Archive for July, 2010

There are a lot of digestive disorders. They include those that affect gastrointestinal tract, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Among the most wide-spread digestive disorders are indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. Though they are rather complex, they can be successfully treated with fresh juices.

Indigestion. One of the commonest complaints around, indigestion is easy to set right. The causes are usually simple, for example overeating, eating too fast, eating the wrong kinds of food, heavy smoking and anxiety. Certain juices make excellent digestifs. Pineapple juice contains bromelain, an enzyme which can help balance the levels of acidity and alkalinity in the system; and papaya juice contains an enzyme called papain which can break down protein, and therefore help your own stomach enzymes to digest food. Garlic juice can also help soothe the gut.

Nausea and Vomiting. These conditions can have a variety of causes. It could be an infectious bug, such as food poisoning, too much alcohol, too much fatty food, morning sickness during pregnancy, or travel sickness. A mild juice high in vitamin С and the В complex group of vitamins may help speed recovery and quell feelings of nausea. Fennel juice with its aniseed taste can also calm a queasy tummy. Add a teaspoon of ground ginger (preferably fresh) to add to the benefits. Dilute the juice, so that no extra strain is placed on your stomach.

The best multi-vitamins and minerals supplements are made from ingredients that are easy to digest. The label should say how much each tablet contains of the element you are interested in – vitamin A or zinc, not retynil palmitate (source of vitamin A) not zinc sulfate. Zinc sulfate is actually NOT a good form of zinc supplement.

In fact, one problem with multi-vitamins and minerals supplements is that everyone is selling them – and many don’t have the right balance of nutrients. Many multi-vitamins and minerals supplements don’t have enough of each nutrient. You need to choose carefully – any we recommend will be in good proportions, and will contain what your body needs.

Mineral supplements should show how much of the ‘elemental mineral’ it contains. The mineral is always taken as a compound which contains a small proportion of the mineral. For example, there is only 11% magnesium in magnesium aspartate, and only 12% chromium in chromium picolinate – so make sure the label states the amounts.

Multi-vitamins and minerals supplements can be in solid or liquid form. The protagonists of liquid form point out that if you take tablets you are swallowing fillers. In fact, there is a very small amount of filler in tablets, especially when compared with much of the food we eat. Our bodies are designed to handle these products.

Most multi-vitamins and minerals supplements in liquid forms are usually in capsules, and the casing is usually made of gelatin, an animal product that is not recommended as a foodstuff.

It is impossible to give precise recommendations on which ingredients you should choose over and above the important ones mentioned. Do choose supplements that include a big variety of vitamins and minerals. It is better to take some of all the ones you need than to take large doses of half of them.

Take multi-vitamins and minerals supplements with many ingredients. Why? Because few work alone. Almost everyone of them needs help from another vitamin or mineral, and in any case, vitamin means essential of life -as are the minerals mentioned. The aim of multi-vitamins and minerals supplements is to give you a good supply of all nutrients.

To obtain Optimum Nutrition, you need a plentiful supply of vitamins and minerals to help combat short-term illness, such as colds, and to help prevent long-term illnesses and degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.

Multi-vitamins and minerals supplements are your strategy for remaining healthy – and can help reverse the effects of some diseases and conditions. Regular exercise, even of walking, is also essential.

In today’s polluted atmosphere, we need all the help we can get, and the evidence shows that people who take multi-vitamins and minerals supplements enjoy better health than those who don’t.

The fibre in foods is made of a substance called cellulose. None of the digestive enzymes produced in the human gut can digest cellulose. This is why fibrous foods pass through the gut undigested. However, some animals, such as cattle and rabbits, feed on foods which contain a lot of cellulose. For example, grass contains a lot of cellulose. The digestive enzymes produced by cattle and rabbits cannot digest cellulose. These animals rely on the help of millions of microbes (bacteria and protozoa) which live in their gut. These microbes make an enzyme which digests cellulose. The soluble products of this digestion are released into the gut of the animal. The microbes feed on some of them. The rest of the soluble products of cellulose digestion pass through the gut wall of the cow or rabbit and into its blood.

The cow and rabbit both benefit from the microbes in their gut. Without these microbes, they would be unable to digest most of their food. The microbes also benefit. They have a safe warm home in the animal’s gut. When two different organisms live together so that both of them benefit, we call this symbiosis.

