Sunday, October 29, 2017

8 Fermented Foods that help digestion and health

8 Fermented Foods to Boost Digestion and Health

Miso soup and other fermented foods can boost the number of beneficial bacteria found in your gut.
Photo Credit: PAPA WOR/Shutterstock
Fermentation is a process that involves the breakdown of sugars by bacteria and yeast.
Not only does this help enhance the preservation of foods, but eating fermented foods can also boost the number of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, found in your gut.
Probiotics have been associated with a variety of health benefits, including improved digestion, better immunity and even increased weight loss (123).
This article looks at 8 fermented foods that have been shown to improve health and digestion.
1. Kefir
Kefir is a type of cultured dairy product.
It is made by adding kefir grains, which are made up of a combination of yeast and bacteria, to milk. This results in a thick and tangy beverage with a taste that is often compared to yogurt.
Studies have shown that kefir may come with many benefits, affecting everything from digestion to inflammation to bone health.
In one small study, kefir was shown to improve the digestion of lactose in 15 people with lactose intolerance. Those who are lactose intolerant are unable to digest the sugars in dairy products, resulting in symptoms like cramps, bloating and diarrhea (4).
Another study found that consuming 6.7 ounces (200 ml) of kefir daily for six weeks decreased markers of inflammation, a known contributor to the development of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer (56)
Kefir may also help enhance bone health. One study looked at the effects of kefir on 40 people with osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak, porous bones.
After six months, the group consuming kefir was found to have improved bone mineral density, compared to a control group (7).
Enjoy kefir on its own or use it to give your smoothies and blended drinks a boost.
SUMMARY: Kefir is a fermented dairy product that may improve lactose digestion, decrease inflammation and boost bone health.
2. Tempeh
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans that have been pressed into a compact cake.
This high-protein meat substitute is firm but chewy and can be baked, steamed or sautéed before being added to dishes.
In addition to its impressive probiotic content, tempeh is rich in many nutrients that may better your health. For example, soy protein has been shown to reduce certain risk factors for heart disease.
One study in 42 people with high cholesterol looked at the effects of eating either soy protein or animal protein. Those eating soy protein had a 5.7% decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol, a 4.4% reduction in total cholesterol and a 13.3% reduction in blood triglycerides (8).
Additionally, a test-tube study found that certain plant compounds in tempeh could act as antioxidants, helping reduce the buildup of free radicals, which are harmful compounds that can contribute to chronic disease (9).
Tempeh is perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Use it for anything from sandwiches to stir-fries to take advantage of its many health benefits.
SUMMARY: Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. It is high in probiotics and contains compounds that may act as antioxidants and improve heart health.
3. Natto Natto is a staple probiotic food in traditional Japanese cuisine and, like tempeh, made from fermented soybeans.
It contains a good amount of fiber, providing 5 grams per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (10).
Fiber may help support digestive health. It moves through the body undigested, adding bulk to stool to help promote regularity and alleviate constipation (11).
Natto is also high in vitamin K, an important nutrient that’s involved in the metabolism of calcium and plays a major role in bone health. In one study of 944 women, natto intake was associated with reduced bone loss in those who were postmenopausal (12).
The fermentation of natto also produces an enzyme called nattokinase. One study in 12 people showed that supplementing with nattokinase helped prevent and dissolve blood clots (13).
Another study also found that supplementing with this enzyme helped reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 5.5 and 2.84 mmHg, respectively (14).
Natto has a very strong flavor and slippery texture. It is often paired with rice and served as part of a digestion-boosting breakfast.
SUMMARY: Natto is a fermented soybean product. Its high fiber content may promote regularity and help prevent bone loss. It also produces an enzyme that can reduce blood pressure and help dissolve blood clots.
4. Kombucha
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is fizzy, tart and flavorful. It is made from either black or green tea and contains their potent health-promoting properties.
Animal studies show that drinking kombucha could help prevent liver toxicity and damage caused by exposure to harmful chemicals (151617).
Test-tube studies have also found that kombucha could help induce cancer cell death and block the spread of cancer cells (1819).
One animal study even found that kombucha helped reduce blood sugar, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (20).
