While we have all been bombarded through the various sources on the internet, print and media about the beneficial effects of various “healthy” diets, have you ever stopped to think about how or why this might be the case. Is this because of a direct effect of the components of the diet on the various body functions. It turns out that some of this may be mediated by the effects of diet on the various residents in our gut, also known as our gut flora.
So, who are these residents in our gut?
What is gut flora?
Gut flora, also known as gastrointestinal flora, are the various microbes in our bodies (microbiome). They number more than 10 times the number of cells in the human body, up to 100 trillion cells. They also encode 100 times the number of genes (the metagenome) that a human possesses (the genome). In the human gut microbiome, while over 99% of the genes are bacterial, there are also fungi and viruses.
How does diet impact the gut flora?
The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ should perhaps be now modified to ‘your microbiome is what you eat’. More than one study has shown that a ‘western diet’ rich in protein and animal fat is associated with a predominance of a bacterial species named Bacteroides while those on a more agrarian diet richer in carbohydrates tend to show a predominance of a bacterial species named prevotella.
Why does flora matter?
It is postulated that the various components of the microbiome tend to be in a state of balance in a healthy individual. When this balance gets disturbed, this has been termed as ‘dysbiosis’. This ‘dysbiosis’ is usually associated with many diseases of the ‘modern age’ including obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and cardiovascular diseases.
While studies have started showing the differences in microbiome with the various dietary components, it is still early to suggest that changing one’s diet alone would be the only way to change towards less ‘dysbiosis’. This is because we still do not have an agreement on what is truly a ‘healthy microbiome’. Additionally, recent studies have also shown that the immediate environment that one resides in may impact the microbiome with changes seen soon after immigration to a western country. That said, it would make sense to adopt a healthier diet that is lower in animal fat and more grain-based sources of proteins while research evolves towards more specific answers in the years and decades to come.
Be aware of the three primary mind-body types. There are three primary doshas in Ayurveda: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. You can review the qualities of each dosha to determine your dosha or take an online Dosha quiz to determine your dosha. If you have addictive eating behaviors or an eating disorder, you may have an underlying Vata imbalance as part of your mind-body type.
Though some people may use Ayurvedic as a tactic to lose weight, it is not designed as a weight loss program. Rather, Ayurvedic focuses on ensuring you have a mind-body balance through your diet and your eating habits to have a more healthy lifestyle and way of thinking.
Recognize the qualities of a Vata mind-body type. If your primary dosha is Vata, you are very focused on movement and change and possess an energetic and creative mind. Your require balance and stability in your life and low stress to feel energized and enthusiastic about life. But you are also prone to anxiety and insomnia.
Understand the qualities of a Pitta mind-body type. A Pitta dosha tends to be full of intensity for food, experiences, and knowledge. Pittas enjoy being challenged and using their intellect to learn new things. When you feel imbalanced or stressed, you tend to develop heat related issues in your body like heartburn, ulcers, hypertension, and inflammatory conditions. This heat can also manifest in your personality, as you may be prone to frustration, irritability, and feelings of anger.
Get familiar with the qualities of a Kapha mind-body type. This mind-body type tends to have a natural propensity for physical strength and endurance. You may be naturally athletic, with a calm personality and the ability to use critical thinking and retain information quickly. However, you may be prone to weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies if you are feeling imbalanced. You may also exhibit an aversion to change and an overall stubborn demeanor. Kaphas tend to hold on to experiences, relationships, and objects long after they stop being useful or necessary.
Who do not want to be in shape & look slim? of course all of us! To maintain the beauty, many of us are working hard to keep their body in shape and hence is ready to go for anything just to lose weight. People pay heavy money for gym and fitness training centres for their weight loss and health. We stop eating our favourite foods to look slim. Many of us are opting for some meal replacement shakes, medicines or supplements for this purpose.
However, we generally ignore the simple healthy eating habits that have a major role in weight loss & health. Only menu selection is not sufficient to achieve weight loss and health targets. Menu is important but it not everything, it is one of the important part of healthy living. It has been beautifully illustrated in Ayurvedic text also that how important are your habits.
