Structure of the digestive system
Before we talk about the microbiome, let’s lay a foundation for what a normal healthy digestive system looks like.
Once you put food in your mouth (which can we talk about this- it is estimated you will consume around 60 tons of food in your lifetime)1, your digestive system has already started working. You have enzymes in your mouth that begin the digestive process.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term detox before, and I’m also sure that many of you have tried some type of detox in the past. There are all kinds of products and diets that “guarantee” cleaner skin, better focus, less digestive issues, less toxins- just juice a bazillion pounds of fruit per day or eat this special clay only for 21 days. Can we talk about that? Most of them are GARBAGE and honestly do more harm than good.
Have you heard that a glass of wine can actually be healthy for you? Every wonder why? Wine is high in a nutrient called resveratrol. Resveratrol is produced by plants to help protect them from microbial attacks and environmental stresses and is found in the skins of grapes as well as mulberries, cranberries, blueberries, and peanuts (see figure 1)10. Interestingly enough, it is also high in Polygonacea which has been used by traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine to treat atherosclerosis and other inflammatory diseases1.
What’s your stress level right now? On a scale from 1-10. Are you resting at a comfortable 2, or are the kiddos running around and the dog just threw-up pushing you into an 8? Stress is a normal part of being alive, but did you know that consistent high levels of stress can impact your weight?
What was your New Year’s resolution? If I had to take a guess, I would say it had something to do with weight. Many people aim to lose weight in the new year, and I get asked all the time about the best diet for weight loss. Unfortunately, there isn’t one perfect diet for everyone to lose weight.
I wanted to take some time to explore what the research is showing regarding the four most common diets people ask me about for weight loss- Paleo, ketogenic, vegan, and intermittent fasting.
Perhaps I should have started with these issues as they are more straight-forward, but I am roughly going in order of what is most common (although, by no means creating a comprehensive list). As you will see, understanding how hormones, stress and circadian rhythms work (see Part 1 if you missed it) will help you understand just how serious the #1 obesity-related sleep problem is!
Which came first? Obesity, or sleep problems? The associations between the two are undeniable so no matter which you start with, you are likely to experience the other. Let’s take a look at this conundrum…
We Deprive Ourselves of Sleep
Hate to say it, but the top cause of most people’s sleep problems is themselves.
Can diet affect our ability to ward off the flu?
You’ve heard the old wives tales about chicken soup curing everything and an apple a day keeping the doctor away, but does diet really play that big of a role in protecting you from the flu? As we prepare to enter the sugar-laden Christmas season, I think it’s worth exploring how diet (especially eating too much sugar) can impact your risk of getting the flu this year.