Bone Broth For Gut Health

Bone Broth For Gut Health

Bone broth is a powerful food that is easily digestible. If you are fighting off a cold or the flu, homemade bone broth is brilliant for speedy healing and recovery from illness.

Even if you don’t have gut issues, it is still a great staple food to include in your diet.

Here are 5 top reasons to eat bone broth:

  • Bone broth is rich in amino-acids such as arginine, glycine and proline that help to fight inflammation
  • Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that help in healthy bone formation and keep your bone healthy
  • The gelatin found in bone broth attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, in so doing supports proper digestion.
  • Bone broth helps to heal and seal your gut, great for digestive issues like IBS, leaky gut and many more. If your gut is leaky or permeable, partially undigested food, toxins, viruses, yeast, and bacteria have the opportunity to pass through your intestine and access your bloodstream; this is known as leaky gut.
  • The gelatin in bone broth promotes healthy nail and hair growth

Bone broth can be made from any type of bones you like – chicken, turkey, beef or even fish but make sure the animals are organic and grass-fed because the health of the bones is important.

Here is the recipe to make homemade chicken bone broth:

Ingredients

  • Chicken carcass/chicken bones – two small/medium free-range chickens -preferably organic
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
  • Filtered water to cover chicken in pot
  • 3 celery stalks, halved
  • 3 carrots, halved
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  • Place bones in a pot or a crockpot, add apple cider vinegar and water and let the mixture sit for 1 hour so apple cider vinegar can leach the minerals out of the bones
  • Add more water if needed to cover the bones
  • Add the vegetables bring to a boil and skim the scum from the top and discard (you can use a spoon to do this)
  • Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for 24 hours (if you are not comfortable leaving the pot to simmer overnight, turn off the heat and let it sit overnight, then turn it back on and let it simmer all day the next day)
  • During the last 10 minutes of the cooking, throw in a handful of fresh parsley for added flavour and minerals
  • Let the broth cool and strain it
  • Add sea salt to taste and drink the broth as it is or store in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months for use in soups or stews
Best Foods For An Immune System Stronger Than A Rock

Best Foods For An Immune System Stronger Than A Rock

Your immune system consists of a network of cells, tissues and organs that are designed to work together to protect your body against all the allergens, bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and other harmful organisms that want to attack your body.

Nutrition plays an essential part in boosting your immune function.  The food you eat will go a long way towards strengthening or weakening your immune system.  Certain foods are full of nutrients that can support your immune system and make it stronger than a rock. Let’s take a look…

Here are 6 best foods for immune system support:

1) Good quality protein

Did you know that the antibodies that helps your body fight disease are made of protein? Good quality protein is one of the important foods for immune system. It is the main component of your immune system.

Protein is broken down into amino acid which is the building block needed for the production of white blood cells. If you are not eating enough good quality protein it will have an impact on your white blood cell production.

It is important for you to have protein with each meal. This will help with blood sugar and insulin balance which is also important for a strong immune system.

Here are good quality protein you can incorporate into your diet

  • Grass-fed organ meat (Offal) – liver, kidney, tongue, tripe, brain etc (preferably organic)
  • Free range eggs (preferably organic)
  • Grass-fed poultry (preferably organic)
  • Fish, Shrimps (wild not farmed)
  • Nuts and seeds (soak them preferably overnight and dry in the oven or dehydrator before eating)
  • Beans or legumes (soak beans overnight and cook thoroughly before eating)
  • Grass-fed clean lean meat, wild game (preferably organic)

2) Herbs & Spices

Herbs and spices are one of the essential foods for immune system. They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties which can support your immune function.

There are too many good ones. To highlight a few:

  • Garlic: contains allicin, an organosulphur compound which is an immune stimulating compound. A study carried out on the human blood found that garlic may indeed have immune enhancing properties and promote an anti-inflammatory environment helping to control inflammation (1).
  • Turmeric: traditionally known for its anti-inflammatory effects contains curcumin, an orange-yellow component. A study found that curcumin has the ability to strengthen the immune system (2).

Some other herbs and spices include cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, ginger, black pepper, cloves, licorice, thyme, cloves and basil.

Add herbs and spices to your meals; it will not only strengthen your immune system, it will improve your overall health.

3) Mushrooms

Mushrooms are important foods for immune system. They contain a compound called beta-glucans which has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antitumor properties.

Researchers found that mushrooms may support immune function by increasing the production of antiviral and other proteins that are released by cells looking to protect and restore tissue (3).

Mushrooms are also bursting with fibre, vitamin C, protein, B vitamins and other minerals which are all important for strengthening your immune system.

4) Colorful vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits are important foods for the immune system. They are rich in vitamins A, C, antioxidants, phytonutrients and other nutrients which are all important for supporting your immune system.

There are too many good ones. To highlight a few:

  • Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, cauliflower and brussels sprouts help to support your liver and improve your liver’s potential to flush out toxins helping to provide an excellent environment for the immune cells that reside there.
  • Blueberries are rich in phytochemicals such as anthocyanin, the pigment that gives blueberries their color. Anthocyanin helps to improve your immune function. Blueberries contain less sugar than many other fruits.

Studies have shown that vegetables have a larger protective effect than fruits (4) so your focus should be on consuming more vegetables and small amount of fruit.

Aim to eat five to seven portions of colorful vegetables and some fruit daily.

5) Fermented foods

Fermented foods such as Kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt (natural with no added sugar), pickles and olives are important foods for immune system. They are full of friendly beneficial bacteria which has a beneficial effect on your gut’s immune system, a major barrier against microorganisms that can cause disease.

Adding fermented foods to your diet will help to keep your gut and immune system healthy.

6) Good Quality Fats

Good quality fats are important foods for immune system. The type of fat you eat matters. Trans fats (found in margarine and many processed foods) are unhealthy fats that contribute to chronic inflammation which burdens your immune system and can result in damage to your cells and tissues.

Your immune system needs healthy natural fat to function properly. 

To highlight a few:

  • Fatty fish including wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acid which is anti-inflammatory helping to support your immune system.
  • Coconut oil (extra virgin) contains lauric acid which converts to monolaurin in the human body; monolaurin has strong anti-viral properties.

Other healthy fats that you can incorporate into your diet include avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, grass-fed butter and free-range eggs (preferably organic).

It is also important for you to avoid sugar and processed foods, they are not healthy foods for immune system.  This will also go a long way in making your immune system stronger than a rock. 

References

1. Keiss HP, Dirsch VM, Hartung T, Haffner T, Trueman L, Auger J, Kahane R, Vollmar AM (2003) Garlic (Allium sativum L.) modulates cytokine expression in lipopolysaccharide-activated human blood thereby inhibiting NF-KappaB activity. The Journal of Nutrition, 133:2171-2175.

2. Jagetia GC, Aggarwal BB (2007) “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. Journal of Clinical Immunology, 27: 19-35.

3. ScienceDaily (2010) Researchers study benefits of white button mushrooms, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100729101609.htm.

4. Oyebode O, Gordon-Dseagu V, Walker A, Mindell J S (2014) Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-203500. [Epub ahead of print].

Eliminate Your Hidden Food Intolerances

Eliminate Your Hidden Food Intolerances

Food intolerance is a series of physiological responses that your body has to certain types of food.

It is thought that over 45% of the population react adversely to foods that they eat. 

A food intolerance is occasionally confused with a food allergy. They can often have the same signs and symptoms but are completely different. A true food allergy will cause an immune system reaction that affects many organs in the body, it causes a range of symptoms, in some cases, it can be severe or life-threatening. In contrast, food intolerance symptoms are normally less serious and are often restricted to digestive problems.

One in three people have hidden food intolerances. If you are eating foods that your body cannot tolerate, you are likely to gain weight, feel terrible and even look years older than your actual age.  The inflammation going on makes your body resistant to the key chemical messengers that help you burn fat, tolerate stress and regularise any cravings. If you are one of them, you need to find out what you are intolerant to and which foods to eat instead. 

You can ‘desensitise’ yourself to foods you’re intolerant to and then reintroduce them three months later to see if you can now tolerate it. You should never eat foods you have a severe response to.

Discovering what you have an intolerance to

Food intolerance can be responsible for many symptoms, especially digestive problems, from bloating to constipation, and diarrhea to abdominal cramps. These are sometimes accompanied by mental and physical symptoms, such as mood changes, chronic tiredness, depression, increased appetite, sleepiness after meals, inability to concentrate and a host of minor ailments from itches and rashes to asthma and sinus problems.

Whilst the effects may not be life threatening, resulting symptoms can have a massive impact on someone’s quality of work and home life.

Download the questionnaire here and check yourself out to see if you have any food intolerance.

Should You Eat Dairy?

Should You Eat Dairy?

Is eating dairy unhealthy?

Whether or not you should eat dairy products is one of the things that people most ask me about as a nutrition professional.

There’s the argument from the dairy industry and conventional medicine that, if you don’t eat dairy, you’re putting your bone health at risk.

Other health professionals (often in what we used to call ‘alternative medicine’) have long argued that consuming dairy products causes low-grade inflammation in the body, may increase the risk of cancer, drain your energy and give you spots.

Vegans also argue that eating dairy isn’t natural for humans, and that dairy farming involves cruelty to animals many of us are unaware of, plus it significantly contributes to global warming.

In this newsletter, I want to give you all the details on what’s good and not so good about dairy, and the positive benefits of giving up milk-based products. If you’re even considering ditching dairy, there is one really important thing you need to do. I’ll tell you about that, too.

Why should I eat dairy?

Dairy products contain a range of beneficial nutrients. Of course, there’s calcium, but it’s also a good source of protein, vitamins D and B12 and phosphorus.

Let’s talk about the calcium in dairy, because this is the thing you are told you will miss most if you stop consuming milk-based products.