“How we eat is as important as what we eat.”
Methodical & disciplined eating helps to extract best out of food for body & soul. Food is not just to fill the stomach, it is to nourish every cell of the body.
“You can make your food to work like a superfood by complimenting with eating habits. “
Let us look at some of the healthy eating habits that will surely help you to maintain your best:
To sum up: Tune in with your gut, listen to your stomach & instinct and gather knowledge to follow a path of good health. You will surely achieve your targets. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Health is much more than the absence of disease. It is a positive quality, emphasizing intellectual, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Optimum nutrition, providing all nutrients in both kind and in right amount, is the cornerstone of good health and the cutting edge of prevention. The foods we eat, and the nutrients they should provide, are the most important continuing environmental factors influencing our growth, development, functional abilities, and health. How we structure our lifestyles, with proper nutrition, health habit discipline, and exercise programming, have a great influence on our personal health, and help us reduce our current medical care expenditures.
Physical inactivity is already a major global health risk and is prevalent in the modern world, particularly among the urban poor in crowded mega-cities. Healthy diets and physical activity are key to good nutrition and necessary for a long and healthy life. Eating nutrient dense foods and balancing energy intake with the necessary physical activity to maintain a healthy weight is essential at all stages of life. Unbalanced consumption of foods high in energy (sugar, starch and/or fat) and low in essential nutrients contributes to energy excess, overweight and obesity. The amount of the energy consumed in relation to physical activity and the quality of food are key determinants of nutrition-related chronic disease.
However, this is just a basic concept of nutrition in aforementioned diseases. It is always recommended to consult an expert nutritionist or dietician to know the right diet for your disease. It will be according to your health, height, weight and the severity of the disease. Every individual's nutrition requirement is different. The nutritionist will recommend a diet plan that will help you maintain the level of severity of the disease you are suffering from.
Fennel is a very common spice in India and is usually present in every kitchen. In fact, from a very young age, it has been seen that the elders advise the youngsters to consume a pinch of fennel after any meal for proper digestion. Fennel is also added to many dishes to make the dish flavourful as well, so that the person eating the dish can reap the benefits of all its medicinal properties. Fennel is much more than just a digestion enhancing natural ingredient. Fennel if boiled in water and the water taken empty stomach in morning, can be used as diuretic and also used in renal calculus. Some of its other uses and benefits are explained below.
Thus, these are some of the benefits of consuming fennel. Next time you consume fennel after a meal, you know why you are consuming it and what health benefits could it bring to you. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Over the last 2 decades, with increasing industrialization, we have seen the availability of all those foods in the marketplace that were prepared at home before. The food industry has grown leaps and bounds. Processed material, food intermediates, snack foods, ready to cook, ready to eat foods fast foods and food delivery companies & apps have emerged everywhere. Now we don't have to cook anything at home and all kinds of food are just a phone call or a click away. This is has improved convenience and reduced time & efforts. But over-dependance on ready foods with changing lifestyle has wreck havoc on our health. We see lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart diseases, arthritis, depression & anxiety almost in every house. All these disorders have a direct link to our food choices, and somehow we are not able to see this link.
Let’s see how the state of food (while eating) affects our health:
f we look at various stages of food, it starts from raw food, which grows in fields. This is then harvested and sold either in raw form or is used to produce processed food in factories. But the quality of same food varies distinctly as it passes through more stages. Let’s look at each stage.
Raw food: When a food crop is harvested, it’s raw form is the best form for human health. It has all the vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes intact. When we were an agrarian society, we used to eat a good quantity of raw food, as it was grown in the fields. But slowly with urbanization & commercialization of food, raw food consumption has gone very low. Raw produce is stored and transported in cold chains and made available in distant areas after many days of its harvest, which leads to deterioration in its quality and depletion of nutrients. When it reaches us in raw form, still it has a good quantity of nutrients left. If we eat this food, it works as medicine and we can prevent or improve on most lifestyle diseases.
