Disease Prevention and Research

It has been really busy here recently and I have not really had an great recipes I have wanted to share.  So I decided it has been a while since I have posted anything about juice plus so here a little information.  I believe in eating our nutrients for disease prevention but in all honestly it is difficult to really know what is going into the produce we are consuming ie; organic vs GMO vs soil conditions vs the variety we lack.

So for me juice plus gives me the peace of mind that I am getting a variety of organic and non GMO whole foods daily.  That way when I do slip up on my diet (it does happen on occasion) I can still sleep at night.

Here is a list of what is present in juice plus and here is also a video from Dr Mitra Ray on disease prevention and research with juice plus.

juice Plus Ingredients laminate


Have a happy health weekend.  If you have any questions about juice plus please just let me know!!  I would love to share!

Milk and increased fracture

This is a great article and once again proves that we need to eliminate dairy from our diets.   Main from the fact that we are exposed to hormones and antibiotics through diary products but also how it effects the chemicals in our body.  This article does suggestion using dairy products aside from milk which I would disagree with.  I would suggest using coconut/almond yogurt and avoiding cheeses. There are so many nutritional yeast cheese recipes you can use instead!


Here is one for my nut allergy friends.  Vegan Queso

I have not tried this recipe but I will be trying it soon.  Look, it even has a vegetable in it.  What better way to get a vegetable than in the form and flavor of cheese!


Science has once again shattered the myth that milk makes strong bones.  A new Swedish study links drinking milk to higher rates of bone fractures and even death.[i]

The study tracked the eating habits of over 60,000 women for 20 years and over 45,000 men for 15 years. Researchers found that drinking more milk did NOT lead to lower risks of bone fracture.  In fact, women who drank three glasses of milk per day broke more bones.  Compared to women who drank less than one glass per day, heavy milk drinkers had a 60% greater risk of breaking a hip and a 16% higher risk of breaking any bone.

But it gets worse.  People who drank more milk also had a higher risk of dying from any cause.  For every glass of milk they drank every day, women had a 15% higher risk of death and men had a 3% higher risk.

Why does milk lead to more broken bones and higher death rates?

Researchers found that milk drinkers had more biomarkers for oxidative stress and inflammation. They suggested that high levels of two sugars in milk – lactose and galactose – were the cause.  In fact, they noted that low doses of D-galactose are often used in animal studies to induce signs of aging.  Studies link D-galactose to a shortened life span, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, neurodegeneration, decreased immune response, and gene transcriptional changes.  The dose used to obtain those results in animals is equivalent to a human drinking one to two glasses of milk per day.

Milk may be high in calcium but too much calcium can break your bones.

If milk doesn’t build strong bones, what does?  Here are 10 foods proven to be a better choice for reducing your fracture risk and keeping your bones strong.

1. Yogurt. 

The Swedish study found that fermented milk had the opposite effect on your bones as drinking plain milk.  For each serving of fermented milk products women reduced their hip fracture and death rates by 10 to 15%.  Examples of fermented milk products include yogurt, kefir, and sour cream.  Fermented dairy was also linked to lower oxidative stress and inflammation.

2. Cheese.

Like fermented dairy the Swedish researchers found eating cheese also lowers fracture and death rates.  Cheeses are also rich in vitamin K2 which is essential to strong bones.  The best choices with the highest levels of vitamin K2 are Gouda, Brie, and Edam.  Other good cheeses for your bones include Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, and Gruyere.  Stick to traditionally made cheeses and stay away from Velveeta, soy cheese, and other modern processed “cheese products.”

3.  Natto

A traditionally fermented soy product popular in Asia, natto is another food high in vitamin K2.  In a study of 72 premenopausal women, researchers found that those who ate more natto had better bone formation.[ii]  And a University of Tokyo study concluded that natto consumption may contribute to the relatively lower fracture risk in Japanese women.[iii]

4. Green Tea. 

The Mediterranean Osteoporosis Study showed that drinking up to 3 cups of tea per day was associated with a 30% reduction in the risk of hip fractures in women as well as men over 50 years of age.

