Omega-3 supplements are very beneficial to your health but some people may find a little complicated to understand all the abbreviations used on the products’ ingredients list. EPA, DHA and ALA. What do they stand for? Which food sources can you get them from? How much do you actually need? Let’s have a quick look at DHA, EPA and ALA.
One of the two main types of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, Eicosapentaenoic Acid, or EPA, is found in fatty, cold-water fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring, halibut, trout, anchovies, and tuna. There is no recommended standard dose of EPA’s but health organizations recommend a daily dose of 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) for healthy adults.
The other main type of omega-3 is Docosahexaenoic Acid, popular known as DHA. Plentiful in fish and shellfish, DHA is also found in algae. There is no set recommended standard dose of DHA as well but just like EPA’s a daily dose of 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) of DHA should be sufficient for healthy adults.
EPA to DHA Ratios
It’s important to check for the ratios of EPA and DHA since there is no standard daily dose set. According to the American Heart Association, a common ratio which can be used is 180 milligrams of EPA to 120 milligrams of DHA but some reports show that ratios of 2:1 or 1:2 EPA to DHA may be equally beneficial since both compounds seem to work together.
Alpha-linolenic Acids are short-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in plants, such as flax seeds, chia seeds, as well as oils such as flax oil and hemp oil. ALA omega-3 fatty acids have less potent health benefits than EPA and DHA and for the body to truly benefit from these fats, they must be converted into long-chain EFAs such as EPA and DHA first. There is no established dose of alpha-lipoic acid recommended, but studies have concluded that the use of 600 milligrams daily can provide health benefits.
Collagen has been a top-selling product for skin health for many years but did you know that this powerful supplement offers many other health benefits? Let’s look at 4 ways collagen can improve your health.
1. Joint Health
Collagen is a major component in forming your body’s tendons, ligaments, muscles and cartilage. As you age, your body is less able to manufacture a sufficient amount of collagen and supplements can help maintain your body’s repair process. Collagen contains the amino acids glycine and proline, which help repair tissue, lessen inflammation, and provide relief from joint pain. Collagen products are used for treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis.
2. Weight Loss
Collagen supplements can help in weight loss. A great source of protein, collagen provides 18 grams of protein per 2 scoops. Studies have shown that collagen peptides consumed at breakfast are 40% more satiating than other proteins such as whey or soy, and may lead to a 20% reduction of food intake at lunch.
Collagen supplements can help improve digestion by repairing the mucous lining. Collagen soothes and heals the digestive tract and helps break down the protein and fat from foods, making them easier for the body to digest.
4. Athletic Performance
As mentioned above, the amino acids glycine and proline help repair tissue and lessen inflammation. Consequently, supplementation with collagen peptides shortens recovery after exercise and helps with sports related injuries on muscle, tendons, and ligaments.
Starting a plant-based diet? Get ready for the inevitable question: where are you going to get your protein? Don’t worry. With so many great sources available, it shouldn’t be a problem to find a few foods that can fit into your new diet. Let’s look at 7 protein sources for a plant-based diet.
This algae superfood is incredibly rich in protein and is a perfect ingredient for smoothies. With 40 grams of protein per serving, spirulina also contains the highest amount of glutamine found in a plant food.
2. Chia Seeds
No longer a strange superfood, chia seeds have become a stable of health food. Rich in protein and an excellent source of soluble fiber, you can sprinkle chia seeds on oatmeal, cereals, porridges or make a delicious chia seed pudding with almond milk.
3. Black Beans
An awesome source of protein, black beans contain 15 grams per serving and can be easily added to your diet. Used in salads and veggie burritos, black beans also contain lysine and leucine, two amino acids rarely found in plant-based foods.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Perfect for baking, pumpkin seeds are also a great source of protein as a single cup contains up to 12 grams. Considered a complete protein, these seeds are also high in healthy fats and minerals such as zinc and magnesium.
Lentils are a great source of protein as well as fiber and carbohydrates. With 20 grams of protein per cup, lentils contain a ton of amino acids and can be easily added to your diet in salads, tacos, or mixed with rice or quinoa for a delicious meal.
