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When I first began studying nutrition in 2009 there was pretty much no mention of gut health. I took the deep dive into nutrition to try and help my own health and in particular my mental health.

 

Since then a lot has changed and most of us now know that to maintain good health, the gut must properly absorb nutrients and eliminate waste and toxins on a daily basis. So, it’s not so much what you eat but rather what you absorb that counts. A few years ago, most of us didn’t even know what the word microbiome meant.

 

The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes – bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – that live on and inside the human body. What we are interested though for this article is the gut microbiome.

The Real Control Center

Just think of where your gut is located – the center of your body – and this is also the hub or headquarters where your immunity, brain function, metabolism and weight are controlled from. Roughly 70% of our immune cells and more than 90% of your serotonin (which is your “feel good” or “happy” hormone) is stored in your gut as well.

So who do we want operating our headquarters?

Well the good guys of course! There are more bacteria in your digestive system than there are cells in your body approx. 4Lbs! This 4Lb strong community if left un-policed will go rouge and the bad guys will start to take over. These are the bad gut bacteria that cause various digestive health issues alongside contributing to a wide variety of other dis-eases’ within your body and mind. Repopulating with good bacteria (probiotics) is a vital way to keep inflammation under control. I have teamed up with www.precisionbiotics.com for this article, who make Alforex and Zenflore to help ensure a healthy gut whether stressed, recovering from illness or trying to cope with common problems like IBS Irritable bowel syndrome.

 

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system.

 

First Lets Take A look At What harms Our Gut

Our modern lifestyle certainly has a lot to answer for including

 

  • A Bad Diet/Fast Food/Processed Food

 

  • Stress – The busyness epidemic

 

  • Hormone Problems

 

  • Medications

 

  • Alcohol

 

  • Autoimmune problems caused by Leaky Gut

 

Some Symptoms of Imbalance

  • Skin issues: Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, Rashes

 

  • Food allergies/sensitivities

 

  • Sleep problems

 

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

 

  • Leaky Gut Syndrome

 

  • Chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia

 

  • Mental fogginess

 

  • Depression

 

  • Mood changes

 

  • Autoimmune Diseases (lupus, MS, arthritis, etc.)

 

  • Food cravings

 

  • Bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea

 

  • Cramping after meals

 

So What Can We Do?

We need to ensure we hire the best to work in our headquarters. These generals include fermented foods which provide probiotics, vitamins and enzymes that help keep your digestive system healthy and free of illness and disease and drink like Kefir and Kombucha are great.

Kefir is a cultured/ fermented drink that you can make in both Milk and water varieties. Kombucha is fermented tea, both have been shown to be beneficial for the gut to promote good gut health with their bacteria strains.

LOTS OF FRESH WHOLEFOODS, FRUIT AND VEGETABLES INCREASE ESSENTIAL FIBRE TO HELP KEEP THE DIGESTIVE OPERATION WORKING WELL

Dan Gold

FRESH FOOD, HEALTH, GUT HEALTH, DIGESTION

You can also eat miso soup, sauerkraut and Kimchi. In countries like Korea and Japan they have fermented foods with every meal.  Tempeh (fermented tofu cake), Tofu (which is sometimes fermented), Naturally fermented soy sauce, apple cider vinegar and coconut yogurt are also great to add into your daily diet.

 

Choosing A Supplement

Sometimes though food is not enough. With modern life causing us to feel stressed and become ill at times calling in extra reinforcements in the form of a supplement can be necessary.

 

I was recently quite ill back in August and had to take antibiotics for a couple of weeks. Being acutely aware that most of my good bacteria were now pretty much wiped out, I knew I needed to repopulate. I was also quite stressed and feeling low so I was looking for a supplement to directly help with the gut/brain connection. I took Zenflore initially for a month and I am currently taking Alforex now to help deal with other digestive issues.

 

Zenflore is a food supplement developed to help tackle Ireland’s stress epidemic. Created by a group of scientists at Precision Biotics, based in Cork, it has been clinically proven to reduce stress. The new treatment was developed after scientists identified a key component in the gut-brain axis , showing that what happens in the stomach can have a direct effect on the human brain. The special 1714-Serenitas™ culture in Zenflore has been clinically studied in people with everyday stress. PrecisionBiotics have developed a unique formulation with this natural culture and specially selected B vitamins, to help support mind and body, and reduces fatigue.

 

1714-Serenitas was discovered and developed by PrecisionBiotics®, in partnership with scientists and clinicians from one of the world’s leading centers of research on the microbiome and the gut-brain axis. This unique culture is part of the Bifidobacteria family of bacteria given by mother to baby at birth. It’s a friendly bacteria, that is naturally at home in the human gut and has evolved with us over generations.

 

Does It Reach The Gut Intact?

This is one of the most common questions people ask. Zenflore’s special formulation is stable at room temperature and does not need to be refrigerated and this ensures that this natural culture reaches your gut with its properties intact.

When I first began studying nutrition in 2009 there was pretty much no mention of gut health. I took the deep dive into nutrition to try and help my own health and in particular my mental health.

Zenflore is available in pharmacies and health food shops nationwide for €32.95 for a month supply.

 

Alforex

Another supplement that PrecisionBiotics manufacture is Alflorex, which is a gut health-boosting probiotic supplement  that has been shown to help with IBS. First discovered in Cork, this culture has been demonstrated to be safe and effective in several published studies in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); which is a condition estimated to affect between 10 – 15% of Irish adults. Females are twice as likely to be affected as males.

 

IBS is a complex and debilitating condition for which there is no known cause. However, many doctors now agree that symptoms can be triggered by psychological as well as physical factors. Conventional management of IBS is often suboptimal often addressing only one of the several symptoms that comprise the syndrome.

 

In studies in IBS patients, B. infantis 35624 has been shown to improve all of the cardinal symptoms of the condition. This is one of the few probiotic products which has been truly developed on a scientific basis and tested in high quality clinical studies.

 

Containing its 35624 culture, it’s been clinically tested in people with bloating and gas, abdominal pain and unpredictable bowel movements. Improvements can be seen in as little as four weeks and those who suffer from non-IBS bloating could also reap rewards too.

“IBS affects 20,000 people in Ireland.”

It was awarded Best Gastrointestinal Product at the Irish Pharmacy News Awards 2016 and 2017

 

Alflorex is available over the counter from pharmacies nationwide at €32.95 for one month’s supply of the daily capsule.

Conclusion

When it comes to good health its now more important than ever to look at gut health. If science and studies now show us that our gut is the headquarters we need to go straight there and work from the top down.

By changing different aspects of how you live, you and your gut can become lifelong friends. If you treat your gut well then it will repay you with great health, energy and vitality for life.

