Thursday, 28 May 2015

Organic, Raw Durian (Freeze-Dried) InSpiral Review

Just received my Organic Raw Durian (Freeze-Dried) Chunks from Natu Health Store and thought id do a review on them.

I have been wanting to try Durian for as long as i can remember, so i have been looking forward to reviewing this superfruit and taking some pictures for the blog.

Manufactured by InSpiral, these Organic, Whole, Raw Durian Chunks are freeze dried with nothing added.  They are also gluten-free, GMO-free, no added sugar, no MSG or artificial additives.

Closer look at InSpirals Organic, Raw Durian(Freeze-Dried) Chunks.


A connoisseurs treat, this stinky fruit is our indisputable favorite – intensely sweet, yet with a multitude of unidentifiable flavor notes that take the taste buds on a magical journey.

Hailed in the South Est Asia as the “king of fruits” where they say “when the durians come down, the sarongs go up!”

 

The consistency is almost like the inside of a crunchy chocolate bar, the honeycomb portion.  Very sweet, with some almost onion and sulfur tones to it, its easy to see how some get addicted to eating Durian.

I must make it my mission to try fresh Durian when i finally visit Asia next year, as well as the other exotic fruits they produce such as mangosteen and jackfruit.

I expect i will be purchasing much more of these freeze-dried raw durian as they are very moreish.  I will be playing about with some recipes soon involving the freeze dried durian fruit chunks and raw chocolate, i think they would go very well together.  Raw chocolate durian chunks coming soon.


For more information or to purchase these Organic, Raw Durian (Freeze-Dried) Chunks, check out Natu Health Store at – Organic Raw Superfoods

Raw Chocolately Supefood Granola Bites Review

Today more delicious raw foods landed on my door step from our recent purchase with Natu Health.

So i thought we’d do a review on the Raw Chocolately Superfood Granola which is produced by InSpiral.

Raw Chocolately Superfood Granola is a delicious mixture of wholefood clusters, which are Certified Organic, Vegan, RAW, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Cholesterol-Free, Trans-Fat Free, GMO-Free, No Added Cane Sugar and No MSG or Artificial Additives.

Closer look at the Inspiral Chocolatey Superfood Bites.


InSpiral’s own luxurious raw cacao chocolate mix, sweet fruits of appledate and sultanaomega-rich seeds, nuts and whole grains, all make perfect Chocolatey granola bites; all slow-dried for optimum nutrition and sustained energy. Each flavour granola bite has its own unique superfood content and the whole mix is dehydrated at low temperatures for a truly optimum gourmet experience

inSpiral’s Chocolatey Superfood Granola Bites are the ultimate organic fitness food, complete with seven vegan protein sources. The perfect, guilt-free ‘on-the-go snack’, straight out of the compostable bag.


InSpiral Organic Granola Bites contain ancient unrefined whole grains and natural dried flavours from fruits, roots and green shoots! You’ll find none of the trans fats or artificial flavours often associated with mainstream sweet treats and other convenience/processed foods and snacks. 

In fact our finished products are still ‘raw’ because we haven’t cooked/baked them! Raw food provides the body with enzymes and nutrients that are destroyed once ingredients are heated above 42°C. We think this makes them perfect for children, adults – and just about everyone else!

They taste brilliant, the raw chocolate isn’t too overpowering and it adds a nice sweetness to the clusters.

These raw chocolately superfood granola clusters are very versatile snack and also go great with milk to make a healthy cereal.  Perfect for those looking for a gluten-free breakfast option, which is also raw, vegan and healthy.

Great as a raw vegan breakfast cereal.


Priced very well at £1.39, which i would say is great value for a healthy raw food snack.  They also have a 9 month shelf life, so perfect for keeping on hand.

Ingredients – buckwheat, sultanas, dates, apples, almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut palm sugar, raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter, raw cacao paste, chia seeds, flax seeds, lucuma powder, xylitol, millet, quinoa, vanilla and Himalayan crystal salt.

For more information or to purchase, check out Natu Health Store at – Raw Superfood Granola

5 Best Natural Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is part of the bodies natural response to dealing with an infection or injury.

However when chronic inflammation occurs or the root cause is left un-treated, it can lead to the development of a number of serious health problems such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal, neurological and even auto-immune conditions.

When inflammation is involved it is always wise to assess the function and health of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce the bodies own natural anti-inflammatory steroid hormones such as cortisol.  Foods rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin B5 are a good start for supporting the adrenal glands, as well as reducing stress as much as possible.

There are a number of natural healthy foods, which not only help to reduce inflammation, but help to maintain a healthy inflammatory state within the body.

It doesn’t surprise me that many of these powerful anti-inflammatory foods are also excellent choices to include within any healthy longevity orientated diet.

Scientific research has found that these natural foods to possess many other possible health benefits such as anti-oxidant properties, anti-microbial effect, gastrointestinal support, liver protective, improve metabolic health, support and improve cardiovascular health and maybe even help to prevent the risk of developing certain cancers.

Here are five of my favorite superfoods for tackling inflammation.

5 Potent Natural Anti-Inflammatory Foods


1. Blueberries & Other Berries


Blueberries and other berries are packed with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which make them the perfect healthy snack for preventing inflammation.   

Research has shown that the polyphenols berries contain exert a number of protective health benefits including potent anti-inflammatory effect. 

Some examples of berries include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and goji berries. Berries are not only great for reducing inflammation, but they help to improve metabolic health, reduce the risk of certain cancers, boost the immune system and are packed with vitamin C.

Amla also known as Indian Gooseberry is an important fruit in Ayurvedic medicine and is one of natures richest sources of vitamin C.  Studies have shown amla to possess strong anti-inflammatory properties and traditionally is used to support the digestive system, cardiovascular health and to reduce inflammation throughout the body.

2. Turmeric Root


Turmeric is a root, which comes from the Curcuma longa plant and is a member of the ginger family. Turmeric is a spice with a wonderful golden color and is traditionally considered to have many medicinal properties. 
 
Curcumin is the primary constituent identified in Turmeric and is responsible for the roots rich golden yellow color. Turmeric contains other curcuminoids(demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin), as well as volatile oils, which also contribute to the roots medicinally properties.

Many studies confirm Turmerics various health benefits including anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and possibly even anti-cancer/tumor effect. Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have long known the importance of Turmeric, for its potent anti-inflammatory and healing properties. 

Research has shown that curcumin has comparable anti-inflammatory effects to the likes of hydro-cortisone and other over-the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the harsh side effects. 

