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Gut health

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Health benefits of bitter foods

We tend to avoid bitter foods because they are unpleasant, but overtime we develop a taste for them. Here’s why. Bitter foods… not exactly a palate pleaser unless they’re blended—and semi hidden—among layers of flavours and textures. Initially, you’ll tolerate them and over time, you’ll develop a taste for them and here’s why: because they are liver-loving foods. The liver is often called the “King of Organs” as everything we consume passes through this vital organ. When you consume bitter foods, it’s like throwing a lifeline to your liver. Energy levels rise, your immune system functions better and metabolism improves because excess toxins are eliminated. As well, bile production improves, which leads to better digestion along with a host of other benefits—all as a result of improved liver function. But getting your daily dose of bitter foods can be challenging. Their taste is pungent—your mouth puckers, cheeks rise and eyes

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Health

Dangers of artificial sweeteners in new research

Saccharine, aspartame sucralose. They’re in just about every “diet” soft drink and all kinds of other everyday beverages from fruit drinks and many foods as well. Some new research recently published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences is now the first to show the pathogenic effects of these widely used sweeteners. It appears that they have a significant effect on two types of gut bacteria, E. coli (Escherichia coli) and E. faecalis (Enterococcus faecalis). Senior author of the paper Dr. Havovi Chichger, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “There is a lot of concern about the consumption of artificial sweeteners, with some studies showing that sweeteners can affect the layer of bacteria which support the gut, known as the gut microbiota.  “Our study is the first to show that some of the sweeteners most commonly found in food and drink – saccharin, sucralose and

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Health

Pain meds and gut health

Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts take Ibuprofen and similar medications to help them exercise in the face of aches, pains and minor injuries. A note of caution: This practice can be harmful to your digestive health. Having played sports my entire life, I have taken my fair share of Ibuprofen for the usual aches and pains, at least until several years ago when my naturopathic doctor suggested that it might be causing my eczema and digestive problems. Developed in the 1960s, Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to reduce pain and inflammation. She called my condition “leaky gut,” where some material from the gut (the gastrointestinal tract) leaks out into the bloodstream rather than being digested normally. A leaky gut, I learned, increases a person’s susceptibility to infections and autoimmune diseases such as eczema, and is related to atherosclerosis, chronic heart failure, allergies, autism and inflammatory-induced metabolic diseases

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Health

A natural approach to chronic pain

Chronic pain can have many underlying factors. A natural approach can improve quality of life by reducing its causes and symptoms. DO you have pain that just won’t go away? If you suffer from an old injury, an autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or reccurring migraines, you know that persistent pain can signifi- cantly impact many aspects of life. In a word, it can take away the fun. he question to ask: Why do you have chronic pain? Food sensitivities, stress, poor diet and lifestyle choices, and environmental exposures or sensitivities may all contribute to the underlying reason for pain. Ongoing pain often requires thorough investigation and a comprehensive treatment plan. By decreasing pain, natural therapies can help you revive the joy of living. Acupuncture: The ancient Chinese solution Acupuncture is used to treat many conditions. According to a recent survey published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in the US, the most common

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Health

Probiotics: What you need to know

‘“No guts, no glory”  might be closer to the  truth than we realize.’  Not only do the organisms in the gut,  known as the gut microbiome, digest  the nutrients you need to thrive, but  they also ward off infection and help  make neurochemicals essential for  brain function.  When the gut microbiome is balanced, you stay healthy and have a lot of energy. Out of balance and you are prone  to health issues from weight gain and brain fog to diabetes and cancer. With  so many roles, is it possible to optimize  gut function?  Emerging research on probiotics  shows that these “good” bacteria help  boost natural gut flora and provide  many benefits for optimal gut health.   Probiotics are live microorganisms that  provide a range of health benefits by  boosting the diversity of the gut microbiome. These microorganisms, usually bacteria or yeast, are different from  those found naturally in the human microbiome

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Health

Keeping your digestive system in shape

Showing that the entire digestion process is working smoothly, regular bowel movements are the foundation of health. Here’s how to keep your system in shape. No one wants to talk about or admit to it, but according to the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology approximately one million Canadians a year suffer from constipation. Regularity of bowel movements is individual: One person may experience three a day while another may experience one every three days. At least that’s the view of conventional medicine. Natural health practitioners believe that the bowel is the foundation of good health and having two or three bowel movements daily is essential in keeping not only the bowel healthy, but also the whole body. Essentially, if your bowel movements occur less frequently than your food intake, you are suffering from constipation.  Bowel movements are essential to a healthy body. Unless we cleanse the system of toxins daily, they

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Health

Gut health & anti-inflammatory meds

Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts take Ibuprofen and similar medications to help them exercise in the face of aches, pains and minor injuries. A note of caution: This practice can be harmful to your digestive health. Having played sports my entire life, I have taken my fair share of Ibuprofen for the usual aches and pains, at least until several years ago when my naturopathic doctor suggested that it might be causing my eczema and digestive problems. Developed in the 1960s, Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to reduce pain and inflammation. She called my condition “leaky gut,” where some material from the gut (the gastrointestinal tract) leaks out into the bloodstream rather than being digested normally. A leaky gut, I learned, increases a person’s susceptibility to infections and autoimmune diseases such as eczema, and is related to atherosclerosis, chronic heart failure, allergies, autism and inflammatory-induced metabolic diseases

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Health

Gender, gut bacteria, and heart disease

“Scientists know the gut microbiome plays an important role in cardiovascular disease risk, and new research suggests sexual dimorphism here too.” We know that males and females are different. Scientists call it “sexual dimorphism,” where sexes within a species differ significantly—from their behaviour to the way their organs work.   This is true of the gut too. Your gut microbiome is the DNA belonging to trillions of bacteria in your bowel. Scientists know the gut microbiome plays an important role in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, and new research from the journal Biology of Sex Differences/ITC suggests sexual dimorphism here too.  Let’s look at sex differences in CVD by considering the gut microbiome and how it influences the three primary CVD risk factors: sugar and fat metabolism, blood pressure, and body weight. Sugar metabolism Type 2 diabetes is a major CVD risk factor where the body is less sensitive (i.e. resistant) to

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Health

The benefits of staying fit as we age

Aging is an inevitable aspect of life. Here are a few tips to improve your quality of life as you age. An annoying fact of life is aging. It happens to all of us and it can sneak up on us. The good news is that maintaining an active lifestyle has positive benefits on our overall health, which in turn can improve quality of life. Almost half of Canadians are now over the age of 45, and many are looking for ways to stay active or get in better shape as the years pass. We tend to think of gyms, sports clubs, and road races as being designed only for young svelte athletes.  The reality however is that more adults are making choices to ensure they stay fit through their senior years. Marlene Sykes, Coach for the Newmarket Road Runners agrees that she has noticed an increase in the ages

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