Integrative Health Blog

Mindfulness Shows Improvement in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS

Posted by on Tue, Dec 15, 2020

In last week's group, Weight Loss and Mindfulness we had some nice sharing about the positive effects of mindfulness on various aspects of life!
 
So now it is appropriate now to inquire into one of my favorite topics (and maybe yours?) - food.
 
Food, Glorious Food
In this week's Mindfulness and Healing group (12/20), we will examine each step of eating and attempt to slow the process down.
 
I would like everyone to bring some raisins or little chunks of fruit of some kind and have it available during the group. We will attempt to use the characteristics of the visual, taste, smell and the behavior of chewing of food as a mindfulness exercise, much as we would notice the breath moment to moment.
 
Like so many contradictions in the modern world, we have all the food we want and often hardly ever taste any of it. We often talk to others as we eat. Others eat according to the “chomp and swallow method,” which does not allow food to be properly masticated so that it can be prepared for digestion.  Chewing is the first step of digestion which increases the surface area of foods to allow a more efficient break down by enzymes. Undigested food then does not get absorbed and arrives in the large intestines where it can feed some of the unfriendly flora and cause inflammation. Mindfulness of food prepares the digestive tract for proper digestion. The general rule of 20 chews per mouthful can help.
 
Mindfulness and IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Digestive Issues
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Tags: functional medicine, digestive health, IBS, irritable bowel syndrome

6 Habits for a Healthy Microbiota

Posted by on Mon, Jan 21, 2019

There are more and more studies being done to research the body’s microbiota. Microbiota refers to all the microorganisms that are found in an environment. In the human body, the gut, the vagina, the sinuses, the mouth, the skin, the blood, etc. and each have their own microbiota which includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and other single celled animals.

Humans have many more microbial cells than human body cells. There are close to 10 microbes to one human cell! That is a big deal. Most of these are symbiotic and necessary for the continued health of the host. What does this have to do with good health? These microorganism play a role in many health conditions, impact our immune system, provide nutrients for cells and may prevent harmful cells from multiplying! Integrative medicine practitioners support a healthy microbiota as it is a key component for the overall health of the patient. 

So, how do we continue to have a healthy microbiota or restore it?

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Tags: integrative medicine, digestive health, microbiome

Creating a Healthy Microbiome in the Gut

Posted by on Tue, Jun 06, 2017

When considering what is healthy for our overall digestion, it is important to understand that the gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem.   The inherent diversity of an optimal gut flora is a key component of a healthy digestive tract.  The human body is made up of more bacterial cells than human.  It is critical that these bacteria consist of beneficial flora that can aid and support our health.  In nature, the vitality of the soil is an important factor in both the composition of plants that will grow as well as the strength of those plants.   Similarly, we need to plant the proper seeds or probiotics in our gut and water this diverse soil with a healthy diet.

What determines the health of the "soil" in our gut microbiome?

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Tags: gut, digestive health, microbiome

What Supplements Should I Take While Traveling?

Posted by on Mon, Dec 19, 2016

That is a great question!

In my experience, the last thing people want to do is lug a big bag of supplements on holiday or vacation. (See my previous post, Am I Taking Too Many Supplements?) And there is some evidence that we respond better to supplements if we pulse them, in other words, take supplements, then stop for a while, then resume taking them. If this is true then why not take a personal holiday combined with a supplement holiday?

On a more serious note, there are some important supplements that I would recommend if you are traveling to a less developed area of the world. In these places you will be undoubtedly exposed to various "bugs" that, while harmless to indigenous people, may make you sick. I find the best preventative measures include avoiding organ meats, raw shellfish, undercooked foods and of course local water sources. But, even if you are just going to grandma's for a few days, a good preventive measure is to supplement your gut and help you balance the good flora with the stress of traveling and unfamiliar food.

Supplements to Take When Traveling:

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Tags: digestive health, supplements, wellness coach

Symptoms of a Leaky Gut

Posted by on Tue, Oct 25, 2016

Leaky gut is an often overlooked condition, especially if you have been diagnosed with another disease. This is unfortunate because it may be a root cause of many other health problems.

Some 2,500 years ago, the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said,  “All disease begins in the gut," and now modern medical research has proven he was largely correct. 

Leaky gut syndrome is essentially caused by gaps in the "tight junctions" of the intestinal lining (intestinal hyperpermeability).  These “tight junctions” act as a kind of gateway between your intestines and blood stream, where nutrition is absorbed and where toxins, microbes and undigested food particles are ideally kept from entering the blood stream. Problems can occur when the tight junctions widen and become too permeable, due to inflammation in the gut, letting too much through.