Curcumin X4000 Capsules is my recommended choice of Turmeric supplement, if you wish to use Curcumin medicinally and at therapeutic dosages. Studies have shown that Curcumin X4000 is around 25-45x better absorbed than regular Turmeric extract supplements.

3. Tea (Camellia Sinensis)


Black, green, white and oolong tea are all derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
  
Tea is an amazing source of polyphenols known as catechins, which studies show to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and possible anti-cancer benefits.

EGCG(Epigallocatechin gallate) is the most well known and studied of these polyphenols, and is considered to be one of the main active components attributed to tea’s many health benefits.

Out of the above choices, i prefer to recommend white tea for a number of reasons. Firstly white tea is a richer source of these anti-oxidant polyphenols, this is because it is the least processed form of tea. White tea also tends to contain lower levels of caffeine, fluoride and aluminum than other tea’s do.

Enjoy 3 or more cups of tea a day to receive the significant protection, that drinking tea has to offer against a variety of health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, inflammatory disorders and possibly even reducing the risk of certain cancers.

4. Sardines


Sardines are absolutely packed with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA(eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA(docosahexaenoic acid).
  
These beneficial omega-3 fatty acids play an important role regulating inflammation in the body, as well as being critical for brain and cellular health.

Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t the only inflammation supportive nutrient that sardines contain, these oily fish are an important and rare dietary source of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D is a very important nutrient for maintaining a healthy inflammatory state and supporting proper immune system function.

Sardines are packed with many health promoting nutrients such as protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D3, omega-3(epa/dha), bio-available calcium and selenium, rna/dna and co-enzyme q10.  

Sardines are the best choice of oily fish because they are low in the food chain and feed solely on plankton. This means that they are low accumulators of toxins such as heavy metals like mercury, compared to other fish such as tuna. Sardines are considered to be a safe choice, which provide a number of health promoting nutrients.

Taking the above into account, sardines are a wonderful choice of food to support cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation and aid longevity. Consuming sardines 1-3 times a week, will in most cases eliminate an individuals need to supplement with nutrients such as omega-3, vitamin B12, vitamin D and selenium.

5. Serrapeptase "Miracle" Enzyme


Serrapeptase is processed commercially in the laboratory through fermentation. It was originally found in the silkworm where it is naturally present in its intestine. 
Serrapeptase has potent anti-inflammatory properties and can aid post-surgical recovery, reduce swelling, pain and inflammation, promote healthy sinus activity and lung health, useful for fibrocystic breast disease, digests dead tissue, blood clots, cysts, scar tissue and arterial plaques.  

It is vital to make sure that you take Serrapeptase and other proteolytic enzymes on an empty stomach, otherwise they will digest food rather than providing the therapeutic benefits.

I use the strongest Serrapeptase on the market which is the 250,000IU strength and have had many great benefits, not only in regards to reducing chronic inflammation but for reducing scar tissue and stretch marks also. 

For more information on Serrapeptase check out Natu Health Store at – Serrapeptase Enzyme

Always consult a professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

8 Tips To Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome or increased intestinal permeability as it is known can be a major contributor to many chronic health problems and diseases.

Increased intestinal permeability allows partially digested food proteins, toxins, yeast, parasites and other bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which normally wouldn’t. This can lead to allergic reactions, which places a massive stress on the adrenal glands, liver and the immune system as a whole.

It is not surprising with the havoc leaky gut causes, that it has been implicated as a possible cause in a number of serious health conditions, including auto-immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome/me, food allergies, skin conditions such as eczema, sinusitis, periodontal(gum) and even heart disease.

Intestinal permeability is mediated by adrenal hormones such as cortisol, so if the adrenal glands aren’t functioning optimally, you can expect an increased risk of leaky gut syndrome. There is a well known connection between stress and gut problems, so care must be taken to reduce stress and support the adrenal glands.

The root cause of leaky gut is inflammation in the intestine, which increases the permeability. Systemic inflammation plays a role in many health conditions and many of the tips in this article will help to maintain a healthy inflammatory state within the body.

Causes Of Leaky Gut Syndrome


There are many causes of increased intestinal permeability aka leaky gut syndrome, one of the most common is with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory(NSAIDs) drugs.

Another common factor that increases the risk of leaky gut is the over-use of anti-biotic medications, which can alter the balance of the gut flora and promote tissue-penetrating opportunistic pathogens such as candida overgrowth.

Studies have shown that alcohol can increase intestinal permeability, especially with heavy drinking.  A recent study showed that even a single binge drinking session can cause irreparable damage to the gut lining and a whole host of chronic issues as a result.  Something to keep in mind with how popular binge drinking has become in our culture.

Chronic emotional stress and poor diets are other common causes of leaky gut syndrome and digestive problems in general.

Leaky Gut Syndrome Cure Tips


1. Bovine Colostrum

Colostrum is the perfect superfood for supporting digestive health and is an excellent choice in any leaky gut syndrome treatment plan.  Colostrum is the first milk, which is produced by mammals (including humans) in late pregnancy.  The colostrum we are referring to here is from Bovine source and is a popular supplement.
 
Colostrum is packed with proline-rich peptides, immune and growth factors, which are brilliant for healing the intestinal lining and reducing inflammation within the gut.

Multiple studies show that colostrum can help to reduce intestinal permeability(leaky gut) and has potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Colostrum is also effective for boosting the immune system and has localized anti-microbial activity on bad bacteria, candida albicans, intestinal parasites and other opportunistic microbes which can contribute to leaky gut syndrome.

My favorite brand of Colostrum is from a company called Surthrival, they have excellent quality, free of anti-biotics, hormones and is true 6 hour third party verified.  For more information or to purchase check Natu Health at – Colostrum Supplements

2. Bone Broth


Bone broth is packed with nutrients which heal the gut lining and support the digestive system such as collagen, gelatin, amino acids such as proline and glycine, glycosaminoglycans, easily digestible minerals such as calcium, magnesium, silicon, zinc, sulfur, potassium and sodium.
 
Bone broth is the stock liquid made from simmering meat bones for extended periods of time(4-48hours). 

Bone broth is also a great natural source of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) such as Glucosamine, Hyaluronic acid and Chondroitin Sulfate, which are popular ingredients in many joint health supplements.

This resulting delicious liquid is rich in many nutrients that are important for maintaining gut and joint health.

