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    News — cleanse

    Tips for Restoring & Strengthening Your Gut Microbiome

     

     

     

    When we talk about “gut microbiome”, we’re referring to the millions of microorganisms that inhabit our gut, or our gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly, each microbiome is unique and contributes to different health benefits and that’s why a rich and diverse gut microbiome is incredibly important for overall health. However, there are different factors that can influence the diversity and density of our gut bacteria, including stress, lifestyle and environmental factors, excessive alcohol consumption, food allergies, antibiotic usage and artificial sweeteners.

    The health of our gut is deeply connected to our hormone levels, brain health, skin health, metabolism, body weight, immune system and mood. In fact, researchers continue to find remarkable links between a diverse gut microbiome and certain illnesses and diseases, including cancer, heart disease, liver disease, asthma, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and depression.

    Although we know that diet is not the only factor that contributes to good gut health, research has shown that it is incredibly important. The more diverse your diet, the more diverse the nutrient supply is to your gut microbiomes.

    Happy and well-fed gut microbiomes = a happier and healthier gut!

    Here are a few key things you can do every day to optimize your gut microbiome:

    👉 Incorporate prebiotics (apples, almonds, chicory root, asparagus, legumes, onions, raw garlic, cabbage).

    Prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and discourage dysbiotic growth (pathogenic bacteria). 

    👉 Incorporate probiotics (yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kefir, tempeh)

    👉 Eat the rainbow

    Have as many different varieties and colours of fruits and veggies that you love over the course of the day.

    👉 Eat foods rich in polyphenols (blueberries, green tea, broccoli, grapes, olive oil)

    👉 Drink teas that are good for your gut (e.g. liquorice root tea, fennel tea, green tea)

    👉 Avoid GMOs

    👉 Plan your meals ahead of time, or stock your freezer with healthy prepared meals. Click here to order.  

    👉 Avoid endocrine disruptors

    Some endocrine disrupters include air pollutants, BPA’s, pesticides, parabens, mercury and phthalates. Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals has been shown to disrupt the gut microbiome, which may result in dysbiosis.

    👉 Minimise unnecessary antibiotics

    👉 Decrease stress and have good sleep hygiene

     

    Responsible health advice: There is no one size fits all approach to nutrition or the healing properties of food.  If you are unwell please seek professional advice.
    References:
    Gálvez-Ontiveros, Y., Páez, S., Monteagudo, C., & Rivas, A. (2020). Endocrine Disruptors in Food: Impact on Gut Microbiota and Metabolic Diseases. Nutrients12(4), 1158. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041158

     

     

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

    New 2021 Meta-Analysis: Fried-Food Consumption is Linked with an Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

     

     

    A new meta-analysis of 17 observational studies, involving a total of 562,455 participants and 36,727 major cardiovascular “events” has found a significant connection between fried-food consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

    The analysis, which was recently published in the Journal Heart, discovered that with every 114 weekly serving (that’s a medium McDonald’s fries), the risk of cardiovascular disease rose by 3%, 2% and 12%, respectively.

    Compared with the participants who were consuming the lowest amount of weekly fried foods, the participants with the highest intake had a 28% heightened risk of major cardiovascular events, a 22% increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 37% increased risk of heart failure.

    The problem with fried-foods

    Frying means cooking food in hot fat, usually some kind of oil. This significantly increases the energy and fat content of the food, and generates harmful trans-fatty acids from the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils which are often used in restaurant deep fryers. A diet high in trans-fat has been known to increase your risk of heart disease and contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.

    The process of frying also requires considerable high temperatures, which causes changes in the vitamin and antioxidant content of the food, and generates carcinogenic compounds, which have proven to be harmful to our health.

    Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is currently the leading cause of death worldwide, responsible for 16% of the world’s total deaths. The strength of current research and evidence highlights the importance of healthy dietary patterns and lifestyles for the prevention of CHD and stroke. A healthy balanced diet that contains no to minimal fried-foods will play an important role in the management of crucial risk factors of CHD such as diabetes, hypertension and excess weight. 

    We promote a healthy balanced diet with our nutritious and wholesome ready-made meals. Our meals are rich in whole foods, nutrients, bioactive compounds and antioxidants. They contain low sodium, and no processed sugars, preservatives or additives. Our meals contain no processed or fried foods, and we use minimal oil in our cooking (typically extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil for our Asian dishes).

    Find out more about us here.

     

    References:
    Pei Qin et al. Fried-food consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Heart, 2021; heartjnl-2020-317883 DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2020-317883

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

    15 New Year's Resolutions for Your Health!

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

    10 Practical Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holiday Season

     

    Holidays are usually a busy time of the year, with lots of family gatherings, Christmas get-togethers and holiday traditions. Just because your schedule might seem a little more “full” than usual and your routine may be out of whack, it doesn’t mean that you have to kiss your healthy lifestyle goodbye! Sure, being surrounded by yummy holiday sweets and treats for a whole month can make it easy for your healthy habits to slip, but keeping your goals on track during the holidays is doable (with a little flexibility, which is absolute key. Click here to read our latest article on 3 healthy mindset changes to make during the holidays).

