COLLAGEN – The gut and skin wonder nutrient

Collagen

The collagen market has hit the health and wellness industry by storm. Everyone wants a piece of the beauty pie. Claims of increasing skin elasticity, firming up sagging skin, healing damaged skin and on a less vein level, supporting joints and healing the gut have people scrambling at local health food stores, pharmacies and beauty houses for all things collagen. Now I have suggested here that the vanity side of things might be completely separate from the gut, but in reality, the gut and skin are very closely connected.

We all begin life as just one lonely little cell, in the comfy and warm womb of our mothers. From here, we very rapidly divide into many cells and develop until we become a fully grown baby. As we continue this growth some of our original cells and remain linked together. Our gut, skin and brain are connected closely by our original tissues.

This has led research to identify a clear link between the gut, skin and associated skin conditions.

Did you know the skin is our body’s largest organ?

As a structural organ, the skin plays a very important part in maintaining a healthy body from:

  • UV damage (from the sun)
  • Dietary and environmental factors that cause free radical damage
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Physical stress placed on the skin

Other factors may affect the health of our skin including:

  • Hormone imbalances
  • A poor diet
  • Alcohol
  • Dehydration
  • The dysfunction of other organs such as the liver and gut

So, what about collagen then?

Collagen is found naturally in the structural makeup of our skin. It plays a large role in skin elasticity, ensuring that our skin does not sag and wrinkle, which is why the beauty industry has made a fortune out of topical collagen products. Collagen is also found in the gut lining playing a similar healing and protective role, but on a deeper level that we cannot see. Although, those with gut problems such as leaky gut will soon discover the benefits after taking collagen supplements or increasing collagen naturally with food.

PLUS Vitamin C

Collagen is heavily reliant on the incredibly famous antioxidant known as Vitamin C for production in the body. Including several sources of Vitamin C rich foods in the diet daily can boost your chances of producing enough collagen to achieve that beautiful, firm glow you have been searching for, as well as do some fabulous healing work in the gut. Because both organs are so connected and so vital to overall health, it is important to work on both the skin and gut.

Here are some vitamin C rich food sources:

  • Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower
  • Capsicums
  • Chillis
  • Leafy greens (spinach, cabbage, kale etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes, pumpkins
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • All berries
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Lemons, oranges, grapefruit

Sources of Collagen

  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean beef
  • Citrus fruits
  • Egg white
  • Garlic
  • Berries
  • Cashews
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Soy products
  • Tomatoes
  • Capsicum

The road to healthy skin

The diet plays a key role in the health of our skin. The skin relies on essential nutrients to preserve its integrity and elasticity. Eating nutrient-rich foods often can ensure we are getting the variety of nutrients require for that all-important glow and youthfulness.

Enjoy Your Fruit & Veggies Plentifully

Fruit and vegetables are a given, we all know it, but we sometimes need to be reminded of this in these times of fast food and time-poor lifestyles. The antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant chemicals and nutrients) found in our fruits and vegetables help to maintain skin elasticity and integrity below the surface of the skin, as well as what we can see in the mirror. Fruit and vegetables also offer the gut the nutrients it requires to produce collagen and stressless hormones.

Eat Seasonally

Eating seasonally increases the nutritional profile of fruits and vegetables meaning you will get the most out of them!

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are important in helping to build cell membranes and hydrate and plump the skin. Omega-3, omega-6 and monounsaturated fatty acids are the best of the fats.

Sources of healthy fats include:

  • Avocado
  • Nut butters
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs
  • Oily fish (salmon, tuna, cod, sardines)
  • Olive oil
  • Olives

Prebiotics – Improve the health of your friendly gut bacteria

Our colon (the large bowel) has an enormously diverse number of healthy bacteria. Like us, they are living and these very live and operating healthy bacteria require fuel, much the same as we require fuel (food) to live.

What do they eat?

The preferred fuel source of our healthy friends are called indigestible carbohydrates known as pre-biotic fibres to undertake the vast array and very important roles they play in our health.

What do they do for us?

Our healthy bacteria are responsible for regulating the immune system, metabolism, energy production and much more.

