Monday, December 30, 2013

Health Risks Associated with Corn

As with most other kinds of foods, corn should be consumed in proper moderation. What makes corn unique, however, is its ubiquity. Nearly every form of prepared food on the grocery store shelves or in your favorite restaurant makes use of corn in one way or another, whether it is a savory dish full of corn-derived oil or one of the countless entrees that has a corn-based sweetener. “Moderation” in this case becomes a difficult task that involves both identifying and limiting food that contains the grain. However, the health risks associated with excessive corn consumption make such effort all the more necessary.

High Carb Content

Despite the fact that it is commonly thought of as a vegetable, corn is a grain. Like all other grains, it is an excellent source of carbohydrates, which is why it is so often used as a sweetener in soda, candy and other treats. The corn we have today is sweet. It is not the corn that was part of traditional diets. It has been bred over years for more and more sugar content. Carbohydrates are common in western diets, and most Americans and Europeans eat far more carbs than they need to meet their nutritional requirements. Look for opportunities to replace carbohydrates in your diet with green leafy vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins for a better balance.

Fat Imbalances

Corn is also rich in Omega 6 fatty acids. In moderation, of course, this would be a good thing, but consuming Omega 6 without an equally adequate source of Omega 3 can lead to an unhealthy ratio of the two fats. An imbalance in Omega 6 and Omega 3 can lead to inflammation and other discomforts throughout the body. Read ingredient lists carefully, and avoid too many foods that contain corn fat. Canola oil contains a much better ratio of the two fatty acids. However, coconut oil is probably the best oil to use in cooking for a variety of reasons.

GMO Concerns

Corn possess a special obstacle for those basing their diet on natural foods. Finding non-GMO corn products is far more difficult than finding other kinds of truly organic food. Even otherwise natural packaged foods can contain additives derived from GMO corn, and these products must be purchased with caution. Many consumers have reported severe allergic reactions and digestive issues after consuming GMO corn. More and more research is coming out demonstrating the connections between digestive issues and GMO foods. The only way to know foods do not contain GMO ingredients is to purchase certified organic foods from that are certified by a reputable certifying agency. Organic foods in the USA will have the USDA Organic seal on them if they contain 95% or more certified organic ingredients.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Protein's Role in Your Diet

Protein in Natural Dieting


When it comes to fueling your body, you have three choices: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Fat has the most energy content, but that higher energy content means a higher body fat potential if that fuel is not burned, and fat rich foods are also often cholesterol rich foods. Carbohydrates are a popular source of quick energy, but carbohydrate rich food is so commonplace that most serious dieters spend more time finding ways to limit their intake.

Even though carbs have become synonymous with “body fuel”, proteins have the same energy content as carbohydrates, and they have nutritional benefits that extend far beyond just their use as fuel.

Adopting a Protein Rich Diet

There are plenty of protein supplements on the market, but getting these nutrients from real food is cheaper, more efficient and encourages a better lifestyle. Meat, eggs and fish are excellent sources of complete protein; in other words, they contain all nine essential amino acids that your body needs. Even though no one vegetable, grain or legume individually has all nine of these amino acids, however, they should still be your primary source.

By eating a variety of beans, cereals, seeds, nuts and fruits, you can easy obtain all of the amino acids that your body needs. Contrary to the popular myth of “protein combining”, it is not necessary to consume all nine amino acids in a single meal. Beans and rice are nutritious, and together form a complete protein, but your body will get the same benefit if you have beans for lunch one day and rice at dinner the next day.

As with any other form of natural dieting, variety is paramount. Strive to get as many colors on your plate as possible and take everything in moderation. Never depend on a single source for your protein, no matter how much you may love a good steak. Also, please look back to our blogs on soy for issues with soy as a primary protein source. If you are a meat eater, be sure to get your proteins from lean meats. Wild game meats are usually the best as they are always lean and have been eating all sorts of wild diets.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Causes of Chronic Constipation

Chronic constipation afflicts nearly 63 million people in the United States, according to Besides the discomfort associated with it, if ignored, constipation can lead to distressing conditions and a variety of problems. It can also be a symptom of an underlying disorder which could be serious in nature. Chronic constipation is more common in women than men and in older age groups. However, children and adults of any age or gender can be affected by it.

