in breaking down complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
 
But, there’s a problem when the environment in your gut is not healthy.  Dysbiosis happens when there is an imbalance in your gut’s microbial community, in which the beneficial bacteria are outnumbered by the disease-causing organisms (aka pathogens).
 
And what causes dysbiosis?
 
Every one of us is born with a different combination of gut microbes, but your lifestyle plays a big part in your gut health.
 
What you eat and what you do influences your gut microbes. According to studies, the gut microbiome of overweight and obese individuals have patterns of dysbiosis that are different than the gut microbiome patterns of healthy individuals.
 
There are 3 main contributors to dysbiosis:

  • Inflammation
  • High sugar levels in the blood
  • Antibiotics

The typical Western diet is high in both fat and sugar, which is both inflammatory and really harmful to your gut microbes. And we’re not talking about good quality fats from olives, avocados, wild/pastures meats/seafood, nuts and seeds or natural sugars from fruit and starchy veggies–but poor quality, processed versions that we simply wouldn’t have access to in nature. Speaking of low quality food sources, animals raised in feedlots receive low doses of antibiotics to gain weight faster. When we ingest those animals and their byproducts (like dairy), those antibiotics effect our microbiome and contribute to unhealthy patterns. So, the foods you eat regularly play a significant role in whether or not you have dysbiosis.
 
Bacteria Present in Slim Individual
 
In addition to dysbiosis, there are gut bacteria that actually prevent gaining weight and are found in slim individuals: Akkermansia muciniphila and Christensenella minuta.
 
While Christensenella depends on your genes, the presence of Akkermansia can be boosted by eating prebiotic foods.
 
Here’s a list of foods that boost Akkermansia.

  • Fish oil
  • Rhubarb extract
  • Flaxseeds
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Cranberries
  • Concord grapes
  • Black tea

Butyrate-Producing Gut Microbes
 
A healthy and diverse gut microbiome produces butyrate which breaks down dietary fiber into short-chain fatty acids that fight inflammation. Butyrate also produces hormones that tell the brain you are full. So less or no butyrate makes your brain think that you are still hungry even though you’ve had enough.

As you can see, diet and lifestyle matters.  I prepared some tips for you in the next newsletter  to further explore how you can boost your gut bacteria for weight loss. Stay tuned!
 
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth
(subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

The mouth-gut connection

The idea of having bacteria in your mouth might not be new to you. But did you know that there is actually a community of bacteria other than those that cause plaque and tooth decay? Yes, you’ve got good bacteria in our mouth, too!
 
While your gut has its own microbiome, the oral microbiome is part of this intricate system. And the status of your oral health is a reflection of your gut and vice versa.

Problems with the gut may manifest in your mouth. For example, if you have a red, swollen tongue, it can mean you have an immune imbalance in the digestive system or you lack folic acid and vitamin B12, that might be caused by a poor diet or absorption problems.
 
Oral bugs (as they are called) can also prevent tooth decay and bad breath, and they manufacture beneficial nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide relaxes (widens) the blood vessels and increases blood flow to your tissues. And because of this, it can boost your circulation, exercise performance–and for men, even solve erectile dysfunction.

How to boost beneficial oral bugs


Knowing how good these bugs are to your health, I have compiled 6 tips to help you to keep them thriving! As always, customize according to your unique needs and check with your health practitioner first.

  1. Eat organically grown green, leafy veggies and beets – These foods contain nitrates that are converted by bacteria in your tongue into nitric oxide. Fresh raw vegetables such as lettuce have beneficial soil-based microorganisms inside the leaves, so it can serve as a probiotic that can establish a good oral microbiome.
  2. Eat small amount of fermented foods every day – Because they are good probiotics, too, these foods contain enzymes and beneficial bacteria that you need not only for the mouth but for the overall gut microbiome (this is contraindicated if you have certain conditions such as SIBO).
  3. Avoid sweets and refined carbohydrates – Bad bacteria thrives with these “foods”, and the more they increase in your mouth, the less your good bacteria thrive. So ditch anything that has to do with artificial sugars, chips, cookies, and sodas. Not only do they erode your teeth, but they also increase the growth of those bad microbes we don’t want hanging out in your mouth.
  4. Oil pulling – This is an ancient practice associated with the traditional medicine system in India which involves swishing oil in your mouth that are believed to “pull” bacteria from your mouth. Oil pulling can kill harmful bacteria, reduce bad breath, prevent cavities, and improve gum health.
  5. Choose your mouthwash and floss – If you cannot get rid of mouthwash, at least choose the less harmful ones. Be particular with those brands that contain alcohol, chlorine dioxide, chlorhexidine, formaldehyde, saccharin, parabens, etc. because they are bad to your good mouth bugs. In using floss, avoid brands with perfluorooctanesulfonic acids (PFAs). Although PFAs are used for easy-glide flossing, they have been linked to many diseases including cancer.
  6. Use a toothpaste that promotes healthy oral microbiome – Choose a brand that is free from artificial flavorings, colors, and, most of all, sugar. Remember that the more natural the product is, the more it is favorable for the growth of your oral bugs–which is your goal in promoting oral health and overall gut health. I highly recommend using Dentalcidin Toothpaste by Bio-Botanical Research. It tastes great on top of all its other benefits!

 
The key to overall health and well-being is gut health, and gut health includes not only the intestinal flora but also the good bacteria in your mouth. As you swallow, bugs come along, too. And those that survive the journey becomes transient species in the intestinal microbiota that support your health.
 
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca