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    News — detoxify

    How to Boost the Absorption of Curcumin + Immune-Boosting Turmeric Shot Recipe!

     

    Last week we posted an article on turmeric and the healing properties that are associated with its active ingredient, curcumin. We focussed particularly on the potential role of dietary turmeric in cancer prevention (if you haven’t read it yet, click here to be taken to the article). We mentioned briefly at the end of the article that using black pepper with turmeric can enhance the bioavailability of the curcumin, and we wanted to delve into that more here.

    We know that turmeric has been used extensively in Indian and other South Asian cuisines, and has often formed part of a “curry powder blend” alongside other spices and black pepper. These spices are then typically combined with onions and garlic, some sort of protein and vegetables, and a fat such as coconut milk.

    Well, it seems that this traditional style of cooking and ingredient combining is actually beneficial for our health and can help with the absorption of the curcumin compound present in turmeric.

    There is a particular plant in South Asia that was traditionally used to treat asthma, whereby the leaves of the plant were steeped with black peppercorns before using them to make tea. In 1928 scientists investigated this ritual and discovered that adding black pepper actually increased the anti-asthmatic properties of the plants leaves. It was important to note that black pepper didn’t work alone, more so it was the combination of the pepper with the leaves.

    Approximately 5% of black pepper consists of a compound called piperine, which is actually the cause of the strong pungent flavour of pepper. Usually, the liver banishes foreign substances by making them water soluble so that they can be excreted easily. The piperine present in black pepper actually inhibits that process, instead contributing to the increase in absorption of the substance.

    An investigation by scientists in 1998 revealed that taking ¼ tsp of black pepper with curcumin boosted the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%, and even just a tiny pinch of pepper significantly boosted levels.

    Further findings in the area of curcumin bioavailability have showed that fat can also help to boost absorption. Consuming curcumin as a whole food (fresh as turmeric root or dried and powdered) naturally enhances the bioavailability of curcumin due to the natural oils found in the turmeric. Fat from the turmeric oil helps the curcumin to be directly absorbed into the blood stream and into the lymphatic system.

    However, when curcumin is extracted from turmeric (for example to make supplement capsules), it loses its oils and bioavailability. For this reason, a healthy fat (e.g. some whole nuts or seeds) alongside a curcumin supplement may help to improve the absorption rate.

    If you like to consume your curcumin fresh in the form of turmeric root, then rejoice because turmeric root has all the oils necessary for absorption. Simply combine the turmeric with some black pepper (like in this wellness shot recipe below) and you will truly be harnessing the potential of this amazing golden spice pigment.

    In the Wholesomeness kitchen we love to maximise nutrition, that’s why we often add turmeric and a tiny pinch of black pepper to our vegan protein blends.

     

    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:
    Gupta, P. K. Prajapati. A clinical review of different formulations of Vasa (Adhatoda vasica) on Tamaka Shwasa (asthma). Ayu. 2010 31(4):520 - 524.
    Shoba, D. Joy, T. Joseph, M. Majeed, R. Rajendran, P. S. Srinivas. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998 64(4):353 - 356.
    Anand, A. B. Kunnumakkara, R. A. Newman, B. B. Aggarwal. Bioavailability of curcumin: Problems and promises. Mol. Pharm. 2007 4(6):807 - 818.

     

     

     

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

    5 Easy and Versatile Veggies to Grow in Your Own Home Garden

     

    Crisp, sweet carrots, snapping peas out of their shells, pulling firm, dark red beets out of the garden…growing your own veggies is not only fun and relaxing, but it’s also an amazing way to diversify and supercharge your diet with wholesome nutrition, stay active and get some vitamin D. No wonder why gardening is considered a natural stress reliever!

    Although the thought of growing your own veggies can be overwhelming, there are some veggies that are super easy to grow, as well as being productive as crops, versatile to use, healthy to eat and great tasting! Plus, you’re more likely to eat more vegetables if they are easily accessible to you, and it’s really fun to share and cook with healthy food that has been nurtured by your own efforts! 

    Here are 5 top picks for the best veggies to grow at home:

    1. LETTUCE – Lettuce is super easy to grow (and actually quite hard to get rid of!), high in nutrients, low in calories and really hydrating, due to its high water content. Lettuce is one of those foods that you don’t notice in a dish until it’s not there, like in an egg and lettuce sandwich, or shredded lettuce in tacos. Lettuce seems to just make a dish 10 times better.

    2. CARROTS – Carrots have a huge temperature growing range which means they can be grown in many climates all year round. They’re also really productive and can be producing for months after you plant them. Being quite a dense vegetable, even just a few standard size ones or small varieties are enough to feed the whole family for dinner. There’s a reason why people promote carrots for better eye sight – carrots contain the antioxidants lutein and beta carotene which are known for their eye health benefits!