    We’ve put together 10 practical tips that will help to keep your healthy habits on track this Christmas season. 

    1. Be prepared. Prep ahead of the holiday season so that your house is filled with yummy wonderful healthy options. If you’re strapped for time, order a box of freezer-friendly Wholesomeness meals to set you up for success before the busy holiday season starts.

    2. Eat before you go. This is a great tip to avoid turning up to a celebration ravenously starving, ready to devour anything in sight. Make a quick smoothie at home beforehand or grab a Wholesomeness snack from your freezer for a nutritious pick-me-up.

    3. Be a great guest. Be a great party guest and bring a plate of something yummy and healthy that you made at home (like a huge salad or a delicious grazing plate with homemade dip and veggie sticks). That way, you’ll know for sure that there will something healthy to eat while you’re there.

    4. Load up on greens. If you see a salad or veggies at your holiday party, go for it. There will be probably be lots of other yummy things that you want to conquer first but eating a salad or veggies first will be best for your digestion and you’ll fill yourself up a little bit before going for everything else!

    5. Avoid fried foods. Skip the high-fat fried foods and go for the lighter options.

    6. Avoid heavy and creamy sauces. Avoid the heavy sauces and opt for the lighter options on offer – it will be better for your digestion and you’ll feel better after the meal too.

    7. Hydrate properly. Opt for a drink of water first, to support your digestion and prevent the dreaded “post-Christmas dinner” headache.

    8. Chew your food slowly and carefully. Use your senses to enjoy your food (taste, smell, touch, sight). Break your food down slowly with your teeth. When we eat fast there’s no time for our stomach to signal our brain that we are full, so try to pace yourself, chew your food and give enough time for your body to send you those hunger/fullness signals.

    9. Add a side of berries to your plate. Adding a cup of antioxidant-rich berries (e.g. strawberries or blueberries) to your meal helps to maintain a healthy oxidative balance, which helps counteract the negative effects of an unhealthy meal (check out our article on this here).

    10. Create your own gym wherever you are. This is especially relevant during the current Covid times, so many of you may already be pros at this! Even just walking up and down your stairs a few more times every day, picking up things/squatting, or dancing to some holiday music can be beneficial!

    How do you stay healthy during the holidays?

    Eating Seasonally: Spring

    It’s September, which means spring and we can certainly feel the change in climate in sunny Queensland already! After a couple of months of warm, cosy winter stews and soups we’re ready to dive into some of our favourite lighter dishes again.

    Spring means warmer weather, leaves on the trees, flowering plants, and the appearance of fresh, light spring veggies. Spring is all about detoxifying foods that are refreshing and regenerating. They’re light and fresh, like crisp asparagus (a classic spring veggie), beets and green leafy veggies.

    We know that certain fruits and vegetables flourish at certain times of the year, and it’s a good idea to buy seasonal produce however because grocery stores stock just about everything all year round, it’s sometimes easy to forget what’s in season and what’s not. 

    A good tip is to take a walk around your local farmer’s market and see what kinds of produce are available – these will usually be the ones that are in season.

    There are many benefits to eating seasonally.  The food is at its freshest, tastes the best, is best for you, is more sustainable, and is usually cheaper. It also allows us to get back to the roots of local and sustainable eating, by supporting local businesses and our local community as a whole.  

    Seasonal fruits and veggies that have been allowed to fully ripen on the plant and picked at the peak of freshness are better quality and higher in nutrition compared to produce that is picked unripe and then transported to different areas or countries.

    Foods that are harvested in your local area at a certain time are also dealing with the same environmental factors that you are. For example, summer fruits and veggies are often higher in water content (e.g. tomatoes or watermelons), which makes sense given that during summer we are often hot and sweaty and need more hydration from our diet.

    Tomatoes also contain an antioxidant called lycopene which research has shown to be helpful in protecting our skin against the sun’s rays…so it does make sense why tomatoes thrive in warmer weather. Eating local sustainable produce allows for maximum nutrition that is tailored to your local environment.

    Eating foods that are in season gives you the opportunity to appreciate the foods that are available, and allows for more variety in your diet as seasonal foods are constantly shifting – a wonderful cycle that allows you to experience each food.

    We’ve been cooking dishes that feature lots of Spring seasonal veggies the past few weeks, like our one-pot Greek Chicken with Zucchini and Potatoes, and our Roast Fennel with Chickpea Skordalia, Grilled Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes. 

    What veggies are in season this spring? Print out our handy list of spring seasonal veggies and hang it on your fridge!