Monthly Archives: September 2018

//September

How Do Enzymes Aid In Digestion?

Making sure you have good gut health is essential, even if you don’t have any digestive symptoms. When gut health becomes compromised, it usually means your body isn’t digesting food properly or fully. Improper digestion can create a chain-reaction of imbalances in the body, resulting in many unrelated health issues. Digestive enzymes can give your body the support it needs to come back into balance.

How Is Our Food Digested?

Think of your intestines as tubes running through your body. In order for nutrients to get absorbed, food must be fully digested. This includes amino acids from protein, lipids from fat, glucose from carbohydrates, and other nutrients.

Beginning in our mouths, food is partially digested by enzymes. When this partially digested food reaches the stomach and small intestines, it is further digested in different ways. Proteins get digested by stomach acid and fats are digested by bile made by the liver. The carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are then further digested by pancreatic enzymes.

When your digestion is impaired, you may need support in some of these areas listed above. Including a digestive enzyme in your diet does not inhibit your body’s natural production of enzymes. Instead, they help to ensure that everything you are eating get digested.

There are three main types of digestive enzymes:

Proteases: Break down protein into small peptides and amino acids

Lipases: Break down fat into three fatty acids plus a glycerol molecule

Amylases: Break down carbs like starch into simple sugars

Enzymes are also made in the small intestine, including lactase, maltase and sucrase. If the body is unable to make enough digestive enzymes, food molecules cannot be digested properly. This can lead to digestive disorders like lactose intolerance.

What Can Digestive Enzymes Help With?

Many health issues can be affected by, and affect, your digestion. These health areas can respond positively when including a digestive enzyme in your routine.

  1. Stress

When stress becomes too much or too constant for your body to handle, your digestion will become impaired. Your body slows down and decreases the production of digestive enzymes when you are stressed, and instead triggers hormones like cortisol to deal with it, putting your digestive needs on hold until the stress has been resolved. If stress signals continue every day, your digestion becomes increasingly impaired. Takin a digestive enzyme when you are going through any kind of prolonged stress can help make up for reduced enzyme production, and provide your body with the support it needs.

  1. IBS

When your food is not getting digested completely, instead of nourishing you, your foods end up nourishing the bacteria in your gut. This causes a big imbalance in your gut microbiome. Overgrowing bacteria produces gas, bloating, diarrhea, and cramping – which are all classic symptoms of IBS. Taking a digestive enzyme can help you to fully absorb the nutrients from your food.

  1. Anxiety

Few people realize that most of our neurotransmitters come from the gut. All neurotransmitters, are made from amino acids, which come from protein. If you are not digesting your protein properly, your body will not have enough amino acids to create the neurotransmitters you need to stay alert, happy, and relaxed. To improve your mood and mind, you need to increase the production of neurotransmitters. Digestive enzymes can help you with this.

Foods With Natural Digestive Enzymes

  1. Pineapples

Pineapple are a delicious tropical fruit rich in digestive enzymes. Pineapples contain a group of digestive enzymes called bromelain. These enzymes are proteases, which break down protein into its building blocks, including amino acids. This aids the digestion and absorption of proteins.

  1. Papaya

Papayas also contain proteases that help digest proteins. However, they contain a different group of proteases known as papain. If you want to eat papayas, just make sure to eat them ripe and uncooked, as heat exposure can destroy their digestive enzymes.

  1. Mango

Mangos contain the digestive enzymes amylases — a group of enzymes that break down carbs from starch (a complex carb) into sugars like glucose and maltose. Amylase enzymes are also made by the pancreas and salivary glands. They help break down carbs so that they are easily absorbed by the body.

  1. Honey

The following are enzymes found in honey, particularly raw honey: Diastases, which helps to break down starch into maltose. Amylases, which helps to break down starch into sugars like glucose and maltose. Invertase, which break down sucrose into glucose and fructose. Proteases, which break down proteins into amino acids.

  1. Bananas

Bananas are another fruit that contain natural digestive enzymes. They contain amylases and glucosidases, two groups of enzymes that break down complex carbs like starch into smaller and more easily absorbed sugars.

  1. Avocados

Avocados contain the digestive enzyme lipase. This enzyme helps digest fat molecules into smaller molecules, such as fatty acids and glycerol, which are easier for the body to absorb.

  1. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that is popular in the natural health community. Kefir contains many digestive enzymes, including lipase, proteases and lactase.

  1. Kiwi

Kiwis are a great source of digestive enzymes, particularly a protease called actinidain. This enzyme helps digest proteins and is commercially used to tenderize tough meats.

