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Blog posts tagged with 'food'

Take Control of Your Digestive Health

It’s very well true that you are what you eat – least your microbiome seems to think so. Too much of processed food and sweets can give you more than a tummy ache. Thriving with a bacteria population, your digestive system needs the healthy kind to balance out the harmful. Doing so results in not only a gentler digestive process, but a boost to the immune system, healthy mood support, and efficient cognitive function. But busy schedules and the convenience of fast food can create a dangerous combo for the microbiome. That’s why with probiotics, you can get your share of healthy bacteria to keep that balance.

What Are Probiotics?

A quick linguistic lesson shows us that probiotic hails from the Greek word pro (for promoting) and biotic (for life), and therein lies the importance of probiotics for the human system. As live microorganisms, probiotics help supply the digestive system with its share of healthy bacteria. Having been utilized in research, probiotics have shown their benefits to the microbiome, including with certain strains.

Where can you find probiotics? A lot of them are readily available in your food! Yogurt is the most well-known, along with numerous other products such as milk, soy beverages and juices. Probiotic supplements are also readily available to conveniently give you a dose of the important bacteria and get your health back on the right track.

Prebiotics’ Helping Hand

Like probiotics, prebiotics also help balance out your microbiome, but does so differently. While probiotics supply the live strains of bacteria, prebiotics acts as the food source for those very same bacteria. This encourages the beneficial bacteria to continue reproducing and thriving, nourishing your gut for a better environment. 

More than Just for Your Gut

Like it or not, our entire body is populated by tiny microorganisms, otherwise known as microbes. Staying on the good side of those microbes is incredibly important to having good health, as they can play a role in numerous conditions. The digestive system is foremost where bacteria greatly affects it, helping eliminate the harmful bacteria, as well as toxins, chemicals and other waste products. Without enough of good bacteria, this can lead to complications and that familiar bloating feeling. The impact on the immune system is also one of the most vital, helping us stave off against harmful germs.

Research has shown their reach in other health areas, including the reproductive tract, oral health, the lungs, skin health, and the connection between the gut and brain. The ENS, or enteric nervous system, lines the gastrointestinal tract with over 100 million nerve cells, which communicates back and forth with your brain. This affects your mood to a great degree, along with your thinking and memory skills.

Balance the Gut with Mega Probiotic®

It’s important to get your share of good bacteria through your diet, but when your schedule is packed, focused supplements can aid you. Mega Probiotic® has over 6 billion live bacteria cells in each serving, and includes the patented and clinically tested strain, Unique IS2 Bacillus Coagulans. Its protective coating allows it to travel to the digestive tract unharmed, so that it can dissolve within the large intestine, where good bacteria are mainly needed. Get the alternative and don’t let the limited time in your day rob you of your health.

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Can Exercise Influence the Balance of Good Bacteria in Your Gut?

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Can Exercise Influence the Balance of Good Bacteria in Your Gut?Today more and more of what goes on in your stomach is being put under a microscope—in some cases quite literally. Gut health has been linked to many aspects of overall health, including your immune system, weight management, nutrition, and even mood. There’s much more going on in your gut than just the breaking down of food to extract the nutrients your body needs. Understanding how you can support your digestive system and your overall well-being with good bacteria can give you an added advantage to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

 

Making Way for the Good Bacteria

For most people, the mention of bacteria conjures pictures of harmful microbes that are associated with germs and sickness. However, there are actually millions of good bacteria, or probiotics, lining your colon that help your body digest nutrients. Probiotics also help battle bad bacteria that can wreak havoc on your immune system, energy levels, and overall health in general. While your diet is a large indicator of what your gut health can look like, a new study shows that even exercise can be beneficial in tipping the scales in the favor of the healthy flora your gut needs.

An Exercise in Better Gut Health

While diets can vary from person to person, researchers wanted to explore the degree to which exercise and diet in combination might be beneficial to the good bacteria count in your gut by observing several test groups. One test group consisted of rugby players due to their adherence to a more extreme diet and intense physical training. Athletes are prone to eating a more varied diet which would help enrich gut flora. The other control groups consisted of two groups of men: One group that had a normal body mass index (BMI) and engaged in periodic light exercise, while the second group were primarily sedentary and were considered overweight or obese. As one would expect, the group of athletes—due to their high level of activity and more varied diet, which included a higher protein intake—had not only more good gut bacteria, but also a variation in particular strains which has been linked to promoting healthy weight management and reduced risk of inflammation.

Food Quality Matters

Researchers and critics were quick to point out, that while these results do show a lot of promise, the link between exercise and healthy gut bacteria cannot be definitively proven from this study. Besides engaging in more physical activity, the athletes ate better-quality foods such as more fruits and vegetables compared to the sedentary test subjects who ate more snacks and processed foods. Diet, as many know, plays a major role in the health of your gut. Processed foods contain sugar, which can stimulate the growth of bad bacteria whereas fermented foods promote good bacteria growth. Health experts also caution against consuming too much protein if you aren’t a professional athlete because the metabolisms of athletes are very different from an average person’s.

Catering to Your Gut for Better Health

The study does make it clear though that sufficient levels of gut bacteria are crucial to overall health. People with more active lifestyles usually have a more varied, nutritious diet that supports healthy levels of gut bacteria, so even if the direct relationship between exercise and gut health hasn’t been established, it’s always a good idea to be physically active. Catering to your gut health with a balance of exercise, healthy eating, and probiotic supplementation is a great way to help the good bacteria in your digestive system gain the upper hand on gut health and lead to more optimal living.