6. Hemp Seeds
Hemp Seeds have 9 grams of protein per serving as well as healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A complete amino acid, hemp seeds have a deliciously sweet and nutty flavor that can be added to increase protein content to many recipes of smoothies, baked goods and desserts.
A gluten-free grain, quinoa is also a great source of protein with around 15 grams per cup of cooked quinoa. Considered a starchy protein, quinoa also contains carbohydrates and fiber and is widely used in hot or cold cereals, salads, or in meals instead of rice.
Finding a good supplement can be difficult. With so many different products and brands available, one might find it complicated to choose the right one. Plus, recent reports on supplements are making this task even more difficult.
According to the World Health Organization, a variety of supplements available in a number of retailers including large, national chains do not contain the ingredients listed on their labels. In other words, some products, particularly fitness supplements, are fake and contain phony ingredients. This adulteration of herbal products is a threat to consumer safety as these supplements may be contaminated or substituted with alternative plant species and fillers that are not listed on the labels.
So, how can you tell if your fitness supplements are unhealthy? How can a regular customer check if the product they are buying contain additives, unhealthy fillers, or harmful ingredients?
Checking for verification labels should be the first thing to do. Look for the USP certification label which ensures that the product has been tested and looked at by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, which verifies that the listed ingredients do indeed exist, and that there is no contamination. Plus, a NSF label is a certification that the product is what it claims to be.
Additionally, find a brand known and certified for good practices. A lot of top-quality brands embrace DNA barcoding for authenticating herbal products through testing of raw materials used in the manufacturing of the products.
Lastly, avoid cheap, conventional brands sold at large chain stores as those seem to be the most “fishy” when it comes to providing consumers with safe, high quality herbal products.
We often take the ability to move about freely for granted until joint pain flares up. When your daily life is constantly interrupted by sore wrists and creaky knees, finding fast relief is a top priority. Popping a pain reliever can make the pain bearable and help you power through the day, but relying on them is not great for your health, and ultimately only masks the root problem. Luckily, there are several, drug-free options to find pain relief from irritated joints and even help determine what the root cause of your issues could be.
1. Take supplements
This seems like the obvious step, but if you haven’t tried a supplement for chronic joint pain—get on that! Glucosamine and chondroitin are incredibly popular for treating pain and swelling associated with joint pain and comes without any known risks. Omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful in preventing and easing joint pain, which is why many people take fish oil supplements regularly. If you’re vegetarian or not into the fishy aftertaste, consider alternatives like flaxseeds, chia seeds or supplements derived from algae.
While there’s not much scientific proof that acupuncture directly improves joint pain, a 2013 review showed some evidence that this alternative treatment can alleviate pain, swelling and stiffness. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that aims to balance the energy in the body to help address a range of disorders and encourage pain relief. It’s an excellent wellness practice that can do many things for your overall health, even if your joints are not directly improved as a result.
3. Go swimming!
Swimming uses strengthening movements and helps develop flexibility without the high-impact that can irritate and worsen joint pain. Studies show that not only does swimming prevent further damage to joints that high-impact exercises can bring, but can actually improve your joints by strengthing them without irritation.
4. Take up a Tai Chi practice
Similar to the rationale behind swimming, Tai Chi is a great way to strengthen muscles around your joints without the high-impact of other physical activities. A Tai Chi practice can actually expand your range of motion to improve flexibility in the joints and aiding pain relief.
5. Anti-inflammatory diet
Keeping a diet rich in Omega-3s and anti-inflammatory foods can be a great way to find pain relief. While this is not an immediate solution to the problem, eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help address the root cause of inflammation in the body instead of acting as a band-aid. Foods like fish, green leafy veggies, and turmeric tea are excellent staples to an anti-inflammatory diet.