  1. Ginger

Ginger contains the protease zingibain, which digests proteins into their building blocks

Make Your Gut Health Your Priority

Gut health and proper digestion is essential for your health, and a digestive enzyme can help support any digestive issue you are experiencing. Without sufficient digestive enzymes, the body is unable to digest food particles properly, which may lead to food intolerances.

How Do Enzymes Aid In Digestion? 2018-09-28T08:42:15+00:00

What You Should Know About Your Liver Health

The liver is a dynamic organ with several vital responsibilities in your body and keeping it in good condition means adopting healthy habits that improve or maintain liver function. Almost 4 million adults suffer from liver disease in the United States and twelve people per 100,000 residents die each year due to complications from liver disease.

Fortunately, there are herbal remedies and healthy behaviors that can help reduce the likelihood that you’ll develop liver disease or experience poor liver function. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your liver healthy.

How to Keep a Healthy Liver

Adopting healthy behaviors may improve your overall health, as well as improve your liver function. The liver is responsible for taking the toxins out of your body and filling your body with foods and drinks that are difficult to detoxify can tire your liver and create health problems. For example, when you drink a lot of alcohol you may experience feeling ill the next morning because your liver hasn’t yet been able to detoxify the amount of alcohol that you’ve introduced into your system.

One beneficial behavior to encourage liver health is to eat a diet that’s high in fiber. Fiber helps regulate the absorption of sugar in your body. Your liver is the organ responsible for converting sugar into glucose, and a diet high in fiber reduces the speed at which your liver must create glucose.

Similarly, a diet low in “simple” sugars like those in refined grains, candy bars, and sugary snacks can make it easier for your liver to do its job. Avoiding foods that come in packages and have two dozen ingredients on the box is an easy way to make sure you’re not introducing too much sugar or simple carbohydrates into your body. Reducing the sugar you consume can have the added benefit of helping you lose weight.

You may also wish to seek out fresh, farm-raised lean protein for your diet in order to avoid consuming synthetic hormones and antibiotics. Some antibiotics have been shown to increase liver enzyme levels in the blood, which are a sign of an inflamed or injured liver. Taking antibiotics responsibly and reducing your consumption of antibiotics in the food you eat can reduce the work your liver must do to keep your body free of toxins.

The Importance of Liver Health

Having a healthy and functioning liver is crucial for your overall health. Milk thistle and turmeric are great natural herbs for boosting the liver’s ability to perform its vital functions. Benefits from the consumption of these herbs include eliminating toxins and enhanced immune response effects.

As well, other beneficial natural foods to support liver health include grapefruits, beets, carrots, garlic, leafy greens, avocados, apples, olive oil, walnuts, and cruciferous vegetables.

Adopt a healthy diet where you eliminate toxins like alcohol and tobacco and eat natural whole foods, whole grains, and organic lean protein. If you change your lifestyle, you will never have to worry about your liver because it will function efficiently within your body.

What You Should Know About Your Liver Health 2018-09-25T17:44:25+00:00

Feel Like Yourself Again!

Candida overgrowth is a difficult condition to diagnose because the symptoms can be felt in different areas of the body. It is a common condition that tends to affect individuals in different ways, and Candida issues are very often misdiagnosed. If a healthcare professional is unaware of the importance of gut health, they may treat the symptoms rather than the underlying cause – an imbalance in the gut flora.

What exactly is Candida?

Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast. Very small amounts actually live in your mouth and intestines. Candida in small amounts in the body is beneficial and helps with digestion and nutrient absorption. However, when it is overproduced in the body, it can break down the wall of the intestines, penetrate the bloodstream, and release toxins into your body.

Like many other conditions, Candida symptoms can flare up in different places. However, all symptoms can be linked to an imbalance in the gut flora. The changes in your digestive tract lead to all candida symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, and much more.

What causes a Candida overgrowth?

Whatever caused your Candida overgrowth, whether it was a high-sugar diet (which feeds the candida) or a course of antibiotics (which kills many of our good gut flora), an overgrowth of Candida will cause an imbalance in your gut flora. The good bacteria in your gut are an essential part of your digestive system required for processing the food you eat. If there is an imbalance in your gut flora, it may really affect the way that your body digests food, as well as weakening your immune system.

The healthy and good bacteria in your gut work to keep your Candida levels in check. When a healthy gut microbiome is overwhelmed by a pathogen like Candida, the small and large intestines will not function optimally. This can create symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, nausea, and cramps.

How to treat Candida overgrowth?

 When it comes to treating candida problems, there are three important factors to keep in mind. In order to treat the problem, it is important to follow these key points.

  1. Starve the Candida

Candida feeds on sugar, refined carbohydrates, and yeast containing foods. Thusly, you should remove all sugar, refined carbs, alcohol, dried fruit, fruit juices, and mushrooms from your diet.