Understanding Chronic Constipation
Incomplete bowel evacuation, straining, passing hard stools, and less than three bowel movements a week characterize constipation. The stool is not released from the colon in a timely fashion and this slowness causes the colon to absorb excessive water from it, leaving it dry and hard to pass.

Primary Constipation
There are several major and minor causes of constipation. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects more than 10% of Americans and is not clearly understood. It presents itself typically as bowel disturbances and abdominal pain which can become disruptive to daily life. Functional or primary constipation is not caused by secondary factors involving underlying medical conditions, medications, or diseases. These are known as normal transit, slow transit, or evacuation disorders. They can be caused by a number of factors, some of which are:
  1. Low-fiber diet
  2. Low-calorie diet
  3. Nervous reactions or psychological causes
  4. Anismus - Failure of the pelvic floor muscles to relax while attempting to pass stools
  5. Reluctance to defecate 
  6. Lack of physical activity, especially following injuries
The psychosomatic causes lead to changes in the water absorption within the colon and digestive disturbances. Socioeconomic factors have also been known to contribute to this type of constipation presenting frequently in sections of population from lower economic and educational backgrounds.

Secondary Constipation
Secondary constipation refers to constipation related to medical conditions or effects of medications.
  1. Structural alterations of the colon caused by cancer, narrowing or stricture of the colon
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Thyroid Disease 
  4. Parkinson's Disease
  5. Diabetes
  6. Blood pressure medications
  7. Antidepressants such as amitriptyline and imipramine
  8. Anti-seizure medications
  9. Narcotic pain medications containing codeine and hydromorphone, for example
Unless constipation is related to serious diseases, there are a number of ways to regulate bowel movements. Dietary changes alone, including eliminating processed foods and increasing water intake, can vastly improve the success in dealing with common constipation. Being physically active also helps to regulate the GI (gastrointestinal) system, along with a high-fiber diet. There are also several mild or natural supplements, such as PRO EM-1, that can boost and cleanse the digestive system if simple changes in diet are not effective. It is important to remember that treating constipation is necessary to prevent complications - hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and rectal prolapse - from arising. A healthy digestive system is an inherent part of overall health and well-being.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Little Known Soy Health Risks

Soy’s Place in a Natural Diet

Packed with amino acids and other valuable nutrients, soy has earned a name as one of the most popular protein sources for vegetarians, vegans, and others who simply want alternatives to meat in their day-to-day diet. Whether eaten on its own, in tofu, or as part of a protein-rich additive, popular culture heralds this bean as a fail-safe super food. As with any aspect of a natural diet, however, moderation is the key, and no one food should be championed as a nutritional panacea.

Potential Soy Health Risks

  • Along with peanuts and milk, soy allergies are one of the most common forms of food allergies. Although this is mostly a concern when undiagnosed in children, adults can go undiagnosed for decades, never aware that their favorite food is the cause of their chronic discomfort and malaise.
  • Soy contains a significant amount of estrogen. While this is not a health risk when soy is consumed in moderation, choosing soy as your chief protein source means constant exposure to powerful hormones. As with food allergies, this is even more of a concern with young children; always consult a doctor before making hormone-rich food a part of your child’s diet.
  • Excessive soy consumption could prove to be a cancer risk. The estrogens in these beans have been linked with tumor growth in women already at risk for breast cancer, and they have been hypothesized to increase risk for prostate cancer in men.