Start your day with a deep inhalation and set an intention to nourish yourself with great food, kind words, fresh air, exercise and great people. That’s the key to a more fulfilled life and your will also thank you.

 

Further reading:

https://www.precisionbiotics.com/ie/what-is-zenflore

https://www.precisionbiotics.com/ie/natural

https://www.precisionbiotics.com/ie/psychobiotics

Vitamin D, sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, is a hormone-like, fat-soluble vitamin that your body produces when it is in direct contact with sunlight. Sunscreen however, important for protection from melanoma and rapid aging of the skin, blocks these rays. So while we do make it naturally, it is recommended to take supplements.

Vitamin D is vital to the intestinal absorption of many minerals and vitamins that we need to stay healthy and a lack of vitamin D can have dire consequences on our bones, immune system and heart health.

Approximately 10 percent of American adults are vitamin D deficient, however vitamin D deficiencies affect all ages at all stages of life. A vitamin D deficiency is characterized by the following symptoms;

  • Weak muscles
  • Bone pain
  • The inability to think clearly
  • Fatigue
  • A frequency of bone injuries such as breaks and fractures
  • Excess sweating
  • Soft bones

Every single cell in your body relies on vitamin D in order to function normally.

1. Vitamin D Fights Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD or also known as winter blues) is when your mood and temperament is affected by the weather or the lack of sunlight during the winter months in colder countries (1). Colder and darker weather affects your mood as the production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that maintains mood balance) is linked to the amount of sunlight you get. Symptoms of SAD include;

  • Weight gain
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Anxiety
  • Becoming quickly irritated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • A decreased libido
  • An increased intake of food

A randomized medical trial has found a relationship between a lack of vitamin D and SAD (2). Brain tissues contain vitamin D receptors and when these receptors are activated they stimulate and increase the growth of nerves within your brain. This process is important to mental health and brain function .

2. Vitamin D Can Ensure A Healthy Pregnancy

An expectant mother with a vitamin D deficiency in her first trimester is at risk of having a baby with extremely low birth weight. A study funded by the University of Pittsburgh found that low levels of vitamin D in the early stages of pregnancy put a baby at risk of stunted growth while in utero (3).

Babies that are born smaller are ultimately born with a higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and hypertension later on in life as well as a high risk of mortality within the first month after birth.

Vitamin D is so important for pregnancies because of the vitamin D receptors present in gestational tissues (4). Vitamin D2 and 3 are the most important compounds for human development (5).

10 micrograms per day is recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers (6).

3. Vitamin D Supports Healthy Lung Function

Obstructive pulmonary disease (including emphysema and bronchitis, various diseases that have been grouped as they are all characterized by obstruction in the lungs resulting in poor airflow) and asthma are two chronic lung diseases that are worsened by a lack of vitamin D (7).

These diseases are chronic which means that they are permanent.

Studies show a link between a strengthened reaction by the immune system against infection of the airways caused by manufacturing of antimicrobial peptides and vitamin D, especially when combined with the use of an air purifier.

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A flare up of any of these lung diseases are characterised by uncontrollable coughing, chest tightness, excess mucus buildup in the lungs and difficulty breathing. These flare ups could result in hospitalization, or in extreme cases, even death. Studies show the patients suffering from these conditions could decrease their instances of flare ups by nearly 40 percent by taking vitamin D supplements (8).

Vitamin D deficiencies have a physical effect on the shape of the lungs. A study found that vitamin D deficiencies can change the volume of the lungs and the lung development (9).

4. Vitamin D Aids Calcium Absorption

The most important nutrient needed for the correct absorption of calcium in the body is Vitamin D. Without vitamin D our bodies would struggle to absorb calcium at all. Calcium and vitamin D work hand in hand to stave off or reduce the effects of osteoporosis (10).

Calcium is also important for proper heart, muscle and nerve function as well as blood clotting.

As we age our bodies ability to create vitamin D from sunlight exposure and to properly absorb calcium begin to decrease. When our body does not have enough vitamin D it cannot produce a hormone called calcitriol which regulates calcium levels in the body. The body then takes calcium stored within the skeleton. This weakens the existing bones and prevents new bone formation (11).

A serious vitamin D deficiency is likely to result in the development of rickets in young children and can also be responsible for osteomalacia (when bones soften due to a lack of calcium or vitamin D) in adults. (12)

5. Vitamin D Supports The Brain And Nervous System

Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the health of the brain and nervous system both during its development and throughout the rest of our lives.

Studies carried out on rodents observing the effect of vitamin D on the brain found that pregnant mice that were vitamin D deficient gave birth to babies with thinner and longer brains which had larger than usual ventricles. This unusual brain shape is caused by excess brain cells not dying off when they should. This process of getting rid of unnecessary brain cells is needed for important cell connections to develop within the brain (13).

Mice born to vitamin D deficient mothers also exhibited behaviours similar to behaviours seen in people with schizophrenia and autism.

Hypovitaminosis D is the decline of vitamin D in the system due to old age. Elderly with a lack of vitamin D in their systems are at a higher risk of developing dementia or having a stroke. As of now, five studies have reported a link between hypovitaminosis D and dementia.

6. Vitamin D Promotes Weight Loss

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so it is stored within the fat cells in our bodies.

Vitamin D receptors tell the body whether it should store or burn the fat we consume. When you provide these receptors with more vitamin D it promotes the burning of fats over storing it (a). If receptors in your brain do not get enough vitamin D you tend to feel hungrier which can lead to excess snacking.

Research shows that most people battling obesity have much lower vitamin D levels in their blood (14). When a study put 38 overweight adults on a specialised 11 week eating plan it was found that participants who started the diet with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood were more successful in losing weight than participants with low starting levels of vitamin D.

The vitamin D levels in participants were also a precursor to the successful loss of belly or abdominal fat (abdominal fat most notable visceral abdominal fat is particularly harmful as it surrounds your organs and usually leads to health complications like type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and insulin resistance).

Being unable to lose weight could be a sign of a vitamin d deficiency.

7. Vitamin D Fights Disease

Vitamin D is actually a prohormone which means that the body is able to convert it into a hormone. When the body is depleted of vitamin D you are at risk of developing heart disease, muscle weakness and some cancers.

Colorectal (cancer of the colon), breast and prostate cancer and the mortality caused by them have been linked to low levels of vitamin D in the blood. Studies have found that an uptake of vitamin D can help protect the body from these cancers (15).

Vitamin D receptors are also found in the nuclei (the nucleus) of the body’s immune cells. Further evidence links a vitamin D deficiency to diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (a disease where your immune system begins to attacks itself causing a rash on the face, severe fatigue and joint pain) and rheumatoid arthritis (16).

