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Jan 24

Keep it simple: 4 small lifestyle changes that will improve your health –

SALT LAKE CITY With the new year, many often want to start eating healthier which usually means a new diet. But diets can be restrictive, complicated and difficult to stick with, often leaving people feeling discouraged and hopeless.

This is why, instead of recommending a new diet to help individuals become healthier, I like to give people tips on how to make eating healthy easier. Being healthy shouldnt be stressful or hinder your mental health. Truly living a healthy life is a balance between physical (diet and exercise) and mental health. With that in mind, here are four easy tips to start your year on a healthy note.

Taking a few minutes out of your week to plan meals and snacks can be an easy way to start the year off on a healthy note without starting a new diet. Try to plan ahead by picking one day every week where you plan out meals and snacks for the upcoming week. I like to do this on a Sunday or Monday before I go grocery shopping. This way I have a complete list of all the food and ingredients I need to make it through the week.

Planning ahead not only helps me eat healthier, it also helps me save money because I am not wasting food. When you are planning ahead, try to select fruits and vegetables you enjoy eating as a healthy snack.

An important part of having a healthy body is taking care of your physical and mental health. Take time to create a self-care plan. A self-care plan can help you recharge and care for your mental health. I loved the explanation of self-care given by three therapists on the "Thoughts on Thoughts" podcast. It may surprise you to know that sometimes true self-care requires doing hard things that are beneficial. This can mean waking up early to have time to yourself, even when you arent a morning person.

It isnt hard to find the newest or most popular diet on the internet. Those diets can often be complex and difficult to follow. It can be discouraging when you start these diets and end up quitting a few weeks later. There is a much simpler way to start the year off on a healthy note: stop dieting.

Try taking a more intuitive approach to how you eat. Intuitive eating is a lifestyle that encourages individuals to listen to their bodies needs instead of restricting foods and dieting in any form. lists more detailed information about intuitive eating on its website.

Instead of starting the year on a new and complicated diet, try eating more intuitively and listening to your body. Dont fear or restrict foods; make peace with food and start enjoying eating again.

Exercising doesnt have to be complicated. I have two simple tips to make exercising easier for you to start and maintain.

It is much easier to maintain a healthy exercise routine if you are doing something you enjoy and arent pushing your body too hard, too fast.

So often we think being healthy needs to be hard or complicated. But living a healthy, balanced lifestyle isnt that way at all. Take a step back and try to honestly assess how your diet, exercise and mental health are doing this new year, and then start making simple changes to improve them.

Editors Note: Anything in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended, nor should it be interpreted, to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition; Any opinions, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available are those of the respective author(s) or distributor(s) and not of KSL. KSL does not endorse nor is it responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, information, or statement made in this article. KSL expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on the content of this article.

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Keep it simple: 4 small lifestyle changes that will improve your health -

Jan 24

Trying out a new fad diet? Its the same old thing. – Monterey County Weekly

Jan 24

’23 oz of walnuts’ daily may benefit heart and gut health – Medical News Today

A new trial suggests that people who eat walnuts every day may have better gut health and a lower risk of heart disease.

Nuts can be a great source of nutrients and a very healthful pick-me-up snack.

Walnuts, in particular, are high in protein, fat, and they are also a source of calcium and iron.

Given walnuts nutritional potential, some researchers have been looking at whether these nuts might actually help prevent specific health issues.

In 2019, researchers from Pennsylvania State University in State College found that individuals who replaced saturated fats with walnuts a source of unsaturated fats experienced cardiovascular benefits, particularly improvements in blood pressure.

The investigators explain that walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is present in plants.

Following up from that research, the team which includes assistant research professor Kristina Petersen and Prof. Penny Kris-Etherton have recently conducted another study to find out more about walnuts benefits to health.

The new study whose findings appear in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that incorporating walnuts into a healthful diet may benefit the gut and thus lead to better heart health.

Theres a lot of work being done on gut health and how it affects overall health, notes Prof. Kris-Etherton.

So, in addition to looking at factors like lipids and lipoproteins, we wanted to look at gut health. We also wanted to see if changes in gut health with walnut consumption were related to improvements in risk factors for heart disease, she says.

The researchers conducted a randomized, controlled trial involving 42 participants with overweight or obesity aged 3065.

They wanted to see if and how adding walnuts to a persons diet might influence gut health.