Finding an ability to deal with your thoughts and feelings regarding pain is a crucial step to finding relief that not many are willing to take. The idea of facing your pain can be intimidating, but making the choice to be mindful and practice acceptance can change the way we feel about it. If we can increase our pain tolerance, the more willing we might be to take additional steps towards healing. Using meditation to relax and reduce stress can have a diminishing effect on inflammation and swelling as well.
7. Get up and move throughout the day
There are more benefits to exercise than just weight loss! Regular movement helps maintain flexibility in your joints—preventing and easing joint pain. Like I mentioned earlier, try low impact exercises like swimming, or gentle practices like Tai Chi to keep your joints flexible and strong. If you work in an office and can’t jump in a pool midday, making time to get up and walk around a bit is better than sitting still!
When it comes to joint pain, over the counter pain relievers will mask the pain, but will not address or help treat the root cause. Have you tried any of these natural remedies? What are some of your go-to joint pain relief techniques?
Some people may get confused when looking for omega-3 supplements as some products contain the term 3-6-9 on their labels. What’s the difference? Do we really need 6s and 9s or isn’t just the omega-3 enough? Understanding the omega 3-6-9 doesn’t have to be difficult. So, let’s present you a quick essential fatty acid guide.
What is it?
Omega-3 (Alpha-linolenic acid) is an essential fatty acid that plays an important role in all sorts of bodily processes.
Where are they found?
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and herring, grains, seeds, nuts, and oils such as flaxseed, wheat germ, canola, and hempseed.
What health benefits they provide?
Reduce cholesterol and risk of heart disease, improve joint mobility, enhance brain function, maximize fat-loss, and control high blood pressure.
What is it?
Omega-6 (Linoleic acid) is an essential fatty acid that is necessary for optimal health.
Where are they found?
Olive oil, grapeseed, pistachios, raw nuts, chia seed oil, pumpkin seeds, hempseed oil, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and kale.
What health benefits they provide?
Promote brain health and assist in healthy growth and development, fight inflammation, reduce arthritis as well as nerve pain, supports bone health, and lower risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
What is it?
Omega-9 (monounsaturated oleic and stearic acid) is a non-essential fatty acid produced naturally by the body. However, this production requires omega-3 and 6 and if you lack these fatty acids in your diet, you must obtain omega-9 from food sources.
Where are they found?
Avocados, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, olives, and olive oil
What health benefits they provide?
Regulate cholesterol levels, enhance immune function, promote joint healing, and provide anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s important that you eat twice as much omega-6 as omega-3 but because omega-6 fats are commonly found in widely used vegetable oils, not a lot of Americans are deficient in omega-6s. In fact, most people consume way more omega-6 than omega-3 which isn’t good. Keep the ratio 2:1 by ensuring that you are getting enough omega-3s from food sources or supplements.
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Spirulina contains great amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. This algae is high in high-quality protein, often compared to eggs, and it’s also a great source of vitamin B1, calcium, and iron.
Spirulina has been considered by many specialists as a top natural energy enhancer. Spirulina can help unlock sugar from our cells and improve metabolic energy, giving our bodies a tremendous boost.
One of the best natural products to help reduce elevated cholesterol levels, spirulina supplements contain 65% protein and amino acids including the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Difficult to be found in food sources. GLA normally has to be created by the body but spirulina is one of the few foods with high content of GLA.
5. Blood Pressure
Phycocyanin is a pigment found in the spirulina that scientists have discovered possesses antihypertensive effects, in other words, it lowers blood pressure. Consuming the blue-green algae reverses endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome.
6. Blood Sugar
Spirulina may be especially helpful in balancing blood sugar, and may even be as effective as diabetes medication in some instances. It can also lower HbA1c, which is a long term marker of blood sugar levels.
7. Weight Loss
Spirulina can promote weight loss and low-fat stores through a variety of mechanisms. Spirulina has the ability to improve fat burning but it can also curb hunger and overweight people seem to benefit the most. To maximize this benefit, try eating your high protein spirulina in the morning or during midday instead of at night.
8. Allergies and Sinus
Spirulina may help reduce allergies as well as alleviate sinus issues. Research suggests spirulina can reduce inflammation that leads to nasal congestion and other issues such as itching and sneezing.