Cooked food: After buying raw food, we cook it, as over the years we have developed taste for soft food. During cooking, we heat & boil food adding oil & spices. Plenty of nutrition is lost during the cooking process. But since we cannot see it, we judge the quality by taste, color & presentation. This food is okay to satisfy our hunger and do not harm us. But also it does not work as medicine and only good for satiety and gratification.
Processed food: This is the food that we purchase ready and eat as it is. Most of the snack foods are in this category. Intermediaries for home cooking like oils, sugar, salt, dressings, pastes etc. are also in the processed category. Even natural food like milk and milk products are available to us in processed & packed form today.
The problem is, though these foods are tasty, not only there nutritious value is totally lost, they also impact our health adversely. Industrial processing changes its biochemistry so much that our body system does not recognize them as food, and consider them as a foreign entity, just like micro-organisms, pollutants, allergens etc. that enter the body. Body’s defense mechanism called the immune system becomes active and generates an immune response to get rid of processed food. That means these foods are not welcomed inside the body. The immune response over a long period of time leads to auto-immune disorders, wherein in the process of removing these foreign bodies, our body cells and tissues also get destroyed as collateral damage. Most of the modern-day diseases are the outcome of auto-immune disorders.
If we check our food intake, it is primarily processed & cooked food, much more than raw food. Though we cannot avoid eating processed food totally, we can surely minimize its intake. Lack of time is often cited as reasons to eat ready food. But to consume raw food like fruits, salads, green leaves, sprouts, nuts & seeds not much time and cooking skills are required. Cooked food can be prepared using minimally processed ingredients. If we consume 40% raw food, 40% cooked food with minimally processed ingredients, and less than 20% processed food, we will be able to prevent and reduce many modern-day diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver, disorders related to hormonal imbalance like Hypo/hyperthyroidism, PCOD etc.
Our taste buds may resist this change for a few days, as for a long time we have not enjoyed natural tastes and have been used to strong tastes, but after a few days of practice we can alter our taste perception and start enjoying natural tastes. With this little change, if the reward is much better health, then it is definitely worth doing. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Colon cleansing is something people are familiar with. It is a process which helps to remove toxins from a person’s body and improves the digestive system, thereby taking care of the overall quality of your life. In a similar manner, salt water flush is also known as a safe, simple and effective way through which one can remove toxins and clean-up the colon. Before we explore how salt water flush helps in losing weight, let us first understand, what exactly is salt water flush.
Salt water flush or salt water cleanse is designed primarily to help people clean up their colon and digestive system. Salt Water flush has become popular as it assists in digestion and clearing up toxins from our bodies.
A Himalayan salt water flush, mixed with lemon juice is safer as compared to colon cleansing laxatives and drugs, which are intended for serving the same purpose. The best thing about this is that it is completely natural and scientifically proved to believe that it detoxes and improves one’s long-term health.
Benefits of Salt Water Flush
Now, let us take a look at some of the benefits of Salt Water Flush:
How Does Salt Water Flush Work Towards Making Someone Lose Weight?
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
The word weight loss brings an image of starving, eating just enough to survive, and reduce weight. However, that is not the case always. There are some foods that can actually help burn fat, the more you eat of these on a regular basis, the lesser the chances of you growing fat. The good old coconut, which has formed a regular part of our diet for ages is one such wonderful item. Listed below are some benefits that show how coconut helps in weight loss.
Not just weight loss, coconut is also very healthy for the heart, skin, and hair. It has no trans-fat, no gluten, is nontoxic and hypoallergenic and boosts immunity. Eat coconut in any form and enjoy the various benefits. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Berries are known to be extremely beneficial to health, and the strawberries, given their wide availability are more popular, especially in the Asian region. Whether as a raw fruit or in a salad, as a smoothie or an ice-cream, strawberries are liked by different people in different forms.
Read on to know some of the common benefits of these wonderful berries.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!