And researchers from Texas Tech University showed that 500 mg of green tea polyphenols improves bone health after three months and muscle strength at six months. That’s about what you get in four to six cups of green tea.  The green tea compounds support osteoblast activity (bone building) and suppress osteoclasts activity (bone breakdown).[iv]

5. Prunes.

Florida State University tested bone density in 100 menopausal women over 12 months.  Half were told to eat about 10 dried plums a day.  The other half ate dried apples.  Researchers found the prune eaters had significantly higher bone mineral density in the forearm and spine.  Other studies showdried plums slow bone loss.

6.  Pomegranates

Pomegranates are known to relieve symptoms of menopause including bone loss.  In a 2004 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, rats who had their ovaries removed suffered accelerated bone loss, a typical symptom of menopause.  But when they were fed an extract of pomegranate juice and seeds for just 2 weeks, their bone mineral loss reverted to normal rates.[v]

7.  Oranges.

Osteoporosis has been called “scurvy of the bones” because lack of vitamin C has been linked to brittle bones.  In animal studies feeding rats orange pulp significantly improved bone strength. Other studies show bone mineral density is higher in women who supplement with vitamin C.[vi]  Eat fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C for bone health.  Choose oranges, strawberries, papaya, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi fruits, and cauliflower.

8.   Black Seed (Nigella Sativa)

In animal studies researchers showed that nigella sativa can reverse osteoporosis.

9.  Cumin

A 2008 animal study showed that cumin seeds inhibit loss of bone density and strength as effectively as estrogen.[vii]

10.  Chocolate

Bone density is linked to magnesium intake. [viii]   But magnesium levels in the bone decrease with age. [ix] Your body needs magnesium to convert vitamin D to its active form and absorb calcium. Only about 20% of Americans get the recommended daily amount of 420 mg of magnesium for men and 320 mg for women.

Dark chocolate has a healthy 176 mg of magnesium in a 3.5 ounce bar.  Look for chocolate that is organic, fair-trade, and as dark as possible with at least 70% cacao content.  The higher the cacao content, the lower the sugar content.


Tumeric Nachos

Turmeric Eggs Nacho’s

adapted from http://draxe.com

Serves: 4

What you need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 6 tbsp. miso
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 8 chopped green onions
  • 2 peppers, yellow and red
  • 6 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp Thyme
  • 2 tbsp Oregano
  • 2 tbsp Basil
  • 4 tbsp Turmeric


  1. Sauté onions, green onions and garlic in pan with miso over medium low heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Add in eggs, nutritional yeast and herbs.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring continuously and add in turmeric.


We placed them over chips and ate as nacho’s!

Dental Health and Chronic Disease

(NaturalNews) According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, “Dental caries (tooth decay) remains the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults.” In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control, “One out of every two American adults aged 30 and over has periodontal disease.” Clearly, we must stop relying on conventional (ineffective) dental procedures to protect our health.

Gum disease is preventable.
 Periodontal (gum) disease is one of many chronic inflammatory diseases which affect the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss plus many other diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. On the next NaturalNews Talk Hour, find out how to take better care of your teeth and gums — holistically.

Visit NaturalHealth365.com and enter your email address for show details + FREE gifts!

Dental amalgams (mercury-based fillings) cause chronic disease

In Feb. 1998, a group of the world’s top mercury researchers announced that mercury from amalgam fillings can permanently damage the brain, kidneys and immune system of children. In addition, a large-scale epidemiological study revealed that mercury is linked to digestive disorders, sleep disturbances, concentration problems, memory loss, bleeding gums and many other mouth disorders.

Can mercury cause Alzheimer’s disease? Dr. Boyd Haley and a team of scientist exposed rats to levels of mercury vapor diluted to account for the size difference between humans and rats. The rats developed tissue damage “indistinguishable” from that of Alzheimer’s disease. By the way, repeating the experiment showed the same results.

On the next NaturalNews Talk Hour, Jonathan Landsman and Mark McClure, D.D.S., talk about the dangers of dental amalgams, root canals, how to deal with temporomandibular joint disorders and sleep apnea plus much more.

5 ways to prevent gum disease

Did you know that poor gum health dramatically increases the risk for heart disease and stroke? In addition, gum disease can make respiratory conditions — like bronchitis — worse. Ultimately, when you ignore gum disease — you increase your risk of cancer.

So, here are some simple steps to take to prevent gum disease.