3. Licorice Root



Licorice root is a wonderful “adaptogenic” herb, which helps to support the adrenal glands and has potent steroidal anti-inflammatory properties. Tackling inflammation is a vital component to treating leaky gut syndrome.

Adaptogenic herbs also help to increase the bodies resistance to stress and have a non-specific normalizing action on the body.

DGL stands for De-Glycyrrhizinated Licorice, which is a type of licorice supplement, although it is of no use for leaky gut support because the steroidal anti-inflammatory components have been removed.

Licorice root has the ability to raise blood pressure with high doses and long term use, as such it is essential to seek proper guidance from a qualified practitioner, when adding any herbs or supplements to your lifestyle.

Yucca root is another herb which can help by reducing intestinal inflammation, killing candida albicans, boosting the immune system and building up the adrenal glands.

4. Supporting The Gut Flora


Supporting the gut flora is another essential component of any leaky gut recovery program. 
 
Imbalances in the gut flora can cause opportunistic pathogens such as candida albicans, parasites and bad bacteria to take over, all of which contribute to increased intestinal permeability and overall poor intestinal health.

Probiotics are helpful for reducing intestinal inflammation and repopulating the gut flora. Fermented foods such as kefir, raw sauerkraut, kombucha and cultured veggies are some of my favorite choices and are all rich sources of beneficial bacteria.

Prescript-Assist is a powerful soil based probiotic/prebiotic supplement, which is backed by peer reviewed, clinical studies proving its efficiency for restoring the balance of the gastro-intestinal microflora.

Prebiotics are also very important for supporting healthy balance of the gut flora. Indigestible prebiotic fibers are what feed and stimulate the activity of the beneficial gut bacteria.

Diets low in prebiotics significantly contribute to the development of digestive disorders such as leaky gut syndrome. Good sources of prebiotics include onions, garlic, rice bran and for an over the counter supplement Bimuno is one of my favorite choices.

5.  L-Glutamine


The amino acid L-Glutamine is one of the most popular treatments for leaky gut syndrome and studies show that nutritional depletion can result in increased intestinal permeability.

Whey protein is an excellent source of the amino acid glutamine and doesn’t only help to prevent leaky gut syndrome, but offers many more health benefits such as increasing levels of the master antioxidant glutathione.

One study showed multiple benefits in regard to L-Glutamine and leaky gut syndrome. [1]

Major abnormalities in IP have been demonstrated in glutamine-deprived rat pups. Furthermore, glutamine has been shown to maintain transepithelial resistance and to reduce permeability in intestinal cell culture monolayers. In addition, glutamine supplementation has been shown to increase intestinal barrier function in malnourished children.
Several studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of glutamine on IP. For example, improvements in the intestinal barrier have been shown in experimental biliary obstruction, after ischemia/reperfusion and even in severe clinical situations, such as in critically ill patients, in whom glutamine lowered the frequency of infections following abdominal surgery. Furthermore, in IBD treatment, the use of glutamine alone or in combination with other amino acids is considered promising.

6.  Anti-Inflammatory


As discussed above inflammation is typically the root cause of increased intestinal permeability(leaky gut) and diet as always plays a massive role in maintaining a healthy inflammatory state within the body.

A diet rich in colorful plant foods provides much protection against chronic diseases and supplies many anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant phyto-nutrients.

Sardines are an excellent food choice for most individuals with leaky gut syndrome and provide a rich food source of the potent anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA.
Standard diets are often too low in omega-3 fatty acids, whilst being excessively rich in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats.  Vegetable oils and other n-6 rich foods should be reduced or eliminated from the diet. 

Many individuals have problems converting Omega 3 fats from plant sources to the longer chain derivatives EPA and DHA, which is where the benefits of Omega 3 fats lie. So if you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet, then supplementation with the full EPA/DHA forms may be recommended.

Zinc deficiency has been linked to the development of leaky gut syndrome and studies show that zinc supplementation can reduce intestinal permeability. [2]

Our findings show that zinc supplementation can resolve permeability alterations in patients with Crohn’s disease in remission. Improving intestinal barrier function may contribute to reduce the risk of relapse in Crohn’s disease.

7.  Reduce Stress


The link between stress and gut health shouldn’t be under-estimated, lots of research has discovered a link between emotional health and a healthy digestive system.

One of the best methods for reducing stress in my opinion is with meditation, another is by practicing slow controlled deep breathing exercises, which is one of the few voluntary ways to switch off the sympathetic nervous system.

Those who are stressed or worried over-use the sympathetic “fight or flight” branch of their nervous system, which can inhibit and slow digestion.  Stress has also shown in studies to upset the balance of the gut flora, which as discussed above is a very important part of maintaining a healthy digestive system and optimal microbial balance within the gut.

As briefly explained above the adrenal glands mediate intestinal permeability by controlling inflammation within the body.  Its actually a catch 22 situation where sub-optimal adrenal gland function can be a major cause of leaky gut, but can also be a result of increased intestinal permeability.

When partially digested food proteins and other toxins enter the blood stream, where they normally wouldn’t it can lead to allergic reactions, this places a massive stress on the adrenal glands.  Leaky gut syndrome and sub-optimal adrenal gland function are thus the basis for the development of auto-immune diseases.

8.  Turmeric/Curcumin For Leaky Gut Syndrome


Turmeric root is a wonderful healing spice with a rich golden color that has shown in many studies to be of remarkable benefit in fighting inflammation and decreasing oxidative stress.
Controlling inflammation is a vital factor in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome. 
Curcumin is considered to be one of the main active components of Turmeric root and where it derives many of its health benefits according to studies.  However curcumin is typically poorly absorbed on its own, which can significantly limit its therapeutic potential.

There are a few ways to increase the bio-availability of curcumin, one is by bonding it with phosphatidylcholine as is seen with the supplement CurcuminX4000.  Two studies have shown that CurcuminX4000 is significantly better absorbed than a standardized curcumin extract.

Another benefit to turmeric root is the ability to support detoxification primarily through the liver and increasing bile flow.  Supporting the detoxification pathways is a very important aspect to any leaky gut syndrome treatment plan, as increased intestinal permeability has the potential to overwhelm and significantly stress the liver and detoxification system.

For more information or to purchase CurcuminX4000 visit Natu Health Store at – CurcuminX4000 Capsules

References

[1] – Possible Links between Intestinal Permeablity and Food Processing: A Potential Therapeutic Niche for Glutamine.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898551/

[2] – Zinc supplementation tightens “leaky gut” in Crohn’s disease.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11383597

The Best Foods For Liver Health

We are living in increasingly toxic times, where the need for detoxification and liver support is fast becoming essential in order to obtain optimal health and well-being.