To begin with, the research team asked the participants to follow a standard Western diet for 2 weeks.

Then, at the end of this period, the researchers randomly split the study participants into three groups. One group followed a diet that included whole walnuts, the second group ate a diet that included alpha-linolenic acid but in the same quantity that the walnuts would contain. The third group followed a walnut-free diet in which the researchers replaced alpha-linolenic acid with oleic acid.

The participants followed their assigned diet for 6 weeks and then switched diets until each person had followed all three eating plans.

The researchers collected fecal samples from all participants at the end of each diet regimen period. This allowed them to analyze any changes regarding the bacterial populations present in the gastrointestinal tract.

Prof. Kris-Etherton, Petersen, and their colleagues found that individuals who ate 3 ounces (oz) of walnuts as part of an otherwise healthful diet experienced improvements in heart health. The scientists say that these changes were likely mediated by improvements in gut health, as suggested by changes in gut bacteria.

The walnut diet enriched a number of gut bacteria that have been associated with health benefits in the past, explains Petersen.

One of those is Roseburia, which has been associated with protection of the gut lining, she adds. We also saw enrichment in Eubacteria eligens and Butyricicoccus.

The researchers explain that E. eligens has associations with a variety of different aspects of irregular blood pressure. They add that an increase in the population of this bacterium may thus suggest a lower cardiovascular risk.

They also note that an increase in Lachnospiraceae has links with lower blood pressure, total cholesterol, and bad cholesterol measurements.

The study did not find any significant associations between any changes in gut bacteria following the walnut-free diets and risk factors for heart disease.

Replacing your usual snack especially if its an unhealthful snack with walnuts is a small change you can make to improve your diet, notes Petersen.

Substantial evidence shows that small improvements in diet greatly benefit health. Eating 2 to 3 oz of walnuts a day as part of a healthful diet could be a good way to improve gut health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Kristina Petersen

The authors of the current study explain that walnuts may bring different health benefits due to the variety of nutrients that they contain.

Co-author Regina Lamendella, who is an associate professor of Biology, emphasizes that [f]oods like whole walnuts provide a diverse array of substrates like fatty acids, fiber, and bioactive compounds for our gut microbiomes to feed on.

She continues, this can help generate beneficial metabolites and other products for our bodies.

Going forward, the research team wants to find out whether whole walnuts might influence other measurements that determine a persons health, too.

The study gives us clues that nuts may change gut health, and now were interested in expanding that and looking into how it may affect blood sugar levels, says Prof. Kris-Etherton.

Yet, while nutritious and healthful, do walnuts really have a significant impact on our well-being? The researchers who conducted this study suggest they might.

However, they do disclose that their trial received some funding from the California Walnut Commission, which represents the walnut growers of California. As other research suggests, studies funded by stakeholders often raise issues about trust among the general public.

Other researchers have also concluded that walnuts are optimal healthful foods. There are few reports of health risks associated with walnuts for people who do not have a nut allergy or gastrointestinal problems.

For now, the research into how much of a difference walnuts can make for a persons health continues.

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'23 oz of walnuts' daily may benefit heart and gut health - Medical News Today

Jan 24

A diet that stands the test of a new year – Fall River Herald News

As the New Year begins, many of us find ourselves reflecting on 2019. We may ask ourselves, what did I do over the past year? How did I grow? What did I accomplish? The year seems to fly by, and the next thing we know, were counting down to the ball drops and finding ourselves making the same New Years resolutions we did last year.

More than half of resolution makers commit to eating healthier and/or exercising more. On Jan. 2, gyms become packed and fad diets run rampant. Research shows that the second Friday of January is the most common day for people to give up their resolutions; by the end of the month, 36% of people have quit.

Dieting can be confusing and frustrating, as there is so much information readily accessible, all of which seem to contradict. Many people looking to lose weight in the New Year turn to fad diets for example, the keto diet, paleo diet, fasting, etc. Fad diets are not a long-term solution; typically, they help you lose weight quickly but are not sustainable for a long period of time.

There are a few diets that have stood the test of time for healthy living, and at the top of the list is the Mediterranean diet. According to U.S. News and World Report, this diet has been ranked the number one diet for three years running.