    3. CABBAGE – Cabbages are such a diverse veggie, they can be preserved and pickled to have in salads or sandwiches, made into slaw, or added into stir-fries for a crunchy element. They’re also really good for you. A study conducted in Western Australia with 900 women over the age of 70 found that eating three or more portions of veggies per day (a combination of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts) lowered the participants risk of heart disease and stroke. Mini cabbages are quick to grow from seed and harvest and can go a long way in a delicious preserve such as sauerkraut.

    4. BEETS – A known “superfood”, beets are packed with vitamins and minerals, high in fibre, low in fat and low in calories. They’re also super easy to grow and you can even eat the tops of the beets – the beet leaves, which are just a regular leafy vegetable. This makes them a really versatile and productive option to grow in your home garden.

    5. ONIONS – There have been heaps of scientific studies looking into the health benefits of onions, with findings showing benefits with regulating blood sugar, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut, boosting the immune system and the list goes on! Onions are a pretty hearty crop to grow, with varieties to suit all climates. If you’re short on space, try growing some spring onions, which can grow just about anywhere.

    TOP TIP: No space for a home garden? Regrow the spring onions you buy from the supermarket by placing the white stems in a glass of water. Place the glass near a sunny window and wait for the magic to happen!

     

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

    The Importance of Eating Antioxidants with Every Meal

     

     

    Firstly, what are antioxidants?

    Antioxidants are compounds found in certain foods that help to neutralise the free radicals (damaging molecules produced through the body’s process of oxidation) in your blood. In short, they help to protect our cells and DNA from damage that can lead to disease. That’s why it’s really important that we take in more antioxidants than we use up. In fact, the very act of eating increases oxidative stress, which is the attack on your cells from free radicals.

    Antioxidants originate from the plant kingdom, due to the thousands of antioxidant compounds found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Ideally, fresh produce should be sneaking its way into every meal that we eat. But, we know that that’s not always possible – takeaway nights, dining out, dinner at a friend’s house…sometimes it’s a little hard to eat healthy all the time.

    A few interesting studies have shed a light on antioxidants and their ability to counteract the negative oxidative effects of an “unhealthy” meal e.g. a meal that is high in fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates, and low in whole foods.

    A 2010 review found that consuming fruits which are high in phenolic phytonutrients (health-promoting compounds) with an unhealthy meal (high fat, pro-inflammatory, low in nutrients) increases the antioxidant capacity of the blood and helps to counterbalance some of the negative effects of the meal.

    In another interesting study, participants were given standard breakfast items which caused a high increase in oxidized cholesterol in their blood stream 6 hours after the meal. However, adding a cup of antioxidant-rich strawberries to the meal kept the meal from contributing to further oxidation, and allowed them to eat lunch at a baseline oxidation level.

    A similar study found that eating a bunch of grapes with a meal resulted in a rise in blood antioxidant levels, leaving the body in a positive antioxidant balance for a few hours. The same results were found with blueberries.

    These findings highlight the importance of eating antioxidants with every meal, and if you can’t avoid an unhealthy meal, adding a side of berries or grapes to your plate may be beneficial in helping to maintain oxidative balance.

    A 2004 study found that out of all fruits, berries (e.g. strawberries, blueberries) were the best source of polyphenol antioxidants.

    Berries are on the dirty dozen, so organic berries are best. Keeping frozen berries on hand is also a great idea, and actually, frozen berries often have more antioxidants and other nutrients because they’re frozen shortly after picking. Essentially, frozen produce is often even fresher than what we call “fresh produce”!

     

     

     

    References:
    Burton-Freeman B, Linares A, Hyson D, Kappagoda T. Strawberry modulates LDL oxidation and postprandial lipemia in response to high-fat meal in overweight hyperlipidemic men and women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010;29(1):46-54. doi:10.1080/07315724.2010.10719816
    Burton-Freeman B. Postprandial metabolic events and fruit-derived phenolics: a review of the science. Br J Nutr. 2010;104 Suppl 3:S1-S14. doi:10.1017/S0007114510003909
    Ursini F, Zamburlini A, Cazzolato G, Maiorino M, Bon GB, Sevanian A. Postprandial plasma lipid hydroperoxides: a possible link between diet and atherosclerosis. Free Radic Biol Med. 1998;25(2):250-252. doi:10.1016/s0891-5849(98)00044-6

     

     

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

    10 Signs You Need to Detox!

     

    You may not realise it, but every day we are exposed to different toxins and pollutants, all products of the modernized world we now live in. From pollutants in our air, water and soil, to synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, heavily processed foods and food additives.

