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    News — weight management

    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?

    3 Healthy Mindset Shifts to Embrace These Holidays (manage holiday temptations, eliminate food guilt and enjoy the festive season)

     

    For anyone working on health or weight loss goals, the beginning of a new holiday season can sometimes feel a little bit stressful. There’s usually lots of parties and socialising with friends and family, and decadent holiday foods play a huge part in the festivities.

    The thought of the approaching holiday season can sometimes spark fear of overindulging or gaining weight, so we thought it would be beneficial to put together 3 healthy mindset changes that you can make this festive period, so that you can enjoy holiday eating, and have more time for celebration, family and friends.

    One: Be flexible

    Be flexible, aim for improvement, not perfection (especially during the holidays). Striving for perfection with the “all or nothing” mentality with no middle ground or compromise will let you down. Goals and intentions are amazing to set up, but make sure that they’re realistic and achievable. If you have made a plan for yourself for the holidays, make sure that it’s not going to make you feel restricted and deprived. Having realistic goals in place will make you feel more empowered around your food choices and you’ll be less likely to overindulge, compared to if you had set up rigid goals that were unattainable.

    Take home: Create goals that you know you can achieve  

     

    Two: Enjoy what you love (and leave the rest)

    The holidays always involve amazing selections of delicious foods, from appetizers and cocktails to beautiful roasts, cookies and desserts. You know yourself better than anyone, so you know what foods you absolutely love and have been looking forward to all year. When you arrive at your holiday party, ask yourself “what would I enjoy here?” and then fill your plate with those things, and leave the rest. This will help to avoid the mindless “eat everything in the room” mentality, which is often prompted by strict expectations that you may have first put on yourself (not always, but often).

    Take home: Take the time to choose the foods you want to enjoy

     

    Three: Give yourself permission to enjoy

    Holiday foods are known to be super indulgent and yummy, and are usually “special” unhealthy foods that we only eat on celebratory occasions. These foods have the purpose of bringing us pleasure, because they taste amazing and someone we love usually made the food for us. When we are eating food that is meant to bring us pleasure, it’s hard to receive that pleasure if we have feelings of guilt, or we’re checking ourselves out from the eating experience. Being present while eating and using our senses to smell, taste, chew and enjoy the food allows us to really receive the pleasure that the food is giving us. When we make pleasure the priority during eating, it becomes harder to overeat because we’re more in check with ourselves during the eating process (and overeating is also not very pleasurable!).

    Take home: stay present with your food choices throughout the holiday season

    We hope that you found this short list of holiday mindset-change tips helpful. As December creeps up on us remember to keep your health goals in mind, but stay mindful and stay open…maybe even let the holidays guide you a little bit!