The Chlorella Diaries *UPDATED*

Review: Clean Chlorella by Pukka *UPDATED*

I have heard lots of great things about Chlorella, and being one of our ever popular products with our customers, I thought I would give it a go! It is an organic nutrient-rich freshwater plant and is said to be one of the most nutritionally dense foods in the world.

POSITIVES – Clean Chlorella supports the body’s ability to deal with the everyday demands and cope better with our polluted environment. We have had so much feedback from our customers who take Chlorella that they feel more energised, while others use it as part of a larger cleanse.

NEGATIVES – Now these are few and far between with our customers as they generally buy it again and again however Dr Google tells me that side effects can include flatulence, green stools and headaches. Let’s see what happens!

This review is completely independent of Pukka, and the team here at Inside Out Health – it is purely my thoughts and findings. I purchased the Clean Chlorella in store (£13.95 for 150 tablets) and quickly got to grips with taking these tablets with every meal.

You can find Pukka’s Clean Chlorella here on our webshop.

DAY ONE  I have started with 2 tablets before breakfast, and two with my evening dinner. The directions are to take 2-4 a day to start, then up it to 6 per day. Then there is a jump to ‘optimum’ use of 6 tablets, 3 times a day – now that is a lot of tablets but let’s see how the first few days go.

DAY SIX  The first week has been great – so far no naughty side effects and I am feeling pretty energised. I am now taking 3 tablets each time I eat.  The biggest change for me as been my sugar cravings which have all but disappeared. I love love love a sweet treat but I haven’t even thought about it this week at all. Good times!

DAY NINE  BIG NEWS! I have lost weight, now that is something unexpected. I think where the Chlorella has regulated my appetite and reduced sweet cravings I am simply not eating over what my body needs. Still no sweet cravings and digestive system working perfectly. 

DAY TWELVE I am always keen to get the maximum benefit out of anything new that I try, so after the joy of my last update I decided to increase my tablet intake to 6 tablets, 3 times a day. I was OK at first, but got whacked with a huge headache quite soon and just didn’t feel right at all. From today I have reduced my intake to 4 tablets with each meal instead. Note to self: Must Be Sensible With Supplements. Just because you take more, doesn’t mean the effect will increase. I know from working with the team here in store that your body has to get used these new things.

DAY SIXTEEN and last day of this pot of Chlorella. Am feeling really good again now after reducing my intake to 4 tablets with each meal. This is definitely MY optimum, and as with all natural supplements or anything for that matter you have to find that right point that works for you. Have weighed in at another loss, now down another pound so really pleased with that. 

DAY 21 (ISH) and I promise my very last upload!

Three weeks in and have found my ‘optimum’ – have continued to lose weight (another pound down) and feeling less paunchy and more shapely. Realised today that I haven’t had any headaches at all recently, which is great! And my lovely colleague said my skin is quite glowy too. 

Final thoughts....

I have definitely been converted to a Chlorella fan. I have felt great since taking, and other than the blip in the middle have felt clear headed, energised and far less bloated than usual.

Taking four tablets with each meal isn’t a bother, they can live on the side (not in the fridge) and I have taken the pot with me when eating out. No hassle at all. I haven’t had any bad side effects and of course have had the added benefit of lowing a little weight so am feeling rather svelte too.

I will definitely continue taking it. The pot of 150 tablets hasn’t lasted long at all, so I am pleased to see that Pukka also have a 400 tablet version which is better value, so I will make sure we get that in store available to buy.

What is Yaemon Tamari Soya Sauce?

Clearspring has been responsible for bringing the very best of Japan’s finest Organic Tamari Soya Sauce to customers around the world for over 25 years. Our Organic Yaemon Tamari Soya Sauce is especially unique and is one of the only Tamari Soya Sauces of its kind available in the world. Alongside being a firm favourite amongst our customers, its versatility and the richness of its flavour – it has a heritage and tradition which celebrates true artisan traditions and craftsmanship.

Since the market has become more saturated with brands launching Tamari or variations on soy sauces, we thought its only right that we tell you where your favourite Tamari comes from.

So what exactly is Yaemon?