Supporting the liver and bodies detoxification systems with natural healthy foods is an excellent way to improve overall health and to aid the elimination of toxic substances.

A sluggish liver overburdened by too much processed junk foods, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and other toxins can cause lowered vitality and poor health.

There are many foods, herbs and botanicals, which have a natural affinity for supporting the liver through their various nutrients, phyto-chemicals and other beneficial alkaloids.

Here are some of my favorite foods for maintaining a healthy liver.

The Best Foods For Liver Health


1. Milk Thistle


Milk Thistle(Silybum marianum) is a popular herbal remedy for supporting liver health and numerous studies verify the liver-protective benefits.

Traditionally Milk Thistle is recommended to treat liver problems such as cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders.

The main active component of Milk Thistle which is responsible for the much of its health benefits, is a flavonolignan complex called silymarin.

Milk Thistle has been shown to protect the liver from damage by toxins, alcohol, drugs, amanita mushroom poisoning and other toxic compounds.

Studies also show that Milk Thistle can significantly speed up the regeneration of liver cells.

Other health benefits that studies show milk thistle can help with include lowering cholesterol, helps intestinal problems, lowers blood sugar, reduces the growth of cancer cells, protects the body from the damage from radiation and has antioxidant properties.

2. Cruciferous Vegetables


Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are excellent choices for supporting liver health.  In fact you won’t find a better food group that helps to support the livers detoxification capabilities.

Cruciferous vegetables contain phyto-nutrients called isothiocyanates (ITCs) including sulforaphane, which help to support Phase II detoxification activity, whilst regulating Phase I.  These detoxification systems are very important to help neutralize many toxins.  Inadequate detoxification of toxins, can significantly increase one’s risk of developing cancer and other diseases.

Cruciferous vegetables such as Broccoli are absolutely packed with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many other health promoting phyto-nutrients.   Cruciferous vegetables are also a great source of sulfur, which again helps to support the bodies detoxification systems.

Light cooking such as steaming helps to inactivate the majority of goitrogenic compounds found in cruciferous vegetables.  Goitrogens are substances that interfere with the thyroids ability to uptake iodine.  Large intake of raw goitrogenic foods should be consumed with caution, especially if one has an existing thyroid disorder.

3. Bupleurum Root


Bupleurum Root (Bupleurum Chinensis) is a pungent bitter herb, which is excellent for cleansing the liver.  
 
Bupleurum is one of the few herbs which don’t need to come in contact with the back of the tongue in order to cleanse the liver, such as the case with bitter herbs.

Bupleurum is an important herb in TCM(traditional Chinese medicine) and is used as a tonic for the liver and circulatory system.

Bupleurum can also raise dopamine levels, which may be of benefit for certain types of depression caused from low dopamine levels.

4. Onions & Garlic


Onions and garlic are another two foods that one should be including regularly in their diet regardless of the liver support benefits.
Onions and garlic have a wealth of scientific research on their various health benefits, which include anti-biotic/microbial, anti-inflammatory, digestive health, liver support, promotes cardiovascular health and may even reduce the risk of developing certain cancers such as those of the stomach.

Garlic is rich in a number of powerful sulfur compounds such as thiosulfinates(allicin), sulfoxides(alliin) and dithiins(ajoene).  Scientific research has shown that these sulfur compounds such as allicin that garlic contains has a number of health promoting benefits including supporting liver health.

Studies show that garlic can protect the liver from toxins, reduce fat accumulation in the liver, protects against liver cancer cells and is a boon to metabolic health by lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar.

As briefly explained above, one of the major roles of sulfur in the body is to support detoxification and many toxin savaging antioxidants such as Glutathione require sulfur for synthesis.

Garlic is also an excellent source of the mineral selenium, which is another nutrient that increases the action of antioxidants such as glutathione and supports liver health.

Include both of these foods liberally in the diet.  To increase the medicinal health benefits, crush or chop the garlic and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before consuming.

5. Turmeric Root


Turmeric(Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant, which is a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.
Research shows that Turmeric can increase detoxification systems in the body, in addition to its potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Much of the studies are focusing on Turmeric’s potential as a natural anti-cancer agent and to prevent the growth of various cancers, however Turmeric is also an amazing food for cleansing the liver.

Turmeric has a triple action on health in that it supports detoxification of harmful toxins, whilst reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, all three are key factors in the development of many diseases.

One of the main active components of turmeric is a phyto-nutrient called curcumin, which research suggests is very poorly absorbed by the body.  There are a few methods to increase the bio-availability of curcumin however, the first is to pair turmeric with black pepper, which studies show significantly increases the uptake and utilization.

Another method is to pair curcumin with a fat-loving molecule such as phosphatidylcholine, which once again significantly increases the bio-availability and also has benefits to liver health itself.

Curcumin X4000 Capsules are a high quality supplement that studies show is 45% better absorbed than regular curcumin 95% supplements.  Helpful if one wishes to use therapeutic dosages of turmeric and curcumin.

6. Free-Range Eggs


We talked about some of the plant sulfur compounds above that help to support the detoxification pathways in the body.  However there are other nutrients called sulfur bonded amino acids, such as taurine, methionine and cysteine, which are critical to proper detoxification and liver health.

These sulfur bonded amino acids are found in high concentration in free range eggs.

One of cysteine’s main functions is as a pre-cursor to the antioxidant Glutathione, a compound which is vital for a healthy functioning immune system and liver.  Quite simply without cysteine the body cannot produce Glutathione.  Glutathione is often referred to as the “master antioxidant” which helps to neutralize free radicals and aid the detoxification of many other toxins such as heavy metals.

Taurine is another interesting nutrient that studies show to promote the flow and production of bile, a bitter greenish-brown alkaline fluid which aids digestion and is secreted by the liver and stored in the gall bladder.  Adequate bile flow is another detoxification method that the liver uses for removing toxins such as heavy metals from the body.

Many vegetarians and in particular strict vegans don’t get enough of these crucial sulfur nutrients.  In fact studies show that many vegans are deficient in the amino acids taurine and methionine.

7. Beets


Beets contain a compound known as betaine or TMG(Tri-Methyl-Glycine), which supports a vital process in the body known as methylation.  Methylation is the primary method of removing toxins in the phase II detoxification system.