A study that hopes to explore the extent to which vitamin D is useful in protecting the body from cancer, diabetes, depression and hypertension is currently underway. The study will span five years and include 20 thousand participants (17).

8. Vitamin D For Healthy Infants And Toddlers

The development of rickets is the potential danger for babies and toddlers that are vitamin D deficient (18). Babies that are at highest risk of developing rickets are babies who have a darker skin tone, those born premature, who are being or have been breast fed and babies whose mothers have low levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is essential for normal body development and growth. When a baby is deficient it does not have the correct biological material to build healthy teeth and bones and will most likely have retarded bone growth. A few signs that your baby or young child has rickets are;

  • Weakened muscles
  • Projection of the breast bone
  • Pain and discomfort in the legs, pelvis and or spine
  • Thickened ankles and wrists
  • Abnormal leg shaped such as knocked knees or bowed legs
  • Slow growth (19)

If rickets is not addressed and treated it could lead to permanent skeletal damage, dental defects, seizures and a curved spine. Sunlight is not an option for increasing levels as prolonged direct contact with the sun holds too many risks for infants.

Babies who are breastfed are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency as vitamin D is added to infant formula. The recommended dose is 8 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily for breastfed infants under the age of one (20).

9. Vitamin D Can Ease Various Skin Issues

Vitamin D receptors in the cells are directly linked to cell differentiation (when a cell becomes specialized to performing a certain function) and cell proliferation (a process which increases cell numbers). These receptors are also linked to healthy immune function, this is important because a weak immune system cannot fight cell damaging free radicals, and free radicals can cause major damage to skin cells (21).

Nearly 40000 of your cells die within a minute. The system of cell renewal is heavily dependant on vitamin D. This process occurs in cell called keratinocytes and they make up over 90 percents of all cells in the epidermis (the skin). When they receive the right amount of vitamin d these cells are able to differentiate and multiply. Because of this these cells provide a constant flow of younger cells to replenish the epidermis and create a layer of moisture trapping tissue.

The actual rate at which cell multiply and differentiate is prompt by vitamin D. When your body does not get enough, this process slows down and skin can become thin and damaged.

Eczema, excess sweating, wrinkles and acne are all signs of vitamin D deficient cells. Vitamin D also acts as an antiinflammatory within the skin and that can prevent or lessen the severity of acne (22).

Contact with sunlight is one way to get vitamin D but it can also be damaging to skin cells so it is advisable to limit your direct contact with sunlight to less than 30 minutes a day and to use sunscreen. Foods high in vitamin D and supplements are less harsh on the skin.

10. Vitamin D Prevents Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction or impotence is when a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection for the purpose of intercourse. It can be a physiological problem or a physical one. ED has been found to have negative impacts on the self esteem of men suffering and their relationships as well as making it difficult for couples to conceive (23).

ED is a potential risk factor or precursor in developing high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

A study in America carried out on over 3000 men over the age of 20, all suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, found that 16 percent of them had ED (24). The same study stated that men lacking in vitamin D have a 32 percent higher risk of developing ED.

Men who have been diagnosed with ED are likely to also develop endothelial dysfunction (when the capacity of the inner blood vessel linings to control vascular relaxation and regulate immune function and blood clotting becomes compromised). Low vitamin D levels inhibit nitric oxide synthesis. Nitric oxide secretion is key to smooth muscle relaxation in the corpora cavernosa (the bulk of the erectile tissue) (25).

11. Vitamin D Improves Symptoms Of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease of the respiratory system that can also have an impact on the brain, spine and kidneys. Although symptoms do not always occur they include;

  • Phlegm build up in the lungs
  • Sudden weight loss
  • A cough that has persisted for more than three weeks
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • A fever and or chills
  • Coughing up mucus and or blood
  • Persistent fatigue

TB can be active or dormant. Approximately 1 in 3 people worldwide have dormant TB while 1 in 10 will develop active TB. Drug or alcohol abuse, and having cancer, diabetes or HIV or AIDS can result in dormant TB becoming active as they weaken the immune system (26).

Vitamin D increases the increases the amount of proteins in your immune system that kill foreign and potentially harmful bacteria. Studies show that TB patients who have been given vitamin D doses had faster rates of recovery and experienced fewer TB symptoms.

A study in Pakistan determined that low vitamin D levels were partly responsible for the progression from dormant to active TB. Low vitamin D levels can be looked at as a sign of possible latent TB or a sign of the patient having been diagnosed with TB once before (27).

To treat TB with vitamin D it is recommended to take no more than 10,000 IU (international units) a day.

12. Vitamin D Influences Gene Expression

Vitamin D is involved in the process of gene expression, which is where certain functions of cells are turned off or turned on.

Gene expression is a process in which genes synthesize products (usually proteins that go on to become hormones, enzymes and receptors that carry out important functions) according to genetic instructions provided by our DNA.

An analysis carried out on 8 vitamin D deficient adults found positive changes to the actions of 291 different genes. These genes were directly involved in 160 pathways that are linked to infectious and autoimmune diseases, cancer, the way cells respond to stress, DNA regulation and heart function (28).

Vitamin D downregulates and upregulates proteins manufactured by gene regulation (29).

13. Vitamin D Can Ease Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease where your immune system targets and damages the myelin sheath that protects your nerve fibers in your spinal cord and brain (the central nervous system) that causes a problem with the communication between the brain and body. MS could eventually cause permanent damage (30).

The symptoms of MS vary. The more damage done to the nerves, the more severe the signs are (loss of vision, feeling permanently fatigued, heavily impaired coordination and pain). At its severest, people with MS may lose the ability to walk.

MS has found to be more common in areas that are further away from the equator and thus get less sun year round (31). Research shows that babies born with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop MS later on in life.

Patients suffering from MS report less attacks during Summer months which correlates with more exposure to direct sunlight which results in the body creating more vitamin D (32).Studies hoping to determine the effects of vitamin D on myelin repair and its role in neuroprotection are currently underway (33).

14. Vitamin D Improves Your Eyesight

People with low vitamin D levels are at risk of developing wet macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration is a chronic disease of the eye and causes a person to develop a blind spot in their field of sight or blurred vision. It is caused by unusual growth of blood vessels within the eyes that secrete excess fluid or blood.

Vitamin D prevents angiogenesis, the process by which blood vessels form. It is also an anti inflammatory which also helps to prevent wet macular degeneration as the disease is worsened by inflammation in the eye (34).

15. Vitamin D Improves Metabolic Syndrome

Elevated blood pressure, excess amounts of body fat in the stomach area, atypical cholesterol levels and high sugar levels are all a part of metabolic syndrome. The dangers of metabolic syndrome are high risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Metabolic syndrome affects up to 25 percent of the adult population worldwide. It is caused by a vitamin D deficiency coupled with a diet high in saturated fats and carbohydrates (35).