  1. Overpower the Candida

Once you have made these changes to your diet, you want to overpower the Candida. You can do this with anti-fungal supplements and other natural remedies. See the list of foods that fight Candida below!

  1. Build up good bacteria

Lastly, you want to strengthen your body’s defenses against future candida problems. You can help restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut by following a natural, plant-based diet. Also important here, are foods that contain beneficial probiotics. These are fermented foods using natural processes, for example, plain yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Include these foods to help restore balance and strengthen your gut microbiome.

Foods that Fight Candida

Let’s explore the top foods that fight Candida.

  1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil naturally contains a fatty acid, called caprylic acid. This anti-fungal interferes with Candida growth and replication.

  1. Garlic

Garlic contains allicin, a sulphur-containing compound with natural antifungal properties, specific to Candida. When eaten raw, this little food is one of the best antifungals around.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar contains enzymes that help break down Candida.

  1. Ginger

Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols which provides significant liver support while your body is detoxifying the Candida overgrowth.

  1. Olive Oil

Olive, flax, avocado, and primrose oils contain polyphenols, which help your body fight Candida.

  1. Cloves

Cloves naturally contain eugenol, a powerful essential oil and extremely effective antifungal when taken internally. Clove oil can also be effective as a topical aid for fungal infections of the toe and fingernails.

  1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a powerful spice that contains anti-fungal properties. Cinnamon helps to damage yeast cells, and helps them eventually die off.

  1. Wild Salmon

Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are also known to help fight fungal infections.

  1. Lemon Juice

The essential oil of lemons contains mild anti-fungal properties.  Lemon’s main role in the diet is to help detoxify your liver as it tries to fight off the Candida. Try drinking a glass of lemon water before breakfast to increase and support your digestion.

  1. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, arugula, cabbage, and radishes, contain isothiocyanates, the sulphur- and nitrogen-containing compounds that attack Candida.

Take Action Now

Are you ready to take back your health? You have the power to naturally help overcome Candida overgrowth and find relief from chronic symptoms, like digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, recurring fungal infections, skin problems, mood swings, and more.

Feel Like Yourself Again! 2018-09-20T07:26:40+00:00

It’s Time To Love Your Gut

Boost Your Energy and Improve Your Mood with Probiotics

Do you find yourself feeling sluggish and tired? The stress of our daily lives – from your career, family, school – along with the fast-paced, multitasking nature of today’s modern lifestyle, can often cause you to feel depleted. You are not alone.

While these changes in your energy can seem like no big deal, they can also be suggesting that something in your body needs attention. One important factor to give attention to is your gut microbiome, the communities of trillions of bacteria living in your digestive tract.

Did you know that the beneficial bacteria in our gut are responsible for coordinating many important functions in our bodies? Our gut bacteria help us with digesting foods, regulating and supporting our immune systems, and balancing blood sugar levels. The good bacteria in our gut can also affect our nervous system, which is a huge factor contributing to our mood and energy cycles.

Now, the great news is that you can improve your mood and boost your overall energy levels by bringing balance back to your gut.

Microbes and Mood

Many individuals believe that our brains are responsible for our moods, however our gut has more in common with our emotions than we think. Our gut is known as our “second brain” by many medical professionals because of its connection to the brain through the enteric nervous system (ENS), which actually resides in the gut.

The good microbes in our digestive tract, known as the probiotics, can communicate with and signal our brain due to the vagus nerve, which connects the brainstem with the gut. The good microbes in our gut can boost our mood by:

  1. Producing brain chemicals

The healthy gut flora produces and regulate neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin that work to calm us down and make us feel good. Did you know that over 90% of all serotonin in our bodies are produced in the gut?

  1. Lowering cortisol

Probiotics can help to lower the hormone cortisol. This hormone, produced in the adrenal glands, spikes during stressful situations, and can be responsible for causing anxiety and stress.

  1. Supporting the immune system

Healthy gut flora supports your immune system, which has been linked to mood issues such as depression.

Microbes and Energy Levels

 After learning that a compromised and out-of-balance gut microbiome can lower mood, how exactly does your gut healthy affect your energy levels? In addition to increasing our mood, which can simultaneously boost energy levels, a balanced microbiome with healthy gut flora can help with:

  1. Nutrient Absorption

The intestinal bacteria in our bodies can help us digest everything we consume, which allows us to absorb vital nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. When there is a lack of good bacteria in our intestines, our bodies cannot fully absorb the vitamins and minerals in the foods we consume, causing our energy levels to suffer.

  1. Balanced Blood Sugar

Probiotics help to support and bring balance to our blood sugar levels, which is essential for establishing a steady supply of energy to our bodies.