Methylation converts toxins into compounds which are more easily eliminated by the body.  Without adequate methylation, detoxification potential is severely impaired and this increases the burden on the liver.

Eat foods such as Beets regularly to provide rich sources of TMG/methyl-donors.  Other foods which provide TMG include broccoli and quinoa.  The supplement TMG(Tri-Methyl-Glycine) can be very helpful to support methylation by providing methyl-donors in higher therapeutic quantities.

TMG also has many other benefits some of these include anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, aids the production of neuro-transmitters and hormones, supports the methylation process, aids liver detoxification, protein synthesis, lowers homo-cysteine, which is a problem factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.

8. Bitter Herbs


Bitter herbs such as Gentian, Artichoke Leaf, Dandelion etc have a long history of supporting digestive and liver health.  Bitters refer to any food or herb with a strong bitter taste.

Traditionally bitters have been recommended for thousands of years to cleanse the liver, balance hormones, stimulate appetite and prevent indigestion especially after heavy meals.  Digestive bitters are very popular in Europe.

When the bitter tasting foods come in contact with the back of the tongue it stimulates the vagus nerve, this in turn stimulates the release of many digestive juices such as stomach acid, pancreatic digestive enzymes and bile.

Improving the flow of bile helps to naturally cleanse the liver, aiding in the removal of many harmful toxins.  Sluggish or bile flow insufficiency isn’t uncommon, bitters are a safe and natural remedy for most individuals.

Always consult a professional before taking any herbs or making any significant lifestyle changes.

Top 5 Raw Vegan Diet Myths

There are many dietary and health myths that are shared around the raw and natural hygiene movements.

Here we are going to dispel a few of the common raw vegan diet myths.

1. Cooked Food Is Unhealthy


 The notion that all cooked food is unhealthy is one of the most common myths that perpetrates the raw food movement.
Brian Clement of Hippocrates Health Institute reported when ‘healthy’ people ate a vegan diet of 75% raw food, their immune systems were not compromised in any significant way. But when these healthy people increased their cooked vegan food intake from 25% to 30% (the % of raw vegans cooked is always measured by weight), these people’s immune systems dropped in functioning by an average of 17% across the board. And when these people increased their cooked food intake from 30% to 35%, about 50% of their immune systems had been compromised. 

Many raw food gurus such as Brian Clement often make bold claims about how unhealthy cooked foods are, but after considerable research no study actually exists from Hippocrates Health Institute or Brian Clement.  In fact despite all these “studies” that Brian Clement claims to have done, after extensive research we couldn’t find a single study published in any journal from HHI or under Brian Clement.

We know that his claims here are inaccurate because there is an absolute mountain of evidence documenting the health benefits of consuming cooked plant foods such as the root vegetables, onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, the dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach, which are all significantly more digestible when lightly cooked.

All of these plant foods have numerous studies on their health benefits, of which include supporting and boosting the immune system, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowered inflammation, supporting intestinal health/gut flora balance, reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer and much more.

Completely fabricated statements such as the above from Brian Clement can be dangerous as we know high plant based diets which include liberal amounts of cooked vegetables are proven to be healthy.

Brian Clement is trying to claim that when people ate 30-35% of their diet from cooked plant foods that their immune system function declined by 50%, which would be completely laughable if so many didn’t buy into his raw food propaganda and out-right lies.

Maybe we can ask Brian, why diets such as the Greek Mediterranean which are majority plant based diets that contain lots of cooked plant foods have been proven time and time again in studies to increase longevity and reduce the risk of developing many degenerative diseases.

Tea(Camellia Sinensis) is another beverage which is typically heated and also has a wealth of research documenting its ability to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Raw foodists tend to get too overly hung up about whether a food is raw or not, but in many cases its completely irrelevant to determining whether a food is healthy or not.

2. Cholesterol As A Cause Of Heart Disease


Another top raw vegan myth is the out-dated notion that cholesterol is the main culprit in the development of heart disease, something that recent research has proven to be incorrect.
Research even shows that over 50% of heart attacks actually occur in individuals with low to normal cholesterol levels.

The root cause of arterial plaque formation and arteriosclerosis is actually arterial inflammation, not cholesterol.  Cholesterol is the vital healing agent that the body pumps out in response to inflammation or injury to speed up the healing process.

There are many causes of arterial inflammation some include high blood pressure, diabetes and one that significantly relates to vegans in particular is high homo-cysteine levels, which research shows to be caused from Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Cholesterol is also a vital pre-cursor to adrenal steroid hormones such as cortisol, put it simply without cholesterol we would be dead.  This is why we often see raw vegans incapable of overcoming burnout and adrenal fatigue or suffering from other hormonal imbalance symptoms such as low libido and sexual dysfunction.

The liver is capable of producing cholesterol, however in times of stress, injury, inflammation or illness, then dietary cholesterol may be essential.

It doesn’t help matters that many doctors completely bought into the out-dated cholesterol as a cause of heart disease myth, in order to push their dangerous cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins.  Research shows statins can significantly increase the risk of heart failure and cause deficiencies of heart health nutrients such as co-enzyme Q10.

Ubiquinol is a reduced form of co-enzyme Q10 and many experts recommend that those on statin medications should supplement to increase levels of Co-Enzyme Q10 and prevent deficiency.

3. Onions & Garlic Are Toxic Foods


Onions and garlic have always been vilified by the raw food and natural hygiene movement, largely due to their intense smell and taste.
The belief that these foods are toxic and unhealthy is based completely on pseudo-science and dogma, rather than scientific research.

In fact there is a mountain of science documenting the potential health benefits of both onions and garlic.

Some of which include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, supporting the immune system, both are high pre-biotic fiber sources which support intestinal health by nourishing the beneficial gut flora, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-biotic properties, lower inflammation and may even protect against the risk of certain types of cancer.

4. Mythical Vitamin B12 Sources


Studies consistently show that vegans score the lowest for Vitamin B12 status and are commonly severely deficient in this essential vitamin.
This is because strict plant based vegan diets cannot reliably provide Vitamin B12 in sufficient quantities.

There is some small research that seaweeds and algaes such as AFA Blue-Green algae may provide Vitamin B12, but there is also often counter-research indicating that these are often not reliable sources to obtain Vitamin B12 or contain pseudo-B12 analogs.  Klamath Lake AFA Blue-Green algae is also proven by multiple studies to contain toxic microcystins and anatoxins, which can cause irreparable liver and nervous system damage.