When you get past 30, your process of bone breakdown is a bit speedier than new bone being made, so you need to make sure you’re getting good levels of this important mineral to fortify your frame. Although you can get calcium from other foods, the reason why dairy is touted as being the best source, is that the calcium from milk-based foods are more readily absorbed by the body*.  Skip down to the bottom of the story to find out how you can safely choose not to have dairy in your life. There are some specific foods you will need to eat.

Cow’s milk also contains the omega 6 fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is considered to have health benefits. It is also contained in grass-fed beef. Studies suggest CLA can help with weight loss, and that people who have lot of foods containing CLA have a lower risk of diabetes and cancer**.

Is dairy bad for you?

The bottom line is that human beings weren’t designed to drink milk of any kind after the weaning period (around two years old). Not human milk, and certainly not milk from cows, sheep or goats. Some cultures have embraced drinking dairy products, and people in those cultures have genetically adapted to tolerate it. Others haven’t and for those people in particular, eating dairy can cause problems. Two of the biggest problems associated with dairy are digestive and skin issues.

Let’s have a look at the bad stuff in dairy products…

They contain growth hormones, which may be linked to increased risk of disease and some cancers.

And other hormones, too, like oestrogen. Small amounts, true, but still oestrogen. Some cancers and medical conditions like endometriosis, PMS, fibroids and even menopause are linked to a dominance of oestrogen compared to progesterone.

As well as having more naturally occurring sugar than you’d think. A cup of milk has about three teaspoons. Sugar, I hear you say. Where? The type of sugar in milk is called lactose. You might be tempted to say, ‘I’ll have lactose-free milk then’. Lactose-free milk has had the milk sugars broken into galactose and glucose. Same amount of sugars, different currency. However, the milk sugar is often the ingredient people do not tolerate, so a lactose-free milk can provide the benefits of regular milk without the dodgy tummy.

Non-organic dairy products contain antibiotic residues, so if you are eating dairy, make sure it’s organic.

Drinking it may raise your risk of certain types of cancer, but the evidence occasionally contradicts itself. You can read more where you see this sign at the bottom***.

And you’re more likely to get spots or have acne. **** The research stacks up that that’s the case, but scientists aren’t 100% sure of the reason dairy triggers acne, though it’s likely to be something to do with the hormones present in milk. Another theory is that dairy products disrupt insulin levels and make skin more prone to acne.

How will I feel if I give up dairy?

Everyone will be a little different but these are some of the reported benefits of ditching dairy:

  • Less nasal congestion and stuffiness.
  • Better sleep.
  • Clearer skin.
  • More energy.
  • Weight loss.
  • Reduction in bloating/ other digestive symptoms.
  • Fewer headaches.

I’m not going to go into the impact on the environment of consuming less dairy, and the animal welfare argument. Too many variables. I’ll leave you to just ponder that.

What are the alternatives if I don’t want to eat dairy?

Use these in porridge, overnight oats smoothies and the like.

My favourite non-dairy milks are almond, coconut, oat, rice – pretty much in that order and largely based on levels of sugars (naturally occurring). You’ll want to choose the unsweetened varieties if there is an option.

The foods you need to eat when you’re giving up dairy

You’ll be missing out on calcium for bones, so you’ll need to find it some place else. That means letting more of these foods into your diet on a daily basis: cabbage, spring greens, boy choy, kale, broccoli, okra, almonds, soya (edamame) beans and tofu, and fish where you eat the bones (like tinned sardines).

The RDA (recommended daily allowance or how much a healthy person needs to eat to not get sick) is 700mg a day.

A fist-sized serving of tofu can be between 200mg and 800mg. One serving in a stir fry at night could get you your calcium fix for the day.

  • Small can of sardines has 351mg.
  • 2tbsp sesame seeds have 280mg.
  • 2tbsp chia seeds has 179mg.
  • A cup-full of cooked kale has 177mg. Raw (because less fits in the cup), it’s 53mg.
  • A small handful (about 35g) almonds has nearly 100mg.
  • A cup of broccoli has 43mg.

Should I eat more spinach to increase calcium?

Some – like spinach or chard – contain oxalic acid, which binds to calcium and can mess with your body’s ability to absorb it properly. Turns out Popeye was eating the wrong sort of greens because, even though spinach technically has a lot of calcium, it’s only a tenth as bioavailable as that from milk due to the oxalic acid.

But, wait, I couldn’t give up…

You don’t have to. If you love pizza, try giving up dairy but having an exception for pizza. Although going completely dairy-free would be the goal, even taking most of the dairy out of your diet can still bring benefits. For most dairy products, there is an excellent dairy alternative. Some are most surprising. I wonder whether you have experienced the delicious creaminess a handful of cashews can bring to a soup, for example. However, there are some groups of people who really should give it a miss; those who have an intolerance to dairy would do well to remove it entirely for at least three months to heal the gut. And, if you have a true allergy to dairy (IgE), you will want to steer clear forever.

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17160208 OR https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261044065_Calcium_bioavailability_from_dairy_products_and_its_release_from_food_by_in_vitro_digestion

**  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/conjugated-linoleic-acid#benefits

*** https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/cancer/does-milk-cause-cancer/

**** https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738081X10000416