Garden of Life’s commitment to health goes beyond offering some of the most effective nutritional products in the world. They are interested in building relationships with people to help them transform their lives to attain extraordinary health. By combining the best of nature and science, the Garden of Life brand offers a path to healthy living with premium products that are supported by education and innovation.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are an extremely popular product as this supplement is known to build muscle growth as well as increase exercise performance. The importance of BCAA’s for muscle recovery has been confirmed time and time again, but did you know that this supplement found in dietary protein, such as meat or eggs, also offers additional health benefits not just to athletes and those looking for muscle growth? Let’s look a 5 ways to benefit from BCAAs.
1. Fat Burning
BCAAs increase fat burning, as it contains Leucine, and glucose tolerance, thanks to Isoleucine. It helps those looking for a leaner body composition as increasing BCAA intake has an immediate impact of the amount of fat loss during training periods and exercise.
2. Reduce Soreness
BCAAs preserve the integrity of muscle fibers, decreasing muscle soreness. Of course this is often a primary target for athletes but it can also help anyone with muscle soreness. From muscle pain from work or extra physical activities to promoting muscle recovery for weekend warriors or those who wish to decrease their recovery time and soreness after endurance exercise, such as running or cycling, anyone can benefit from BCAAs.
3. Regulate Immunity
BCAA supplements can help regulate the immune system. This may be particularly helpful in avoiding illness, as immune function can be weakened after intense or prolonged exercise.
BCAAs have anti-aging properties and have been used in cancer and liver disease treatment strategies. They increase the formation of new mitochondria and thus reduce age related muscle loss.
Want the best advice on skin, hair, and nails? Follow these simple tips from The American Academy of Dermatology, one of the largest organizations of dermatologists (over 18,000 dermatologists) in the world.
Best Tips for Your Hair
Match frequency of shampooing to your hair type. If your scalp is oily, wash it once a day. For chemically treated hair, wash it less frequently. As you get older, your scalp makes less oil so you may not need to shampoo as often.
Concentrate shampoo on the scalp. When washing your hair, concentrate on cleaning primarily the scalp, rather than washing the entire length of hair. Washing only your hair can create flyaway hair that is dull and coarse.
Use conditioner after every shampoo. Using a conditioner can significantly improve the look of damaged or weathered hair by increasing shine, decreasing static electricity, improving strength, and offering some protection from harmful UV rays.
Choose a shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for your hair type.
Best Tips for Your Skin
Apply sunscreen when outdoors. Use a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30 (or higher), and water resistance.
Resist the urge to scrub your skin clean. Never, ever, scrub your skin. It irritates your skin and can actually worsen any skin condition, including acne.
Wash your face gently. Wet your face with lukewarm water, apply a mild cleanser, and use a gentle, circular motion with your fingertips. Rinse and gently pat your face dry with a clean towel.
Always wash your face when waking, before bed, and after sweating.
Best Tips for Your Nails
Keep nails clean and dry.
Cut nails straight across, then “round off.” Use sharp nail scissors or clippers, then round the nails slightly at the tips for maximum strength.
Keep nails shaped and free of snags by filing with an emery board.
Do not remove the cuticle as it can damage your nails.
What to do when all else fails!
Tried everything, and nothing seems to work. You’re not alone. Fortunately, skin, hair, and nail researchers have identified a compound that’s been clinically proven to increase skin elasticity 89%, thicken and strengthen hair by 13%, and strengthen and clarify nails dramatically. The compound “choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid” (ch-OSA®) can be found in a product called BioSil® Hair, Skin, Nails from Natural Factors. BioSil is one of supermodel Christie Brinkley’s secrets to looking youthful, beautiful, and healthy!
Convenient and tasty, it’s no wonder meal replacement supplements are popular right now. They’re a great choice for people on weight-loss diets, and also help folks on a fitness program as well as those running on a tight schedule. With so many options flooding the shelves, it can be hard to choose the best for your needs.