Our signature ‘Organic Japanese Yaemon Tamari Double Strength’ was founded by the Aoki Yaemon family in 1871. The family has been making traditional Tamari for nearly 150 years in Aichi prefecture, Japan.
The craft of making our authentic Japanese Tamari involves handmade techniques, whole organic soybeans, Koji culture, water and sea salt. This tradition has been perfected and passed down from father to son for generations. The resultant Tamari is of a truly premium quality, whilst also being organic and gluten-free – all of which sets it apart from others. 

Yaemon Family

Photo: Right, Aoki Yoshio and his son, Yoshiyuki (6th generation Yaemon )

Why is the Clearspring Yaemon Tamari Soya Sauce special?

The key to the rich and velvety Yaemon Tamari is their time-honoured “Go-Bu Tamari” recipe, which dates back to the 13th century. The recipe uses a ratio of 10 parts whole soya bean to 5 parts water. This is double the strength compared to other tamari soy sauces. Producing Yaemon Tamari Soya Sauce requires skills that can only be learned over generations and are passed on from one Touji (brewmaster) to another. Yaemon Tamari is also one of the only remaining tamari soya sauces which are aged naturally in cedar wood kegs over two summers (around 18 -20 months).

What is Double-Strength Tamari soya sauce?

Unique to Yaemon Tamari, no one can produce this authentic 10 (soya) : 5 (water) ratio Tamari. The majority of Tamari available on the market today are 10 (soya) : 10/12 (water), making them single strength Tamari. The fermentation period is also shorter, and they are brewed for only 6-9 months. Hardly any are made using traditional brewing methods and most are produced outside of Japan.

It’s important to know that some non-organic Tamaris are made with chemically defatted soybeans and even some organic ones are made with cracked soya beans to speed up the production process.

The care and artisan craft of our Yaemon Tamari is self-evident not only on the colour difference of the finished Tamari, but also the depth and complexity of the Umami flavour it delivers.

How is Tamari made?

Tamari production usually starts in winter when the condition is ideal for making Koji. The process begins by soaking the whole soya beans in well water. It is then steamed until soft and crushed and made into small balls called ‘Miso Dama’. To start the Koji (Aspergillus spores) fermentation on the soya beans, a sprinkle of roasted barley flour is added to activate it. This is then dusted over the balls and placed in a temperature controlled room for 3 – 4 days. This is the most crucial time for a brewing master as this process will determine the quality of the Tamari. The master’s art is in the nurturing and overseeing of the Koji process to perfection.

The Koji and beans are then mixed with a brine solution (sea salt and water) and placed in a large cedar wood keg. This mash is called ‘Moromi’ and here the mixture will spend at least two summers to ferment.

After the long ageing process the Moromi is placed in cloth sacks and pressed to extract the dark liquid; raw Tamari. The soy oil from the liquid is removed and Mikawa Mirin is added to prevent further growth of the natural Koji yeast. The Mikawa Mirin contributes to the aroma and deep rich flavour of Tamari. It is then bottled and ready for use.

How should I use it?

Clearspring Organic Japanese Tamari Soya Sauce has an award-winning flavour that’s rich, full-bodied, complex and concentrated – but never overpowering. It’s perfect as a dipping sauce and as a traditional accompaniment to Japanese dishes. It can be used as a condiment to add a depth of savoury umami flavour to salad dressings, marinades, sauces, stir-fries and slow-cooked stews.

Is it really gluten-free?

A tiny portion of roasted barley flour is used in the process of making Clearspring Yaemon Organic Tamari Soya Sauce. Yet, when we carried out gluten testing, we found that the long fermentation and ageing processes that our Organic Tamari Soya Sauce undergoes eliminates the gluten proteins present in the barley. Following these results, the Coeliac Society decided to include Clearspring Yaemon Organic Tamari Soya Sauce in their gluten-free directory.

With thanks to Clearspring for this fascinating history and fact file on their delicious Yaemon Tamari Soya Sauce. You can read the original article here.

What To Eat When Exercising

Exercise or workouts plays a vital role in our daily energy expenditure and understanding what to eat before exercising, after exercising and how much food to eat is really important to enhance both your workouts and your body composition to meet your overall training and fitness goals.

What is on your “everyday plate”?