The cow is an interesting and important example of an animal which relies on microbes to help with cellulose digestion. The cow has a stomach made of four parts. The microbes live in the first chamber, which is called the rumen. All types of cattle are called ruminants because they have a rumen. Other examples of ruminants are goats, deer, antelopes, giraffes and sheep. Rabbits are not ruminants. They have a different way of making use of microbes for cellulose digestion, but that is another story.

Cows feed on grass. Grass contains a large amount of cellulose. Cows themselves cannot produce an enzyme which will digest cellulose. However, cellulose digestion takes place in the cow’s gut.

Like many other minerals, zinc is essential to many body functions. Zinc is found in the body in larger amounts than any other trace element except iron. It is present in all tissues.

Zinc forms part of many enzymes, which are protein structures needed to speed up functions such as:

  • Cell growth immunity
  • Testosterone production and Sperm formation – two reasons why men should make sure they are not deficient in zinc
  • Breakdown of alcohol – without sufficient, alcohol can become a major problem unnecessarily
  • DNA synthesis

Also very important among zinc uses is in the action of insulin. When there is a deficiency of zinc, and insulin does not work well, we don’t feel energetic. If you often feel more tired than you would like, then consider whether you are getting enough zinc. Another of the main zinc uses is to maintain the quality of the eyes. Many elderly people suffer an onset of blindness, and zinc has been found to prevent further loss of sight in some of these cases.

The body cannot store much, and loses a substantial amount daily. For zinc uses to be effective, it must be taken and absorbed regularly. Zinc supplements are recommended, but only as a part of a multi-mineral supplement, since as with most minerals, too much can inhibit other body functions. In fact, some minerals reduce the effectiveness of others, so it is important not to take too much.

Excessive calcium stops zinc being digested properly. For example, if there is too much calcium in the body – which can be a problem for people who eat a lot of meat and drink a lot of milk – then zinc will not be digested well because both these minerals are absorbed in the same area of the gut.

Zinc uses will not be affected adversely if a supplement of 15 mg is taken daily as part of a multi-mineral supplement. Supplements are in the form of:

  • Amino acid chelate
  • Zinc citrate
  • Zinc picolinate

Supplements of zinc sulfate and zinc gluconate are also produced.

Zinc uses are so important that the desire to get an adequate supply is enough reason to take a good multi-mineral supplement daily. If you take medications, consult your physician before taking supplements.

The mouth contains several salivary glands. These glands produce the liquid which we call saliva. There are three main pairs of salivary glands and some smaller ones. Try to find at least one pair of salivary glands in your mouth. Use your tongue to help search for the glands and to feel the saliva as it comes out. If you think of, or watch, someone sucking an orange it may make the saliva flow faster. This makes the glands easier to find.

The total amount of saliva produced in 24 hours by an adult is probably about 600 cm3. However, it is difficult to measure and varies from one person to another. Some estimates give a figure as large as 1500 cm3 of saliva each day. Being Produced in salivary glands, saliva is almost 99 percent water. Among other components of saliva are electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial substances, as well as several enzymes.

The main digestive function of saliva is moistening of food and creating a food bolus (for a person to be able to swallow it). Moreover, salivary glands produce the hormone Gustin that is believed to be very significant in development of taste buds.

Folic acid, also known as folate or folacin is a B vitamin, and is best known as the vitamin women need most during pregnancy – but they need an extra intake of others then including vitamin B6 as well. Folic acid is vital for good brain functioning and in pregnancy.

It is essential for us all to help our brains and nerves function properly, to form red blood cells, and for the use of protein. We need to get these folic acid benefits. It is one more vitamin B vitamin that is truly vital to our well being. It is soluble in water, so we need some every day.

Folic acid is converted in the body into an active form in a process involving vitamin C. Then folic acid works with vitamin B12 in the conversion of amino acids – these are the building blocks of protein. Because these two vitamins work together, the symptoms of deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid are identical.

Many people are deficient in folic acid – about 50% of the population of the USA do not get enough to match the recommended daily amount (RDA), which itself is low. The RDA is around 200 mg, compared with 400 mg until 1989. Then the RDA was lowered largely because not many people were getting 400 mg, and so it was thought the lower level must be all right.

This is amazing, because there was no evidence to show that the lower level was adequate. Some studies show that people in sedentary jobs (Oops! That includes me – good job I take a supplement) are building a long-term deficiency at 200 mg a day.

Deficiency of folic acid is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies. Symptoms of deficiency include irritability, weight loss, apathy, headaches, palpitations, paranoid behavior and diarrhea.