It is important to ensure we are consuming enough pre-biotic fibres from our food to sustain our friendly colonic bacteria. Because, let’s face it, without them and their health, we would be sick, tired and lethargic and that is just the beginning. Unfortunately, many of those who presented to clinic have already reached the sick, tired, and lethargic stage and require supportive treatments to reorganise, rebuild and repopulate their healthy bacteria.

Why are pre-biotics considered indigestible?

  • They are resistant to the acid and enzymes found in our stomach
  • They are fermented by our healthy bacteria (as their food and energy source)
  • They become a source of fuel to help the healthy bacteria grow and produce the materials required to keep us healthy and happy.

What is Guar Gum?

Guar gum is a pre-biotic fibre that is popular in many packaged food items and baked goods. In these food forms, guar gum may not offer its full nutritional potential. However, on its own guar gum is seen as a gut friendly ingredient that feeds our little gut ‘besties’.

What are the benefits of Guar Gum?

This gum is tasteless, odourless and helps to improve toileting habits by increasing the bulk of the stool, drawing in water and reducing the straining that often accompanies constipation.  Guar gum has been praised for its positive effects in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive complaints such as gas, bloating and discomfort.

Some popular dietary fibres have demonstrated risks for nutrient absorption. Guar gum however, has not shown the same risks and is therefore suitable for those suffering from iron, zinc and calcium deficiencies under the care of a health professional.

Simple use tips

You can add Guar gum to smoothies or protein shakes to make them like thick shakes or play around with the quantities to blend protein powder and water into a mousse. You may also like to thicken home-made soups, stir fry sauces or salad dressings.

Be Nice To Your Gut & Yourself This Festive Season

Christmas parties and family feasts are an exciting time for social interaction and for treating your taste buds. It is lovely to sit around the table with friends and loved ones chatting and enjoying each other’s company, telling stories of the year that has passed.

But the indulgent meals and snacks that hit the Christmas table can cause your tummy to do backflips and cartwheels, for some, even by just looking at it. Your eyes and taste buds are saying “oh goody yes, yes Christmas food!”. But your gut is saying “nooooo don’t do this to me!”. Then, come the New Year celebrations not long after. Where is the time to rest and digest?

Here are some tips and tricks to guide you through the silly season.

Stress is enough to churn your gut

Preparing large meals for a big group of people can be stressful. By doing the majority of the prep work the day or night before, you will reduce your stress levels, make your gut happy for Christmas day and be able to enjoy yourself as you should.

Christmas lunch/dinner doesn’t have to be unhealthy

Turkey is a fantastic source of tryptophan, which helps us make our happy hormones serotonin and melatonin, both helping you to feel more relaxed and happier. Also, a lean source of vitamins B and protein, turkey is a great way to fill you up and give you energy for the socialising ahead. Remember to remove the skin to reduce the saturated fat you eat for the day. Fill your plate with mostly vegetables to fill your tummy with goodness and leave less room for dessert and nibbles that are not so tummy friendly.

You booze you lose

Well kind of. Its okay to have a drink or two with loved ones to celebrate gathering together but take care of the types of alcoholic beverages you choose. Reduce your champagne, wine and beer intake to just 1 and opt for vodka or gin and soda. These carry less calories and little sugar to disrupt your friendly little guys in the gut. Alcohol in general is enough to aggravate some gut conditions so know your limits.  Stay hydrated between alcoholic beverages.

Get ahead of the dreaded post feast bloat

Stick to one smaller size plate with half vegetables and some protein. Chew your food slowly and thoroughly. Teas can be beneficial in reducing any bloating and nausea post meal, including ginger and peppermint tea.

Get your move on or your groove on

Exercise in the form of walking, pre-event gym or dancing with some Christmas music can help your body to prepare, process and digest food. It will also help you to burn off some of those extra calories.

Have fun, be merry and enjoy your Christmas.

Danielle x

Step up your digestive game with these simple steps

sauerkraut

1

Make fermented foods a staple in your diet.

Foods that have been fermented allow for the introduction of healthy gut bacteria into the digestive system to assist in digestive processes. Fermented foods themselves are easier to digest.