So long as you have no allergies and you are not predisposed to having a higher risk of contracting cancer, moderate soy consumption can be an important and beneficial part of your diet. However, if you find yourself consuming high amounts of soy-rich food, consider adding diversity to your diet with other nutritious staple food. Be mindful of the various foods that contain soy. It is easy to be consuming too much. Please refer to our article on Top 10 Soy Foods.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fluoride Health Risks

The Negative Side Effects of Fluoride

In low doses, fluoride has a well-earned reputation for strengthening tooth enamel and protecting against cavities. As of now, nearly every major city in the United States participates in a water fluoridation program, intended to use drinking water to ensure that children are regularly exposed to the chemical’s dental benefits. This process, however, has resulted in the fluoridation of natural water supplies and several incidences of over fluoridation. The public outcry against exposure to fluoride against their will and the EPA’s growing concern that fluoride levels are rising too high too quickly have called the practice into question.

Four Areas of Fluoride Health Risks

As with any chemical, overexposure can counterbalance the benefits of fluoride’s use and introduce new health risks.

  • Teeth and bones – Despite being universally recommended by dentists, a combination of fluoride-rich toothpaste and heavily fluoridated water can actually cause damage to the enamel, especially in children. Dental fluorosis causes white streaks and spots to mar the surface of the teeth. The same process can also weaken developing bones, making them more prone to breaking and compromising the joints.
  • The kidneys – Your body’s purification system is always strained when you ingest chemicals in excess. The kidneys can be compromised due to fluoride toxicity, resulting in difficulty concentrating urine, dehydration and renal dysfunction. As with other chemical concerns, the best way to protect yourself is through limiting your exposure through a strictly organic diet.
  • The thyroid – When you visit a physician, you are prescribed a specific type and dosage of medication to address your specific symptoms. By fluoridating water, however, the government attempts to deliver the same medication to a large group of patients with no control over the dosage levels. In extreme cases, the thyroid gland can be suppressed, compromising the entire immune system.
  • The brain – The area of greatest concern when it comes to the health risks associated with fluoride, however, is the danger it presents to the brain. Excess fluoride collects in the pineal gland, causing it to calcify and its walls to harden. This tiny gland is the brain’s means of regulating every hormone in your body. Researchers have reported lower IQ test results in countries that fluoridate their water supply, and there is a legitimate concern that it may cause hormonal imbalances in adolescents, causing the age of puberty to be pushed further and further back.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Benefits of Dietary Fat

The Importance of Fat in a Natural Diet

For years we had been told that in order to lose weight and achieve better health, a low-fat diet was the best approach. Welcome the low-fat diet craze. People began shunning any foods containing fat and food manufactures started rolling out “heart healthy” low-fat and fat free versions of their previously full fat products. So what happened next? People became fatter than ever- obesity rates continued to steadily climb as well as the rates of cancer and heart disease. So, not only were we becoming fatter, but our overall health was declining.

Why does this happen? There are two main reasons:

1. Eating a low-fat diet requires you to forgo a natural diet and choose foods that have been altered from their natural state in order to reduce or remove the fat. When you remove fat from foods you are also removing all of the taste. In response to this, food manufactures add in other things, such as sugar and salt, to make them taste better. Low-fat diets encourage eating processed foods that are high in sugar, salt, and other additives, that are full of empty calories (calories that provide no nutritional value), and have a negative impact on one’s health.
2. When you restrict the amount you eat of one macronutrient (fat) you are naturally going to consume more of the other two macronutrients (carbohydrates and protein) creating a nutritional imbalance. A healthy diet is one that is balanced, including a variety of foods from each of the three macronutrient groups (carbohydrates, protein, fat) as each one provides a variety of different nutrients that are collectively required to sustain health.

Dietary Fat Is Your Friend

Fat plays a vital role in many different processes throughout the body and is required for health.


• Is an excellent energy source providing 9 calories per gram; fat is our primary energy source at rest and during lower intensity activities
• Protects our organs and helps to maintain cell membranes
• Provides us with essential fatty acids (essential because our bodies cannot produce them) that help to lower triglycerides, reduce inflammation, and support mental health and function • Helps our bodies to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, & K)
• Is essential in maintaining hormones, which are the turn-key to the entire body

More important than the amount of fat you consume is the type of fat being consumed. Fats can be placed into one of two groups- “good”(unsaturated) fats and “bad” (saturated, trans) fats. The good fats are the fats found in natural, whole foods (fish, nuts, avocados, seeds, and olive oil) and benefit health by providing nutrients, removing cholesterol from arteries, promoting a healthier heart, and help you to burn fat. The bad fats are the fats that are found in fried and heavily processed foods that increase cholesterol, damage your heart, and increase the risk of certain diseases.