The Mediterranean diet is a cuisine that is based on the lifestyle adopted by those living in the countries which border the Mediterranean Sea. It is rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, seafood, oils, and it limits processed meats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars. This provides a balanced diet that is high in fiber and unsaturated fats and is low in unhealthy fats and high-calorie foods. This helps promote healthy cholesterol levels for cardiac health as well as a healthy weight.

If youre looking to make some diet changes in 2020, start with these few tips inspired by the Mediterranean diet:

Choose whole grain carbohydrates over refined (examples: brown rice over white rice, wheat pasta instead of white pasta, etc.).

Use healthy fats over saturated fats. Fats that are liquid at room temperature are generally healthier than those that are solid. For example, cook with olive oil instead of butter.

Put down the salt shaker and opt for stronger herbs and spices. This is especially beneficial to those with hypertension.

Dial back the red meat consumption and try for at least one meatless meal per week and one seafood-based meal per week.

Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables increases fiber intake which helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels by raising the good cholesterol and lowering the bad. It also helps to keep you fuller longer, thus lowering your total calorie intake.

Heres a great Mediterranean-inspired recipe thats delicious and easy to prepare.

Mediterranean Chicken Tacos

Source: Mindful by Sodexo

Serving Size: 2 Tacos

Yield: 8 Tacos

Chicken Taco Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

8 6-inch whole grain flour tortilla

1/2 cup roasted garlic hummus

2 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce

1/2 cup diced cucumbers with skin

1/2 cup diced plum tomato

2 1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Yogurt sauce

Yogurt Sauce Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoons diced cucumber

1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/8 teaspoons water

1/8 teaspoon minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tsp lemon juice


1. In a bowl, combine minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, ground black pepper, and dried oregano leaves. Coat chicken well, grill or sear for 2 minutes on each side, transfer to lined sheet pan and place in preheated 350 oven. Cook through. Remove from heat. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Slice into approximately 1/2 slices before building tacos.

2. For the yogurt sauce: In a mixing bowl, add non-fat plain Greek yogurt, diced cucumber, extra virgin olive oil, water, minced garlic, ground black pepper and lemon juice. Mix until well-blended. Set aside in refrigerator for use.

3. Lay tortilla on flat surface, spread 1 tbsp. hummus over each tortilla. Divide chicken into 8 portions, lay one portion on top of hummus, top with cup romaine lettuce, 1 tbsp cucumber, 1 tbsp diced tomato. Drizzle with yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Fold over and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts per 2 Tacos:

Calories: 390, Carbs: 38g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 15g, Sat. fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 470mg, Fiber: 5g

Courtney Faiola is a registered dietitian at Saint Annes Hospital. A graduate of Johnson and Wales University, Courtney and the team of registered dietitians at Saint Annes Hospitals Nutrition Services offer outpatient counseling for adults and children for a range of conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight loss, food allergies, and much more. For more information, ask your physician, or call Saint Annes Hospitals Nutrition Services, 508-674-5600, extension 2160.

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A diet that stands the test of a new year - Fall River Herald News

Jan 24

The Health Hub: Escape the Black Hole of Dieting –

Diet culture can make eating a really stressful experience.

From keto, plant based, Mediterranean, pescatarian, carnivore, intermittent fasting, OMAD (one meal a day), etc how are you supposed to know what diet is right for you?

Quick tip - fads are short lived, trends fade and diets, ultimately, do not work.

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Individualized balance is key when choosing a style of eating that aligns with your schedule. Lets face it, a stay at home mom is going to be eating much differently than someone who works a 9 to 5. No matter what your schedule, each macronutrient has its place on your plate. But what are macronutrients aka macros?

Macronutrients are nutrients that your body requires in large amounts, which include protein, carbohydrates and fats. Water is considered another macronutrient, but we will table that for another post.

Protein is the building block of all the tissues in your body. Think collagen ladies and guys think muscle! And the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at a rested state. It also composes all enzymes in the body which are the catalysts for EVERY SINGLE metabolic reaction that occurs.

Fat is another key player. Along with protein, it is a building block of all hormones, cells and organs. Your brain is made up of 60% fat btw...

Fat also offers protection to all your vital organs and is a regulator of body temperature. And yes, it can be used as an ALTERNATE energy source for the body, whencarbohydrate isn't available.

Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for the body. This means that when you consume both fat and carbohydrate, your body will use carbohydrates to produce energy and store fat as a backup source.

