Gut Health is Essential

As mentioned in a previous post, What Are the Best Foods for the Gut?, we more than ever need to eat foods that are beneficial to the gut. Our gut microbiome (supported by probiotics – “the good bacteria”), is essential for a great number of biological functions like metabolic function, hormone function, the gut-brain axis, mood changes, etc. Removing the foods that do not sustain gut health (such as refined flour, sugar, and industrial seed oils) is the first step. But we also want to consume on a daily basis (preferably) foods that are beneficial to the gut. Such foods include bone broth, raw cultured dairy, fermented foods, coconut products, sprouted seeds, healthy fats, and fruits (and vegetables).

7 Amazing Foods for the Gut

  • Bone Broth: it offers collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that are beneficial to the gut. 
  • Raw Cultured Dairy: it has good bacteria when fermented and short-chain fatty acids beneficial to the gut. Pastured kefir, yogurt, amasai, butter, and raw cheese are some of the best picks.
  • Fermented Foods: just like fermented dairy, fermented vegetables are awesome probiotic foods. They have organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics helping with gut health. Sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass are great options.
  • Coconut Products; they are particularly good for the gut because the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut are usually easier to digest (for most people) than other fats –  a great choice for sustaining digestive health. Also, coconut kefir offers microbes beneficial to the digestive system.
  • Sprouted Seeds: sprouted chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds are good sources of fiber that can foster the growth of beneficial bacteria. 
  • Healthy Fats:  healthy fats like egg yolks, avocados, ghee, and coconut oil are easy on the gut and contribute to nutrient absorption. Some protein foods like grass-fed beef, lamb, and wild-caught salmon also have healthy omega-3 fats.
  • Fruit: eating fruit in moderation (one or two servings/day) is an easy way to get vitamins and minerals. You can make homemade apple sauce or fruit sauce with pears or other low-glycemic fruits.

In Summary

Feeding the good bacteria in your gut by selecting the right foods that work well for you is very important. And as you can see, choices abound, so eating healthy doesn’t have to be dull in any way. Having to watch my blood sugar, I consume healthy fats every day and prefer getting my fiber from vegetables than the traditional fruits. See how your body responds to foods. Maintaining your health and wellness over the years is priceless.

Until next time!

References

Axe, Josh. “Leaky Gut Diet and Treatment Plan, Including Top Gut Foods.” Dr. Axe, 7 Jan. 2021, draxe.com/health/leaky-gut-diet-treatment/. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

Huberman, Andrew. “Control Pain & Heal Faster with Your Brain | Huberman Lab Podcast #9.” YouTube, 1 Mar. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcPSRWUYCv0. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

The Best Foods for the Gut

More than ever do we need to eat foods that are beneficial to the gut. Removing the foods that do not sustain gut health (such as refined flour, sugar, and industrial seed oils) is the first step. But we also want to consume on a daily basis (preferably) foods that are beneficial to the gut. Such foods include bone broth, fermentable fibers, and fermented foods. As explained in The Wild Diet, by Abel James, in your gut resides a great number of bacteria that have an extremely important role in the following:

  • Predigesting your food
  • Providing immune protection
  • Releasing neurotransmitters that affect your behavior and your mood 

Feeding the good bacteria in your gut by selecting the right foods that work for you is very important. 

Bone Broth

As stated in a previous post, bone broth has been used for thousands of years as a healing beverage by traditional cultures. A South American saying declares that “bone broth raises the dead.” All you have to do when making bone broth is add the bones (joint bones with the cartilage and marrow bones) of a well-sourced cow, chicken, pig, lamb, fish, etc. to a pot of water. Add a tablespoon or so of vinegar “to help release the minerals from the bones” and let simmer for several hours up to 24 or even 48 hours. You can add some vegetables too. I usually add some onion, garlic, carrots, various herbs, salt, and pepper. And that’s it! Your broth, full of nutrients, is ready to enjoy day after day.

Fermentable Fibers

Two sources of fermentable fiber are soluble fibers and resistant starch. 

  • Soluble fiber (mentioned in my previous post regarding avocados) can be found in fruits, vegetables, starches, nuts, and seeds. Soluble fiber is a food source that the good bacteria in your gut ferment and make short-chain fatty acids with. Vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, beets, winter and summer squash, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, plantains, taro root, and yuca have more soluble fiber than other vegetables, so they are more soothing to the gut. 
  • Resistant starch, as explained at draxe.com, “is a type of starch that isn’t completely broken down and absorbed in the stomach or small intestine. Instead, it passes through to the colon and is converted into short-chain fatty acids, which act as prebiotics to help feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Because it’s processed and metabolized in a similar way as dietary fiber, it also boasts a similar set of health benefits.” You can obtain resistant starch with cooked and then cooled potatoes, green bananas or green plantains, for instance. You can also buy raw, unmodified, gluten-free potato starch and blend it in a smoothie or a dish, for example.

Fermented Foods

As mentioned in my post, What We Can Learn from World Cuisines, if you ferment certain foods, you increase the nutritional quality of these foods. With fermented foods, you’ll get a variety of good bacteria for the gut. As stated in Your Personal Paleo Code, you can consume:

  • Raw (unpasteurized) sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles (examples of fermented vegetables)
  • Yogurt and kefir (examples of fermented dairy)
  • Beet kvass, kombucha, and water kefir (examples of fermented beverages)

This month, I have started making the “DIY Antiaging Yogurt.” You can find the recipe in Boundless, by Ben Greenfield. This recipe is originally from cardiologist Dr. William Davis, whose blog is at wheatbellyblog.com This “L. reuteri yogurt” is fairly easy to make on a regular basis, and definitively worth checking out!