Low-fat diets steer us away from natural, wholesome foods towards processed foods filled with sugar, salt, and other additives that have negative impacts on our health. Focus on eating a balanced diet made up of a variety of naturally-occurring foods (if it doesn’t occur naturally, don’t eat it!). Eating clean is the best, most natural way to lose weight and increase your overall health.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mental & Digestive Health

The Potential Link Between Probiotic Diets & Mental Health

We have all experienced digestive side effects from stress and anxiety at some point in our lives, but new mental health research suggests that the mind/gut connection could be a two-way street. Your gastrointestinal track is second only to the brain itself when it comes to the number of neurons it houses, and behavioral studies have long focused on digestive health as much as they have focused on neurological health.

Researchers at McMaster University compared two groups of mice; one group had normal levels of gut bacteria, while the other was stripped of such microbes. The microbe-free group exhibited less cautious behavior and had higher levels of cortisol and BDNF, two chemicals associated with anxiety and depression in humans. The common-sense link between what we eat and how we feel, as well as new research findings, has led some psychiatrists to action. Dr. James Greenblatt of Boston has begun prescribing a probiotic diet for certain anxiety disorders. During a recent interview, he told reporters, “Each year, I get more and more impressed at how important the GI tract is for healthy mood and the controlling of behavior.”

Though the evidence is mounting, it is still inconclusive. If you suffer from debilitating stress, anxiety, or depression, you should consult a physician immediately. However, if you have reason to believe that your changes in mood are related to your diet, or if you would like to pursue a natural path with no known negative side-effects, talk to your doctor about the current research on the link between probiotics and mental health.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vitamin B1 & Where It Comes From

B vitamins are commonly lumped into just one vitamin, but the truth is there are in fact eight different B vitamins that carry out a variety of important cellular functions from metabolism to overall cell health to DNA synthesis. In this article, we will touch on vitamin B1 which is otherwise known as thiamine, its importance to your bodily health, and how you can make it a staple of your diet.

Thiamine is most commonly found in its thiamine pyrophosphate form which helps in the catabolizing of sugars and amino acids in your body, but this vitamin does not naturally occur in the human body. It does, however, form in foods humans eat like vegetables and fungi as well as some forms of bacteria.

So why is vitamin B1 so important? Your body’s nervous system is especially dependent on steady levels of thiamine. Thusly, nervous system-related diseases have been known to be linked to thiamine deficiencies. Alzheimer’s disease and optic neuropathy are a few examples of cases where thiamine deficiency can be part of the cause. Adversely, patients with such ailments have shown improvements in their overall health after thiamine treatments were administered. All of this leads to finding out how to make thiamine part of your diet for preventative reasons.

Thiamine can be found in whole grains like wheat flour, oatmeal, and brown rice. Vegetables and leafy greens like kale, cauliflower, and asparagus are also great sources of B1. For your protein foods, look to liver and eggs. You can also find thiamine produced via microbes like the following:
  • Fungi like your various, common, edible mushrooms.
  • Protista like algae which can be consumed in the form of seaweed.
  • Yeast bacteria like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is regularly used in baking and is a component of the powerful, all-natural PRO-EM 1 probiotic supplement.
With attention to whole, nutrient-dense foods and beneficial probiotics from TeraGanix, you can maintain healthy, stable thiamine levels to give your body all it needs to develop and keep a strong nervous system for fighting off disease.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Digestive Enzymes: Where Do They Come From?

Crucial for the proper absorption of various nutrients in your food, digestive enzymes are part of the foundation of proper nourishment, a good immune system, and a myriad of other health-related issues. Digestive enzymes break down the various components of your food such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and convert them so they can be absorbed into your body to build new cells.