We hear all sorts of excuses and whacky theories from raw food gurus, about why the vegan diet cannot provide this basic nutrient.  Deficiency of Vitamin B12 is not to be taken lightly and low levels for many years can increase the risk of developing heart disease(through elevated homo-cysteine levels), stroke and even dementia.

One raw vegan guru Doug Graham claims that we can get sufficient Vitamin B12 intake, simply by breathing in the air or by swallowing our mucus.

Doug Graham: “B12 is everywhere. It’s in the air. It’s in the mucus membranes of your nose. Every time you inhale, you’re breathing in B12; every time you swallow your own saliva, you’re swallowing B12.”

To date no air samples have ever detected Vitamin B12, so we know that this claim from Doug is incorrect.  As with all the other theories such as swallowing your mucus, playing with your dog and standing in soil, none of these are proven to be able to maintain healthy Vitamin B12 status.

These statements are very dangerous and is most likely why anecdotally we are seeing a huge number of individuals developing severe Vitamin B12 deficiency on Doug Grahams strict raw vegan 80/10/10 diet.

The intestinal flora generates a very small amount of Vitamin B12 and other B-complex Vitamins, however not in the quantities to be able to waive dietary intake of this essential nutrient.  This is why vegan dieticians recommend Vitamin B12 supplements or to consume fortified foods such as vegan cereals, however often these foods are processed, unhealthy and loaded with refined sugar.

The Vitamin B12 issue alone shows us that there is something not quite right about the vegan diet.  Any healthy diet should be able to provide all the basic essential nutrients in the correct quantities from food sources, not being reliant on supplements like most vegans are.

5. Fats, Nuts & Seeds Are Unhealthy Foods ?


Not all fats are unhealthy or created equal, so we need to get out of this out-dated dogma and stance that all fats are bad for health.

Many fatty acids such as the Omega-3 EPA and DHA have been proven to not only support cardiovascular health, but reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

However the Omega-3s aren’t the only type of fats that research has documented to have heart protective benefits, monounsaturated fatty acids such as those found in nuts, seeds, avocado and olives for example have a library of positive research on their cardiovascular supportive effect.

Saturated fats are also essential for health and proper hormonal function, many vegans are critically low in this type of fat, which is poorly supplied by strict vegan diets, with coconut being one of the few healthy sources.

Many raw vegans also eliminate or severely reduce overt fat sources such as nuts, seeds, coconut, avocado, cacao and olives in the belief that fats are unhealthy.   Reducing or eliminating another food group just tends to increase the risk of developing further nutritional deficiencies.

Extremely low fat diets such as in the case of Doug Grahams 80/10/10 rarely work for most individuals in the long term.

7 Inexpensive Superfoods That Everyone Should Be Eating

When we think of the word “Superfoods” we tend to associate it with expensive and overly hyped packaged supplements.

However there are many natural foods that are not only inexpensive, but absolutely packed with health supportive nutrients and properties.

All of these foods are also well studied scientifically for their superfood nutrient content, various health benefits and therapeutic applications.

Most of us don’t have an unlimited budget when it comes to purchasing health foods, so this longevity shopping list should help you get the most bang for your buck nutritionally.

Here is my list of my favorite seven inexpensive superfoods that we should all be eating.

1. Turmeric/Curcumin


Turmeric is a popular Indian culinary spice, which has a growing body of scientific research on its various health benefits.

The list of potential benefits that research is attributing to this wonderful golden-yellow spice is endless.

Some of the therapeutic properties include potent anti-inflammatory effect, supporting and improving cardiovascular health, anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties, reduces oxidative stress, aids digestive health, supports the liver’s detoxification process, protects and supports lung health, acts as an anti-depressant and may even have anti-cancer/tumor effect.

Curcumin is a diarylheptanoid and is the main active curcuminoid of turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family.

One potential issue is that Curcumin is very poorly absorbed by the body, however there are a few proven methods to increase the bioavailability of this very beneficial compound.

One method is to pair Curcumin with black pepper, which contains a compound called piperine that studies have shown can increase the uptake of Curcumin significantly.

Another option is to pair Curcumin with fat-loving molecules such as phospholipids, which research again shows can greatly increase the bioavailability of Curcumin anywhere from 25-45x.

What makes Turmeric and Curcumin such a top longevity food, is how effectively it supports the inflammatory-immune and oxidative stress pathways.  All three components are major underlying factors in the development of many common health problems and degenerative diseases.

If wishing to use Curcumin for its therapeutic applications, then a quality Curcumin supplement may be necessary in order to achieve adequate blood levels.  Curcumin X4000 is one of the best curcumin supplements on the market and contains the patented Meriva.

2. Fermented Foods & Prebiotic Fibers


Fermented foods are an excellent source of beneficial lactic acid bacteria or probiotics as they are commonly known, which help to repopulate the gut flora.

Fermented foods have a long traditional history of use, not only as a food preservation method but for supporting and promoting digestive health.

The gut flora is thought to account for around 80% of the immune system, so it makes sense to support the balance of the flora with foods rich in beneficial probiotic bacteria.

A diet rich in prebiotic fibers is also very important for maintaining a healthy gut flora balance.

Prebiotics are indigestible fibers, which increase the growth and stimulate the activity of the beneficial gut bacteria.

Some examples of fermented foods include Kefir, Raw Sauerkraut, Miso, Kimchi and Cultured Vegetables.

Fermented foods are inexpensive, easy to make at home and contain much more viable live probiotics than the majority of the expensive store bought probiotic supplements.

3. Sardines


When it comes to supporting cardiovascular health, there are few foods which contain more heart protective nutrients than the humble sardine.

Sardines are absolutely packed with the proven anti-inflammatory and heart supportive Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.  There is a mountain of evidence building on the importance of omega-3 rich foods such as oily fish and their ability to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Keeping inflammation in check is a vital component to any longevity diet and chronic inflammation has been found to play a role in many degenerative diseases.

However omega-3 fatty acids aren’t the only heart supportive nutrient that sardines contains.

Sardines are extremely rich in Vitamin B12, which is an essential nutrient in the regulation of a substance called homo-cysteine.  Elevated homo-cysteine levels are a proven factor in the development of heart disease.  Studies show vegetarians and in particular vegans are at risk of developing elevated homo-cysteine levels, which occurs due to the low intake of Vitamin B12.

Sardines contain the vitamin like substance Co-Enzyme Q10, which plays a vital role in the production of ATP(energy) and is another nutrient which is very important for optimal heart health.