Unfortunately, a high dose of folic acid can mask symptoms of pernicious anemia, which is one reason why the FDA reduced the amount of the RDA. They also limit the maximum amount of folic acid that can be included in each pill to 400 mg. Some experts think that a dose of 800 mg may be needed for optimum health.

Folic acid can be taken in large doses without problems of toxicity; the only problem with large doses is this masking of pernicious anemia. If you need a large dose to gain optimum health, take it, and reduce the amount every so often if you think you may have problems with pernicious anemia.

The wonderful thing about taking vitamin and mineral supplements is that should you encounter any problems, you can easily overcome them or find out the real cause by reducing the amount you take. This is why I recommend a good multi-vitamin-mineral supplement as part of your daily routine.

The best sources are wheat germ, spinach, broccoli, peanuts, sprouts, asparagus, kidney beans and sesame seeds. Supplements should contain at least 100 mg folic acid.

Proper digestion and healthy nutrition are closely connected with you heart’s normal functioning. Follow these simple tips to please your digestive system and make your heart healthier.

Avoid trans fatty acids

Trans fatty acids are most commonly found in commercially prepared baked goods, partially-hydrogenated margarine, snack foods and processed foods. For instance, French fries and onion rings which have a great deal of trans fatty acids. Trans fats are bad for cholesterol levels as they increase bad LDL-C and lower good HDL-C. It is therefore important to avoid all foods containing trans fatty acids. Keep a look-out for trans fat listed on food labels, where it’s situated right below saturated fats.

Limit foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol

Saturated fats are mainly animal fats, found mostly in animal or animal-derived foods. These include whole-fat dairy products, for instance, fresh milk, butter, full cream milk, cheese and mayonnaise as well as meat fat (ghee, lard, fats from beef and chicken). Some plant foods (coconut oil, santan) are also high in saturated fats. Saturated fats damage the body by increasing LDL-C levels, so it’s best to limit your consumption. It’s also wise to cut down on all animal meats and products. Being sources of cholesterol, they tend to raise LDL-C levels. Foods with high cholesterol levels are prawns, crabs, oysters and squid. The worst culprits, however, are offal (liver, brain, kidney and intestine) and egg yolk. It’s fine to have two to three eggs a week, provided you keep your animal fats intake low.

Use more monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)

Unsaturated fats are found in products derived from plant sources such as nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. There are two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Both types are beneficial as they help lower LDL-C. You can find monounsaturated fats in plant oils such as canola, olive, and peanut. Sources for polyunsaturated fats include plant oils (corn, sunflower, soy) and nuts (almonds, hazelnuts). Another type of healthy polyunsaturated fat is omega-3-fatty acid, which is found in salmon and tuna.

Increase your fibre intake

There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble:-Soluble fibre (such as beta glucan, pectin, etc) can be mainly found in high amount in oats, barley, legumes and some fruits (such as apples). Insoluble fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, seeds and whole grains (which can be found in high amount in wholegrain and wholemeal bread and some breakfast cereals). Do try to consume a combination of both types of fibre by adding high fibre foods in your daily diet. The recommended total dietary intake of fibre is 20-30g per day, out of which at least 6g should comprise soluble fibre

Food is digested in two stages. The first stage involves the bolus (where the concentration of enzymes is low) as it moves along the alimentary tract. At this stage, the food is subjected to primary treatment, the boluses are first broken down into smaller ones and these in turn become separate molecules.

The main process of digestion (the breakdown of molecules) occurs at the second stage when digestion takes place in the intestine near the intestinal wall. This type of digestion, called parietal digestion, is very good for the organism. The first advantage, which has already been mentioned, is that it is possible to attain a very high rate of digestion with only small amounts of enzymes. The other advantage is that the digestive enzymes can be used sparingly. The enzymes that are adsorbed on the intestinal wall are preserved and continue to serve the organism for a long time, while those from the bolus are eliminated together with the remains of the undigested food and are thus lost. The third and final advantage is that the completely digested food, which is ready to be absorbed by the blood, appears to be just where absorption takes place, i. e. close to the intestinal wall. This greatly accelerates and improves absorption.

This discovery allowed another mystery to be solved. Physicians have long been aware that sometimes in some humans the alimentary glands almost stop function as a result of illness. The sick person does not notice this since it almost does not aftect his digestion. How the food was digested remained a puzzle. Now it has been discovered that the negligible amounts of enzymes secreted by a faulty gland are adsorbed by the intestinal wall, accumulated and retained, thus ensuring the normal digestion of food.