Better food choices are established from creating and following simple everyday habits that can lead to an improvement in calorie control, nutrient timings and food selections. Before focusing your attention on pre and post workout meals it is important that your everyday food choices are near optimum. Your everyday meals are what you eat when you are not exercising, these days are known as rest days or for those that do not exercise it is their everyday. The Eat Well guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.

Eat slowly and stop at 80% full

For the majority of people, the focus is on what they are eating and how they are eating often gets forgotten. Eating slower and stopping when you’re 80% full can improve your workouts and digestion. It is really important to listen to your hunger and appetite cues and focus on how you are eating. Focus should be on ensuring we are sat down when we eat, in other words avoid grabbing foods on the go. Turn off your distractions whether it is the TV, your phone or laptop and pay attention to what you are eating. Aim for about 15-20 minutes per meal, this is because it takes about 20 minutes for our satiety mechanisms to kick in, these are the messages between your brain and your gut to say you are full. Stop when you are 80% full to avoid the feeling and need to unbutton your trousers!

Eat protein dense foods with each meal

It is essential to ensure you are eating adequate amounts of protein per meal (20-30g for women and 40-60g for men). You may have heard or seen people having protein shakes or protein dense foods after they exercise but it is important to look at the protein you are eating throughout the day, not just after you exercise. By eating protein dense foods with each meal, you will stimulate your metabolism, improve your muscle mass and recovery and help to reduce your body fat.  The demands for protein increase when you are exercising regularly and the amounts you need to eat changes depending on the type of exercise you are doing and for how long you do it. This increase occurs because the protein balance during exercise shifts towards muscle break down as opposed to muscle building. It is important to eat protein as soon as possible after exercising as there is an increased demand for protein metabolism for up to 24 hours after exercising.

Carbohydrates for fat loss and maintenance

Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy to fuel exercise. You may have heard of “carb loading”, where individuals consume large amounts of carbohydrates before exercise to provide the body with enough energy for the workout ahead. Energy for workouts comes from a mixture of blood glucose from carbohydrate rich meals eaten before exercise and glycogen stored in the liver and muscles from carbohydrate rich meals eaten days before. It is important to eat carbohydrates before but additionally after exercise which a lot of people can be unaware of. HIT (high intensity training) workouts are extremely popular and it is important to eat carbohydrates immediately after strenuous exercise sessions such as HIT workouts as it will help to build up the glycogen stores that have been depleted during exercise. Additionally, the process of rebuilding and repairing of muscles can be stimulated by eating carbohydrates as the increase in insulin stimulates the uptake of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.

Eat healthy fats daily

It is important when optimising your health, performance and body composition that you have the correct balance between the different types of fats you consume. It is recommended to have a balance of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, giving a third of your recommended fat intake to each fat group. After working out, the recommendation to increase your carbohydrates will result in a reduction in fats to balance out.

Examples of meals and snacks for individuals who exercise

Breakfast

• Porridge with milk/milk alternative and fresh fruit
• Muesli (no added sugar) or wholegrain cereal with milk/milk alternative and fresh fruit
• Wholegrain or granary toast with peanut or other nut butter alternatives
• 2 slices of wholemeal toast with scrambled eggs and a grilled tomato
• Greek or natural yoghurt with banana, berries and cereal (e.g. oats)

Lunch

• Baked potato with tuna and salad
• Eggs of choice on wholemeal toast with vegetables
• Chicken and salad sandwich (wholemeal bread or wrap)
• Lentil and vegetable soup with whole wheat roll
• Couscous or quinoa salad with chicken, roasted vegetables and kale

Dinner

• Wholemeal pasta with grilled chicken and vegetables in a tomato-based sauce
• Chilli con carne – lean mince, kidney beans, chopped tomatoes and brown rice
• Salmon with boiled new potatoes and vegetables
• Stir fry – whole wheat noodles, lean meat (chicken, turkey or beef), tofu or prawns and vegetables

Snacks

• Fruit
• Vegetable sticks with hummus
• Fruit yoghurt
• Unsalted nuts / seeds
• Oatcakes with peanut butter

This article is written by Jade Mottley – Fitness & Nutrition Coach for NutriAdvanced. You can read the original article here.

Top Tips for an Easy Transition Through Menopause

This informative blog has been written by Marta Anhelush of Biocare.