    Normally, the body does an amazing job at facilitating toxin elimination to help keep us healthy and thriving. Each system in our body is involved in a complex process named “detoxification”, involving highly sophisticated mechanisms for the removal of toxins and unwanted substances from the body.

    However, if the body’s natural detoxification process is compromised (for example, due to stress, or an overworked liver from a high intake of processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol, smoking or the exposure to too many environmental toxins), this causes significant consequences on our health.

    Our liver, or otherwise our “detox manager” has the busy job of filtering out toxins from the foods we eat and the things we are exposed to in our environment. When our liver gets overloaded (just like for example, if you get overworked in your job), it starts to have trouble processing the toxins efficiently and fast enough. This causes toxins to build-up in the body, which causes inflammation, and this creates a vicious cycle which is difficult to break.

    The build-up of toxins in the body is linked to autoimmune conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and numerous other illnesses and diseases.

    Here are 10 signs that you may need to detox:

    1. Persisting fatigue
    2. Unexplainable weight gain
    3. Brain fog
    4. Headaches
    5. Stubborn belly fat
    6. Skin problems (acne, rashes)
    7. Achy muscles and joints
    8. Digestive distress (bloating, gas, diarrhoea)
    9. Irregular sleep patterns
    10. Feeling anxious or depressed

    We don’t believe in detoxes that are aimed to starve you or drive you insane. That’s why we created our 4-week Wholesomeness Detox, specially put together by our nutritionist and cooked by our qualified chef’s.

    Our detox plan focuses on clean whole foods, we use seasonal and fresh ingredients with the aim of giving your body a little break to restore itself and catch up on the detoxification workload. With everything included that you need per week (including premium supplements to support and balance your gut health), our program is aimed to cleanse and reset your body, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalised.

    Check out our 4 week detox plan here!

     

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

    Probiotics and the Link with Brain Health

     

    The beneficial live microorganisms that are present in some fermented foods are called “probiotics” (derived from the Greek word meaning “for life”, and for good reason).

    Probiotics have long been studied for the beneficial health effects they produce when consumed. For example, probiotics have been linked to the prevention of colon cancer, cholesterol and blood pressure management, immune function improvements, the prevention of infections, reducing inflammation, and supporting gut health while under stress.

    In recent years, a growing body of evidence has also been investigating whether probiotics have the potential to promote a different aspect of health – namely brain health.

    The interest in the field of probiotics and mental health was first sparked when a ground-breaking study was conducted in Japan in 2004. When two groups of mice (one group being germ-free, without bacteria in their guts) were placed under stress, the researchers were able to reverse the exaggerated stress response of the germ-free mice by introducing beneficial bacteria into their guts. The experiment highlighted the connection between microbes in the gut and stress responses in the brain, and suggested that altering the gut microbiome (e.g. with probiotics), could influence brain function.

    Since then, many studies have focussed on the positive connection between probiotics and brain health, particularly on mood, behaviour and depressive symptoms. 

    A recent 2019 large-population based study found an association between probiotic food consumption and lower rates of depression among men. These findings were in line with previous conclusions by Benton et al. who found that probiotics improved mood in healthy individuals who reported having poor mood at the beginning of the experiment.

    When our gut is healthy and balanced, our “good” bacteria can do what they’re supposed to do, like produce critical neurotransmitters that effect the biochemistry of our brain, and thus effect mood, behaviour and depression.

    These findings reiterate the significant role that diet and nutrition have on regulating and promoting mental health.

    Boost your good bacteria for a healthy brain with some of our probiotic-rich dishes:

    • Our Herbed Pine nut & Goji Quinoa Salad, with Beetroot Hummus, Broad beans and Sauerkraut (containing sauerkraut for immune-boosting probiotic benefits)
    • Our Miso Salmon with Asian Vegetables and Brown Rice (containing miso paste, another non-dairy probiotic that we love)

     

    References:
    Benton, C. Williams, A. Brown. Impact of consuming a milk drink containing a probiotic on mood and cognition. Eur J Clin Nutr, 61 (2007), p. 355
    Kim, Chong-Su, and Dong-Mi Shin. “Probiotic Food Consumption Is Associated with Lower Severity and Prevalence of Depression: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study.” Nutrition, vol. 63-64, 2019, pp. 169–174., doi:10.1016/j.nut.2019.02.007.
    Sudo N, Chida Y, Aiba Y, et al. Postnatal microbial colonization programs the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system for stress response in mice. J Physiology. 2004;558(Pt 1):263-275.