Tag: Val Boyko

More on a healthy gut!

A continuation from yesterday!

I wasn’t going to post anything today but then in response to Val Boyco’s comment: “Good stuff Paul. Thank you! Please do more research and share here 💛 My gut will thank you!” I did do some more research and quickly came upon another article that was published recently and is worth of a read!

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How to prepare and protect your gut health over Christmas and the silly season

December 20, 2020

By


Senior Lecturer, Edith Cowan University

Disclosure statement
Claus T. Christophersen receives funding from NHMRC and WA Department of Health. He is a co-author of The Gut Feeling Cookbook linked in this article – all proceeds from sales of this cookbook go directly back into supporting our research, no personal financial interest.It’s that time of year again, with Christmas parties, end-of-year get-togethers and holiday catch-ups on the horizon for many of us — all COVID-safe, of course. All that party food and takeaway, however, can have consequences for your gut health.

Gut health matters. Your gut is a crucial part your immune system. In fact, 70% of your entire immune system sits around your gut, and an important part of that is what’s known as the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), which houses a host of immune cells in your gut.

Good gut health means looking after your gut microbiome — the bacteria, fungi, viruses and tiny organisms that live inside you and help break down your food — but also the cells and function of your gastrointestinal system.

We know gut health can affect mood, thanks to what’s known as the gut-brain axis. But there’s also a gut-lung axis and a gut-liver axis, meaning what happens in your gut can affect your respiratory system or liver, too.

Here’s what you can do to bolster your gut microbiome in the coming weeks and months.

Read more: Gut health: does exercise change your microbiome?

How do silly season indulgences affect our gut health?

You can change your gut microbiome within a couple of days by changing your diet. And over a longer period of time, such as the Christmas-New Year season, your diet pattern can change significantly, often without you really noticing.

That means we may be changing the organisms that make up our microbiome during this time. Whatever you put in will favour certain bacteria in your microbiome over others.

We know fatty, sugary foods promote bacteria that are not as beneficial for gut health. And if you indulge over days or weeks, you are pushing your microbiome towards an imbalance.

For many of us, Christmas is a time of indulgence. Shutterstock

Is there anything I can do to prepare my gut health for the coming onslaught?

Yes! If your gut is healthy to begin with, it will take more to knock it out of whack. Prepare yourself now by making choices that feed the beneficial organisms in your gut microbiome and enhance gut health.

That means:

  • eating prebiotic foods such as jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onions and a variety of grains and inulin-enhanced yoghurts (inulin is a prebiotic carbohydrate shown to have broad benefits to gut health)
  • eating resistant starches, which are starches that pass undigested through the small intestine and feed the bacteria in the large intestine. That includes grainy wholemeal bread, legumes such as beans and lentils, firm bananas, starchy vegetables like potatoes and some pasta and rice. The trick to increasing resistant starches in potato, pasta and rice is to cook them but eat them cold. So consider serving a cold potato or pasta salad over Christmas
  • choosing fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables
  • steering clear of added sugar where possible. Excessive amounts of added sugar (or fruit sugar from high consumption of fruit) flows quickly to the large intestine, where it gets gobbled up by bacteria. That can cause higher gas production, diarrhoea and potentially upset the balance of the microbiome
  • remembering that if you increase the amount of fibre in your diet (or via a supplement), you’ll need to drink more water — or you can get constipated.

For inspiration on how to increase resistant starch in your diet for improved gut health, you might consider checking out a cookbook I coauthored (all proceeds fund research and I have no personal interest).

Good gut health is hard won and easily lost. Shutterstock

What can I do to limit the damage?

If Christmas and New Year means a higher intake of red meat or processed meat for you, remember some studies have shown that diets higher in red meat can introduce DNA damage in the colon, which makes you more susceptible to colorectal cancer.

The good news is other research suggests if you include a certain amount of resistant starch in a higher red meat diet, you can reduce or even eliminate that damage. So consider a helping of cold potato salad along with a steak or sausage from the barbie.

Don’t forget to exercise over your Christmas break. Even going for a brisk walk can get things moving and keep your bowel movements regular, which helps improve your gut health.