“Ageing is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength” Betty Friedan

Is this how you see menopause? Or are you dreading it? If you are a woman at a perimenopausal age and already thinking about it, or perhaps you are currently going through it and struggling, read on and we’ll delve deeper into how to have an easy transition through menopause and avoid or minimise some of the most common symptoms.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING MENOPAUSE?

The menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation, resulting from the loss of ovarian follicular activity and hence a significant drop in the primary female hormones – oestrogen and progesterone. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51, although women can experience menopause in their 30s or 40s.[1] Perimenopause is the period that precedes menopause and can start a few years before a woman’s period stops completely. In this phase, hormone levels are gradually starting to decrease and a number of symptoms can start to appear, including irregular menstrual cycles and hot flushes.

Biologically, the ovaries are retiring from their hard work of producing sex hormones. This baton is passed on to the adrenal glands and adipose tissue, which take over the role of hormone production. Due to the widespread activity of oestrogen, menopause is associated with a range of physiological changes such as endothelial dysfunctionoxidative stress, and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases[2]and osteoporosis.[3]

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE?

Our sex hormones regulate so many bodily functions; from circulation, energy production and immunity, to hair or bone growth, which is why menopause often brings on a lot of uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms. Factors such as weightsmoking,alcohol consumption, lack of exercise[4], use of oral contraception[5]history of PMS,[6] and stress[7] can increase risk of menopausal symptoms.

The main symptoms that can occur include:

  • Night sweats, hot flushes
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Low mood, depression and anxiety
  • Digestive discomfort: constipation, bloating, reflux
  • Memory and cognitive problems
  • Loss of skin elasticity, excessive wrinkling and dryness
  • Vaginal dryness and increase in infections such as thrush

THE STRESS FACTOR – ARE STRESS AND LACK OF SLEEP MAKING YOUR MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS WORSE?

As mentioned, once our ovaries stop producing oestrogen, that responsibility goes to our adrenal glands. The adrenal glands also produce our stress hormones – cortisol and adrenaline. High and chronic stress may lead to reduced levels of oestrogen.[8],[9] The stress response also increases body temperature, which may be an additional trigger to hot flushes.[10],[11] Oestrogen also promotes the REM phase of sleep, which is a vital process for healing and repair. When oestrogen levels drop, so does time spent in REM cycles which leads to less refreshing and restorative sleep.[12] Try to reduce your stress levels and promote healthy sleep by increasing magnesium intake[13] and supplementing with relaxing and sleep promoting botanicals such as L-theanine and lemon balm.[14],[15] Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary e.g. dark room, eye mask, technology free.

THE GUT LINK – ARE YOUR GUT BACTERIA RESPONSIBLE FOR WEIGHT-GAIN DURING MENOPAUSE?

Oestrogen is known to have an influence on our gut bacteria, which means that the decrease in oestrogen may contribute to digestive symptoms such as bloating, reflux or constipation during menopause. On the other hand, certain bacteria help to metabolise oestrogen. This gut-hormone interaction has been suggested as an important factor in reducing the risk of oestrogen-dependent cancers.[16] Furthermore, good levels of beneficial bacteria in the genitourinary area is important to prevent vulvovaginal atrophy at menopause, and other complications such as thrush[17]and urinary tract infections.[18] Another exciting role of these bugs is aiding metabolism of fats and carbohydrates as well as insulin levels, hence why poor bacterial balance in the gut can actually increase menopause-associated weight gain. Plant fibre such as inulin[19] promotes healthy digestion and excretion of oestrogen and is effective in promoting weight loss.[20]

SUPPORTING OESTROGEN METABOLISM

Despite the levels of oestrogen dropping after menopause, it is still important to support healthy breakdown of oestrogen in the body. This is even more important if you are using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). This is because different oestrogen metabolites have different potencies and some of them can be more toxic that others,[21] driving more inflammation, tissue damage and increasing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Clinically, we often see that women who struggled with hormonal issues in their reproductive years often have a harder time going through menopause, which may indicate a link with poor oestrogen detoxification, either due to nutritional or genetic causes. A number of nutrients are important to support specific detoxification pathways, namely folate and vitamin B12 for methylation, and Calcium-D-glucarate for glucuronidation, and sulphur for sulphation. Menopausal women are often deficient in folate, B12,[22] as well as zinc and copper.[23]