1. Brush your teeth — twice a day with natural (non-fluoride) toothpaste. As a great antiseptic, try brushing with a few drops of neem or tea tree oil.

2. Keep your toothbrush clean by soaking it in a capful of hydrogen peroxide, once a week, to kill unwanted bacteria.

3. Rinse your mouth with colloidal silver — a few times per day — to kill unfriendly pathogens.

4. Try rinsing your mouth –– for 10 minutes or more — with baking soda/sea salt mixtures or coconut oil. In fact, “oil pulling” is a great way to kill bacteria and parasites that cause plaque — plus your teeth will be whiter.

5. Make your own (or buy) high-quality herbal mouthwash. Use herbs like goldenseal, myrrh and calendula — which have been used for hundreds of years for dental health.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/045536_dental_health_gums_chronic_disease.html#ixzz34RgQPaOd


I started making my own toothpaste about 9 months ago and I love it.  I feel more confident with what I am brushing with and I know there are no hidden ingredients.  My recipe is a half and half ration of coconut oil and baking soda. I have also place a few drops of peppermint essential oil in it to get that clean scent but as this article mentions using tea tree oil would work as well.


I also want to post the link for dental health and how juice plus can help!  Please check it out.






Tart Cherries to aid in your Zzzzz’s

This article has really hit home for me.  I have had a lifetime of un-restful nights of sleep. Fortunately for years I never noticed how poorly I slept and always related my lack of energy and sleepiness to the poor schedule I kept with school and working. The tides started to turn and my schedule became more regular I realized how badly I was sleeping.  I have never had trouble falling asleep.  It is staying asleep that is the issue.  ANY movement I would make would wake me up.  I would fall right back to sleep but in waking so frequently throughout the night I was never able to fall into a deep restful sleep.  My body was never able to heel itself.  Did you know that is when your body does the most of it’s heeling?  That is why sleep is so important.  So, now I had realized I had a problem. What do I do now.  We had already started to change our diets so I could check that off the list.  Limited caffeine -check, No exercise 2 hours before bed -check, there are no TV’s or electronics in our room-check, dark curtains-check.

I began my research to find natural sleep aids.  OF course melatonin was the first thing I found.  I did not have want to take a man made supplement though.  That being said I looked up how to take melatonin naturally. This is where the article below validates my findings.  In addition to Tart Cherry Juice I found several other foods that could help but we will stay on the article topic at hand.

I started trying tart cherry juice every night about 30 minutes before bed.  I personally and honestly felt like it helped.  Currently and for about the last 6-9 months have been sleeping like a rock.  On a regular basis I only get 6-7 hours of sleep a night but that is only because of the schedule I run on.  Those hours though are deep and heeling.  I am still tired when I wake but I have come to the conclusion that I will never be accustomed to 4 am.  Once I am up and moving I feel great and ready to take on the day.

So check on the article below and give it a try if restful sleep is a problem of yours.  The article also talks about other health benefits of the Cherry Juice as well.

From: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/cherries-natures-anti-inflammatory-sleep-aid

Several studies have now confirmed that cherries not only increase sleep duration and sleep quality, but they are anti-inflammatory.

The newest study comes from researchers at Spain’s University of Extremadura. They tested 30 people – ten between 20 and 30 years old, ten between 35 and 55 years old and ten between 65 and 85 years old.

The researchers randomly divided the subjects into two groups. They were given either a tart cherry juice drink or a placebo with cherry flavor twice a day. Those who drank the cherry juice experienced substantially better sleep quality – measured by sleep efficiency, awakenings, and total sleep time.

Moreover, the researchers found that the older group experienced better improvements in sleep quality that the younger groups.

Another study included scientists from the United States (Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine), the UK (Northumbria University and the University of Surrey) and South Africa (University of Johannesburg). This study followed 20 healthy men and women with an average age of 27 years old.

Half of the group was randomly assigned to drink tart cherry juice concentrate and the other half drank a placebo for seven days. The juice concentrate was made from tart Montmorency cherries (Prunus cerasus).

The results determined that the cherry group slept an average of 34 minutes more per night and had a 5-6% increase in sleep efficiency. Sleep efficiency is the time spent asleep as a proportion of time in bed.