  1. Improved Sleep

We need to get enough sleep every night otherwise we feel tired and fatigued. Taking a probiotic can help with sleep because they work to increase tryptophan levels in the body, which is crucial for melatonin production and improved quality of sleep.

How do we make sure our gut is healthy?

It’s not easy to keep everything in balance. There are a lot of factors in our modern lifestyles – from stress to unhealthy diet – that deplete the good gut flora in our bodies. So, what can you do to live a lifestyle that supports your gut health?

  1. Probiotic rich foods

Add to your diet probiotic rich fermented foods including kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and plain yogurt.

  1. Natural diet

Natural whole foods not only boost your mood and energy levels, but they help to keep your microbes happy, too.

  1. Relax

Stress can affect your gut microbiome is so many ways. Stress can deplete vital bacteria and even effect digestion, both of which can contribute to low energy and unhappiness.

Our energy and mood levels have a huge impact on our lives. Thankfully if we support and take care of our body and give it what it needs, our microbes will be healthy and strong, keeping us happy, vibrant, and ready to take on the world!

It’s Time To Love Your Gut 2018-09-13T07:53:37+00:00

Plant Pigments and How They Benefit Our Health

Even if you don’t grow your own fruits and vegetables, you can see their colors come alive when you go to the supermarket. Deep orange carrots, red and yellow peppers, purple onions, dark leafy greens – it really looks like a rainbow! These vibrant colors are referred to as pigments, which are light-harvesting molecules that all plants manufacture.

And did you know that fruits and vegetables of different colors offer so many nutritional benefits? We all hear how important it is to consume fresh fruit and veggies when living a healthy lifestyle. But people who eat more fruits and vegetables, especially the deeply colored varieties, experience amazing benefits due to their pigmentation.

Plants are incredibly unique. Since plants cannot move around, they have to create everything that they need, not just to grow, but to defend, protect, and heal themselves. Can you imagine if the compounds that plants produce in response to stress would help a human under similar circumstances? Because it does. Each color pigment serves its own purpose for the plant and has health-promoting benefits for individuals when we consume them.

Main Plant Pigments and What They Can Do For Your Health

  1. Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is Earth’s first plant pigment, and green in color. Chlorophyll is responsible for initiating photosynthesis. This allows plants to produce their own food as well as oxygen that sustains life. Chlorophyll is valuable to humans because it helps to deactivate carcinogens in the body. Chlorophyll is also beneficial for us because it helps to remove toxins in the liver, improves digestion, speeds up the healing of wounds, and protects skin cells. Foods rich in this pigment are green vegetables like kale, parsley, dill, sprouts, wheatgrass, peas, asparagus, broccoli, grapes, and celery.

  1. Carotenoids

Carotenoids are generally red, orange, or yellow in color. In plants, carotenoids are responsible for attracting pollinators and seed dispersers. They also help with the process of photosynthesis in periods of low light with absorbing excess light energy. Carotenoids are valuable for humans and help to boost the immune system and protect skin and epithelial cells. Epithelial cells are the barrier between the inside and outside of your body. Not only are they found on your skin but also line the inside of your throat, intestines, blood vessels, and all your organs. Foods rich in these pigments are carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkins, peppers, cantaloupes, watermelons, papayas, and apricots.

  1. Anthocyanins

This plant pigment is responsible for creating a purple, blue, or burgundy color. Anthocyanins also help to attract pollinators and seed dispersers in plants. This pigment also helps to repel predators and protect cells from damage. For humans, anthocyanin promotes wound healing and also helps with strengthening the immune system. Foods rich in these pigments are berries, black beans, and purple veggies such as cabbage, onions, and potatoes.

  1. Betalains

Betalains are also responsible for creating a red or yellow pigment in plants, and they contain powerful antioxidants that help to sustain the plants life. Betalains also act as an antioxidant for humans and help to protect our bodies from a variety of pathogens. Foods that are rich in these pigments are beets, chard, spinach, and prickly pears.

How To Include Plant Pigments In Your Diet?

The best way to include the pigments in your lifestyle is to eat these natural, fresh foods. Variety is the key here. Eat a colorful plate at each meal. Most phytocompounds work together and can provide us with even more health-promoting benefits.

Also, when cooking, do not overcook! When you overcook a vegetable, it loses its color. As the nutrients are cooked out, the pigmentation is cooked out. Steaming is one way to preserve the color and nutrition in vegetables.

Eat Colorful Plants For Health

Plant pigments contain so many benefits for our bodies and can help us live better and healthier lives! Make sure to consume colorful plants to improve your health, because colorful fruits and veggies have more benefits than you think!

Plant Pigments and How They Benefit Our Health 2018-09-06T07:28:33+00:00