Sardines are also a rare food source of Vitamin D3, which helps to boost dietary intake of this very important nutrient.  Vitamin D is involved in immune system, bone health, mood and cardiovascular health.

Sardines are safe to consume 2-4 times weekly and don’t tend to accumulate the toxins that other fish such as factory farmed salmon and tuna tend to.  There are many reasons for this, one is that sardines are smaller in size, another is that their diet consists mainly of phytoplankton and they don’t tend to consume larger fish(which can store toxic metals such as mercury), which means they are low accumulators of toxins such as heavy metals, compared to larger fish.

A tin of Sardines costs around £1-1.30 in most supermarkets, you couldn’t ask for a cheaper or more reliable source of the above nutrients.

Consuming sardines 2-4 times weekly should be more than enough to meet the required amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and eliminate any need for fish oil supplements.

4. Bitter Herbs


 Bitter tasting foods and herbs are almost a non existant flavor in the modern diet.
However bitter tasting foods and herbs are extremely important, especially for those with sluggish digestive and liver health.

Bitter herbs are a very popular tonic in Europe, where they are consumed after meals to prevent indigestion and to aid the digestive process.

Traditionally bitter herbs are recommending for supporting digestion, cleansing the liver, balancing hormones, lowering cholesterol and stimulating appetite.

Bitters work by stimulating the bitter receptors that are located towards the back of the tongue.  When the bitter flavor comes in contact with these receptors it stimulates the vagus nerve, which in turn kick starts the digestive process releasing stomach acid, pancreatic digestive enzymes and bile, all of which aids digestion.

Bitters improve the flow of bile, which makes them an excellent choice for supporting liver and gallbladder health.  Bitter herbs are a very powerful tool for cleansing the liver, increasing water intake slightly in the beginning can help reduce any mild cleansing or detoxification reactions.

Sluggish liver function can be caused from dietary and lifestyle over-indulgence, some factors which can stress the liver include a diet high in refined sugars, over-consumption of alcohol, too much of the wrong types of fats,  processed foods that contain lots of artificial chemicals,  cigarettes and drugs.

5. Sea Vegetables


 Seaweeds are a popular food in Asian cuisine and are rightly referred to as a “superfood”.  Some examples of sea vegetables include kelp, dulse, nori, bladderwrack and wakame.
Sea vegetables are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, phyto-nutrients and even contain some omega-3 fatty acids.

Seaweeds are the best dietary source of bio-available Iodine, which is an important mineral involved in the function of the thyroid gland.

Sea vegetables prized asset is their rich content of minerals and trace elements, all of which are vital for optimal health and studies are still finding that Iodine is a common nutrient deficiency.

Sea vegetables are an amazing source of trace and ultra-trace elements, many of which are deficient and difficult to obtain from land plant food sources alone.

All seafood is prone to contamination with toxins such as heavy metals, as briefly discussed above with sardines and seaweeds are no different, so this makes choosing sea vegetables very important.

Kelp is the best choice of seaweed in my opinion because it contains a type of fiber called alginate, which binds to any small amount of toxic metals or radioactive elements present and aids detoxification of toxins in the body.

6. Nettle Leaf


Stinging Nettle is one of my favorite herbs for health, due to its broad general tonic properties and nutritive content.

Not to mention that nettle leaf is dirt cheap to pick up dried or you may even be able to find an abudance growing wild depending on where you live.

The leaf makes an excellent tea once dried and i try to start each day with a cleansing infusion of nettle leaf. 

Nettle leaf is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, sterols and antioxidants.

Nettle leaf helps to support the liver, kidneys, adrenal and thyroid glands, intestines, bones, ligaments, connective tissue and tendon health.

Nettle leaf has natural anti-inflammatory, diuretic and anti-histamine properties.  Nettle leaf can also remove uric acid and dissolve kidney stones.

Purchase high quality nettle leaf tea from Natu Health Store in the UK.

7. Sprouts & Grasses


Sprouted seeds, grains, legumes and grasses such as wheatgrass are another inexpensive and easy way to significantly boost micro-nutrient(vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-chemical) intake at home.

Sprouts are a natural, living and enzyme-rich food that are also low in calories.  Research shows that the sprouting process can greatly increase the micro-nutrient content, unlocking greater bioavailability and uptake of these essential nutrients.

Studies also show that sprouting grains and legumes can significantly increase the phyto-chemical content of these foods such as rutin, flavonoids and other beneficial polyphenols.  Whilst also having a modest decrease in anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors, which can inhibit the uptake and absorption of many nutrients.

You don’t get fresher or cheaper food than sprouting or growing your own grasses for juicing in the comfort of your own home.  All you need are viable seeds to begin sprouting.

Always consult a professional before making any significant lifestyle or dietary changes.

6 Tips For Perfect Digestive Health

1. Feed The Beneficial Gut Bacteria With Prebiotic Fibers


A diet rich in prebiotic fibers is one of the most important factors for maintaining optimal digestive health and balance of the gut flora.
Prebiotics are indigestible fibers such as inulin, which help to increase the growth and stimulate the activity of the beneficial gut bacteria.

Prebiotics are the preferred food source that the good bacteria in our gut use, so it makes sense to supply a diet rich in these fibers to promote healthy gut flora balance.

Some foods rich in prebiotics include onions, garlic, bananas, chicory root, jerusalem artichoke, sea vegetables, oat bran and rice bran.

2. Repopulate The Gut Flora With Probiotic Rich Fermented Foods


Fermented foods such as kefir, raw sauerkraut, kim chi, miso and cultured vegetables are amazing sources of beneficial lactic acid bacteria, which help to repopulate the gut flora.

Fermented foods hold many benefits over store bought probiotic drinks and the majority of the probiotic supplements on the market.  Fermented foods are cheap to produce and they contain significantly more viable live bacteria.

Fermented foods are another traditional food which is largely non-existant in the modern diet, other than yogurt of course.

The majority of store bought probiotic drinks and “live” yogurts are however useless when it comes to supporting gut health and they tend to contain very little to no viable live bacteria.

The reason we know that these probiotic drinks are “dead”, is because if they really were “live” then they would continue to expand due to the gas created during the fermentation process, as you will see when fermenting your own live foods at home.

Another issue with many store bought probiotic drinks is that they are often rich in sugar, which is counter-productive when it comes to maintaining a healthy gut flora balance.