Furthermore, the sulphur-rich plant chemicals found in cruciferous vegetables (especially broccoli) – sulphoraphane and indole-3-carbinol.[24],[25],[26] promote healthy detoxification of oestrogen[27],[28],[29] and have been shown to be protective against oestrogen driven cancers (e.g. breast, endometrial and cervical).[30],[31]Also lycopene,naturally found in tomatoes, has been found to reduce the risk of breast and endometrial cancers,[32] and osteoporosis.[33],[34]

THE JAPANESE PARADOX

Japanese women are well known around the world for their easy transition through menopause, with far fewer symptoms than women in the Western countries.

One proposed idea is their high intake of plant oestrogens (aka isoflavones), mostly in the form of soya (e.g. tofu, tempeh). These plant molecules structurally resemble body oestrogen but are much less potent, so by increasing your intake through diet, you may fill in the gap of low oestrogen production, and also help with healthy oestrogen metabolism, and even reduce weight gain.[35]

Red clover[36],[37] and sage[38],[39] are also good sources of isoflavones and have been shown to reduce hot flushes, vaginal atrophy, insomnia, cognitive impairment and bone density in menopause.

Interestingly, one paper suggested that the differences in severity of symptoms found in different women around the world may be due to cultural differences in how menopause is perceived and approached.[40] A popular Japanese philosophy called ‘Wabi Sabi’ encourages the acceptance of transience and imperfection; perhaps we need to try to embrace the change and support our body and mind through the transition, rather than fighting and resenting it?

By improving your diet; increasing your vegetable and fibre intake, reducing stress and improving sleep, you can make menopause a much easier transition. If you are however experiencing severe symptoms, a good place to start is a good multivitamin containing methylfolate and methylcobalamin, alongside some isoflavones and extra detoxification support in form of antioxidants and sulphur molecules.

You can view the full original article here.

The Healthy Optimist

Our latest feature blog is brought to us by Nature’s Plus, written by Eric Schneider

Are you one of those people who can see the bright side in every situation? You may have more reason to think positively—research shows that optimism may benefit well-being.

Friendship and social contact matter, say scientists. And more than a few researchers add that the human touch is a recurring theme as a source of optimism and happiness.

HAPPY BRAIN, HAPPY BODY

Though not as exact as other science-based pursuits, the study of happiness and positive thinking has its share of concrete evidence.

“We do know that greater activity in the left side of the frontal and parietal cortex, relative to the right, is associated with greater happiness, positive emotion and approach-oriented behavior,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky PhD, author of The How of Happiness (Penguin Press). Researchers have discovered other areas in the brain linked to optimism as well.

On the other hand, irregularities in these brain regions are linked with depression, which is tied to pessimism. One line of reasoning: If pessimism is tied to depression, which often manifests as mental and physical illnesses, then optimism should serve as an antidepressant for both mind and body.

Scientists keep looking for optimism’s physiological roots, but positive thinking’s benefits are increasingly well documented. One Archives of General Psychiatry study found that out of nearly 1,000 elderly men and women, the highly optimistic ones had roughly a 25% lower risk of cardiovascular death than the pessimists.

Lyubomirsky and her colleagues analyzed 225 happiness studies with more than 275,000 participants combined.

“We concluded that happiness doesn’t just make people feel good—we found that happy and optimistic people enjoy countless advantages and benefits,” she says. Positive-thinking people have been found to be physically healthier, more productive at work, more likable in general and live longer. They are also “more creative, earn more money, are better negotiators and have more fulfilling relationships.”

Happy, optimistic people may see some unexpected benefits as well: Lyubomirsky says they are less likely to get into car accidents and report less physical pain. They also appear to enjoy greater cardiovascular well-being.

Dutch positive psychology specialist Ruut Veenhoven analyzed nearly 30 studies on happiness and longevity and found that “happiness does not heal, but it appears to protect against getting ill.” He likens the effect to the good health of non-smokers versus smokers, who are prone to more ailments.