They also found that the internal melatonin levels among the cherry group increased significantly, while the placebo group did not have any melatonin increase. Within 48 hours of cherry juice consumption, the urine of the cherry drinkers showed increased levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin – the primary melatonin metabolite. The researchers also measured melatonin levels by studying the subjects’ circadian rhythms.

The researchers concluded:

these data suggest that consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.

Learn about over 200 natural remedies to get to sleep.

Cherries contain natural melatonin

Earlier research confirmed that Montmorency cherries contain melatonin. Research led by Dr. Russel Reiter from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas determined that the tart cherries will contain up to contain up to 13.5 nanograms (ng) of melatonin per gram of cherries. This is typically more than the levels found in the bloodstream.

Another study, this from Spain’s University of Extremadura, also found that sleep quality and duration increased among elderly adults who consumed Jerte Valley cherries – another variety of tart cherries.

While cherries significantly spike melatonin levels and increase sleep quality, research on supplemental synthetic melatonin or melatonin extracted from the pineal glands of cows has been conflicting. These exogenous forms have been shown to improve sleep-phase disorders, but sleep quality results have been equivocal.

The difference may well lie in cherries’ phytochemical content. Researchers from this most recent study stated:

cherry juice has been shown to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation following strenuous exercise making it possible that these antioxidant and/or anti-inflammatory properties modulated indices of sleep in this study…

Cherries reduce inflammation

The newest research comes from the USDA’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center at the University of California at Davis.

This study tested 18 men and women between 45 and 61 years old. They were given 280 grams per day of Bing sweet cherries for 28 days.

After 28 days, the subjects had significantly lower levels of several inflammatory factors. Their CRP levels, ferritin levels plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) levels were all about 20 percent lower, while their endothelin-1 levels were 14 percent lower, and their epidermal growth factor was 13 percent lower. Their IL-1 levels were 28 percent lower, and their advanced glycation end product receptor levels were 29 percent lower. All of these reductions indicated reduced inflammation within the body.

This result is confirmed by research from Oregon Health & Science University. This study utilized tart cherries. The research was presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference (ACSM) in San Francisco, Calif.

In this study, 20 women between 40 and 70 years old with inflammatory osteoarthritis were tested. The results found that drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks led to significant reductions in inflammation markers. The reductions were more significant among women with the highest inflammation levels at the beginning of the study.

“With millions of Americans looking for ways to naturally manage pain, it’s promising that tart cherries can help, without the possible side effects often associated with arthritis medications,” said lead researcher Kerry Kuehl, M.D. of Oregon Health & Science University. “I’m intrigued by the potential for a real food to offer such a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit – especially for active adults.”

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Athletes can be at risk for developing osteoarthritis, and may benefit greatly from cherries. In a previous study, Dr. Kuehl found that athletes who drank tart cherry juice during training reported significantly less pain after exercise than those who didn’t.

The antioxidant compounds in tart cherries are called anthocyanins. Their anti-inflammatory levels have been shown to be comparable to some well-known pain medications. Research from Baylor Research Institute found that daily tart cherry extract reduced osteoarthritis pain by over 20 percent for a majority of those studied.

According to University of Pennsylvania Medical Center for Sports Medicine Director of Sports Nutrition Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, incorporating tart cherries into the training menu of professional athletes and active clients has helped manage pain:

Why not eat red when there’s so much science to support the anti-inflammatory benefits of this Super Fruit? And for athletes whose palates prefer the tart-sweet flavor profile of tart cherries, it’s the optimal ingredient.

Whether the reduced inflammation is related to the increase in sleep quality remains in question.

Learn about other natural strategies to reduce inflammation and arthritis.


Garrido M, González-Gómez D, Lozano M, Barriga C, Paredes SD, Rodríguez AB. A

Jerte valley cherry product provides beneficial effects on sleep quality.Influence on aging. J Nutr Health Aging. 2013;17(6):553-60. doi: 10.1007/s12603-013-0029-4.

Sleigh, AE, Kuehl KS, Elliot DL . Efficacy of tart cherry juice to reduce inflammation among patients with osteoarthritis. American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. May 30, 2012.

Kuehl KS, Perrier ET, Elliot DL, Chestnutt J. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010;7:17-22.

