Gut Microbes

Several years ago, I had a very bad bacterial infection that lasted 9 months and was finally cured with Chinese medicine, a clear liquid diet and a very healthy dose of probiotics.  So I am a big fan! I’ve seen them work wonders with some of my clients and I’m glad to see that a lot of hospitals are now recommending them to patients – BUT they need to be the right kind.

GUT MICROBES the next frontier in health and nutrition research. In other words, how does the good and bad bacteria in our guts impact our physical and mental health? Fascinating stuff!

We feed our guts “good” bacteria or probiotics when we consume fermented foods.  This includes the German “sauerkraut”, the Korean “kimchi” and the Japanese “tempeh, miso and natto.” Not the commercially produced ones, but the “live, raw and unpasteurized” types.

Fermentation is the process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance. Microorganisms like yeast and bacteria usually play a role in the fermentation process, creating beer, wine, bread, kimchi, yogurt and other foods. Source: https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/fermentation

SPECIES AND STRAINS

There are several different species of probiotics and they all play different roles. The two most common types are lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each species contains a variety of different strains. So for example, when you see the words L. acidophilus – L is the lactobacillus species and acidophilus is the strain. The primary dietary sources of this strain are yogurt, miso and tempeh.

BENEFITS

The biggest benefit that we know of is that they shorten the duration of acute infectious diarrhea – diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection and diarrhea associated with antibiotic use.  Who remembers taking antibiotics and then being told to counter-act them with a big bowl of yogurt?  Probiotics is the reason.

They help reduce bloating and gas in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and boost our immune system. Preliminary studies have shown that they may be beneficial in promoting weight loss (although this may be because it helps you absorb food), improve good oral and mental health.  More research is needed to confirm these benefits.

To learn more about probiotics – stay tuned for more blog posts this week.

http://www.anounceofnutrition.com

“Get Nutrition in Every School”

An Ounce of Nutrition is on a mission to get Nutrition in EVERY School! We challenge you to take the pledge and join us in promoting healthy choices for all students. Enter your name and email address on our website and then tell us why you think it’s important to get nutrition in every school (e.g. take the pledge) – then we’ll send you your “free” download of “HOW TO FUND YOUR NUTRITION PROGRAM” to help you bring nutrition into your school.

Why should you take the pledge?

Because……

  1. You can teach students skills that will last a lifetime!
  2. Well-nourished students are generally more focused on their school work and do better academically.
  3. Students who eat well will have more energy and be more alert in school and in life!
  4. Healthy food choices help prevent future chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
  5. Kids without grumbling tummies can concentrate better.
  6. Students make better food choices when they know their food is made and where it comes from and how it impacts their health.
  7. Food and nutrition education can be integrated into any subject to help bring it to life including; math, science, history or social sciences.
  8. You may experience less behavior issues in the classroom.
  9. Well-nourished students are generally absent less.

What are other reasons you can think of?  Take the pledge and tell us why nutrition should be in every school.  Go to: http://anounceofnutrition.com/take-the-pledge.html to take the pledge.

Hearts on Fire

Valentine’s Day week is a great time to share with students “foods that fuel their heart” – starting with the RED ones. When we are having a discussion about fruits and vegetables in our classes, I like to point out that the natural chemicals in them are responsible for their color. They give fruits and veggies vibrant, bright colors! These chemicals are known as “phytochemicals” or “phytonutrients.”  A good example is anti-oxidants, readily found in these foods. Although they do not contain nutrition, they are still responsible for helping to protect us from disease.

Although each color performs a multitude of disease-preventing functions that may cross over into other colors, I like to associate one color with one function to help students remember it.  Sooooo, the white ones protect your immune system, the orange/yellow protect your eyes and the green prevent against cancer.

So then what do the red ones do? Protects our “red” hearts of course!

The red ones contain a chemical called “lycopene” (found in tomatoes) that is responsible for its red pigment. Lycopene may inhibit the production of cholesterol and reduce LDL or the “not so good” cholesterol in your blood. Some studies have suggested too (although results are mixed) that higher concentrations of lycopene have been associated with a reduced risk of heart attack.

So what are some of the best “red” Valentine’s Day foods you could recommend to students to help melt their “beloved-ones” heart?

  •     Tomato soup
  •     Valentine’s Day salad topped with red heart tomatoes
  •     Red pepper dip
  •     Baked red snapper
  •     Spaghetti with red lentil pasta sauce
  •     Desserts with strawberries, raspberries or cherries

A simple, luxuriously sweet, “red” recipe that you can make with your students is Poached Pears in Raspberry Sauce.

Poached Pears in Raspberry Sauce  

poached-pears-in-raspberry-sauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 firm Bosc or Bartlett pears
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (not from concentrate)
  • ¼ cup raspberry jam or jelly (I use jam that is fruit-juice sweetened and not from concentrate)
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh raspberries, strawberries and mint leaves for garnish

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Cut pears in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and core with a spoon.
  3. Place pears cut side down in a baking dish.
  4. Combine juice, jam or jelly, cinnamon or nutmeg and salt in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour sauce over pears and cover dish with foil.
  6. Place pears in the oven and bake until they are soft (about 25 minutes).
  7. To serve, place pears cut side up on serving dish. Spoon sauce from baking dish over them and garish with berries and mint.

A popular option now is instead of cutting pears in half; cook them whole and then serve  standing up dripped in raspberry sauce.