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Mega Probiotic®

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Debunking 5 Daily Nutritional Misconceptions

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Debunking 5 Daily Nutritional MisconceptionsFocusing on your health can sometimes lead you to find contradictory statements. There are many misconceptions out there when it comes to food and daily nutrition and understanding what's good and what's bad when it comes to your daily diet isn't always black and white. Separating nutrition facts from myths can allow you to know what you need to cut back on and what is okay to include in your daily efforts to eat more healthily.

Myth #1 – Microwaving Food Depletes Nutrient Content

This urban legend often gets passed down within families. The fact is many minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C are heat sensitive. This means the longer you cook foods that are rich in these nutrients, the less nutrition they have. Using the microwave to cook vegetables can be a good way to quickly steam them while retaining their nutritional value compared to boiling them in water for a longer period of time.

Myth #2 – Multigrain and Whole Grain Mean the Same Thing

One would think that the more types of grains a food has, the better. However, just because something has multiple types of grains, it doesn't mean it contains the whole part of the it. Whole grain means using every part of the grain—including the kernel, the bran, the germ, and the endosperm—which provides more nutrition than refined grains. According to the Journal of Nutrition there is consistent evidence that whole grains can play an important role in heart health, balancing blood sugar, weight management, and digestive health.

Myth #3 – Eating Eggs Raises Your Cholesterol

This misconception is common and can be boiled down to understanding that there are different types of cholesterol. The cholesterol which is found in eggs and other foods you ingest is called dietary cholesterol. This type does not greatly influence the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream compared to the cholesterol your body makes on its own. It's the saturated and trans-fats in foods that increase your body's cholesterol production. Eggs, while containing some trans-fats, are not nearly as unhealthy as many commonly think. They contain several vitamins and minerals that your body needs each day such as vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin B12; plus the trace minerals selenium and iodine. So before you dismiss eggs from your diet, make sure you know the good things you're missing out as well. In fact, researchers from the University of Missouri recently presented research stating that eating a high-protein diet consisting of eggs early in the day can help reduce total calorie intake throughout the rest of that day, which can promote better overall weight management.

Myth #4 – White Vegetables Contain No Nutritional Value

Because of all the positives associated with brightly-colored vegetables, you can see how white-colored vegetables would be thought of being less nutritious. However, this is simply just not true. Foods such as cauliflower, turnips, potatoes, parsnips, corn, and onions all contain essential nutrients like fiber, potassium, and magnesium that are important for everyday health. Just this past year, researchers and experts at the University of Purdue formed a roundtable discussion called White Vegetables: A forgotten Source of Nutrients. The discussion helped assuage the claims that white vegetables lack the same healthy punch as multicolored varieties. In particular, many experts showed that these vegetables can be important in filling in daily nutritional gaps.

Myth #5 – Using the Salt Shaker Is a Big Factor in Raising Sodium Levels

With 9 out of 10 Americans consuming more than the recommended value of 2,300 mg of sodium daily, it's easy to blame the salt shaker for high sodium levels. However, 90% of sodium intake comes from eating processed and prepared foods. Manufacturers often use it as a preservative, so it can be found in abundance in foods that might not even taste salty. Your best bet in cutting back is to read the nutrition labels for sodium amounts. As a general guide, look for entrees with no more than 800 mg sodium and no more than 200 mg for snacks. The right knowledge is key to making healthy, informed decisions when supporting your daily nutrition needs. Before deciding to cut something from your diet for good, take the time to do some research—the truth may surprise you.

Daily MultiChew


 

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Don’t Let Colored Labels Fool You into Unhealthy Choices

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Don’t Let Colored Labels Fool You into Unhealthy ChoicesMarketing and advertising are an embedded part of our visual world. When it comes to making consumer choices you are bombarded with color choices and slogans that try to influence your decisions. In the world of nutrition, the colorful world of advertising may also have the tendency to fool you into making unhealthy food choices, according to a new study done by a researcher from the University of Cornell.

A Study in Green

According to research published in an issue of the journal, Health Communication, consumers are more likely to perceive a candy bar as being nutritious or healthier if it has a green-colored label—even if it has the same number of calories as another candy bar with a differently colored label. Green labels in general were said to increase the perceived healthiness of that particular snack or food. In the study, the researcher asked 93 university students to imagine that they were hungry while waiting in line at a grocery checkout counter. The students were then shown images of a candy bar with either a green or red calorie label. When asked if they thought a particular candy bar contained more or fewer calories, and how healthy it was, the students perceived the green-labeled bar as being healthier than the red one even though both contained the same amount of calories. Further research was conducted online. Participants were shown a picture of a candy bar with either a white label or a green label, and were asked to rate how important a food’s healthiness was (1 being not important and 7 being very important) in their decision to consume it. Results showed that the more importance participants placed on healthy eating, the more they perceived the white-labeled candy bar as being less nutritious. Researchers noted that green-colored calorie labels act as buffers for low-nutrient foods from appearing less healthy than they actually are.

Details and Supplementation

Researchers noted that as the FDA considers formulating a consistent, front-of-package labeling design, marketplace findings such as these suggest that design and color of labeling systems may deserve as much attention as the content of said labels. That said, you should never take the nutrition of a food item at face value; always read the nutrition facts and supplement facts to make sure that you’re not paying for just a pretty label.

References:

  • Jonathon P. Schuldt. Does Green Mean Healthy? Nutrition Label Color Affects Perceptions of Healthfulness. Health Communication, 2013: 1 DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2012.725270

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