Seeram NP, Momin RA, Nair MG, Bourquin LD. Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries. Phytomedicine 2001;8:362-369.

Cush JJ. Baylor Research Institute, pilot study on tart cherry and osteoarthritis of the knees, 2007.Kelley DS, Adkins Y, Reddy A, Woodhouse LR, Mackey BE, Erickson KL. Sweet bing cherries lower circulating concentrations of markers for chronic inflammatory diseases in healthy humans. J Nutr. 2013 Mar;143(3):340-4. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.171371.

Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16.

Burkhardt S, Tan DX, Manchester LC, Hardeland R, Reiter RJ. Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Oct;49(10):4898-902.

Garrido M, Paredes SD, Cubero J, Lozano M, Toribio-Delgado AF, Muñoz JL, Reiter RJ, Barriga C, Rodríguez AB. Jerte Valley cherry-enriched diets improve nocturnal rest and increase 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and total antioxidant capacity in the urine of middle-aged and elderly humans. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Sep;65(9):909-14.

Toxic Gut

I wanted to stick with the theme of constipation since the last post by Jennifer Brown http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/35413989/.

To be completely honest constipation was an issue for me and it is actually the reason I started to research and change our diets. I was 25 years old, active plus regular exercise, drank 3-4 liters a day, eating plenty of fiber but still I was constipated. I did not understand why and i knew if it as an issue for me now just wait until I aged and my metabolism and gut slowed down.  I was looking at a world of trouble for the future. So I started researching, a friend introduced me to juice plus and my whole life changed.  The most effective change we made was eliminating gluten from our diets and adding in fruits, vegetable and juice plus.

I was attending a Juice Plus Lecture given by a Ob Gyn Physician who was a proud supporter of juice plus.  She actually said that we should have a bowel movement after every meal.  After thinking abou tit it all started to make sense.  Our gut is what removes the toxins out of our body so why would we want them to be sitting there just to reak havoc on our organs and cells?  The faster we are able to get rid of our poop the less time our body is exposed to these toxins. Physicans now consider it to be normal for bowel movements to be spaced out as long as the stool is not hard or that it is not painful.  I tend to lean the other direction.

I can’t say I am to that point but I am working towards a goal of keeping my toxin exposure to a minimum.

Another useful index in bowel transit time, or the time it takes for food to pass through the body. In diets composed of unrefined cereals, fruits, and plenty of raw vegetables, the transit time is usually 12 hours or so. On a refined diet this could extend to 24, 48, or 72 hours or longer. Another tidbit that many people are clueless about is that it takes about five to seven days for flesh to pass out of the body. Since the nature of a dead body is to rot, where do you think all those rotting poisons are proliferating in those five to seven days? Cancer, arthritis, and heart disease, anyone
http://www.naturalnews.com/037836_constipation_natural_remedies_relief.html#ixzz2n0ZqcCDy http://www.naturalnews.com/037836_constipation_natural_remedies_relief.html

So what else can we do to prevent or re-leave constipation?

Natural home remedies for constipation


  • Start off the day with a high-fibre bran cereal. Some brands contain as much as 14 grams of insoluble fibre, the kind that adds bulk to stool.
  • Fill up on dried beans, prunes, figs, pears and oatmeal (gluten free). These foods are also all high in soluble fibre.
  • Mix one to two teaspoons of psyllium seeds into a cup of hot water. Let it sit for two hours, add lemon and honey, then drink.
  • Flaxseeds are high in fibre and also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Take one tablespoon of the ground seeds two or three times a day. You can also add it your morning cereal or smoothie.
  • As you increase your intake of fibre be sure to drink lots of water—at least 8 glasses a day.
  • Recommended fiber intake 20 grams a day childhood, 29 grams/day adolescent and adult women, 38 grams/day adolescent and men. (uptodate.com  – high fiber diet guidelines)

Loosen up with a hot cup

  • A morning cup of hot java will help. Caffeine has a bowel-loosening effect. Just don’t drink too much since it’s also a diuretic.
  • Herbal or decaffeinated tea, or a simple cup of hot water with lemon juice will also help to get things moving.
  • Dandelion tea has a mildly laxative effect. Steep one teaspoon of the dried root in one cup of boiling water. Drink one cup three times per day.