The majority of top-quality meal replacements contain most if not all of these ingredients but some products may adjust the quantities to target a specific nutritional need. If you are interested in trying out a meal replacement and perhaps joining this eating trend, let’s look at 5 key ingredients to look for in a meal replacement.
Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and muscle repair but it also plays an important role on fat burning and metabolic rate. Every single meal replacement product contains protein but some of them may come from vegan sources.
2. Vitamins and Minerals
The importance of vitamins and minerals requires no explanation but its addition to meal replacement supplements ensures that you are not missing nutrition required to keep your body healthy. Low sugar carbs are a main source of vitamins and minerals.
3. Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are extremely important to maintain a healthy lifestyle as they can improve joints, control inflammation, support brain health and maintain eyes and skin in great condition. Good sources of healthy fats include coconut oil, olive oil, flax seed oil, almond butter, almonds, and walnuts.
4. Low Sugar Carbohydrates
Low sugar carbohydrates provide sustained energy for your body as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Low sugar carbohydrates are broken down slowly to minimize peaks and troughs in blood glucose levels and are often a valuable source of fiber too.
Considered a plus in many meal replacement supplements, probiotics keep you healthy by topping up the bacteria in your gut. Adding probiotics to your meals can help minimize digestive upsets, weight gain and issues digesting food properly. Look for foods high in probiotics such as natural yogurt, Greek yogurt, raw cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and acidophilus.
Some of the biggest buzz words in science, as well as the wellness world right now, are anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Everyone is looking for ways to stay healthy and live longer. Enter Resveratrol. For years now, researchers have been studying resveratrol trying to find the exact mechanisms in which it may help promote a longer healthier life. Resveratrol belongs to a class of plant-derived chemicals known as polyphenols—which have been studied with growing interest due to their antioxidant and anti-aging properties. In plants, polyphenols are responsible for the vibrant colors and help to prevent against ultraviolet radiation, pathogens, oxidative damage and any harsh climate conditions.
Benefits of Resveratrol
Promotes anti-aging effects on the body.
Protects the cardiovascular system in the following ways:
Improved health of blood vessels (endothelial lining)
Improved circulatory system function
Improved cholesterol/lipid profiles
May protect heart muscle
Improves nitric oxide availability
Promotes anti-inflammatory mechanisms
May protect the nerves against degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
May help offset effects of obesity and poor diet/lifestyle choices
May have cancer-preventing benefits
Can help improve blood flow to the brain
May improve exercise endurance.
Where can you find resveratrol in foods?
Peanuts, grapes, purple grape juice, red wine, Japanese knotweed and a variety of berries such as blueberries and cranberries are great sources of resveratrol.
How much resveratrol do you require?
The standard dosage ranges from 250mg-500mg, but many researchers recommend anywhere between 100mg to 500mg per day. The best route to take is speaking with your health care provider to find the proper dosage for your body before starting any resveratrol supplements.
What’s in your supplements?
When choosing a resveratrol supplement, it’s best to look for supplements that use whole grape skins. One of the best sources of resveratrol in nature and for supplementation are muscadine grapes, as they tend to have the highest concentration of resveratrol.
Resveratrol comes in two forms, the cis form and the trans form, both of which refer to its chemical structure.
The trans form is regarded as the more biologically active form. If possible look for supplements that list the percentage of trans resveratrol the label.
The cis form is still active, but more research has been conducted on the trans form. As a result, we have not seen all of the benefits in the cis form that can be seen with the trans form.
Many professionals believe that the purity level of trans-resveratrol should be around 98%.
Look for products that explicitly say “resveratrol” on the label and not “red-wine complex” or proprietary formula. 300mg of resveratrol is not the same as 300mg of red wine complex.
Try to avoid supplements with fillers and additives.
Always read the ingredients label before purchasing any supplements!
Other Helpful Information
Resveratrol may inhibit platelet aggregation, which means it may increase the risk of bleeding in individuals who are on anti-clotting medications.
Although red wine is a good source of resveratrol, it is important to not drink large quantities as alcohol may have toxic effects on the body.