Aside from being our primary energy source, carbohydratesalso play a role in metabolism and hormonal health. When you restrict carbohydrate, your body perceives that you are in a stressful environment and your adrenal glands start producing adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormone). This is something you want to avoid because chronically elevated cortisol can cause chronic inflammation and disrupt sleep, digestion, learning, memory, mood etc. Your adrenal glands also have a role in producing progesterone, which is key in balancing estrogen levels.

So ladies, cutting carbohydrates long term can lead to hormonal imbalance and estrogen dominance due to the decreased production of progesterone!

And guys, chronically elevated cortisol isn't good for you either. Think low testosterone, which can lead to loss of muscle, lower metabolic function and lower sex drive.

To summarize, with each meal have a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

An ideal day could look something like this....

Breakfast: 1 cup cooked oatmeal withchia seeds, 1 scoop protein powder mixed in and topped with berries (Click here for my plant based protein powder recommendation) OR 3 egg omelette with spinach/ mushrooms/ tomatoes with 2 slices sprouted grain toast.

Lunch: Big salad with grilled chicken, chickpeas, peppers, onions, cucumber, dressed with 2 Tbsp. EVOO and balsamic OR Salmon with a medium sweet potato and asparagus (any green veggie would work).

Dinner: Grilled cod with zoodles/ peas/ carrots/ EVOO in a marinara sauce, side of broccoli OR Steak with quinoa salad (spinach, tomato, EVOO, garlic), side of brussel sprouts.

Looking for more meal ideas? Check out my ebook, Glow: Simple Plant Based Meals

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The Health Hub: Escape the Black Hole of Dieting -

Jan 24

Christian Pulisic: The Real-Life Diet of the Potential Savior of American Soccer – GQ

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea midfielder and maybe-savior of the United States mens national soccer team, misses American cuisine. Its not that he dislikes his offerings in the United Kingdomhes actually quite effusive in his praise for British dishes that are normally considered to be, shall we say, on the blander side. He swears hes not a picky eater, either: Hell eat anything except sushi. But Pulisic, like any other 21-year-old, refuses to totally abandon American fast-casual, which is whylegend has ithe once drove two hours to visit one of the only Chipotles in Germany when he was playing there.

I have been told this insane-sounding Chipotle trip came about organically, as did his long-standing love for the chain, which dates back to his formative years in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The payoff for his loyalty came recently with an official endorsement, Chipotles First International Ambassador, an honor that spurred a round of interviews for the usually reserved soccer superstar. Pulisic also has more free time than is the norm because hes recovering from an abductor injury; hes sticking to extra rest, massage work, and reps in the swimming pool so he can get back to action ASAP, he says.

In his inaugural Premier League campaign, Pulisic has five goals and two assists in 12 starts. He spoke to GQ about his newfound game day routine, unabashedly enjoying avocado toast, the baking show he grew up watching, and how often he and other pro soccer players hit the gym for weight training.

GQ: You grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, so I have to ask: whats your all time favorite sweet, Hersheys or otherwise?

Christian Pulisic: Definitely Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. But any dessert is my go-to cheat meal. Im a big chocolate guy. My mom loves baking, so she would always make chocolate chip cookies and ice cream sundaes.

Have you ever watched The Great British Bake Off?

I dont think Ive seen that, but I used to watch Cake Boss a lot with my sister.

Can you walk me through an average game day for you during the season?

Well, it first depends on when we play, since sometimes we play at noon, or three, or a later game. But say the average game is 3 p.m. We normally have an open time slot in the morning, and I head to breakfast around 9:30 a.m. Recently Ive really enjoyed avocado on toast, maybe with some fried eggs on top. Then Ill head back to the room, relax a bit, and then well do a team walk and meet for a pregame meal like three-ish hours before the game. Well maybe have one more meeting, make final preparations, and then go out and play.

How did yall arrive on eating a meal three-ish hours before game time?

Yeah, I think thats a fairly strategic decision. You dont want to be too full right when you walk out. This gives you enough time to feel that energy and be ready to go. I might do something tiny before the game just to get a little extra sugar, but thats it.

After the game, we have a bunch of food options in the locker room to replenish yourself and get all that good stuff back in your body. Thats at 6-ish, and later, Ill have a more proper dinner. But it really depends on the timing of the game.

Have you been chided by any of the older players for being a 20-something who likes avocado toast?

Nah, I push right past that. I enjoy it and think its a great option.

