Nutrition Q & A:
What’s the deal with probiotics?
To sum it up, probiotics are live, active, microorganisms ingested to improve gut health. They often are referred to as “good” bacteria in the gut and compete with “bad” bacteria to rid the body of pathogens or increase the immune system. The primary role of probiotics in the GI tract are to maintain the healthy balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria. Probiotics keep disease-causing bacteria in check. Other roles of probiotics include helping with food digestion and KEEPING THINGS MOVING- this increases energy and decreases bloating. Probiotic benefits were noticed centuries ago, when people started eating fermented food. To just name a few, today those foods include kefir, miso (Japanese seasoning), yogurt, kombucha and sauerkraut. In addition to fermented foods, probiotic supplements are available in pill, powder and chew forms, and some manufacturers have begun adding probiotics to non-fermented items such as water, juice and chips. Whether from food, drink, or pill, the potential benefits of probiotics are promising. A healthful, fiber-rich diet featuring diverse food is one of the best ways to support gut health.
Bottom line: Eat your magical fruit- beans that is…chickpeas and other legumes are high in fiber and beneficial plant compounds, eating them may help improve gut bacteria and so much more.
Should I be intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a popular dieting trend, but unlike many other fads, it has been the subject of significant investigation to determine its efficacy for mental and physical health. Even when independent from fasting, reducing nighttime eating can benefit health, as research has determined that nighttime eating, defined as calories consumed between 5pm and midnight, can lead to overconsumption of calories as well as increased markers of inflammation.
Bottom line: Stop eating when 80 percent full – the 20 percent gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing or gaining weight. You may know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your body is getting food. When your brain gets this message, you stop feeling hungry. Some of us fast eaters can try to slow down to give our brains a chance to get the word. If you’re reading this active, chances are you’re on the right track with your activity level and leaning toward a Mediterranean diet which is rich in fish, greens and beans. Add canned garbanzo beans or frozen broccoli to any meal.
What is one thing I can do to increase longevity?
A recent study established that roughly 20 percent of longevity is based on your genes. That leaves 80 percent for you to impact through your eating, moving, environmental, and social habits.
If you hear nothing else, I say EAT MORE VEGETABLES. You may want to turn away after that advice, so let me give you some other REAL stuff:
People with robust social connections are more likely to live longer, healthier and happier lives. According to the Census Bureau surveys, people were spending less time with friends and more time alone even before the pandemic, which only intensified the sense of social isolation and happiness. It’s a common problem. Loneliness can feel stigmatizing, but more than 60 percent feel it.
Bottom line: If you can do one more thing: Find your tribe…run into your neighbor and ask about their dog/kid/day, wave at your mail carrier, smile at someone waiting in line with you, or call your mom. These small interactions have benefits that exceed any social media platform.