In Summary

Consuming foods that are beneficial to the gut sustains gut health and is a sure way to make us discover new recipes. Bone broth, fermentable fibers, and fermented foods are wonderful options to rediscover the pleasures of home cooking. And renewing our interest in time-tested traditional methods of cooking is probably the best thing we can do for optimal wellness!

Until next time!

References

Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, pp. 364-365.

James, Abel. The Wild Diet:  Go Beyond Paleo to Burn Fat, Beat Cravings, and Drop 20 Pounds in 40 Days. New York, Penguin Random House, 19 Jan. 2016, pp. 53–55, 337–338.

Kresser, Chris. Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life. 1st ed., New York, NY, Little, Brown and Company, Dec. 2013, pp. 172-177.

Link, Rachael. “Resistant Starch Foods That Support Blood Sugar & Weight Maintenance.” Dr. Axe, 12 July 2018, draxe.com/nutrition/resistant-starch/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2020.

You can also find me on Instagram.

How we can help our immune system

As we are in the midst of the cold and flu season, making sure that we consume a sufficient amount of foods beneficial to our immune system is a top priority! Last week, I mentioned bone broth, which is one of those foods that can help us boost our immune system. And there are many more: fermented foods, bee products, and whole foods like dark leafy green vegetables, garlic, mushrooms, fatty fish, and grass-fed/grass-finished meats. Since I have been on a paleo type of diet (for almost 6 years now) I very rarely get a cold. While before, for sure I had a cold/flu about twice each winter. Foods we eat can matter that much!

The main beneficial foods

In a recent article by Amen Clinics regarding “What to do about the coronavirus,” it is recommended to consume foods like these:

  • Garlic, onions
  • Mushrooms (shiitake, white button, portabella)
  • Vitamin-C rich foods (oranges, berries, peppers, dark leafy green vegetables)
  • Vitamin-D rich foods (fatty fish, eggs, tuna)
  • Zinc-rich foods (oysters, beef, lamb, spinach, asparagus, sesame and pumpkin seeds)
  • Selenium-rich foods (Brazil nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats)

In Boundless, by Ben Greenfield, mushrooms are also mentioned: shiitake, maitake, turkey tail, tremella, and chaga (“king of medicinal mushrooms”). Bee products such as bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis are highlighted as being very helpful too to boost the immune system. As a matter of fact, I always have a propolis spray in my bag, just in case. Also mentioned in this book, among other things, are fermented foods, oregano oil, colostrum, and echinacea. All these are beneficial to the immune system.

In summary

As we can see, there is a plethora of foods we can consume on a daily basis that can help us boost our immune system. I think it is wonderful to be able to better our health and wellness with simple whole foods. And I am all for prevention! Even if some of these foods may be slightly expensive, not getting sick is worth it and it ends up saving quite a bit of money down the road. So pick the foods that you like best!

Reference

Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, pp. 356–370.

“What to Do About the Coronavirus.” Amen Clinics, 4 Feb. 2020, http://www.amenclinics.com/blog/what-to-do-about-the-coronavirus/ Accessed 8 Feb. 2020.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Bone broth: its many uses

I love having a cup of bone broth at the end of the day, especially when it is cold outside. Nothing better to warm you up and energize you at the same time! Bone broth has been used for thousands of years as a healing beverage by traditional cultures. A South American saying declares that “bone broth raises the dead.” Dr. Catherine Shanahan “consider[s] bone broth a missing food group.” You can directly drink the broth just like I do or/and use it whenever you want to make stews, soups, or sauces instead of using plain water. 

What bone broth offers

In Your Personal Paleo Code, Chris Kresser emphasizes the fact that “[t]he nutrients in bone broth are particularly helpful for restoring the integrity of the gut barrier when it’s damaged.”

In Food Rules, Dr. Catherine Shanahan states that the “broth infuses your blood with molecules of collagen and glycosaminoglycan that affect your body in amazing ways…. This gives bone broths an ability to rejuvenate all your worn-out bones, joints, connective tissues, and the structural supports for skin.”

In Boundless, Ben Greenfield explains in great detail what bone broth offers. Here are some of the nutrients he mentions with their benefits:

  • Arginine (which is critical for immune system and liver function)
  • Glutamine (which assists with cellular metabolism)
  • Glycine (which aids in glutathione production and improves sleep quality)
  • Alkylglycerols (lipids from the marrow in bone both that are crucial for the production of white blood cells)

How to make a basic bone broth

All you have to do when making bone broth is add the bones (joint bones with the cartilage and marrow bones) of a well-sourced cow, chicken, pig, lamb, fish, etc. to a pot of water and letting that simmer for several hours up to 24 or even 48 hours. You can add some vegetables too, of course. I usually add some onion, garlic, carrots, various herbs, salt, and pepper. And that’s it! Your broth is ready to enjoy day after day. To your health and wellness!

References

Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, pp. 360–1.

Kresser, Chris. Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life. 1st ed., New York, NY, Little, Brown and Company, Dec. 2013, pp. 174–5.

Shanahan, Catherine. Food Rules : A Doctor’s Guide to Healthy Eating. Bedford, Nh, Big Box Books, 2010, p. 67-68.

You can also find me on Instagram.