Fermented foods include:

  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kim chi
  • Organic natural yoghurt
  • Kombucha
  • Tempeh
  • Miso

Probiotic supplements can also increase the healthy colonies of bacteria that reside in your digestive system.

2

Increase dietary fibre

Soluble and insoluble fibres are essential to a healthy gastrointestinal system and reduce constipation. It is important to keep hydrated any time fibre is increased. Additionally, fibre is an effective waste eliminator as it binds to waste materials along the gastrointestinal tract and takes it out of the body with bowel motions.

Psyllium husk is an easily accessible supplementary form of fibre that can be added to water, juice or cereal.

3

Embrace the power of Apple Cider Vinegar

Combat indigestion, reflux, bloating, gas by adding 1-2 tsp ACV and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to warm water prior to each meal.

4

Drink up!

Water that is…

Hard stools are never fun and being dehydrated is a significant factor in hard stools, straining and constipation. For most healthy adults more than 2L of water daily is recommended.

5

With pro come pre-biotics

Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that are fermented by the healthy bacteria (probiotics) in the digestive tract. The fermentation process provides food or fuel for probiotics to enhance growth and functionality in digestive processes.

Prebiotic foods include:

  • Artichokes
  • Leek
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Slippery elm
  • Psyllium

6

Enzyme supplementation

No matter how perfect your diet may be, a lack of digestive enzymes will hinder your digestive capabilities. Supplementation with digestive enzymes prior to meals can assist in reducing the uncomfortable symptoms associated with poor digestion. You can obtain certain enzymes from foods such as, papaya, kiwi fruit and pineapple.

7

Herbal teas not cawfees

Coffee has stimulative and irritative effects on the gut, which can contribute to digestive discomfort, inflammation and diarrhoea. Herbal teas are soothing and nourishing to the gut and increase hydration. Certain teas such as ginger, peppermint, turmeric, chamomile and liquorice tea can reduce flatulence, decrease inflammation and bloating.

8

Mooove

Remaining active increases circulation and stimulates peristaltic muscle movements that push food around and through the digestive tract. Even short gentle exercise after meals can go a long way in the fight for a healthy digestive system.

9

Stress less

Stress is a significant driver in poor digestion. It seems strange and totally unconnected but, the energy that would normally be used in digesting foods is diverted to the brain and muscles to manage stressresponses.

Manage stress with:

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Epsom salts baths
  • Adequate sleep
  • Engaging in arts and crafts or any down-time hobbies

Keto Bread Rolls (cut carbs)

keto bread rolls

The keto craze has well and truly kicked off and to those of you who are just starting up on their merry way, here is a recipe that will help you cut carbs without even knowing it! Bread lovers behold the ‘Keto Bread Rolls’.

The Keto Bread Roll Recipe

Ingredients 

Dry Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp. psyllium husk
  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1 tsp Celtic/Himalayan/Sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • optional 2 tbsp. sesame seeds (I let these out in this instance)

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 egg whites (you can make flax eggs if you can not eat eggs)
  • 1 cup water, boiled

Method

Preheat your oven to 175C fan forced.

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Add all wet ingredients (boiling water, vinegar and egg whites) to dry ingredients.

Using a hand mixer, beat ingredients for 30 seconds (be sure not to overbeat).

Pre-grease a baking tray lined with baking paper.

With moist hands pull out six pieces of dough and lay them side by side with enough space to expand slightly on the tray.

Place in the oven on the lower shelf for approximately 50-60 minutes or until a tap on the bottom of the rolls produce a hollow sound.

Enjoy fresh or store airtight.

Are Intestinal Parasites Affecting Your Quality of Life?

Intestinal Parasites

 

Intestinal parasites are far more common than most would think or hope. They may not be easily identified and seen with the naked eye, however, these shifty, not so friendly residence of the body can be wreaking havoc. Parasites can be anything from teeny tiny little organisms, right up to large worms that span much of intestines…and that’s LONG!