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Christian Pulisic: The Real-Life Diet of the Potential Savior of American Soccer - GQ

Jan 24

Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet – The Herald-News

With that goal in mind, Taras recommends these tips from the U. S. Centers forDisease Control and Prevention:

Get checkups. Visit your doctor regularly for preventive services. Exams and screenings can help find problems early, when the chances for treatment and cure are better. And vaccinations are important for adults, too

Ask your physician what vaccinations and tests you should get based on your age, lifestyle, medical history, and family health history, Taras said in a news release from Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.

Eat a healthy diet. Make healthy food choices like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.

Move more, sit less. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.

Rethink your drink. Substitute water for sugary or alcoholic drinks to reduce calories and stay safe.

Wash hands often to avoid spreading germs and getting sick. Keeping hands clean is one of the most significant steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others, Taras said in the release.

By simply washing your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds, youre reducing your exposure to harmful pathogens that can make you ill. If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product. The key thing to remember is that clean hands do save lives.

Get enough sleep. Adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Manage stress. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending. By balancing work, home, and social commitments, you can keep a more relaxed and positive view.

Be smoke-free. If youre ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free counseling.

Be sun safe. Wear layered clothes and apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

Brush your teeth. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.


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Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet - The Herald-News

Jan 24

Friend offers advice for healthy eating – Lake Placid Diet by Andy Flynn – | News and information on the Lake Placid and Essex…

Start (Dec. 31): 447 lbs.

Last week: 437 lbs.

This week: 437 lbs.

Total lost in 2020: 10 lbs.

A friend of mine who is a seasonal resident of Keene Valley recently emailed me a list of helpful eating tips from losing weight and getting healthy and said it was OK to share these with my readers. I love these!


-Eat on a schedule and not in between; I try for 7, 1, 7.

- Plan your day of meals ahead.

- Try not to have food in the house that isnt good for you.

- Savor every bite. Eat slowly. Taste.

- If you think you are hungry and its not meal time yet, tackle a task that will distract you and before you know it, you are eating late and can tick something off the to do list.

- Long stretches without eating are good (mini-fasts).

- If there is something that might encourage a gorge, keep it out of sight.

- Divide your meal in half in a restaurant when it comes and take it home

- Share entrees with someone you eat with and get your own salad.

- Pack breakfasts, lunches, or dinners ahead if you are working or going to out of the house for a meal. Reheat oatmeal (old-fashioned, no sugar) and some berries for breakfast. Try fruit and nuts with unsweetened Greek yogurt or cottage cheese as a healthy fill me up.

- Dont shop when hungry. Order groceries, i.e. Peapod, to stay out of the supermarket.

- Its OK to eat something unhealthy once in a while. Then walk.

- Try Lose It! Or an app that you can count calories on, not forever, but just to be more self-aware.

- Get a physical once a year to check your weight and blood numbers.

- You dont need to weigh yourself often if you measure by the fit of your clothes. The goal is health, not a specific weight number.


- Drink first when you think you are hungry. You might just be thirsty.

- Drink lots of water and herbal tea.

- Stay away from processed foods. Think of food as fuel and plan accordingly.

- Dont waste calories on fruit juice. Eat the fruit and get the fiber, too.

- Be sure to get enough protein, avoiding red meat. Chicken (no skin) and fish are good. Try beans, quinoa, other grains for protein.

- Eat little or no bread, starches, sweets and just a bit of fat, preferably olive oil.

- If you must eat after dinner, try diet chocolate pudding cups or a controlled number of nuts. Or both.

- High glycemic sugars arent healthy, but for a treat, freeze grapes in a cup or plastic bag. Takes a long time to eat.

- Add chia seeds and flax to low fat Greek unsweetened yogurt, then add fruit and some nuts. Its a healthy meal, or in a small portion, good before working out or as a dessert or snack.

- Salad dressing should be on the side with just a drop drizzled on and mixed in. Or use lemon juice as dressing. A salad isnt healthy if its loaded with dressing.

- Go for bulk, with fruits and vegetables.

- You really can be happy with smaller portions!

- Use pepper and other spices; avoid salt.

- Avoid caffeine. Carry herbal tea bags.

- Eat carrot sticks (so sweet and crunchy) at cocktail parties.

- Plan meals that work for you, then repeat them to make it easier. But, too much repetition can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, so think about taking a multivitamin.

