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With winter well and truly here, how do we shift our immune systems into top gear to keep us healthy and free of colds? Our gut could hold the answer. Read on to learn how, and discover plenty more about your diet and good health.
Our gut flora is established from birth. It is thought that vaginal delivery leads to the first colonization of microbiota in the baby, based on the bacteria of the mother. Unfortunately, it appears that babies born via C-section are deprived of this natural exposure and therefore exhibit different gut flora. Disturbances in maternal microbiota during pregnancy may also be associated with early asthma in their children. This all demonstrates the clear link between the bacteria in your gut and the function of your immune system.
So could probiotics (supplements of good bacteria) be the answer for keeping us healthy and free of colds this winter?
Microbiome: the collection of all the microorganisms living in association with the human body. These communities consist of a variety of microorganisms including eukaryotes, archaea, bacteria and viruses.
Microbiota: are the live bacteria which form part of the microbiome, also commonly known as gut flora.
What are probiotics and how do they work?
Probiotics are supplements of good bacteria that you can buy from a pharmacy or health food shop. As seen on TV, there is a balance of “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria in the gut. If you don’t have enough good guys on your side, then you leave yourself exposed to a higher risk of inflammation, viruses and chronic disease.
In our gut we have trillions of bacteria. In fact, they outnumber the cells in the human body 10 to 1! The more research that is conducted on the microbiome, the clearer it becomes that good bacteria play a leading role in maintaining our health, from influencing our immunity, weight and physical health, all the way to our mood and mental wellbeing.
Probiotics may help to establish a better balance of bacteria types in the gut to assist in digestion and gut function. However, there is still a lot we don’t know about the gut and this is an area of health that is rapidly undergoing further research.
One meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition demonstrated a clear link between probiotics and respiratory conditions. This study showed significantly fewer illnesses, shorter illness periods and fewer sick days in people taking a probiotic supplement.
DID YOU KNOW? Our gut contains somewhere between 10 and 100 trillion bacteria. And it is thought that 80% of our immunity is linked to our microbiome.
Which bugs are best?
There are many different types of bacteria. Two key probiotic strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus is the most common and can be found in some yoghurts. It mostly assists with digestion, especially breaking down the sugar lactose. Bifidobacterium can also be found in some dairy foods and helps with easing symptoms of IBS.
Both of these strains have also been recognized for their role in potentially reducing the risk of cold symptoms and upper respiratory infections (URI).
Probiotics vs. prebiotics
Probiotics can be taken as a supplement, but are also available through some fermented foods such as selected yoghurts. But not all yoghurts contain probiotic strains of bacteria, eventhough they are a fermented food. Check with your dietitian.
Take probiotic supplements 30 minutes before or simultaneously with a meal or drink for optimal bacterial survival through the digestive tract.
Prebiotics are the food source for the probiotics that you might be taking and the good bacteria that are already living in your gut. Like any living thing, our microbiota need food to survive on.
To boost your intake of prebiotics and ward off colds this winter eat more raw fruits and vegetables, and other fibre rich plant foods foods such as chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans. Plant-based foods are loaded with prebiotic fibre, although not all fibre types have prebiotic properties.
To keep yourself and your family healthy this winter, focus on including plenty of prebiotic plant foods in your diet. If you would like to take a probiotic, check that your fermented food contains a validated probiotic strain, or take it as a supplement.
“Don't count the days, make the days count.” - Muhammad Ali
Are you struggling to find time and energy to cook healthy meals? Is your weight loss plateauing? Are you trying to get back on top of a medical condition?
Resorting to fast food can fast track you to a fatty liver! But cooking separate meals for the family may drive you insane and make it hard to sustain a healthy diet.
Join us for this delicious new cookshop! Learn kitchen shortcuts to prepare meals using whole foods your whole family can enjoy.
You don’t need to cook different dishes for the family if you or your partner has a medical condition. Take your family on the same journey by delivering on taste!
It’s perfect if speed or ease of preparation is vital for your lifestyle.
This cookshop will help if you have any chronic medical conditions that can be better managed with a wholefoods diet rather than resorting to extra medication. Think diabetes, fatty liver, PCOS, arthritis or a family history of cancer.
When: Tuesday 16th August 2016, 6.30 pm - 8:30 pm
Enjoy a delicious 4 course tasting menu, recipes and handouts!
Learn more about our cookshops
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place. Bring a friend and make it a date!
Need relief from your reflux symptoms? Here are 10 things you can do to reduce your risk and ease the discomfort.
Arthritis, diabetes, obesity and cancer are all inflammatory conditions. Including certain foods and limiting others in your diet can help you better manage or prevent these conditions.
Our dietetic colleagues at BJC, including Monica Kubizniak who worked with Sue for many years, have developed a handy new e-cookbook to help you dampen inflammation with your diet. Learn to prepare and cook wholefoods that not only taste great, but actually work to keep you healthy and free from illness and disease!
This e-cookbook book is good value at $9.99AUD and provides 58 new recipes, including a mixture of starters, breakfast/lunch/dinner, sweet treats and snacks, even drinks. Everyone can benefit from adding these recipes to their menu cycle – not just those with obvious inflammatory conditions. Get your copy here: Anti-inflammatory Cookbook
In this short video, Sue Radd shares the many wonders of water and how it can benefit your body from the inside out.
What is it?
Harvest Box is a food delivery service that inspires a new way of snacking. You pick which snacks you like and then you get a delivery to your home or work to save time and planning. They have a whole variety of wholefood snack choices, including nuts, dried fruit and nut mixes, health bars and mini bliss bombs.
How do I use it?
You must sign up for a box delivery through their website. You will then be promoted to rate the snacks so your preferences are on file. Finally, a varied selection of your faves is delivered for you to enjoy.
What's the cost?
$7.95 per box (which includes 4 snack portions). Gift boxes are also available for an extra $1.
Where do I get it?
Visit their website www.harvestbox.com.au. Some snack packs are also available at Coles supermarkets.
- Snacks that have a wholefood focus (minimal processing and no refined ingredients).
- Well controlled portions. Each snack ranges in calories from about 100 (418 kj) – 250 (1046 kj) depending on your choice.
- Offer a great variety of snacks that are high in fibre and mostly low in sugar and saturated fat.
- There is no lock-in contract and you can cancel the service at anytime.
- You don’t get a direct choice in the snacks delivered; instead a selection is made for you from your ratings. This can be a con if you develop a favourite.
- Some of the more indulgent snacks e.g. the fruit, nut and chocolate mixes do contain a higher amount of sugar and fat (especially if you have a few of this snack type each week).
3.5 out of 5 stars. An easy snack solution which can be a real time saver. We advise rating your preferences carefully so you don’t end up with too many higher calorie choices.
The kind people at Harvest Box have also provided a discount offer to Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic friends and readers. For $10 off your first box and 25% of your second use the code NUTRITION 2016 or sign up via the link: www.harvestbox.com.au/NUTRITION2016