These nasty fellows can cause wide spread inflammation in the muscles, skin, gut, and brain. Some of the outward symptoms that may be seen can include:

  • IBS
  • Gastritis
  • Joint pain
  • Allergies, sensitivities and intolerances to various food items
  • Seasonal allergies
  • IBD etc…

In addition to the above malady’s parasites are nice enough to feed on our blood and take nutrients from us. This can lead to nutrient insufficiencies such as iron and protein malabsorption and deficiency.

Some are even clever enough to be able to access the blood stream and enter our vital tissues, feeding off of them like vultures and sometimes leaving behind ulcers and scaring. Tissues that can be impacted include

  • Liver
  • Stomach
  • Muscles
  • Lungs

So how do we get lucky enough to contract parasites?

  • Contaminated water and food
  • Touching feces
  • Insects e.g. mosquitos
  • Bodily fluids such as in sexual intercourse and kissing
  • Nasal passages
  • Having a low immune system
  • Poor hygiene

Some major symptoms of infection with parasites, such as commonly know Giardia and Cryptosporidium include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal discomfort

These are often immediate symptoms but can also last long after the initial infection.

Before deciding on a treatment, it is extremely important that you refer to your healthcare practitioner for testing to be conducted to determine exactly which parasite you need to address, if any.

But, despite all of this horrific information, fear not. Not all hope is lost if you do happen to be stuck by a troublesome little parasite. Food and herbal treatments have shown efficacy in eliminating or reducing the toxic and life altering effects that parasites can inflict.

Pumpkin Seeds or Pepitas

They are not only a delicious addition to your salads and snacking routine, adding both flavour and texture, but are praised for their anti-parasitic activity. They are paralytic to parasites, particularly helminths such as worms.

Speak to a natural health practitioner on what some of the preparation techniques are for using pumpkin seeds as parasite evacuators!

Oregano Oil

The oil from this delightful culinary herb is highly antimicrobial and can be effective in knocking parasites out of the park (or intestines). It is important to use the oil of oregano under the guidance of a trained health professional for dosing safety, quality and efficacy.

Garlic breath anyone?

I don’t know about you, but I would take garlic breath over the pain of intestinal parasites any day of the week.  

The sulfur rich amino acids and allicin that are found in garlic dominate parasitic infection. These compounds are released only through the fine dicing or mincing of the fresh garlic bulbs. They should be left to sit for approximately 5 minutes before consumption.

Oil of Clove

In short, simple and effective explanation, clove oil is effective at eradicating parasitic eggs. As with the previous remedies supervision and guidance from a qualified health professional is recommended for safety and effective dosing.

Papaya and Pineapple Fruit

These pretty, sweet tropical fruits boast amino acids and the digestive enzymes known as papain (papaya) and bromelain (pineapple). These actives create an unfavorable living space for intestinal parasites. Papaya seeds have demonstrated significant benefits in the eradication of intestinal parasites, although caution and professional support should be obtained before commencing with these natural treatments.

Reducing parasites through diet

Enzymes and acids play an active role in reducing susceptibility and eliminating parasitic infections. The idea is to develop an environment that makes it difficult for the parasite to thrive and survive. Enzymes and organic acids make up a portion of all fruits and vegetables including:

          kiwi fruit, papaya, pineapple, avocado, citrus, berries

          sauerkraut, kimchi, green leafy vegetables, broccoli etc.

A good intestinal flora is also a vital preventative and treatment to the nasty parasitic bugs that can enter our system uninvited. Fermented food products such as apple cider vinegar, unsweetened kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha along with a good quality probiotic support a healthy gut colony.

Sugar and its parasitic loving powers

Sugar and low GI (low fibre) carbohydrates set up the perfect environment for a healthy parasite to thrive and continue to wreak widespread havoc on the body. Sugar and carbohydrates feed and give energy to parasites and allow them to grow and become active throughout the body. Eliminating sugary, high carb foods and alcohol (of course) can reduce susceptibility to parasites and diminish the ability for active parasites to survive.

If you know you have a parasitic infection or suspect you may have based on your symptoms, it is important that you contact a health professional to begin eradication and the healing of the gastrointestinal system as soon as possible. Long term parasitic infections that are allows to remain dormant or active in the intestines can lead to longer term complications that can impact the entire body including digestive complaints, joint pain and nervous system complications.

Contact Danielle

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