Rama Lama Lama Ka Dinga Da Dinga Dong

We go together
Like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong…

Are you a Grease fan?  Yes? No? Undecided? It really doesn’t matter because from here on in what I’m going to focus on has nothing to do with one of the all-time best movies EVER!  Except for one stolen line from a song.

And in this space what goes together are food sources that contains both prebiotics and probiotics.

Here is a simple equation that I want you to put into memory:

Prebiotic Food + Probiotic Food = Symbiotic Food

And here is why.  If you want to improve your gut health or maintain the good gut health you already have, there are two things you must do. Consume probiotic foods and consume prebiotics foods. And for the biggest bang for your buck consume them together.

Probiotic foods contain beneficial organisms that help our gut perform its duties.  They have amazing health benefits for us.

Examples of probiotic foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, miso, natto, pure apple cider vinegar (with the mother in it) and true balsamic vinegar.

As a side note here, in order to deliver the beneficial organisms from fermented foods to the gut, as well as the enzymes these foods also contain, do not heated past a temperature of 118 degrees F (48 C).

Prebiotics are types of fibre like inulin, resistant starch, GOS and FOS that help feed our good bacteria. Prebiotics also enhance the absorption of calcium and magnesium and are involved in appetite regulation as well as lipid metabolism.

Examples of prebiotic foods are Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onions, beans, lentil, citrus fruits, pears, apples, bananas, berries, almonds broccoli which contains soluble fibres like inulin and FOS.

Resistant starch (starch that escapes from digestion in the small intestine) is found in foods like legumes, potatoes, wheat, corn, rye, barley, rice, spelt, kamut, and other grains.

GOS is found in dairy products.

We have two types of bacteria strains in our gut: residential and transient.

Residential bacteria strains are the bacteria that live in our gut naturally and we must re-populate them to stay healthy. We need prebiotics to help us feed and increase our residential bacteria.

Transient strains of bacteria pass through us (usually within 3 days) but while they are there, they help the gut do its work and keep us healthy. Probiotic foods contain transient bacteria.

Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why consuming both prebiotic and probiotic foods on a regular basis is essential.  It nourishes our gut microbiome and helps to establish new colonies of microorganisms.

Symbiotic Eating

Back to this equation:

Prebiotic Food + Probiotic Food = Symbiotic Food

Symbiotic food combines the characteristics of probiotic food and prebiotic food.  Specific foods that are symbiotic are tofu, sauerkraut and tempeh.

Eating symbiotically by combining foods can be as simple as mixing banana slices into your yogurt or serving sauerkraut with a meal that contains garlic and onions.

Research is continuing to discover how fascinating these substances in food are and how together, with our good bacteria, they are involved in a complex relationship to help us be healthy.


References:

“The benefits of symbiotic foods” SHA Wellness Clinic

Inulin-Type Fructans: Functional Food Ingredients1,2 Marcel B. Roberfroid, 2007 American Society for Nutrition

Health effects of probiotics and prebiotics A literature review on human studies, Henrik Andersson, Nils-Georg Asp, Åke Bruce, Stefan Roos, Torkel Wadström, Agnes E. Wold, Food and Nutrition Research, Vol 45, 2001

Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics: approaches for modulating the microbial ecology of the gut 1,2M David Collins and Glenn R Gibson, 1999 American Society for Clinical Nutrition

Lowbush Wild Blueberries have the Potential to Modify Gut Microbiota and Xenobiotic Metabolism in the Rat Colon

Alison Lacombe,Robert W. Li,Dorothy Klimis-Zacas,Aleksandra S. Kristo, Shravani Tadepalli,Emily Krauss, Ryan Young,Vivian C. H. Wu mail Published: June 28, 2013 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.006749

A Systematic Screening of Total Antioxidants in Dietary Plants1, Bente L. Halvorsen et al, Institute for Nutrition Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo; Akershus University College, Bekkestua, Norway; †Agricultural University of Norway, Ås, Norway; and the Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Current knowledge of the health benefits and disadvantages of wine consumption, John F. Tomera, Trends in Food Science & Technology – TRENDS FOOD SCI TECHNOL 01/1999; 10(4):129-138. DOI: 10.1016/S0924-2244(99)00035-7

 

 

Chai Tea Latte

I’m not sure what I enjoy the most about Chai tea; its flavour or its smell.  Perhaps it’s the combination of the two that has won my heart.

