The BBC reported in March 2017 that a common food that is a large part of diets today is making us fat. According to recent research, upwards of fifty percent of the those in industrialized countries are exceeding their ideal body mass index (BMI). By […]
Sunspots or “solar lentigines” are signs of “hyperpigmentation” caused by exposure to the ultra violet (UV) rays. Prolonged exposure increases the production of melanin in the skin, causing the skin to turn darker. Sunspots are not dangerous, but are usually unsightly and unwelcome. They can […]
Who knew that something that’s probably been sitting in your kitchen cabinet for years could be the solution to so many of your health and beauty problems? Take a look at the 5 ways it can come to your rescue: Drink a tablespoon of apple […]
What is My Microbiome?
Long overlooked, the bacteria in our digestive tracts are increasingly a subject of scientific and medical focus as the source of both many common maladies and their potential cures. Indeed, our digestive microflora – our microbiome of gut bacteria – are now known to have a complex role in our immune system health, metabolism, weight, and mood. Moreover, when the microbiome is unbalanced, a situation known as “dysbiosis,” ill health is a potential outcome. Dysbosis is thought by scientists to play a role in the development of certain diseases, and our overall physiology.
Our microbiome is comprised of bacteria and eukaryotic microbes that live predominantly in our colon. Collectively, scientists believe that the microbiome consists of trillions of bacteria – so may that if they were collected from the average human digestive tract they would weigh about 4.4 pounds total. It is only recently, however, that scientists have begun looking at the role that these trillions of bacteria play in our day-to-day health. Interestingly, what is true of humans is also true of other species. Researchers now know that each organism on earth, regardless of its complexity, has its own microbiome.
Foods That Can Cause Dysbiosis
As a core component of a living organism, it is perhaps not surprising that, like the human body overall, the microbiome is not static and constantly evolves over time in response to influences that range from dietary changes to exposure to anti-biotics. For example, restricting a diet to mostly red meat consumption results in the growth of bile-metabolizing bacteria in the intestines – bacteria that are linked to inflammatory bowel diseases like colitis and Crohnes Disease, as well as multiple sclerosis, diabetes (types 1 and 2), allergies, asthma, autism, and cancer. Diets consisting of a lot of processed foods, and sugar, as well as meat and dairy products raised with hormones and antibiotics can all lead to dysbiosis generally. In contrast, a diet restricted largely to vegetables results in a demonstrable increase in plant polysaccharide-fermenting bacteria, which promote a healthy and balanced microbiome.
Underscoring the individual variability of each individual’s microbiome, researches have learned that two individuals consuming the exact same diet can have very different metabolic responses due to differences in their respective microbiomes. Therefore, understanding one’s own microbiome can help an individual manage conditions ranging from allergies, to blood sugar levels, and immune responses to respiratory tract irritants and even viral or bacterial infections.
Foods that help your microbiome
Indeed, researchers have found that a healthy level of bacteria known as Lactobacillales in the microbiome contribute to overall health and can help diminish the symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea and lactose intolerance, for example. Similarly, fermented foods and beverages, for example sauerkraut, pickles, and Kombucha, are naturally acidic. This natural acidity gives the bacteria an advantage when passing successfully through the stomach where they can then thrive in the colon. As discussed more fully below, fermented foods also have probiotic effects, which promote a balanced microbiome. The consumption of foods that promote a balanced microbiome help minimize the inflammation and oxidative stress on the colon that damage our health and contribute to disease development and progression.
Interestingly, studies have also shown that geographical location affects one’s microbiome. Scientists have documented general microbiome differences between individuals in North and South America, Korea and Japan, and Europe and Africa. They have also documented microbiome differences between the rural and urban populations within both Russia and China. Probable explanations for these geographical and urban-rural microbiome differences include diet as well as early-life and parental exposures and genetics.
With that background, there are three core dietary principles that one can follow to promote a healthy and balanced microbiome and avoid the dysbiosis that can cause or contribute to diseases and poor health. These three principles are:
1) Consume vegetables daily, especially leafy greens like spinach and kale.
Also, it helps the microbiome to consume berries, many of which are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as fruits that are low in sugar, like apples.
Aloe vera is a tropical plant cultivated for medicinal uses, food, beauty products, and as a decorative plant. It is also known as burn plant, lily of the desert, and elephant’s gall. Aloe vera grows to about 2 feet tall with thick, spiky green leaves. […]
If you’ve never experienced a cold sore, you never want to – and if you have had one, you never want another. For those who do have to face a cold sore in the mirror there are a bewildering number of therapies. I have tried […]
That terrible feelings after you’ve had too much to drink may include dizziness, headache, nausea, dry mouth, diarrhea, impaired cognition, and exhaustion. Although experts aren’t quite sure what causes a hangover, some theorize it may come from dehydration (alcohol is a diuretic), toxic alcohol metabolites (such as acetaldehyde), impurities in distilled alcohol, or an inflammatory response to alcohol consumption.
How severe a hangover is depends on factors including your age, weight, sex, genetics, health status, type of alcohol consumed, and amount consumed. Surprisingly, light to moderate drinkers are more likely to get a hangover than heavier drinkers.
Alcoholic beverages naturally contain compounds called congeners that are contained in grains, grape skins, or the casks used in distilling. Congeners may also be added by the manufacturer to create different flavors. Beverages with a lot of congeners produce more hangover symptoms. The worst offenders? In decreasing order of congener content: brandy, red wine, rum, whisky, white wine, gin, vodka, and beer.
Unfortunately there is no miracle cure for a hangover and there is no drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of a hangover. It can take up to 24 hours for the symptoms of a hangover to disappear. Although time and sleep may be the best way to heal — in the mean time, to ease your pain, try these home remedies.
If you are like most people, there is at least one item of jewelry you rarely –if ever– take off. But think about it, anything that is always on your hand or touching your body day in and day out is going to collect dirt, […]
Warts are small benign skin growths caused by the human papilloma virus, known as HPV. Although harmless, warts are unsightly, can persist for years, and spread. Fortunately there are several excellent home remedies that can make your warts go away. Before we get to those, however, let’s better understand what we are talking about.
The human papilloma virus is actually a broad category that contains multiple strains of the human papilloma virus. Warts can be found singly, or in clusters, and they may spread in areas of the skin that are prone to dampness (for example, around the finger nails of those who are prone to biting their nails with their teeth).
There are four principle types of warts:
- Common warts, which appear on one’s hands, fingers, and toes;
- Plantar warts, which appear on the soles of one’s feet;
- Genital warts, which are a sexually transmitted infection (for which there is now a vaccine); and
- Flat warts, which may appear in body locations that one shaves frequently
Fortunately, there are some excellent home remedies if you are suffering from a wart. Of course, there are a number of over-the-counter treatments, but they may not be right for everyone. Still, over-the-counter remedies are definitely worth keeping in mind. So, too, are the treatments a dermatologist can offer. The most common of these are cryo treatments that use liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart and surrounding skin, which destroys the human papilloma virus and causes new, healthy skin to grow underneath. Cryo treatments can be painful, however.
Home remedies for warts have a fundamental principle in common: suffocating or distressing the wart so that the human papilloma virus cannot thrive. Not all home remedies work, or work as well, for each individual. It is also important to remember not to harm the healthy skin around the wart when trying home remedies. With all that said, the following remedies may be helpful:Start slideshow
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently issued a warning that bee pollen products claiming to help you lose weight or reshape your body could be dangerous. These products are widely available in health stores, fitness centers, spas, and are even touted by some health […]