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Friend offers advice for healthy eating - Lake Placid Diet by Andy Flynn - | News and information on the Lake Placid and Essex...

Jan 24

The Mind-Body Connection – Memphis Magazine

Do you think much about what you eat and how it makes you feel? Science has long recognized the connectivity between the brain and gastrointestinal system, which, after the brain, is the bodys largest nervous system. But researchers are in the early stages of investigating the guts microbiome, the millions of microbes that live in our intestines and communicate with the microbes in our brain daily.

The understanding that our inner ecosystem of bacteria and other organisms can actually speak to our brain and influence things like bowel movements, perception of pain, and even our mood is a relatively new one. How these two important organs communicate with each other and what it means may help people with GI problems and other health concerns.

Scientists are interested in that link, notes Jay Pasricha, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, whose research on the enteric nervous system has garnered international attention. The enteric nervous system doesnt seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain with profound results, he says on the John Hopkins website.

This sharing of information between the intestines and the brain has many researchers working on better understanding how our gut health impacts our mental health.

For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to these problems. But our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around, Pasricha says.

Researchers are uncovering clues that suggest irritation in the gastrointestinal system may be sending signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes.

These new findings may explain why a higher-than-normal percentage of people with IBS and functional bowel problems develop depression and anxiety, Pasricha says.

Financial administrator Lisa Butts has long had issues with constipation. It is a condition her mother struggled with and one she figures runs in her family. As she came into mid-life, she was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, a common disorder that affects the large intestine, causing bloating, stomach upset, diarrhea, and constipation.

The limiting nature of her symptoms unpredictable swings between constipation and diarrhea gradually forced this busy executive to schedule her day around bathroom breaks. She found herself always having to worry about where relief could be found, whether in a grocery store or at the workplace.

Every day, I had to think about my stomach, notes Butts. Whats more, the stress that arose from managing IBS further compounded its symptoms, often leaving Butts feeling anxious and depressed.

It was a European vacation Butts took with her husband in July 2015 that proved to be her wake-up call. Traveling through Italy where she ate a diet heavy in breads and pasta sent her GI tract into overdrive. In addition to the discomfort of abdominal pain and irregularity, shed experienced brain fog, which caused her to lose words. Once home, Butts knew she had to make a change. Her symptoms led to depression and a fear of traveling.

I didnt want to go out anywhere because I didnt know when those episodes would happen, she says. It became a psychological issue. The unpredictability of my stomach issues created a lot of stress.

After doing extensive reading, Butts decided to try a gluten-free diet and made an appointment to see her internist a month later.

When I got off gluten, in six weeks to two months, I was like a different person. I wasnt losing words anymore. It was like someone had opened a curtain and I could see again, she says.

Her internist sent Butts to a gastroenterologist, yet he was dubious initially about the food connection. He listened but he discounted what I had to say, she says. Further testing revealed a bacterial overgrowth in her small intestine (SIBO), a condition treated with antibiotics (she takes an herbal antibiotic) and one shell need to continue to manage. She also did an elimination test called the FODMAPs diet with her dietician to help zero in on specific foods her body cant break down properly, thus contributing to her symptoms.

There are so many things that can effect the gut, says dietician Linda Pennington with Dietician Associates in Germantown. The foods we eat, illness, medication, stress. Since the gastrointestinal tract is the biggest part of the immune system, what we eat can impact our overall wellness, says Pennington.

As a dietician, Pennington helps people identify those foods that might be having a negative impact on their health. Using tools like the elimination FODMAPs diet can help patients better understand the challenges some foods present.

Though it may seem obvious to some, its not a connection everyone makes, observes Mark Corkins, M.D. division chief of pediatric gastroenterology at Le Bonheur Childrens Hospital. He says parents will often bring in a child who drinks Starbucks coffee or pours half a bottle of hot sauce on their food and not understand why theyre complaining of belly pain.

Coffee and spicy foods are stimulants, so that activates the GI tract, he says. Our body gives us clues, and we just want to ignore them.

There is no one diet that fits everybody, says Penningtson. It can be helpful, but we must look at the person as a whole.

Pinpointing how those foods affect the flora (the good bacteria that help our bodies digest food) of the gut and how that is communicated to the brain will take time. There are so many influences: diet, stressors, whats going on in our lives. All of these have input on how the GI tract works. Thats what makes it hard to study, says Corkins. Thats why its so muddy.