Wrinkled fruit to the rescue

  • Prunes are one of the oldest home remedies for constipation. High in fibre, prunes also contain a compound called dihydroxyphenyl isatin, which kicks the colon into action.
  • Raisins are also high in fibre as well as tartaric acid, which has a laxative effect.

Get up and go

  • There’s a reason the evening walk used to be called the daily constitutional. Regular exercise helps your body move food quicker. Aim for a daily walk at the very least.

Relax and don’t wait

  • Never force a bowel movement. You can give yourself hemorrhoids or anal fissures that eventually narrow the anal opening, causing constipation.
  • Never ignore nature’s call. If you do, you’re asking for a case of constipation. 


incorporating a fermented food with each meal- see the attached link.


Eat at least five servings of each fruits and vegetables. Select a variety, including sweet potatoes, apples, berries, apricots, peaches, pears, oranges, prunes, corn, peas, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower. And opt for the whole produce over juice as much as possible; a glass of orange juice, for instance, provides 0.1 grams of fiber, while eating an orange gives you 2.9 grams.

Apples. Eat an hour after a meal to prevent constipation.

Apple juice and apple cider. These are natural laxatives for many people. Drink up and enjoy! Caution with the sugar.

Bananas. These may relieve constipation. Try eating two ripe bananas between meals. Avoid green bananas, because they’ll actually make your problem worse.

Raisins. Eat a handful daily, an hour after a meal.

Rhubarb. This is a natural laxative. Cook it and eat it sweetened with honey, or bake it in a pie. Or, create a drink with cooked, pureed rhubarb, apple juice and honey.

Snack on Sesame Seeds

These seeds provide roughage and bulk, and they soften the contents of the intestines, which makes elimination easier. Eat no more than 1/2 ounce daily, and drink lots of water as you take the seeds. You may also sprinkle them on salads and other foods, but again, no more than 1/2 ounce. Sesame is also available in a butter or paste and in Middle Eastern dips, such as tahini.


A little water with unfiltered, non-pasteurized apple cider vinegar just before each meal is often recommended to boost stomach acids that begin the first major step of digestion, especially for older folks

The glass of warm lemon or lime water without any sweetener upon rising has been embraced by many of all ages to stimulate the liver and gall bladder’s bile production, which is a fluid that combines with food enzymes and enzymes from the pancreas.

Finally: aloe vera juice.  There is not allot of research on this so you can check it out and make the decision for yourself.

By adding several of these recommendations to your diet daily you will hopefully be on the road to smooth sailing.

Your Happy, Healthy Gut: the first line of defense against chronic disease

Presented by Guess Blogger: Jennifer Browne

Let’s face it: nobody likes to discuss their gut. Why would they? The word “gut” evokes images of churned-up food and what it eventually turns into. Yuck, right? But the importance of gut health is often overlooked—especially in western culture. We’re too cool to care, and because of that, a giant percentage of us are paying the price. In fact, the number of people in the United States who suffer from chronic constipation is approximately 15%.[1]

Ouch. (Literally.)

So, what’s gut got to do with it? Believe it or not, the health of your bowel is absolutely critical in determining how healthy your whole body is. Basically, if you’re tummy’s happy, your entire body follows suit. This is because of three major factors:

Your gut is host to trillions of bacteria that will either help or hinder your immune system response. Your bowel is immune-system central. Those with an unhealthy gut will get sick more often than those with a clean and healthy one. I’m not just talking about common colds or flus—I’m referring to chronic illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, some cancers, diabetes, and even seemingly un-related diseases, such as arthritis and MS.

“Researchers at the University of Toronto have found an explanation for how the intestinal tract influences a key component of the immune system to prevent infection, offering a potential clue to the cause of autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”[2]

Our bowel contains good (friendly) bacteria and bad bacteria. The purpose of the good bacteria is to fight anything that arrives in the gut that might make us sick. They also lower the pH around the wall of the gut, in an attempt to make that area inhabitable to bad bacteria and anything that may be harmful to us.[3] They work directly with immune cells, and actually communicate with each other in order to decide if an immune system response (inflammation) is warranted or not.