Vitamin D spurs on manufacturing of defensins, molecules which maintain and restore the health of gut flora (microorganisms in the digestive tract). Healthy bacteria in your gut reduces the fat in the liver and regulates blood sugar.

Vitamin D also boosts the diversity of bacteria in your gut which reduces risk from harmful pathogens (36).

15 Best Vitamin D Foods

1. Egg Yolks

Egg yolks have a bad reputation for being high in cholesterol, and they are, but with High Density Lipoprotein cholesterol which is also known as the “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is considered good because of it’s relationship with LDL cholesterol (low-density protein which is considered the “bad” cholesterol).

HDL searches for and finds LDL within the blood stream. It then takes the LDL to the liver where it is reprocessed. HDL is also constantly working to keep the endothelium (the inside of blood vessels) in good shape. When these inner walls become damaged a process called atherosclerosis begins and the artery walls start to thicken. This can have life threatening results such as strokes and heart attacks.

Eggs yolks are mucher higher in vitamins than egg whites.

Egg yolks contain the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein which together significantly lower the risk of macular degeneration (an age related incurable eye disease) and cataracts. These eye diseases are the result of damage caused by free radicals. The carotenoids are antioxidants which prevent and reverse the damage the free radicals cause.

Choline is an important macronutrient found in egg yolks that most people do not get enough of. Choline is important because it builds and strengthens cell membranes. Choline is also involved in several bodily functions such as brain, liver and muscle function.

Choline aids the development of DNA methylation and an American study found that women with diets that contained high levels of choline had a nearly 25 percent less chance of developing breast cancer.

2. Salmon

Salmon is an incredible source of protein. Protein is important as it aids the process of muscle healing caused by aging and physical activity.

Salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a healthy fat (natural polyunsaturated fat) that our body cannot make by itself. Omega-3 is a popular supplement (fish oil) and offers a range of health benefits including;

  • Regulating menstruation and thus improving fertility in women
  • Reducing or healing skin ailments such as acne, psoriasis and eczema
  • Combatting dry eye syndrome
  • Soothing anxiety symptoms
  • Strengthening brain growth and development
  • Keeping your heart rate normal
  • Regulating blood clotting
  • Reducing fatty liver
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reversing insulin resistance
  • Countering inflammation
  • Fighting autoimmune diseases

3. Cheese

The calcium content of cheese is very high. Calcium is needed to keep bone and teeth health from deteriorating. Another benefit for teeth is that cheese has a very low lactose content. In high amounts lactose can cause damage to the teeth.

Cheese is high in vitamin B. Vitamin B is an important one for pregnant or lactating women, children and the elderly as it is a vital component in first the formation and then the strengthening of cartilage and bones.

If weight gain is recommended for health, cheese is a good food to include in your diet.

4. Shrimp

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid found in shrimp. Astaxanthin is an effective antioxidant that reduces damage done to the skin by exposure to direct sunlight and UVA. UVA is responsible for the development of sunspots, premature aging and wrinkles in the skin.

A zinc deficiency within the body has been found responsible for accelerated hair loss. Zinc (found in shrimp) creates and maintain new cells, including the very cells responsible for the health of skin and hair. Other symptoms of a zinc deficiency include;

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Development of white spots in the fingernails
  • Onset of depression
  • Dulling of taste and smell senses
  • Diarrhea
  • Unusual bone growth

Shrimp contains omega-3 fatty acids which has exhibited soothing effects of cramping and pain associated with menstruation.

5. Oysters

One serving of oysters contain almost 90 percent of the recommended daily requirement of iron. Iron is vital to the process of generation of red blood cells. The increase of oxygenated blood in the body provides the bodies organs with fuel to keep the functioning at optimal levels.

Getting enough iron is essential to combating anemia, a condition that can result in chronic fatigue, stomach problems, weakening of muscles and cognitive malfunction.

Oysters contain zinc which is a key component in wound healing and accelerated recovery from injury.

Oysters also contain vitamin E which increases the flexibility and strength of the membranes of various cells.

6. Soy Milk

The isoflavones in soy beans have been shown by studies to be beneficial to menopausal women in that it can balance the amount of oestrogen being lost through the process of menopause. The isoflavones are a kind of phytoestrogens, these are plant based (fruits and vegetables) and mimic oestrogen effects within the body.

Soymilk helps to defend the liver from stress caused by oxidation because of its hepatoprotective properties.

Soymilk has added calcium and unlike a diet high in animal protein, a diet high in soymilk protein reduces the likelihood of losing calcium via urinary excretion. These factors make soymilk a good tool for fighting brittle bones and bone break down.

7. Pork

Pork contains vitamin B1 or thiamine. Thiamine has a few important functions within the body including allowing electrolytes to flow into and out of muscle and nerve cells, metabolising carbohydrates and aiding bodily enzymatic processes.

The body does not produce thiamine and can only retain it for about 18 days, thus it is important to keep up a healthy intake. A few symptoms of a thiamine deficiency (knows as beriberi) include;

  • Developing depression
  • Nausea
  • Pains in the abdomen
  • Headaches
  • Irritability

Pork tenderloin is also leaner than chicken making it a healthier source of protein.

8. Tuna

Tuna has a very high omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-6 (the unhealthy fatty acid) and cholesterol tends to build up in the blood vessels and arteries, increasing the risks of developing heart disease. Omega-3 strips away the Omega-6 fatty acids.

A single can of tuna yields up to 80 percent of the recommended daily dose of protein. Having protein in your body is pivotal to muscle development and growth. Protein is also responsible for quickening the rate at which wounds on the body heals after an injury.

The anti-inflammatory properties of tuna helps to lower hypertension and keep your blood pressure regular.

Tuna is full of a range of B vitamins. B vitamins are linked to improving your overall organ function and boosting your metabolism.B vitamins are also known to increase the amount of energy your body produces daily.

Tuna is very high in iron. Iron increases the amount of red blood cells in your circulation system and the actual volume of blood.

The sodium and potassium levels in tuna helps when it comes to managing the balance of fluid in your body. When there is a fluid imbalance in your body stress is put onto the kidneys and they are not able to function properly.

Cooked tuna produces peptides which are important for protecting cell membranes including those in the brain.

9. Beef Liver

Beef liver is very high in many different minerals and vitamins. One of these vitamins is vitamin B12. B12 is crucial to DNA synthesis, the formation of red blood cells and healthy neurological functions.

A vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to multiple neurological disorders like dementia in older patients. Other B12 deficiency induced disorders include neuropathy (a disease that affects the nervous system), myelopathy (a disease that affects the spinal cord), disturbances to usual behaviour and overall weakening cognitive activity.

To get the most minerals and vitamins out of beef liver, be sure to buy hormone free.

10. Sardines

Macular degeneration is a disease that affects the eyes. It is mostly prominent in the elderly. The more it progresses the higher the chance of permanent damage to the retina.

The fish oil in fatty fish increases the bodys immune cell count which builds up a stronger immune system.

Sardines are high in the mineral selenium. Selenium goes directly into the nucleus of DNA cells and repairs any damage present. If this damage is not fixed the cell could become cancerous. Selenium has shown signs of cancer prevention, most notably liver, prostate and lung cancer.

Studies have pointed to selenium having a direct affect on the activity of the thyroid and the continued production of thyroid hormones. Your thyroid affects your weight, temperature, sleep patterns, appetite and energy levels.

Selenium is present in sperm mitochondria and very high or very low levels can have a negative impact on sperm count.

Low levels of selenium are prevalent in those suffering from chronic asthma.

11. Fortified Cereals

Cereals are complex carbohydrates that are enriched with vitamins and minerals. Fortified cereals range from oats to rye to rice.

Cereals provide a uniquely high level of energy. As cereals are so high inexpensive and calorie rich, they make up nearly 30 percent of calorie intake in North America and this percentage only increases in poorer countries.

Cereals contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. High fiber has many health benefits, such as keeping blood sugars at healthy levels and preventing disorders of the colon and constipation. When you eat, glucose is secreted into the body. Fiber slows this process down. Cereals improve the process of peristalsis (when the muscles in the intestines contract in such a way as to assist the movement of food within the digestive tract) and also increases the bulk of stools which keeps your system clean.

It is best to avoid cereals if suffering from celiac disease.

12. Fish Roe

Fish roe are fish eggs also known as caviar. Fish roe is another high omega-3 fatty acid food. Omega-3 reduces inflammation that is associated with many autoimmune diseases.

Fish roe also contain vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium and iron. Including foods high in magnesium can;

  • Reduce anxiety and nervousness
  • Prevent migraines
  • Relieve muscles spasms and aches
  • Increase your energy
  • Aid digestion
  • Regulate sodium levels

13. Mushrooms

The potassium in mushrooms works as a vasodilator (something that widens the blood vessels which allows more blood to pass through) and relaxes tension within blood vessels. This results in lowered blood pressure.

Potassium is also responsible for better cognitive function because when blood vessels are relaxed and more oxygenated blood is flowing to the brain, higher levels of neural activity are stimulated.

Mushrooms contain copper which is a trace mineral. Copper increases the rate at which our bodies absorb iron which in key in avoiding developing anemia. Copper also regulates your heartbeat and ensures that the body grows at a normal rate.

Copper can reduce the signs of aging because it stimulates the production of collagen.

Mushrooms are a form of natural antibiotic that is very effective in protecting people with diabetes from developing infections in their arms and legs. They also support proper function of the pancreas, certain endocrine glands and the liver. They promote insulin formation and regulation.

14. Orange Juice

Just one serving of orange juice has over 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the immune system against free radicals making it stronger and less susceptible to infection. Another important function of this antioxidant is keeping DNA of cells that are healthy from mutating and becoming cancerous. Vitamin C and ts antioxidant properties are the first line of defense against colds, flus and more serious diseases.

Orange juice has a very high folate content. Folate is most notably responsible for the growth of young cells and creating DNA. Folate is also important for creating more red blood cells and for promoting blood flow to your extremities.

The antioxidant hesperidin, which is found in orange juice, impacts the function and activity of the smaller blood vessels. Hesperidin can lower high blood pressure and significantly decrease your chances of developing heart disease.

Orange juice contains fiber which regulates bowel movements and can lower cholesterol levels.

The citrates and citric acid in orange juice can prevent the development of kidney stones. Kidney stones are solid mineral deposits that develop in your kidneys. They can cause debilitating abdominal and or side and back pain as well as urine in the blood.

15. Infant Formula

Infant formula is becoming the world’s most popular fortified food. While breast feeding is preferable some mothers are unable to (low milk supply, baby not latching etc) and are thus unable to pass on antibodies and nutrition to their babies. Infant formula is enriched with the minerals and vitamins babies need to grow and thrive.

Certain types of infant formula even have an added probiotic called bifidobacterium lactis which reduces the effects of colic (a condition where seemingly healthy babies cry for three or more hours per day), decreases the chance of developing food allergies and reduces diarrhea. Infant formula can also reduce allergies in babies.

This article was first published on Jen Reviews, check out her site if you liked this article.

Now I know what you’re thinking “Alex are you hopping onto the hipster band wagon? will you grow a trendy beard? tie your hair up into a man bun? or ride a vintage bicycle made entirely out of recycled drain pipes?”

 

Well thankfully the answer to all those questions is no. However I will continue to treat myself to the increasingly popular nutrient packed, and crunchy nutty flavoured delight that is avocado toast.

Avocados are bursting with heart healthy fatty acids plus 20 different vitamins and minerals. They contain more potassium than bananas and are free from sodium and cholesterol. It isn’t surprising that people are beginning to consider the avocado a super food as they are loaded with antioxidants plus vitamins K, C, B5, B6 and E.

Today I am going to share with you two of my favourite quick and snappy avocado toast recipes that are so delicious they’ll make you want to ditch the plain old bread and butter.

 

  1. Honey Drizzled Apple and Cashew Avocado Toast.

avocado, apple, basil, healthy recipes,sweet and spicy avocado toast, nutrition, health, wellbeing, the green door, alex hayes, alison canavan, becomplete, organic food,

The bread that you use is one of the most important elements to both of these recipes so be sure to grab your favourite fresh baked loaf. My preferred bread has to be a crisp country loaf but you can use anything from sourdough to Rye just as long as it toasts well.

 

What you’ll need:

  • Bread
  • Avocado
  • Apple
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Honey
  • Fresh Basil

 

The subtle peppery flavour of fresh basil sets this recipe apart. The combination of sweet honey and apple on top of the nuttiness of the cashews and avocado creates a divinely unique summery sensation.

Method:

  • Slice the avocado in half and remove the seed before placing it (without it’s skin) into a bowl.
  • Mash the avocado until it is spreadable.
  • Pop your bread in the toaster or under the grill until it is golden brown.
  • Spread the avocado onto the toast.
  • Next add some chopped apple and cashew nuts.
  • Lightly drizzle your honey over the toast.
  • Garnish with some fresh basil leaves.