It may be best to take your resveratrol supplements in the morning as they may be slightly more bioavailable vs. in the afternoon or evening.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should not take resveratrol as it has not been well studied as safe.
Some supplements such as quercetin can work in conjunction with resveratrol and may boost its effectiveness.
Can you think of a supplement which offers a variety of proven health benefits but it has yet to become popular in the United States? Hempseed oil comes to mind as this intriguing oil perfectly fits the label of a multi-purpose natural remedy.
Hemp oil is still considered sketchy to some as its association with cannabis has kept it from common use by many people. However, it’s important to understand that hemp is a health food and not marijuana. Hempseed oil contains virtually no THC, the psychoactive element in cannabis, and will not make you high!
Hemp seeds are rich in protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 6, and omega 3 as well as tocopherols, and vitamin E antioxidants. Plus, hemp seeds are packed with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus. A great source of high-quality nutrients, hemp can certainly provide a lot of health benefits. So, let’s look a 4 surprising health benefits of hempseed oil.
Considered a great product to promote proper cardiovascular function, hempseed oil can help lower cholesterol by accelerating metabolic processes as it contains an optimal 3:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Higher metabolism ensures that fats burn at a quicker rate and are not deposited on the artery walls. An excellent vegetarian option for omega-3 and omega-6, hempseed oil is also a safer, mercury-free fatty acid supplement.
Hempseed oil is a great product to boost the immune system. The essential fatty acids in hempseed oil have been shown to promote and regulate healthy flora in the intestines and support immune system response and function, increasing the resilience of the body against the common cold and flu.
3. Healthy Skin
Hempseed oil can support healthy skin and promote beautiful hair and nails as it helps increase the skin elasticity and water retention capacity in tissues. Hemp oil has a composition similar to skin lipids, which makes it an excellent natural emollient and moisturizer. Plus, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties from hemp may protect against the aging process while soothing the skin, reducing skin dryness to alleviating itching and irritation.
4. Hormonal Balance
Hemp is the only edible seed that contains gamma-linolenic acid which can help regulate hormonal balance. Gamma-linolenic acid is eventually converted to the protective hormone prostaglandin PGE1 that regulates the hormonal balance and supports menopausal health.
Hearing a lot of talk about your gut microbiome lately? There’s a lot of information circulating around the wellness world about how important it is to keep our microbiome balanced…but what exactly is a microbiome? In short, it’s the complex ecosystem of microbes—bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc—located in our bodies, the majority of which live in our gut and digestive system.
Why it’s important to keep your gut healthy
So far, researchers have found poor gut health as a root cause for a number of diseases, ailments and health issues. The Standard American Diet (SAD) has been linked to the state of our of digestive health, so what we eat greatly impacts our microbiome. As additional studies about the microbiome continue to surface, we are learning more and more about the different ways our gut can have a serious affect on our overall health.
1. Vitamin production and nutrient absorption
It makes sense that nutrients need a healthy environment to do their job! Research shows that bacteria live in the gut and feed off undigested food, and in turn produce vitamin K for the body to use, as well as B vitamins that help generate and maintain energy. Microbes also help with the absorption of nutrients such as antioxidants, helping the body to fight free-radicals and inflammation.
2. Immune system regulation
According to studies like this one, 80% of our immune system greatly relies on the functionality of our microbiome. Because of this, researchers are able to deduce that autoimmune diseases like IBS, type 1 diabetes, lupus and arthritis can be traced back to an unbalanced and unhealthy microbiome.
3. Mental health and brain function
While not responsible for deep thoughts and understanding, the second brain (a.k.a your gut) is responsible for housing 95% of our body’s serotonin levels. Researchers say there is actually an elaborate system of neurons embedded in the walls of our gut, which can explain why gastrointestinal distress can affect our mental health and create mood swings.
4. Weight management
Some research shows that the condition of our microbiomes can greatly affect weight gain and our ability to lose weight, and obesity has also been linked to an unbalanced gut. Our microbes appear to have influence over appetite regulation, and our diet is crucial in determining the type of bacteria, good or bad, that develops in our gut.