When bad bacteria, or a virus, or anything else that may be cause for concern is found, the good bacteria are deployed to fight and destroy that bad guys. If they are not winning the fight, then immune system cells are called to action and create inflammation, which is designed to pinpoint the area of invasion and help solve the problem.

When we have a chronic issue, such as long-term constipation, we become chronically inflamed, because our immune system thinks that we are constantly fighting. This becomes a major problem, primarily because it exhausts our immune system, helps bad bacteria become used to this response, and therefore makes us more prone to more chronic illness.[4]

It’s a vicious cycle. You can help your gut increase the number of good bacteria by taking regular prebiotic and probiotic supplements.

By keeping your bowel clean and healthy through regular elimination and absorption of simple and pure nutrients, you give your immune system the best chance at operating properly.

Contrary to popular belief, the “happy hormone” serotonin is produced not only your brain, but also in your bowel. Actually, it is estimated that approximately 95% of the serotonin in your body is produced in your gut[5]:

“Gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity.”[6]

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is most commonly known to affect mood. Levels have been found to be very low in those diagnosed with depression or seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D).[7] Often, anti-depressants such as Prozac and Zoloft are prescribed to supplement those who are in need of more serotonin.[8] [9]

However, cleaning up your gut and increasing the regularity of one’s bowel movements have been shown to increase serotonin levels and decrease the need for antidepressants.

“Some research suggests that IBS patients who suffer mainly from diarrhea may have increased serotonin levels in the gut, while those with constipation-predominant IBS have decreased amounts.”[10]

I’m not suggesting that diarrhea is awesome; just highlighting the point that regular elimination contributes to heightened levels of serotonin.

Nobody wants to suffer from diarrheal circumstances, but by not accumulating stool in the colon, you can increase your number of happy days.

Who doesn’t want more of those?!

Toxins that we take into our body every day, whether it is through our food, air, or chemicals that get absorbed through our skin, convene in our gut to party. The act of elimination expels those toxins so that our body doesn’t absorb them. If you’re not having a bowel movement at least once a day, you are hosting toxins that will make their way into your bloodstream and affect other parts of your body. This is commonly referred to as “toxic overload,” and it also occurs in other organs too, such as your liver and kidneys.

We eliminate these toxins by expelling them through our skin (sweating), urinating, and defecating. This is why exercise is great (it makes you sweat), you’re advised to drink a lot of water (in order to increase urination), and it’s crucial that you are regular in the bowel department.

You can accumulate up to 5-10 pounds of fecal matter in your intestines if you’re not having regular bowel movements.[11] If for no other reason, that’s a great incentive to begin paying attention to the frequency of your bowel movements.

So, what are some healthy ways to relieve constipation? (Please don’t reach for the Ex-Lax!)

1-      Drink plenty of water and herbal tea. This helps to flush out your bowel and loosen hard stool.

2-      Consume a ton of vegetables and whole grains. Whole grains (like brown, sprouted rice, quinoa and oats) help to sweep your colon clean. They are essential.

3-      Exercise. By just walking regularly, you stimulate the bowel, and massage other organs, too.

4-      De-stress. Stress is very hard on your body. It messes with our sleep, or tummies, and our moods. Try and take the time to relax often. Conscious breathing helps with this. Close your eyes, and slowly inhale for a count of ten, then pause, and slowly exhale for another ten. Repeat ten times. For more information on this particular practice, visit this link on conscious breathing.

5-      Try a whole food, plant-based diet. This diet has been proven time and time again to be the most effective at keeping a clean digestive tract. Why? Because the foods eaten on this diet are very easy for your body to process, and the nutrients provided are easily absorbed. Foods like fruits, veggies, beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains are amazing for your body. Meat and dairy are not digested well, and often are the root cause of a malfunctioning digestive system.

Bottom line? Don’t take bowel health for granted—it can be your biggest ally against all types of health ailments. Make sure you’re regular, and you will greatly increase your chances of bypassing unnecessary affliction.


Contributed by Jennifer Browne, who is an advocate for digestive health and wellness. Her first book on digestive health, Happy Healthy Gut, is being released on January 2, 2014. It’s available for pre-order on amazon.com. Visit her Facebook page, tweet her @jennifer_browne, or find her on her website at www.jenniferbrowne.org.