Chai tea is made from a combination of black tea, ginger and other spices like cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper and cloves.  And it is these spices that give Chai its many health benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic properties:

The chemopreventative benefit of a whole foods diet is often attributed to phytochemicals, such as terpenoids and polyphenols, found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. Spices, (which) tend to have high concentrations of these classes of potentially therapeutic agents…Many spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, clove and ginger, have shown promise as chemopreventative and therapeutic agents in cancer. In vitro and in vivo, each of these compounds has demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic properties. Thus, chai tea, which contains a combination of all the aforementioned spices, represents an enjoyable means of chemoprevention.

~The Anti-Inflammatory and Chemopreventative Effects of Chai Tea; Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO

The recipe below is a twist on the normal Chai tea latte that is milk-based.  As well as tasting great, this latte offers you:

  • Antioxidants
  • Healthy fats
  • Fiber

And you can enjoy it cooled, outside on a hot summer day. Or hot, snuggled up by the fire on a cool winter’s night. A true functional food that can really be enjoyed all year long!

Chai Tea Latte Recipe

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
  • 1-2 dates 
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Directions

  1. Cover the teabag and dates with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Discard the tea bag and place tea, soaked dates, tahini and almond butter into a blender.
  3. Blend mixture until creamy.
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon (if using) and serve right away.

If you want a cold beverage, simply chill it in your refrigerator for a bit and serve over ice.

Enjoy!


References:How Chai Tea Can Improve Your Health: Healthline

The Anti-Inflammatory and Chemopreventative Effects of Chai Tea; Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO

Common Is Not A Bad Word

I have a great spaghetti sauce recipe that I got from my mom many years ago.

I make it A LOT! It’s a family favourite.

In fact, it may just have been the first meal that I cooked when I got married.

Fast track a few years from that first meal and I became a nutritionist. And with that I thought, it became incumbent upon me to nutricize everything that we ate.  A pinch of chia.  A dash of hemp.

Well the team started to revolt.  Old favs, like gran’s spaghetti sauce, fell from grace.

And here is the thing.  The spaghetti sauce is a simple recipe made up of healthy ingredients.

I learned my lesson quick and hard. Don’t try and fix it if it’s not broken.

One of the seasonings that I use in my spaghetti sauce recipe is Black Pepper, a very common seasoning that I think is under appreciated and quite honestly not given the respect that it deserves.

Heap On Those Seasonings!

Herbs and spices play a big role in the kitchen and flavouring food is only of their amazing skills.

Have a look:

  • The strong aromatic flavour of herbs and spices stimulates the palette and the digestive juices
  • Each culinary herb plays some role in the GI tract
  • Every herb and spice have health promoting phytonutrients

And there is a growing body of evidence to support the notion that culinary herbs and spices have multiple anticancer characteristics including antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-tumorigenic properties.

Health Benefits Of Black Pepper

So back to that common old everyday spice Black Pepper.  Black Pepper is harvested from a flowering vine and cultivated for its fruit, the peppercorn.  Usually the peppercorn is dried and used as a seasoning.

Along with its often-partnered pal salt,  Black Pepper is used in many, many recipes that we google.

And it truly does bring a lot to the party.

Here are some of the amazing health benefits that Black Pepper has to offer:

√It stimulates the taste buds which signals the stomach to secret Hydrochloric Acid (HCL)

√It helps prevent the formation of gas

√It promotes sweating and urination 

√It is an antioxidant and  an antibacterial

√It is an anti-inflammatory

And perhaps its greatest benefit is that it aids in the absorption of other nutrients. 

Black Pepper has been shown to enhance the absorption of calcium and selenium as well as beneficial plant compounds such as those found in green tea and turmeric

Black Pepper deserves its spot on the top shelf of our spice rack and is a great example that sometimes, often times, common is just fine!


References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27529277/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29497610/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/black-pepper-benefits#710.-Other-benefits

 

 

Why You Need to Include Bee Products in Your Anti-Cancer Diet

Honeybees do and make amazing things!  We are all familiar with honey but in addition to this sweet nectar of the bees, they also produce other health promoting goodness that are great to include in your anti-cancer diet.

Let’s take a look!

Bee Propolis

Bee Propolis is made by honeybees through a fascinating process of mixing saliva and beeswax. These ingenious little buzzers use propolis to seal and protect their hives. Bee propolis is high in antioxidants containing various flavonoids, fatty acids, amino acids and a variety of vitamins.

Health benefits you ask?

Here are just a few.

Bee Propolis:

🐝 Aids in digestion

🐝 Improves immunity

🐝 Is anti-viral

🐝 Is anti-bacterial

🐝 Can be effective in relieving mucositis brought on by chemotherapy

Bee propolis is sold as a tincture, spray, paste or capsules so you would buy it in the form appropriate for what you want to use it for.

Chrysin is a polyphenol found in bee propolis (and honey as well).