 

  1. Spicy Peanut Rayu and Lime Avocado Toast.

avocado, apple, basil, healthy recipes,sweet and spicy avocado toast, nutrition, health, wellbeing, the green door, alex hayes, alison canavan, becomplete, organic food,

Peanut Rayu has become one of my all time favourite toast toppers. It is a delicious blend of sunflower oil, peanuts, sesame seeds, tamari, honey, salt, chilli flakes and crispy garlic. Luckily “White Mausu – Peanut Rayu” produced by the amazingly talented chef Katie Sanderson is always at hand in The Green Door Pantry. However I have good news for those of you without access to that jar of heaven. Subbing in your favourite hot sauce works as a great alternative when paired with the fresh kick of lime.

 

What you’ll need:

  • Bread
  • Avocado
  • Peanut Rayu (or hot sauce)
  • Lime

 

Method: 

  • Slice the avocado in half and remove the seed before placing it (without it’s skin) into a bowl.
  • Mash the avocado until it is spreadable.
  • Pop your bread in the toaster or under the grill until it is golden brown.
  • Spread the avocado onto the toast.
  • Next spread some peanut rayu/hot sauce on top.
  • Finally finish by squeezing a little lime juice over the top.

 

All the ingredients mentioned above can be found at The Green Door Market. Like us on Facebook and follow me on Instagram as I continue my culinary adventures.

Black Garlic – White Tofu – Red Peppers

Farmers markets can be hubs of culinary discovery. They surround us with tastes from our locality and from much further afield. My taste buds are frequently sent on mouthwatering adventures, from the sweet exotic flavour of the papaya fruit to the more savoury flavours of the salty succulent samphire. This week we are delving deep into the dark side of cooking as we take a look at black garlic and tofu.

Tofu, The Green Door, Black Garlic, Crispy tofu, recipe, organic food, Food Ideas, Dublin 8, Christy Stapleton, nutrition, foodWhat is Black Garlic?

 Many people believe that garlic is turned black through caramelisation or fermentation but this is incorrect. Fermentation requires microbial action and caramelisation requires pyrolysis (the use of heat to separate chemical composition). The process that occurs in the case of black garlic is known as the “Maillard Reaction”. It involves a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars.

Tofu, The Green Door, Black Garlic, Crispy tofu, recipe, organic food, Food Ideas, Dublin 8, Christy Stapleton, nutrition, foodFresh bulbs of white garlic are aged under controlled levels of heat and humidity over the course of a month until they have become black. This process alters the flavour of the garlic bringing it from its savoury beginnings to something a lot sweeter, milder and sticky to the touch. Perhaps most importantly it wont leave you with pungent garlic breath.

Black garlic can have many uses in your kitchen. It can be spread on bread, turned into sauce, tossed in a soup or mixed into a marinade. Today however, we are going to blend it with some dark soy sauce and maple syrup to create a sweet coating for crispy tofu cubes.

 

Crispy Tofu with Black Garlic

What’s black, white and red all over? Well aside from a newspaper, it’s this delicious quick and easy recipe! I promise it will taste better than the Irish Times.

Tofu, The Green Door, Black Garlic, Crispy tofu, recipe, organic food, Food Ideas, Dublin 8, Christy Stapleton, nutrition, foodIngredients:

  • 1 block of tofu
  • 6 cloves of black garlic
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil (vegetable, avocado or chilli oil all work great too!)
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 red pepper
  • bunch of chives

Method:

  1. Drain the tofu and chop up into bite size cubes.
  2. Slice the red pepper into strips and set aside.
  3. Place the black garlic, maple syrup, soy sauce and peanut oil into a blender and whiz up until it is a smooth liquid.
  4. Heat some peanut oil in a wok before throwing in the tofu, turning it frequently until all pieces are a crisp golden brown.
  5. Remove the tofu and set it aside.
  6. Pour the sweet black garlic mixture into the wok until it is sizzling hot.
  7. Toss the tofu back into the wok along with the red peppers and stir fry until the tofu is coated in our mixture.
  8. Serve with some chopped fresh chives and enjoy!

All the ingredients mentioned above can be found at The Green Door Market. Like us on Facebook or follow me on Instagram as I continue my culinary adventures.

Essential oils are growing more and more popular these days. And if you’re a beauty enthusiast, you’d know how in-demand they have become, especially to those who have acne prone and sensitive skin.

However, since essential oils come in a wide range of varieties, you have to know first how to find the best essential oil that can address your needs.

One of the things you have to consider is the essential oil’s purity. Since there is no strict guideline as to what makes an essential oil pure, your best bet is to buy from retailers that specialize in selling oil. They are more likely to be involved in the processing of the oil.

When buying, you should also be more thorough in checking and reading labels. Look for the manufacture and expiry dates as well as the origin of the oil. Read the list of ingredients so you’ll know exactly what you’ll be getting.

Take note of what tests the oils have undergone as well as their grades. A product that has a therapeutic grade or clinical grade is considered superior to other brands.

In addition to assessing the quality of oil, you need to know what type of oil you should invest in when it comes to your skin.

The list below can help you get started.

The oils listed help with everything rom acne to firmer skin and oils like camomile have been shown to help reduce scars too. Theres an oils for every skin ailment so find what suits you.

10 Best Essential Oils for Beautiful and Flawless SkinHannah Do is the founder of Thank Your Skin, a beauty blog dedicated to provide honest skin care advice and information. She aspires to help her readers achieve their most beautiful skin by sharing personal tips learned through both years of experience and thorough research. Check out her latest article about Best Products for Rosacea. You can find her on TwitterPinterest and Facebook

This powerhouse salmon salad is versatile and tasty while also wedged full of vitamins and minerals.

Salmon itself is one of the most nutritious fish, packed full of iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6 and 12 along with a whole host of other nutrients for good health. As well as the mixed grain salad this dish is superb for heart and brain health, bone health and improving thyroid function. Grains such as buckwheat, quinoa and cous cous are high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. We named this the Powerhouse Salad because it would be hard to find a vitamin or mineral that’s not in this dish!

It’s a very adaptable dish. If you don’t like salmon just simply change your meat or skip the meat altogether. It is super filling and my kids love it so it’s a family favourite. If you don’t fancy making it yourself just pop into The Lo-cal Kitchen and give it a try, you can get the salad without the salmon if you wish too.

lo cal kitchen, healthy food, nutrition,fitness,yoga,health,wellness,recipes,meditation,mindfulness,eat,move,live,breathe,love,revitalize,jenny connolly, food, nutrition, wellness,POWERHOUSE SALMON

You’ll need:

  • 150g fillet of salmon
  • 1 tbsp buckwheat
  • 1 tbsp red quinoa
  • 1 tbsp giant cous cous
  • ½ cup of kale
  • ½ cup mixed salad leaves
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 tbsp pearl barley

for the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ tbsp. maple syrup

 

Ovens vary so this is just a guide: Preheat the oven to 180c Place the salmon on an oven proof dish skin side up and cook in oven for 10 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 8-10 minutes until cooked through but juicy and not dry.