Although most of the current research is limited to test-tube and animal studies, the benefits of kombucha and its components are promising. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to determine how kombucha may affect humans.
Thanks to its rising popularity, kombucha can be found at most major grocery stores. It can also be made at home, though it should be prepared carefully to prevent contamination or over-fermentation.
SUMMARY: Kombucha is a fermented tea. Although more research is needed, animal and test-tube studies have found that it could help protect the liver, decrease blood sugar and reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
5. Miso
Miso is a common seasoning in Japanese cuisine. It’s made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, a type of fungus.
It is most often found in miso soup, a flavorful dish made up of miso paste and stock that is traditionally served for breakfast.
In addition to its probiotic content, several studies have found health benefits tied to miso.
In one study including 21,852 women, consuming miso soup was linked to a lower risk of breast cancer (21).
Miso may also help lower blood pressure and protect heart health. In fact, a study in rats found that the long-term consumption of miso soup helped normalize blood pressure (22).
Another study in over 40,000 people showed that a higher intake of miso soup was associated with a lower risk of stroke (23).
Remember that many of these studies show an association, but they don’t take other factors into consideration. More studies are needed to evaluate miso’s health effects.
Besides stirring miso into soup, you can try using it to glaze cooked vegetables, spice up salad dressings or marinate meat.
SUMMARY: Miso is a seasoning made from fermented soybeans. It has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer and improved heart health, though more human studies are needed.
6. Kimchi
Kimchi is a popular Korean side dish that is usually made from fermented cabbage, although it can also be made from other fermented vegetables like radishes.
It boasts an extensive array of health benefits and may be especially effective when it comes to lowering cholesterol and reducing insulin resistance.
Insulin is responsible for transporting glucose from the blood to the tissues. When you sustain high levels of insulin for long periods, your body stops responding to it normally, resulting in high blood sugar and insulin resistance.
In one study, 21 people with prediabetes consumed either fresh or fermented kimchi for eight weeks. By the end of the study, those consuming fermented kimchi had decreased insulin resistance, blood pressure and body weight (24).
In another study, people were given a diet with either a high or low amount of kimchi for seven days. Interestingly, a higher intake of kimchi led to greater decreases in blood sugar, blood cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol (25).
Kimchi is easy to make and can be added to everything from noodle bowls to sandwiches.
SUMMARY: Kimchi is made from fermented vegetables such as cabbage or radishes. Studies have found that it may help reduce insulin resistance and blood cholesterol.
7. Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is a popular condiment consisting of shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. It is low in calories but contains plenty of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K (26).
It also contains a good amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help promote eye health and reduce the risk of eye disease (27).
The antioxidant content of sauerkraut may also have promising effects on cancer prevention.
One test-tube study showed that treating breast cancer cells with cabbage juice decreased the activity of certain enzymes related to cancer formation (28).
However, the current evidence is limited and more research is needed to look at how these findings may translate to humans.
You can use sauerkraut in just about anything. Throw it in your next casserole, add it to a hearty bowl of soup or use it to top off a satisfying sandwich.
To get the most health benefits, be sure to choose unpasteurized sauerkraut, as the process of pasteurization kills off beneficial bacteria.
SUMMARY: Sauerkraut is made from shredded cabbage that has been fermented. It is high in antioxidants that are important for eye health, and it’s easy to add to many dishes.
8. Probiotic Yogurt
Yogurt is produced from milk that has been fermented, most commonly with lactic acid bacteria.
It is high in many important nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and vitamin B12 (29).
Yogurt has also been associated with a wide variety of health benefits.
One review of 14 studies showed that fermented milk products like probiotic yogurt could help reduce blood pressure, especially in those with high blood pressure (30).
Another study found that a higher intake of yogurt was linked to improvements in bone mineral density and physical function in older adults (31).
It may also help keep your waistline in check. A recent review showed that eating yogurt was associated with a lower body weight, less body fat and a smaller waist circumference (32).
Remember that not all yogurt varieties contain probiotics, as these beneficial bacteria are often killed during processing.
Look for yogurts that contain live cultures to make sure you’re getting your dose of probiotics. Additionally, make sure to opt for yogurts with minimal added sugar.