While your body produces its own enzymes, it’s important to receive enzymes from the food you eat as well. Processed foods are devoid of enzymes and cooking your foods deactivates their natural enzymes, thus making it even more important to keep raw, organic foods a staple of your diet.

Digestive enzymes are the catalyst for proper digestion and getting the most out of your foods. Not only will they make you healthier, they can aid in the prevention of disease and even reduce recovery time from injuries and surgeries. Making sure they are a part of your diet is no different than the steps you’d take if you follow some of our other health-related blogs. Fill your diet with raw, organic fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy, active lifestyle to increase your metabolism as digestive enzymes help promote metabolic efficiency, and limit your intake of processed foods.

Using probiotics as a complementary means of increasing your enzyme intake is also a great option. PRO EM-1, a revolutionary, daily probiotic, contains a number of microbes that produce digestive enzymes. They include but are not limited to:

•    Lactobacillus casei which is a bacterium that produces the amylase enzyme which aides in the digestion of carbohydrates.

•    Lactobacillus bulgaricus which is a bacterium that produces the lactase enzyme which assists in the digestion of lactose, making it especially helpful for lactose-intolerant people.

•    Saccharomyces cerevisiae which is a type of yeast that produces protease enzymes which help with protein digestion.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Alzheimer’s and A Low Fat/High Carb Diet

Scientists have spent decades trying to pinpoint spots in genetic coding that help us find, diagnose, and treat diseases. In some spots, great strides have been made. In others, there is still plenty of work to do. Regardless of the disease in question, one thing that can be agreed upon is the need for a healthy, balanced lifestyle to aid your body in warding off potential threats. The risk of Alzheimer’s Disease is no different, and research suggests that diets low in fat and high in carbohydrates can lead to cognitive impairments and other precursors to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Carbohydrates have an effect on your body’s glucose and insulin metabolism. Too many sugars from these carbohydrates can negatively impact blood vessels in the brain and hinder the brain’s ability to process those sugars. So how do we combat this disease in our daily dietary choices? Consider a few of the following options when adjusting your diet.

1. Limit your intake of carbohydrates (Sugar, Grains, And Fillers)

Carbohydrates are sugars. There are simple (table sugar, honey, agave, etc.) and complex carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, and other starches). Bread tastes delicious, but modern health tells us it just can’t be the big staple of our diet that it was for years and years. Also consider dropping pasta, rice, and cereal from your diet.

2. Increase your intake of fresh, organic vegetables

Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food co-ops around the country are responding to the increased concern over fresh, natural vegetables free of chemicals and pesticides. Get broccoli, celery, carrots, and squash into your daily diet for starters, but make vegetables part of every meal if you can. The majority of your vegetable intake should consist of green leafy plants such as kale, spinach, collards, chard, etc.

3. Eat high quality protein like free-range and organic beef, eggs, chicken, and wild fish

The natural proteins available in these fat-rich foods just can’t be replaced. While it is not a good idea to ingest too much protein (high levels can alter your metabolism), the sources of your protein should be organic and fresh. For weight loss and muscle gain you should be ingesting 1g of protein per pound of lean body weight on a daily basis.

4. Eat more unsaturated fats like nuts and fish

As we mentioned in a previous blog post about good and bad fats, Omega-3s are great for your body and present in fish like salmon or trout as well as nuts like almonds and cashews. Toss an avocado into your salad for more unsaturated fat. Another great fat is organic virgin coconut oil.

5. Less Sugar

Your brain needs some sugars as they are energy, but go easy! You should avoid sugars and added sweeteners as much as possible. Some health experts say you should not consume any more than 15g in an entire day. Watch out for sugars in all kinds of foods. For example, plain yogurt will have 9g per serving and a flavored one will have 26-40g per serving. You should even watch your intake of fruits.