 

With the grains I will often make a larger batch as is done in the Lo-cal Kitchen. Cook buckwheat, quinoa, cous cous and barley according to package instructions. This usually means simmer or soak in warm water but products vary. Once cooked allow the grains to cool and combine.

 

Whisk the dressing ingredients and toss with the grains and chopped kale, making sure to coat the kale well to help it soften slightly. Top with sliced avocado and salmon before sprinkling with pomegranate seeds.

One salad portion with salmon 492 calories 24g fat, 36g carbs, 37g protein

One salad dressing: 131 calories 13g fat, 2g carbs, 0g protein

 

As an organic vegetable producer, I feel blessed that I am able to grow food from the ground up. Putting time, effort and care into nourishing those plants really does boost the flavour when I find them on my plate. This being particularly true for today’s topic “Sunflower Shoots”.

What are Sunflower Shoots?

Honestly, sunflower shoots are probably one of the best kept secrets in your healthy cooking arsenal. They are the delicious and nutritious micro-greens of the sunflower plant. Sunflower shoots are bursting with vitamins A, D, E, chlorophyll, magnesium, iron, calcium and more!. If it’s protein you’re looking for, they are made out of 20% of it. Oh and for an added bonus, should you let them grow to flower, you will find yourself with thousands of edible crunchy seeds.

With a nutty flavour and a refreshing pop and crunch texture sunflower shoots are perfect for use in salads. Pairing them with nutritious foods such as avocado, bean sprouts and lemon juice, sunflower shoots will leave you feeling fresh and full of energy. Here is one of my favourite sunny salad recipes that you can be creative with and tweak to your own taste.

SUPER SUNNY SALAD WITH SUNFLOWER SHOOTS

Super Ingredients:

  • 50g sunflower shoots
  • 1 ripe hass avocado
  • 2 scallions (often known as spring onions)
  • 4 radishes
  • 50g mixed salad leaves (eg.rocket, cress, lettuce)
  • 25g bean sprouts
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 carrots
  • 8 green olives
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • Pinch of salt

Unprocessed Process:

  1. Squeeze the lemon juice, pour the olive oil and toss the paprika plus salt into a bowl. Give them a quick whisk.
  2. It’s off to the chopping block for the avocado, scallions and olives. Cut them into small pieces.
  3. Thinly slice the radish, cucumber and carrots using a sharp knife or mandolin (I’m more of a guitar man myself).
  4. Mix all the cut up veg together with your sunflower shoots, mixed leaves and bean sprouts.
  5. Drizzle on a few spoonfuls of dressing and enjoy.

This will serve 2 hungry people.

#TASTYTUESDAY,sunflower shoots, organic food, salads, nutrition, menu ideas, the green door market, phytonutrients, health, wellbeing, GIY, grow your own, organic living, holistic healthcare, connections, spiritual connections,Where can I find Sunflower Shoots?

As the popularity of sunflower shoots increases we seem to be finding them sprouting up at more and more farmers markets. I bought mine from Christys Organic Wheatgrass inside The Green Door Market located at 18 Newmarket Square, Dublin 8 just off Cork Street.

Open Tuesday – Friday 12:00pm – 19:00pm

Saturday 9:30am – 16:00pm

Sunday 11:00am – 17:00pm

#TastyTuesday

The green door market is my little piece of heaven every weekend. Since changing my lifestyle connecting with where my food comes from and the people who grow it has become a very fulfilling part of my life. The Green door market is a feast of freshness, flavour and friendliness. I have invited Alex to blog for BeComplete so he can share with us the energy and produce that The Green Door Market has to offer.

 The Green Door Market & Christy’s Organic Wheatgrass

Fresh organic food, rich baked bread, olives, cheese, a french galette van and smooth aromatic coffee! What have these delights got in common? They can be found at the Green Door Market and I am lucky enough to work there.

Alex Hayes, contributor, wheatgrass, becomplete, the green door market, fresh food, organic food in Dublin,The goal has always been to be a cut above the rest, setting ourselves to have the highest standards of practice and quality. This being especially true in relation to our organic wheatgrass.

So what is wheatgrass and how do you use it?

Wheatgrass is the nutrient packed, enzyme filled and vitamin rich grass of the wheat plant. It has chlorophyll in abundance which contains the micronutrient magnesium that over 300 enzymes in our body require to function.

Unfortunately most of us don’t have four stomachs, like our bovine friends so we can’t easily digest the cellulose in the grass. Our best option is to juice it using a masticating juicer.

Masticating juicers work differently to regular blending juicers in that they squeeze out the juice separating it from the pulp and thus making the wheatgrass easy to consume.

Alex Hayes, contributor, wheatgrass, becomplete, the green door market, fresh food, organic food in Dublin,

WHEATGRASS SHOT WITH A SLICE OF LEMON TO HELP NUTRIENT ABSORPTION

It is recommended for first time users to only take a 1oz shot of wheatgrass per day and over time work up to taking two 1oz shots per day at different times. It is advised to take the shot on an empty stomach. Newcomers to the green goodness might feel slight nausea otherwise.

[bctt tweet=”Wheatgrass is the nutrient packed, enzyme filled and vitamin rich grass of the wheat plant.” username=”alicanavan”]

Lets turn that wheatgrass into a sweetgrass!

For some people the strong distinctive taste of wheatgrass can be just too much to bare, but at the same time they would still love to be reaping its benefits. So to get around this I am going to share with you one of my most favourite smoothie recipes.

Pop open your blender and throw in:

  • Half a banana
  • Half a cup of frozen berries
  • Half a cup of frozen mango
  • 1 cup of coconut water (or regular water)
  • 1oz shot of wheatgrass

Blend it up until it’s good and smooth and drink it while its cold. Always feel free to experiment by throwing in different fruits or juices instead of water.

#TastyTuesday

Where can I find the Green Door Market?

The Green Door Market is located at 18 Newmarket Square, Dublin 8 just off Cork Street.