But practitioners like Corkins and Pennington believe further research may provide answers and potentially better understanding of the mind-gut connection. In the meantime, both recognize the importance of treating patients holistically, by listening to their stories to better understand not just their symptoms, but what other factors, such as stress and lifestyle choices, may be having on their overall health.

There is no one diet that fits everybody, says Penningtson. It can be helpful, but we must look at the person as a whole.

Today, Butts reports she has good days and bad. But theres no comparison to what it was like. Im not awake thinking about my stomach. Though her IBS issues may never be fully resolved, learning how to manage them better has improved her overall outlook. As research continues, that prognosis may one day prove to be better.

Your body responds to the food you eat every day, whether its by giving you the energy you need or the heartburn you dont. Learn to listen to your gut.

Cut down on processed foods. Our bodies arent designed to metabolize the amount of animal fat, red meat, and highly processed foods our diets consist of today. Think about your daily intake of meat, then reduce the serving size or replace it entirely with poultry, fish, or a vegetable dish. Avoid heavily fried foods. And pledge to eat three servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Avoid artificial flavorings. These include emulsifiers, artificial sweeteners, and fructose corn syrup, additives the food industry relies heavily on to make products more appetizing. Yes, non-nutrient sweeteners may help on the weight-loss front but their intense sweetness can fool your taste buds into thinking the natural sweetness found in fruits and veggies isnt enough. The upshot? You turn to artificially sweetened foods over natural ones. Read food labels more closely and learn the 54 different names sweeteners go by, then cut them out of your diet for better health.

Get moving. Whether you walk, play a sport, or ride your bike, Doing some sort of daily activity is important, says Dr. Mark Corkins. That helps with your GI health.

Diversify food choices. Do you find yourself reaching for the same handful of foods every day? One way to improve your gut health is to diversify the types of foods you eat. Instead of having toast and coffee for breakfast, why not try peaches with oatmeal? Another easy switch is a half-cup of Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries and almonds, flavored with a dash of cinnamon. Poached eggs are a great nutritional breakfast item, one rich in protein.

Try new ways to prepare vegetables. Many nutritionists believe a plant-based diet is healthier, but if youve still boiling your veggies, youre cooking away their goodness. Roasting broccoli, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts gives these staples a hearty, robust flavor. Spread your vegetables on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, flavor with rosemary and thyme, then roast in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes until al dente. Another option is to bake a butternut squash. Youll be surprised by its rich, mellow flavor. Sweet potatoes, too, are a vitamin-rich vegetable that dont have to be smothered in marshmallow goo to be tasty. Next time, simply bake one and serve with a dab of butter.

Learn to listen to your gut. Your body responds to the food you eat every day, whether its by giving you the energy you need or the heartburn you dont. Pay attention to how you feel after eating a meal. Gastrointestinal issues such as chronic constipation, gas, or bloating can be an indication that certain foods dont work well with your GI system. Identify what these foods are. For example, garlic and onion can be a digestive problem for some people, dairy or wheat products for others. Know your body and eliminate problem foods from your diet. When food is killing you, thats not living well, says dietician Linda Pennington.

Try relaxation practices like yoga and meditation. Since an unhappy gut can be made worse by stress, try practicing yoga or learning how to meditate. Corkins recently attended a medical conference where two papers presented showed positive evidence that yoga can help with IBS because it teaches people how to focus and relax, he says.

Read the rest here:
The Mind-Body Connection - Memphis Magazine

Jan 24

Whats the deal with the Florida Avenue Road Diet Test? – AVLtoday

Dixieland Historic District | Photo by @kalebwalding

In case you didnt know, Florida Ave. is about to get a bit of a makeover in just a few months. (i.e. its going from five to three lanes.)

Recreated footage of you trying to figure out how this will work. (Dont worry were about to get to that.) | Gif via Giphy

We know the redo of an entire road especially one thats as hopping as Florida Ave. can seem pretty daunting. Like when is it happening? Will you need to #PlanAhead your commute time? How will its success be measured? Etc. So in an effort to drive away some of your roadway anxieties (and ours too, tbh), we reached out to the City for the answers.

Heres the scoop on the project in ~2 min.

Click here to learn more about the why behind the project.

LALtoday team (Jessica + Kaylee)

Continue reading here:
Whats the deal with the Florida Avenue Road Diet Test? - AVLtoday

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