A positive attitude, Veenhoven explains, can also result in reduced stress, which can negatively affect the body in many ways. Research has shown that stress may make people more susceptible to a wide array of disorders and diseases.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL TIES

An optimistic attitude may even help the body heal itself.

Lyubomirsky says it has been documented that positive-thinking people “recover faster from congenital heart defect surgery.” Similarly, Swedish scientists discovered that optimistic patients suffering from whiplash injuries recovered better than their glum counterparts. Patients with the lowest expectations for recovery were four times more likely to have higher disability levels and two times more likely to have moderate disability six months later.

Optimists tend to have strong social ties, according to Veenhoven, Lyubomirsky and other researchers. Veenhoven asserts that happy people excel at “creating social support,” while Lyubomirsky calls them “other-centered,” that is, less self-centered and “more charitable and helpful to others.”

“The happiest places are the places where social ties are the strongest,” writes Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss (Twelve). Case in point is Iceland, which is cold and/or dark for much of the year, yet is considered one of the happiest, most optimistic places on the planet, thanks, in part, to its close-knit sense of community.

This notion also applies to trust. Since optimistic people are more inclined to trust others and avoid putting up walls around themselves, they tend to succeed in creating an overall happier living environment.

Of course, the tricky part about studying and quantifying positive thinking is that it is a classic which-came-first situation. As Weiner puts it, “Is it that happy people tend to be healthier or that healthy people tend to be happier?”

Lyubomirsky has tried to untangle the knot in her own studies. “The causal direction undoubtedly goes in both directions—happiness leads to success, and success makes people happy,” she says. “It’s likely similar for optimism, but not as precise. That is, being creative or charitable doesn’t necessarily lead you to be optimistic, but it might.”

In The How of Happiness, Lyubomirsky details 12 key “happiness activities”—and “cultivating optimism” ranks high among them. People can do that, she says, by “keeping track of what you think is the best possible future for yourself or making a point of looking on the bright side.” Without optimism, happiness becomes something that we stumble across rather than create, making it harder to realize its benefits.

Lyubomirsky also cites “the pie chart theory of happiness,” which asserts that “50% of individual differences in happiness are governed by genes, 10% by life circumstances and the remaining 40% by what we do and how we think—that is, our intentional activities and strategies. The secret, of course, lies in that 40%.”

If we learn to embrace optimism and turn away from pessimism, we may not just be happier, we may actually become healthier.

Detoxing for weight loss

This article has been brought to us by Nature’s Plus, written by Lisa James

When you think about the effect environmental toxins can have on health, weight gain may not be the first thing that comes to mind.

But the link is very real. That’s because the toxins we all carry, which are stored in body fat, disrupt normal metabolism—which in turn makes fat loss that much harder.

Fortunately, there is a way to break this cycle. Detoxification, including the use of foods with purifying properties, has been practiced for centuries to boost overall well-being. Now researchers are beginning to understand how detox can make losing weight—especially the loss of excess body fat—that much easier.

Burdened Liver

All toxins are broken down by the liver, the body’s main chemical processing plant. Trouble comes when more toxins show up than the liver can comfortably handle.

“The liver says, ‘What am I going to do?’” explains naturopathic physician Brenda Watson, ND, CNC, author of The Detox Strategy (Free Press). “It then stores these chemicals within its own cells.” Eventually the liver starts looking for storage space elsewhere—and fat cells within the abdomen will do quite nicely.

If the presence of noxious substances from the outside wasn’t bad enough, toxins are produced internally by the very metabolic processes that keep us alive. What’s more, stress results in a biological chain of events that may also lead to weight gain.

Cleanup Crew

The body doesn’t just stand idly by as toxins build up, of course: Noxious substances are constantly being eliminated through the kidneys, bowels, skin and other channels. However, the sheer amount can overload the system.

This explains why many complementary practitioners recommend detoxification on a periodic basis. “Almost everybody needs to detox, cleanse themselves and rest their bodily functions at times,” says Elson Haas, MD, author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts).

That’s especially true of people looking to lose weight. “If you can reduce your exposure to toxins while aiding in the elimination of current toxins, you can support a healthy—and possibly faster—metabolism,” says Watson.