What we can do to keep our gut healthy and balanced
If you have concerns about your digestive health, talk with your doctor about the best approach. Every person’s microbiome is different, so work with a physician to create a plan that suits your specific needs. Below are a few tips to offer guidance and help start a conversation with your doctor.
1. Be wary of inflammation
We are learning more and more that diet and lifestyle play a huge role in maintaining good gut health. Staying away from foods that cause inflammation, like refined vegetable oils, refined carbohydrates and sugars and trans fats can help keep your gut in check. Dairy can cause inflammation and many people find they have sensitivities. Making sure to incorporate high-antioxidant foods and anti-inflammatory foods like cruciferous vegetables, healthy fats, and probiotic-rich foods.
2. Be mindful of stress levels
Too much stress weakens your immune system and causes inflammatory responses in the body. Chronic stress throws off the balance of bacteria in your gut, and when your body thinks it’s in danger you become more susceptible to infections. Try working in some mindfulness meditations in the morning. Even just 10 minutes a day can help keep your stress levels in check.
Speaking of stress relievers, exercise is extremely helpful in reducing the stress that can cause damage to your microbiome. Research shows that exercise is critical for balancing your gut, and sitting at a desk all day can actually negatively impact your gut flora. Try to get up, walk around and stretch every 20 minutes or so, and make an effort to work more intensive exercise into your schedule.
4. Supplement when advised and necessary
When paired with a healthy diet that reduces inflammation and the amounts of bad bacteria in your gut, probiotics can replace the bad with the good. Talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regiments, and make sure to get a good quality probiotic. Getting a healthy amount of antioxidants in your diet is a great way to help to prevent free-radical damage from disturbing your microbiome.
Want to know more about prebiotics and digestive health? Learn more from our ND, Dr. Jeremy Wolf!
Adding antioxidants to your diet is essential for overall good health. Antioxidants are molecules that stop the process of oxidation, a common chain reaction in a cell that eventually leads to the damage or death of the cell. Foods rich in antioxidants can help to reduce this oxidation process, keeping the cells healthy. Measured by the ORAC scores, let’s look at 10 great sources of antioxidants to add to your diet.
Blueberries are one of the best antioxidant foods and can be easily added to your breakfast. Loaded with antioxidants, particularly wild blueberries which have a 14,000 ORAC score, blueberries can also be added to your diet in juice, smoothie, and yogurt form.
2. Goji Berries
A popular superfood, goji berries have a 25,000 ORAC score and have become a staple source of antioxidants. Goji juice is one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of this amazing berry.
3. Kidney Beans
Beans contain cysteine, which is an antioxidant that helps flush out free radicals from the body. Kidney beans in particular are one of the best sources of antioxidants among all types of beans.
Cranberries are known for their high antioxidant properties, especially flavonoids that may increase the antioxidant activity in the body, but the fresh fruit isn’t so easy to add to your diet. The best option is cranberry juice, when the fruit is usually processed to supply the juice in the market.
5. Dark Chocolate
Some people may be surprised by this but dark chocolate has a 21,000 ORAC score and is a delicious option of a high antioxidant food.
Nuts are rich sources of vitamin E, which in turn are a great food source to supply antioxidants to your body.
Broccoli contains a high amount of vitamin C, making it another food source rich in the amount of antioxidants. Plus, broccoli has selenium which helps fight the damage to human body cells.
Fish has high amounts of selenium, which helps to save the cells of the human body from getting ruptured or damaged in any form. Among fish, you can consume various types like shellfish, salmon, and cod to keep the adequate amount of antioxidants flowing in the body.
Yes, a good cup of coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. Like many teas which contain lots of antioxidants, coffee is an easy way to get antioxidants on a daily basis.
10. Ripe Bananas
Did you know that the riper a banana is, the higher is the antioxidant property? That’s right. A ripe banana plays a big role in controlling the oxidation process in the body.