Try eliminating something each day. For example, if you tend to drink more than one soda per day (including DIET!) replace it with something that is not sweetened such as tea, black coffee or water. Gradually switch out until you are no longer drinking your calories (and sugar or fake sweeteners that mimic glucose responses). Then work on a food group. If you do a little at a time it is much easier than you think.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a low-carb/high-fat diet will not only help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, but it will help your body fight off a myriad of other ailments all linked to some sort of inflammation as well. Combine a healthy diet and lifestyle with natural probiotics like the PRO EM-1 supplement to give your body the best defense against disease and inflammation.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Exercise & Digestion – How They Work Hand in Hand

If you’ve ever tried to adopt a more active and healthy lifestyle, you know that exercise and diet are two crucial elements to seeing and feeling results. What can often get overlooked is how exercise will affect your digestive system in a variety of ways. For example, your metabolism becomes faster the more active you become. Abdominal workouts can strengthen surrounding muscles and encourage your intestines to process foods more quickly and efficiently. On the other end of the spectrum, over-exercise can cause nausea and stomach sickness. Let’s look at a few digestive problems and ways your exercise can reduce or eliminate the occurrence of such health issues.

Heartburn is a very common problem which affects millions of people. Unpleasant, and in some cases debilitating, heartburn can be treated with medical prescriptions, but old-fashioned exercise should be included to see lasting changes. According to LiveStrong, you can try more gradual and relaxing exercise to combat heartburn problems. Yoga, Pilates, or bike riding are great ways to put low, limited stress on your body while still exercising and encourage the strengthening of stomach muscles.

QualityHealth and WebMD outline constipation as another common ailment. Thankfully, this can be fought with a combination of higher fiber intake and a few simple exercise do’s and don’ts. Wait at least an hour or more after eating before you begin any exercise. This will allow your body to focus its blood flow on the digestive system to process the food you just ate. By nature, exercise refocuses blood flow to the heart and muscles. Immediate exercise after eating will weaken the contractions of your muscles directly linked to the digestive system, in turn slowing down the movement of food through the digestive process and causing various forms of bodily discomfort. As with heartburn, you should consider daily, light exercise such as yoga or Pilates to encourage healthy digestion if you have ongoing constipation problems.

Probiotics can also assist with digestive problems. PRO EM-1 is a great way to undergo a gentle cleansing and detoxification of your digestive system. Take this liquid probiotic daily to act as a complement to your diet and exercise regimen. Dairy, wheat, and soy-free, PRO EM-1 is a safe and effective supplement for your daily digestion.

No diet or exercise regimen will be a perfect fit for any two people, but maintaining general best practices when it comes to your eating and exercise habits should yield positive results. Should you have a history of health problems, it is encouraged you see a medical professional before implementing any major changes in your diet or exercise routine.

About Teraganix: Teraganix is the official EM Technology distributor of North America. From probiotic supplementation for digestive health to agricultural waste composting, EM-1 is a revolutionary, oragnic technology with a myriad of applications and useful properties for personal and widespread use.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

There is a never-ending battle going on in gyms around the world when it comes to burning fat… a conflict that also spills into our kitchens and diet. From the fat-free obsessed 80’s and 90’s to the high- fat Adkins craze, it’s hard to know where fat should fit into our diet.  What exactly can we eat for optimum health without putting on those extra pounds?  How can we reduce body fat and get the most of our workouts?  

At its core, eating fat is an animalistic behavior. We fatten up to survive the winter. On a more palette-related level, fats taste delicious.  They are readily available and add a lot of flavor to the foods we eat.  And since fat was critical to early survival, our bodies crave it. 
A few things, however, have changed since the days of our ancestors.  Food is far more abundant and we are much less active - a dangerous development for our waistlines!  Discretion in our diets is now an important part of everyday life. The key to a healthy diet is recognizing the distinction between good and bad fats and making good fats a diet staple while avoiding the bad. This is the tricky part.

What is Saturated Fat?
We hear the term frequently, but what exactly are saturated fats? Saturation is synonymous with words like loaded, full, or dense. These dense fats have a molecular make-up that is believed to contribute to a number of dangerous diseases including cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia, and a variety of cancers. For this reason, it is better to incorporate unsaturated fats as opposed to their dense counterparts.