Fiber is an effective cleansing agent. There are two types, which Watson compares to the yellow and green sides of a kitchen sponge. “The yellow side, the soluble fiber, soaks up cholesterol and toxins,” she explains. “The green side, the insoluble fiber, scrubs—it gives you bulk and curbs appetite.”

In addition, fiber affects hormone production. Watson says that people on a high-fiber diet release a hormone called CCK, which is “really good at making you feel full and leading you to eat fewer calories.”

As fiber helps sweep toxins away, beneficial micro-organisms called probiotics can set up shop in the intestines. Watson says that fiber and probiotics work hand in hand because “good bacteria love to eat soluble fiber,” allowing them to multiply and flourish.

What’s more, many detox products include the so-called “superfruits”—especially açai, a South American berry. These fruits supply what are known as phytonutrients, substances that, among other functions, help the body deal with internally produced toxins.

Diet and exercise are crucial in the fight against excess pounds. But they work better after you’ve reduced your toxic burden. Watson says, “I hope we can educate people to understand that total-body cleansing and weight loss go hand in hand.”

†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.

The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Gut health and the immune system

We can never ever know enough about how tummy health impacts our overall health, and this article by the health experts at Terra Nova explains how your gut health and immune system work together towards a better-feeling you!

Did you know that over 70% of the body’s immune cells are found in the gastrointestinal tract?

Yes… read that again! The gut is home to as many as 40 trillion cells and hundreds of species of tiny living microbes that influence immunity, mood, anxiety, cognition and even pain.

The key functions of the gut microbiota are breaking down complex carbohydrates, producing vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, and defending against pathogens.

The gut microbiome can change dramatically due to stress or poor diet. Therefore, it is super important to promote the best environment to help your microbes thrive.

Here are 5 immune supportive food and lifestyle tips that you can start following today!

1. Fiber is your friend

Fiber is a nondigestible carbohydrate found in fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Fiber is like food for your microbes. The greater the variety of fiber you consume, the greater variety of microbes you have.

Fiber has many other health benefits as well, including helping to lower cholesterol, keeping blood sugar levels stable, and keeping your bowel movements regular.

Beta-glucans in particular, are one form of soluble dietary fiber that are naturally produced by bacteria, fungi and many plants. Mushrooms and oats are some common foods that contain these fibers. These fibers have been extensively researched for their immunomodulatory effects!

Women should aim for at least 25g of fiber and men should aim for at least 38g of fiber daily.

2. Probiotic Power

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. Taking probiotic supplements or eating foods with live probiotic cultures promotes a diverse gut microbiome and can decrease inflammation. Probiotics can be naturally found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt, and in fermented foods such as kimchi.

3. Eat the Rainbow

The color of each fruit and vegetable is caused by different phytonutrients, natural chemicals that help to fight pathogens. Eating a variety of colors from fruits and vegetables ensures that you are getting a variety of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals!

Some nutrients that play a key role in the immune system are:

Vitamin C: found in citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, tomatoes

Beta Carotene: found in tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli

Vitamin D: found in fatty fish, eggs, and fortified milk or juice.

Zinc: found in beef, seafood, wheat germ, nuts and legumes

4. Make Sleep a Priority

Many studies have proven that sleep deprivation can cause major detrimental effects on your immune system. People who don’t get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick and need longer to recover after being exposed to a virus.
Try to aim for 6-8 hours of quality sleep per night. Make it a habit to go to bed just 30 minutes earlier the night before until you reach your goal!

5. Manage Stress

Stress! It’s something we all have every now and then, especially these days. Unfortunately, too much stress can cause suppression of the immune system.

Learning to manage your individual stress is an important tool for optimal immune health.

Exercise, meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, deep breathing and laughter are all proven tools to manage stress. These activities help to produce endorphins, which can improve our mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day to start putting you in a better mood!

Support your digestion over the festive season!

The festive season brings a wonderful array of food and drink to enjoy but it’s a time of year when it’s easy to overindulge! All the overeating, especially of rich food, and drinking more alcohol puts a strain on the digestive system and people commonly suffer heartburn, indigestion (including bloating, gas or nausea), constipation or diarrhoea, as a result.

This year be prepared and find out how to support your digestion, so you can enjoy the season’s fayre in a little more comfort!

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