What's deemed "healthy" is always changing and sometimes it can seem overwhelming to keep up with the latest science. Remember when we were told via the food pyramid to eat low fat with loads of carbs (ie grains), and 100 calorie packs of processed food were considered healthy? Yikes! Luckily, we love to learn about the latest in Health and Wellness because not only is it our passion for our personal lives but it's our passion to share with others. We all have our reasons for seeking healthier habits and though I've lived a healthy lifestyle for years now, my curiosity and desire to learn more has been intensified by my infertility. I used FSH shots to get pregnant with my son and I'm determined to get pregnant naturally with another baby. So for whatever your reason it's important to stay in the know. Here is what we took away from 2017!
Doctors and scientists are beginning to realize that our gut flora is responsible for more actions in the body than we ever imagined. Studies show that microbes help with the absorption of nutrients and vitamin that are essential to overall health. Over 80% of our immune system is regulated and developed in the gut. Autoimmune disorders like IBS, type 1 diabetes, lupus, celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis are associated with a dysfunctional microbiome. But it gets even better, over 90% of serotonin is produced in the microbes of the GI tract. So your mental health is greatly affected by your gut health. Healthy gut, happy life? Maybe! It also has a direct link to your weight.
Diet, stress, sleep, exercise, and environment all affect the health of your microbiome. In terms of diet, it goes beyond taking a probiotic. Certain foods are rich in probiotics: kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and other fermented foods feed the microbiome. Prebiotics and fiber are also crucial for gut health. Foods like asparagus, bananas, onions, garlic, legumes, artichokes are great sources of prebiotics.
One thing we now know is fat is GOOD, healthy fat that is. Think avocado, coconut oil, nuts, fatty fish, olive oil, ghee, even fatty organic, grass fed meats. Fat is satiating, turns off hunger hormones, balances hormones, reduces waistlines, improves brain function (our brain is made mostly of fats), improves skin. High-quality fat has proven to improve mood and mental disorders. So then, High fat, happy life? Maybe! Studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and even violence. A low fat and higher carb diet contributes to insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other health issues. Beyond nourishing your heart and brain, eating the right fats helps you shed fat, so add avocado to your salad and add MCT oil to your coffee or tea....and put down the cupcake.
Polyphenols neutralize free radicals and prevent them from doing damage to your cells. Polyphenols are said to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, prevent platelet clumping, improve arterial flexibility and improve life span. So where do you get these magical plant based chemicals? All vegetables have them but the darker and more colorful the better. Here are some top sources: blueberries, dark chocolate, coffee, green tea, pomegranates, red cabbage, cloves, oregano. This is your permission to grab a glass of red wine and some really dark chocolate.
This one really blew our minds because we never knew there was such a thing, and we love wine! When we decided to carry wine at Nourish we wanted to stay true to our mission of chemical free. Enter Natural Wines. Natural wines are simply grown naturally, without chemicals or extra sugars to speed up fermentation as they rely on the art of wine making. These vineyards focus on quality over mass quantity. It turns out often the headachey or general crappy feeling you can sometimes feel after drinking wine has to do with the 200 additives that are legal in the United State to add to wine. Conventional wine makers will add sulfites, sugars, extra yeast, and fining agents to improve flavor, color, drinkability. Do you know that when you mouth turns really purple it's because of a chemical called Mega Purple that corrects the color (think carmel color in sodas). We sell 5 natural, biodynamic wines at Nourish. Another place to get natural wines are Top 10 Wines in Columbia or the online wine subscription Dry Farm Wines. Once you make the change you will actually be able to taste the chemicals in conventional wines. Kind of like how a Little Debbie just doesn't taste like it used to after you have cleaned up your diet. The worst offenders are mass produced vineyards (often well known...ahem Caymus and Meiomi) so if you don't know whether something is natural just choose a smaller more boutique wineary. Cheers!
Wishing you all a Happy New Year! We look forward to nourishing you in 2018!