Like many other flavonoids, chrysin has free-radical scavenging, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer activities (Mani 2018). Although few human studies have been conducted with chrysin, animal studies and in vitro studies suggest that it may protect against DNA damage (George 2017) and modulate several cell-signaling pathways involved in cancer progression, including those affecting inflammation, cell survival, cell growth, new blood vessel growth, and metastasis (Kasala 2015).

Bee Pollen

Bee pollen comes from the pollen that collects on the bodies of bees as they go flower to flower.

It is a mixture of pollen, saliva, and nectar or honey.

Bee pollen:

🐝 Is a complete protein

🐝 Is full of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and lipids

🐝 Increases energy

🐝 May help to lower blood pressure

Bee pollen is available in most health food stores.  They are tiny little gold nuggets and can easily be added to smoothies, mixed in with salads and sprinkled on top of yogurt.

Royal Jelly

Royal Jelly is a gelatinous substance produced by honeybees to feed the queen bees and larvae.

Royal Jelly:

🐝 Is rich in nutrients and anti-oxidants

🐝 May help to regulate blood sugar

🐝 Is anti-bacterial and anti-viral

🐝 May help to support a healthy immune system

It is most commonly sold in its jelly form or in capsules.

Honey

Honey is the most well known of the bee creations. It has a wonderful flavour and is a much healthier sweetener than regular sugar.

Honey:

🐝 Is a prebiotic food. It has oligosaccharides that can promote the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria

🐝 Possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, apoptotic, and antioxidant properties

🐝 Is the oldest wound-healing agent known to mankind

Carbohydrates dominate the composition of honey taking up approximately 95–97% of its dry weight. Honey also includes proteins, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids.

Evidence has shown the presence of nearly thirty types of polyphenols in honey. Polyphenol levels in honey vary depending upon the floral source, the climatic and geographical conditions.

Sore Throat Remedy

Got a sore throat?  Try this!

Mix together:

  • 1 cup warm (not boiling) water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ lemon, juice

Drink up to soothe your sore throat.


References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29161583/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549483/

https://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/propolis-contains-compound-which-inhibits-triple-negative-breast-cancer-animal

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3985046/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31438508/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115303233

https://mmed.mosuljournals.com/article_159191_aa1b9268093c56c786ff149a3fd30d26.pdf

https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/1/2/107/3860141

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/

 

 

 

 

 

 

fasting insulin levels

Why Is It Important to Know Your Fasting Insulin Level?

Insulin is a hormone.  It is made and secreted by the pancreas.

Functions of Insulin

The functions of insulin include:

  • Regulation of fats, proteins and carbohydrate metabolism
  • Helping cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream
  • Helping to regulate levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin helps to remove the glucose from the blood and put it into fat and tissue cells where it can be stored for energy.

The production of insulin is stimulated by eating. When all is running tickety-boo, insulin rises when we consume food, does its job and then goes back to its resting levels.  Our bodies always need some circulating insulin, even when we are not eating.

When food has not been consumed for a period of time, usually between 12-20 hours, this level of insulin is called the fasting insulin level.

If our bodies stop responding well to insulin, in many cases due to poor diet and lifestyle choices, this can lead to a condition called insulin resistance.  In the earlier stages of insulin resistance, the pancreas will notch up its production of insulin to keep glucose levels normal.  So if your fasting glucose levels are tested within this paradigm, all may look well.  However you may not be getting an accurate picture of what is truly going on.  Because while your blood sugar level may be within normal range, it could be due to your body compensating for blood sugar issues by elevating your insulin levels.

Insulin resistance in its early stages does not often present with symptoms. Symptoms begin to appear once insulin resistance leads to secondary effects such as higher blood sugar levels. When this happens, the symptoms may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Hunger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weight gain around the middle (belly fat)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels

Many diseases are linked to elevated fasting insulin levels including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Type II diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Migraine headaches
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke

A simple blood draw, testing for your fasting insulin level, could be a very important indicator of your health.

Ways to decrease insulin resistance

There are diet and lifestyle changes that can go a long way to decreasing insulin resistance:

  • Avoid simple carbohydrates. Eat a balanced whole foods diet with a focus on plant-based eating
  • Get regular exercisefasting insulin levels
  • Get consistent good quality sleep
  • Increase intake of daily fibre aiming for 30-40 grams per day

 

 

 

 


References

https://www.diabetes.co.uk/insulin-resistance.html

https://www.walkinlab.com/labcorp-insulin-fasting-blood-test.html

https://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2019/5/Overlooked-Danger-of-Excess-Insulin/Page-01