Have a look at the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and remember what foods are in the “sometimes” category. Try to keep track of whether you really are only having these foods “sometimes” or if you have slipped into a habit of having them much more frequently.

The best and easiest way to check your gut health is to use the Bristol stool chart. If you’re hitting around a 4, you should be good.

If you’re hitting around a 4, you should be good. Shutterstock

Remember, there are no quick fixes. Your gut health is like a garden or an ecosystem. If you want the good plants to grow, you need to tend to them — otherwise, the weeds can take over.

I know you’re probably sick of hearing the basics — eat fruits and vegetables, exercise and don’t make the treats too frequent — but the fact is good gut health is hard won and easily lost. It’s worth putting in the effort.

A preventative mindset helps. If you do the right thing most of the time and indulge just now and then, your gut health will be OK in the end.

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That book that Claus refers to, the one on the gut Gut feeling: Mindful menus for the microbiome is here. It looks a very good book.

Well Val (and many others), did you find this interesting? It was a rhetorical question because I know that you did.

I will continue to republish these posts and, especially, the one on exercise. Because as I have often said: Diet and exercise are key!

Onwards and upwards!

Reflections – Day Two

Still following in the footsteps of Wibble.

My choice of quotation last Monday was taken from E. F. Schumacher: “Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.

Deciding on what should be my second selection turned out to be more difficult. Simply because there were so many buzzing around my head.

In the end I chose this:

Never underestimate the power of unintended consequences!

Despite a web search, that brought up numerous articles concerning unintended consequences across many fields of the human experience, I was unable to find a source for the quote and therefore cannot attribute it to the original author.

Nevertheless, it strikes me as one of the core aspects of human behaviour!

As offered on Monday, here are my nominations for today:

Day Three of Reflections will be along next week!

Reflections – Day One!

Following in the footsteps of Wibble.

As in:

Now, on to the nominations:

The rules of this challenge are: post a quote on three days, each time nominating three other blogs to pick up the challenge. Or — in the spirit of wu wei — not, as you see fit 🙂

The above was taken from a post published by Colin on the 30th May.

So here’s my quote for today:

Just one of the many aspects of the life of man that underlines the madness that seems to inflict so many societies.

Here are my nominations for today and the other two days of quotes:

Day Two of Reflections will be along in a while!

I vote for peace!

My contribution to this day.

(I saw this posted over on Val Boyko’s blogsite the other day and thought how apt it was. It is republished with Val’s kind permission.)

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World Peace is Within You

We are what we think of most!

A republication of a recent post from Val Boyko.

Yesterday, Val published a post over on her blog Find Your Middle Ground that really ‘spoke’ to me. That’s not to imply, by the way, that her other posts don’t very often reach out to me and, undoubtedly, to many others.

Val’s post was called The Depths of our Relationships and explored the different levels of relationships that we have with others in and around our lives.

Instinctively most people would regard us humans as far more complex than our animal companions. As the old Devon (South-West England) expression goes, “There’s now’t so queer as folk.”

Yet, once we have really got to know a dog there will be many who will see behind those fabulous eyes a sense of a depth of character, a soul comes to mind, that suggests that the brain of the dog offers a canine psychological complexity most of us don’t allow for.

To support that proposition just look at the eyes of Pharaoh in this photograph going back to June, 2007.

Pharaohjun2007However, today I am  republishing Val’s recent post and I do so with great pleasure.

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The Depths of our Relationships

Saturday serenity.

If you don’t care for yourself, then you can not care for others.

This beautiful Tao Wisdom was published over on Find Your Middle Ground, Val Boyko’s blogsite, and is republished here with Val’s very kind permission.

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night-and-day

Knowing the world is intelligent.
Knowing yourself is enlightenment.

Bending the world to your will takes force.
Willing yourself to bend is true strength.

Succeeding in the world yields riches.
Being content with what is yields wealth.

Apply Tao to the physical world and you will have a long life.
See past the physical world to the enduring presence of Tao and death will lose its meaning.

Lao Tzu*

This is one of my favorite passages from the Tao Te Ching.
May it enrich the whole of you and your day. ☯

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David (2012-12-02). Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 492-498). . Kindle Edition.

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May you, and all your friends and loved ones, including your beautiful animals, have a very contented weekend, extending forever more!