What Foods are Rich in Unsaturated Fats?
A prime, defining component of unsaturated fats is the existence of natural, raw ingredients. For example, salmon or trout are chock full of essential Omega-3s. And while there are Omega-3 supplements available, it is optimal to rely on whole foods such as fish for the bulk of your good fat intake.  Not to be overlooked, monounsaturated fats like almonds, avocados, olive oils, and cashews are great ways to give your body the right type of fats and can be added to all sorts of daily snacks.

What Foods Should I Limit to Reduce My Saturated Fat Intake?
Saturated fats are much easier to find and recognize.  You can bet if it is a processed meat (lunch meats, etc.) it has tons of saturated fats (and sodium). Several popular meats such as pork and hamburger and dairy products are loaded with saturated fats.  Is it processed, baked, or fried? Beware! Start reading your food labels when you shop for groceries to check the fat content of foods. Chances are if it looks suspect, it is. Look for lean meats such as turkey, lean cuts of beef, or wild game meats. Avoid anything labeled “Low Fat”. This means the food has been processed to remove the fat and something has been added to make it taste good…something that is likely worse for you than the fat that was removed.

Lowering your bad fat intake not only can help reduce your waistline, but it can help prevent diseases or reduce the risk of certain cancers. Cancers of the colon, prostate, and breast as well as disease of the heart have been linked to too much bad fat in the diet. Unfortunately, it takes more than just a change in diet to reduce your weight and treat your body well. Combining healthy snacking (be sure to have a good fat and protein at every snack) and meals with exercise, a non-sedentary lifestyle, and diligent food label reading will make your body and heart healthy and put money back in your pocket that would’ve been spent on bad fats. Your body with thank you and you’ll thank yourself. 

Happy Eating!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gut Microbes: Protectors of the GI Tract

Gut flora, and the associated probiotics used to supplement them, help the body function properly in a variety of ways. Sometimes, though, the method of assistance is counterintuitive. You may already know that microbes in the gut can aid in protecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from harmful infection. But, one of the major reasons why may surprise you.

The beneficial bacteria of the gut do a good job of keeping out harmful, or pathogenic, bacteria by, to put it simply, taking up the prime real estate and eating all the good food. In the gut, there is a limited amount of space that can be occupied along the epithelial cells lining the inside of the intestines. Access to this lining is essential to bacteria because the transferal of wastes and nutrients between the inside and outside of the intestines occurs here. Thus, it is a major gateway between the GI tract and the rest of the body. Probiotic bacteria occupy the space along the lining, preventing harmful bacteria from gaining access to this gateway. Without helpful flora occupying these spaces, potentially harmful species could gain easy access to the nutrient-rich areas of the body which would allow them to thrive.

Gut flora also keeps pathogens from gaining access to nutrients in another way. Most probiotic bacteria establish a symbiotic relationship with the host (our body). In this relationship, the bacteria perform essential regulatory and nutrient production processes for the body, and the body does the same for the bacteria, thus creating a positive environment for both organisms. Because of this relationship, the body and the bacteria have developed ways to signal their needs to one another. The bacteria can tell the body, via chemical signals, when to produce more of the nutrient which the bacteria needs, and when to produce less. This signaling process prevents overproduction of the nutrient. And, because pathogenic bacteria often need the same nutrient to survive, the pathogen is prevented from gaining access to any excess food.

In this context, the activity of the bacteria through these two processes is called the barrier effect. It exemplifies the principle of competitive exclusion, whereby two organisms competing for identical resources cannot coexist. It is, in essence, one organism being crowded out by another, fitter organism. Since the body favors the symbiotic probiotic bacteria, the good bacteria have a leg up in the competition.

Unfortunately, the body can sometimes be stripped of the gut flora which it has grown accustomed to, making the body vulnerable to pathogens. This is where a probiotic supplement, such as PRO EM-1, can be helpful. PRO EM-1 contains symbiotic microorganisms beneficial to the body which can restore the balance of gut flora in the GI tract. For more about the relationship between microorganisms and the GI tract, check out Guarner and Malagelada’spaper on the subject.