Open Tuesday – Friday 12:00pm – 19:00pm

Saturday 9:30am – 16:00pm

Sunday 11:00am – 17:00pm

Follow Alex on Instagram

Metabolic Syndrome

Having Metabolic Syndrome doubles the risk for heart disease and multiplies the risk of diabetes by five. It is not a disease itself, but describes a host of related risk factors (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, obesity and insulin resistance) all with a common cause originally coined 20 years ago with 47 million Americans affected.1

Notice Metabolic Syndrome closely mirrors the symptoms found in those suffering from NAFLD (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). NAFLD can be thought of as the liver’s state of Metabolic Syndrome. Following the progression of Metabolic Syndrome and NAFLD, one has a hard time disputing the causal relationship.

liver media, liver problems, becomplete, metabolic syndrome, leaky gut, nutrition, sugar, wellness, fatty liver disease,

Cause & Effect

We need to begin with the typical diet, which has changed significantly over the past fifty plus years. People consume way more of the following; sugar, caffeine, harmful fats, antibiotics, preservatives, pesticides, GMOs and hormones. These are all considered toxins to your body, especially sugar.

In fact, the sugar is the major reason for the overgrowth of candida, which displaces the good bacteria. Why are we discussing the digestive tract? What does the digestive tract have to do with obesity? Let’s take a closer look.

liver media, liver problems, becomplete, metabolic syndrome, leaky gut, nutrition, sugar, wellness, fatty liver disease,

The digestive tract has a very complex function; it must simultaneously do at least two operations.

  1. Create specific enzymes to further breakdown digested food into smaller particles for absorption into the body.
  2. Selectively allow nutrients through without passing harmful invaders like; virus, bacteria and toxins present in the GI tract.

Our digestive tract is not alone in this work; it has between 3-5 lbs of bacteria in the gut to help. However, our new diet promotes rapid growth of harmful bacteria.

Leaky Gut

When the increase in harmful bacteria and yeast (candida) within the intestine reaches a tipping point, the intestinal wall is breached. This breach allows food particles to pass through the intestine wall and the immune system becomes overwhelmed. The liver, which receives 70% of its blood flow from the intestine, is charged with detoxifying the blood. If the necessary natural components required in the detox phase of liver metabolism are exhausted the liver simply shuttles toxins into fat cells to keep them from circulating in the body. These fat cells are stored in the liver and elsewhere depending on your genes. 2

Excess accumulation of fat cells in the liver begins a destructive cycle where the liver becomes less efficient, leading to a build-up of toxins including fatty acids and insulin. This spike in oxidative stress and unprocessed insulin leads to insulin resistance in type II diabetes. Tests will confirm the overload of fatty acids referred to as lipotoxicity. This cascade shows the typical risk factors relating to Metabolic Syndrome.

What Works

Fortunately nature provides us with the solution. Studies have shown Silybin (an active compound in milk thistle), medium chain triglycerides like Vitamin E (specifically highly concentrated tocotrienols), NAC, Phosphatidylcholine and Glutathione to work best complimented by a healthy diet and moderate exercise. The success of these natural ingredients relies on rapid replenishment of Glutathione, a critically important liver antioxidant. 3, 4

Extracts from milk thistle have a long history of being used for liver protection. We are just now starting to rediscover this through scientific discovery. One very effective combination of silymarin, Vitamin E and Phosphatidylcholine improved insulin sensitivity, while reversing damaged liver cells by reducing oxidative stress and improving Glutathione levels in the liver. 5, 6

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a sulfur-rich compound used primarily to neutralize the damaging effects of aspirin on the liver. It rapidly restores Glutathione. A recent animal study showed it to prevent NAFLD in a liver disease diet 7. Similarly, SAMe had been found to increase Glutathione levels in humans with Non-Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease. 8

One can think of supplements as putting a person on the highway to good health, but there is no substitute for eating well and getting regular exercise. No supplement is going to offset poor health habits. Successful diets for those suffering from liver problems include FODMAPs designed by researchers at Stanford University. If severe intestinal problems exist, elimination diets and anti-histamine diets should be considered with a physician’s supervision.

Good health to you.

#TherapyThursday #naturalawakenings

References

  1. http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome-what-is-it
  2. http://obesity.bodyecology.com/leaky-gut
  3. Kwon do Y, Jung YS, Kim SJ, Park HK, Park JH, Kim YC. Impaired sulfur-amino acid metabolism and oxidative stress in nonalcoholic fatty liver are alleviated by betaine supplementation in rats. Journal of Nutrition. 2009 Jan;139(1):63
  4. -Caballero F, Fernandez A, Matias N, et al. Specific contribution of methionine and choline in nutritional nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: impact on mitochondrial S-adenosyl-L-methionine and glutathione. J Biological Chemistry. 2010 Jun 11;285(24):18528-
  5. Loguercio C, Federico A, Trappoliere M, et al. The effect of a silybin-vitamin E-phospholipid complex on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a pilot study. Digestive Disease & Sciences. 2007 Sep;52(9):2387-95.
  6. Serviddio G, Bellanti F, Giudetti AM, et al. A silybin-phospholipid complex prevents mitochondrial dysfunction in a rodent model of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 2010 Mar;332(3):922-32.
  7. Baumgardner JN, Shankar K, Hennings L, Albano E, Badger TM, Ronis MJ. N-acetylcysteine attenuates progression of liver pathology in a rat model of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Journal of Nutrition. 2008 Oct;138(10):1872-9
  8. .Vendemiale G, Altomare E, Trizio T, et al. Effects of oral S-adenosyl-L-methionine on hepatic glutathione in patients with liver disease. Scand Journal of Gastroenterology. 1989 May;24(4):407-15.

Makes 24 Brownies

When you need to supercharge your poker skills, try chia. These
weenchy seeds have finally become mainstream in Ireland, having
enjoyed some spectacular adulation across the Atlantic. Everyone from
Jessica Alba to Ross O’Carroll Kelly is tapping into chia mania. Seems
like a much more seductive way to get those brain-pumping omega-3s
without having to neck fish oil.

YOU WILL NEED:

160ml almond or other milk
3 tablespoons milled chia seeds1 block (200g) creamed coconut
225g 70–85% dark chocolate
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups (210g) coconut sugar
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

Fresh homemade almond milk

FRESH ALMOND MILK

First up, make a chia ‘egg’ by mixing together the almond milk and
milled chia in a small bowl. Rest for 10 mins.

Firs up the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F. Line a 20cm x 20cm square
brownie tin with baking parchment.

In the meantime, slowly melt the solid block of coconut cream
(including the oil on top of the block) with just 200g of the dark
chocolate in a small saucepan.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and coconut sugar together until
frothy. Stir through the baking powder. Chop up the remaining 25g of
chocolate and add it in. Now let the melted chocolate coconut ganache
party with the batter. Finally, drop in your chia egg. Spoon this
glossy gorgeousness into the lined brownie tin.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until you see cracks along the top.
Remove, and cool in the tin. Best served cold or at room temperature.

WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU COMMENT BELOW IF YOU ARE A BROWNIE FAN…
#TastyTuesday