Fermented foods are naturally acidic so they are good choices for those with poor digestion due to low stomach acid and individuals who are prone to opportunistic infections such as Candida Albicans overgrowth.

Fermented foods have powerful natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitical properties due to their rich beneficial lactic acid bacteria content.

Anti-biotic over-use is one of the most common factors when it comes to disturbing the delicate gut flora balance.  It is recommended to repopulate the gut flora with probiotics from fermented foods following a course of anti-biotics.

3. Bitter Herbs To Support Digestion & Low Stomach Acid(Hypochlorhydria)


Despite the gross over-prescribing of ant-acids and stomach acid inhibiting drugs by general practitioners, medical literature doesn’t actually support that hyperchlorhydria(excess stomach acid) is as common as we are led to believe.

In fact hypochlorhydria(low stomach acid) is a much more common digestive state, where the stomach cannot produce sufficient hydrochloric acid.   Part of the reason for hypochlorhydria being so common is that our stomach levels tend to naturally decline as we age.
 
In my opinion hypochlorhydria is a greatly over-looked factor, when it comes to the cause of many common digestive complaints.  

Stomach acid inhibiting drugs such as proton pump inhibitors only further exacerbate the problem by reducing hydrochloric acid levels further.  Some of the risks of using gastric-acid inhibiting drugs include lowered immunity, increased risk of developing opportunistic infections such as candida overgrowth, food allergies, certain cancers and many nutritional deficiencies.

Low stomach acid actually shares many of the common symptoms that we are told is the result of too much acid.  Symptoms of low stomach acid include frequent belching, gas, indigestion, heart burn, inability to digest protein and opportunistic infections such as candida albicans.

Adequate stomach acid is essential not only for proper digestion of protein and many other acid-dependant nutrients, but our stomach acid is also the first line of defense against food-borne pathogens.

The stomach acid is also an important factor which keeps opportunistic infections such as candida overgrowth, bad bacteria and parasites in check.  Without sufficient stomach acid candida morphs from its natural harmless yeast state into its aggressive tissue penetrating fungal form.

However there are many natural methods to support healthy stomach acid levels and digestion.  One of the best methods is with the use of digestive bitter herbs.

Bitter herbs are one of the best tonics for sluggish digestive function because they support the digestive process in a number of ways.

When bitter tasting foods and herbs come in contact with the back of the tongue(where the bitter receptors are located), this stimulates the vagus nerve to release stomach acid, pancreatic digestive enzymes and bile, all of which are vital for proper digestion.

4. Inflammation & Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid Balance


Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Leaky Gut Syndrome(Increased Intestinal Permeability) are steadily on the rise and we have our modern diet in part to thanks for the increase in these digestive disorders.

Chronic inflammation has been found to play a role in many serious diseases, not just those of the digestive system.  So maintaining a healthy inflammatory state in the body is extremely important for reducing the risk of developing many common health problems and diseases rooted in inflammation.

There are many dietary tips we can utilize to help bring chronic inflammation under control.

One method of promoting a healthy inflammatory state in the body is achieved by balancing the omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acid ratio, which research believes should be 1:1.

However the modern Western diet tends to be excessively rich in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and often low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA by comparison.

Typical western diets often have a omega-6/omega-3(EFA) ratio of anywhere between 15/1-16.7/1.
One study on the importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids found that:
Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects. [1]
Foods rich in pro-inflammatory omega-6(n-6) fatty acids such as vegetable oils should be eliminated from the diet or at the very least severely reduced.

Oily fish such as sardines are one of the best dietary sources of Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of long-chain EPA(Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA(Docosahexaenoic acid).   Walnuts, Chia and Flax Seeds are also good sources of Omega-3 fats in the form of short chain ALA(Alpha-linolenic acid), which first has to convert to EPA then finally to DHA.

Studies show that ALA has a poor conversion rate, so its always wise to consume Omega-3 fatty acids in the pre-formed EPA and DHA long-chain forms, which are the forms that the scientific research attributes to the anti-inflammatory, immuno-modulatory and cardiovascular preventative benefits of Omega-3 fats.

Increased intestinal permeability also known as “Leaky Gut Syndrome” is another tricky and serious intestinal disorder that is caused by chronic intestinal inflammation.  There is some research which suggests that leaky gut syndrome may be a factor in the development of auto-immune, gum and even cardiovascular diseases.

5. The Stress, Brain & Gut Connection (Gut-Brain-Axis)


We have known for a long time anecdotally about the connection between our brain, stress levels and gut health.
Scientific research shows that chronic stress is an extremely common factor for disturbing gastrointestinal function and can alter our “gut-brain-axis” reducing our ability to deal with stress.

The effects that chronic stress can have on the gut can be severe and very difficult to treat.  The tips in this article will go a long way to shielding the body from the adverse effects that stress can have on the gut such as altering the balance of the gut flora, increased intestinal permeability(leaky gut) and inflammation.

There is now research which shows that stress-induced alterations of the gut flora can affect proper functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis, which further cements the theories of the connection between our gut health and emotional well-being.  Not only that but the study found that probiotics may help to correct the stress induced hpa-axis dysfunction. [2]

Mind-body techniques such as meditation and deep breathing are very powerful tools for reducing stress and activating the para-sympathetic(rest and digest) system.

Adaptogenic herbs such as ginseng, licorice root, schizandra berry, reishi mushroom for example are also helpful for increasing the bodies resistance to stress and having a non-specific normalizing action on the body in response to stressors.

6. Relax When Eating & Chew Thoroughly


Following on from the stress, brain and gut connection above, one of the most important factors when it comes to optimal digestion is being in a relaxed and rested state when eating.
Stress activates a part of the autonomic nervous system known as the sympathetic “fight or flight” system, which impairs digestion, detoxification and elimination.

In order to digest optimally one has to be in a rested para-sympathetic state, which is also known as the “rest and digest” system.

We talked about the mind-body techniques above such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, both of which activate the para-sympathetic nervous system and shut off the sympathetic “fight or flight” stress response.

Due to our often fast paced hectic lifestyles many individuals often eat on the move or rush eating.  Eat slowly, chew thoroughly and always have sit-down, relaxed meals.

Chewing food thoroughly is another extremely important factor, when it comes to optimal digestion and maintaining gut health.  Food should be chewed thoroughly until it has become the consistency of mushy paste.

References

1.  The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909

2.  Role of probiotics in correcting abnormalities of colonic flora induced by stress
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2095678/

Always consult a professional before making any significant lifestyle or dietary changes.