Leaky gut can be caused by many factors, such as:

Diet

Consuming high amounts of refined sugars, processed foods, preservatives, refined flours, and genetically modified food (GMO's) put a burden on the body and tend to increase inflammation in the gut.

Chronic Stress

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Tags: gut, candida/yeast, digestive health, leaky gut

Understanding the Human Microbiome: Mini Ecosystems in the Body

Posted by on Tue, Oct 18, 2016

So many –“omes” to understand . . .  human genomics, metabolomics, toxigenomics . . . what does the suffix  “–omics” actually mean?

One free online dictionary1 says that –omics is “the large scale study of biological entities”.  So genomics, in the most simplistic terms, is the study of all of the genes of an organism; metabolomics is the study of the small molecules that are substrates (biochemical ingredients), products, or intermediates of metabolic reactions in an organism.

What is the microbiome in the body?

The microbiome refers to the full set of micro-organisms that inhabit a given site, most often (when discussing humans) the gut, but one might study the skin, oral, nasal/ lung or vaginal microbiomes. Each area has its own cluster of bacteria, or microbiota. Gut microbes make up the largest population within the human microbiome. When studying the microbiome, often the genetics of the microorganisms that live on us and in us, are the focus.

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Tags: digestive health, microbiome

Cultured Vegetables: The Secret to a Healthy Gut

Posted by on Tue, Jun 07, 2016

Cultured and fermented foods have been around for a long time, initially as a means of preserving food, but it turns out there is a wonderful healing benefit to this process. Foods were put in a jar and stored in a cellar for a period of time where they fermented, or cultured. The good microbes grow and flourish in this fermented environment, eliminating the bad microbes. When you consume cultured foods your digestive system reaps the benefits of this beautiful, healthy ecosystem.

Amazing Benefits of Cultured Vegetables   

Rich in probiotics

Fermented vegetables help re-establish a healthy inner digestive ecosystem. Food sources of probiotics give you billions more of viable microbes than most supplements and also are more likely to survive stomach acids and re-inoculate your gut more effectively as they bring their own ecosystem with them.

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Tags: fermented foods, digestive health

Health Essentials Coaching: Why Is a Healthy Gut Important?

Posted by on Tue, May 17, 2016

Why is a healthy gut essential?

Gut health is crucial to optimal health but is often overlooked in health circles. Unhealthy gut can be a significant contributor to inflammatory conditions such as chronic pain and immune issues. It can slow down energy and hamper mental focus. Approximately 80% of the immune system is actually located in the gut. The gut acts as an engine to power and sustain the rest of the body. Similar to a car that needs regular oil changes to run efficiently or it will malfunction or stop running altogether, the gut needs healthy food and lots of clean water, along with regular “cleaning” in order to function optimally.

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Tags: gut, digestive health, health essentials coaching program

Eating the Good Bugs for a Healthy Gut

Posted by on Tue, Jan 21, 2014

Mark McClure DDS

Digestive health is one of the most critical pieces to obtaining and maintaining good overall health. The health of any person is directly related to the health of the bowel, as about 70% of our immunity resides in the “gut”.  Therefore, it is important to eat foods that promote a "healthy gut" and supplement with concentrated foods and sometimes herbs that clean and maintain the digestive tract and bowel.

Probiotics, Bugs with Benefits 

Probiotics are products containing living beneficial bacteria, i.e. "good bugs", which ‘colonize’ the entire lining of our intestine. The potential benefits that the bacteria living in our intestine have on our well being are only just beginning to be understood by scientists and includes the following:

  • They enable the entire digestion and absorption functions of the intestine to operate efficiently
  • They protect us from challenge and infections by potential pathogens
  • They continuously prime and condition our immune system to function properly, from the day we are born throughout our entire life.
  • They can help protect us from allergy and intolerance and can reduce the symptoms in existing sufferers.

Probiotics are found in yogurt, kefirs, fermented foods and in supplements.  Probiotics can be added to your diet and most people will benefit from probiotic supplements.

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Tags: bowel health, immune system, digestive health, probiotics

What Can Digestive Enzymes Do for You?

Posted by on Wed, Oct 09, 2013

Did you know that according to TIME magazine, 97% of Americans can not remember the last time they ate a salad?
 
As we age, typically, our bodies produce 13% fewer enzymes than the decade before. Yikes !!

Sort of explains why we are enzyme deficient, right?

Your body has many types of digestive enzymes. RAW food is abundant in digestive enzymes. Enzymes help break the good down so we can actually use the nutrients in the food.

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Tags: raw food, digestive health