SUMMARY: Probiotic yogurt is made from fermented milk. It is high in nutrients and could help reduce body weight, lower blood pressure and improve bone health.
The Bottom Line
Fermentation can help increase both the shelf life and health benefits of many different foods.
The probiotics found in fermented foods have been associated with improvements in digestion, immunity, weight loss and more (123).
In addition to containing these beneficial probiotics, fermented foods can positively impact many other aspects of health and are an excellent addition to your diet.
This article was originally published by Healthline.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Canaibis: Public Health Improves where Cannabis is legal

Legal cannabis access is associated with numerous favorable public health outcomes. Here are just a few of them.
Changes in the legal status of cannabis is associated with significant reductions in opioid-related mortality. Data published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that medical cannabis regulation is associated with year-over-year declines in overall opioid-related mortality, including heroin overdose deaths. Specifically, medicalization states experienced a 20 percent decrease in opioid deaths as compared to non-medicalized states within one year. This decrease climbed to 33 percent by year six. Other studies have separately linked the establishment of both dispensaries and adult use retailerswith reductions in opioid deaths. Traffic fatalities involving opioid-positive drivers has also fallen in states that have implemented medical marijuana laws.
Cannabis medicalization is associated with a reduction in opioid-related hospitalizations. According to a 2017 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, “medical marijuana policies [are] significantly associated with reduced opioid pain reliever-related hospitalizations.” Specifically, legal medical cannabis states experienced a 23 percent drop in hospitalizations due to opioid dependence and a 13 percent decline in hospitalizations due to overdose.
Patients in states where marijuana is legal use far fewer prescription drugs than do those in jurisdictions where cannabis remains prohibited. According to a pair of recent studies published in the journal Health Affairs, the passage of medical cannabis regulations results in a significant drop in Medicare and Medicaid-related prescription drug spending. Separate studies find that many registered medical cannabis patients taper their use of pharmaceuticals. For instance, a 2017 University of New Mexico study reported that state registrants often reduced or even eliminated their prescription drug intake over time, while non-registrants with similar medical conditions did not. A study assessing state-qualified patients in Illinois concluded that many subjects consumed cannabis “intentionally to taper off prescription medications.” A 2017 analysis of Canadian-registered cannabis patients reported that a majority of subjects self-reported substituting marijuana for prescription drugs, particularly opioids, benzodiazepines, and anti-depressants. A separate review of over 1,500 state-qualified patients in New England similarly determined that patients typically used medical cannabis as a replacement for opioids, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleep aids.
Market research indicates that many adults are choosing legal pot over booze. For example, 2017 survey data from self-identified cannabis consumers in California reports that one-third of millennials have switched from beer to marijuana. Twenty percent of Gen X-ers and eight percent of boomers similarly acknowledged substituting weed in place of booze. A 2016 market analysis by the Cowan & Company research firm similarly determined that beer sales by major distributors – such as Anheuser-Bush and MillerCoors – have “collectively underperformed” in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington in the years immediately following adult use legalization.
Some medical cannabis patients also report curbing their alcohol intake. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reported that 42 percent of medical marijuana patients surveyed reported reducing their alcohol consumption following admission into their state’s medicinal cannabis program. A 2015 review of 473 Canadian patients similarly reported that just over half of respondents substituted marijuana for alcohol.
This reported shift from booze to pot may be linked with increased traffic safety. According to a 2016 study in the American Journal of Public Health, the enactment of medical cannabis laws “are associated with reductions in traffic fatalities, particularly pronounced among those aged 25 to 44 years.” Researchers attributed this decline to be the result of fewer people driving under the influence of alcohol. A 2011 white paper published by the Institute for the Study of Labor similar reported that medical cannabis legalization in Colorado coincided with a nearly nine percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption."
The opening of medical cannabis dispensaries is correlated with an immediate decrease in narcotic-related admissions to drug treatment facilities. That is the finding of a just-published research paper by a University of Georgia economics professor which concludes, “dispensary openings experience a 20 percentage point relative decrease in painkiller treatment admissions over the first two years of dispensary operations.” A 2016 Castlight Health study of over one-million subjects similarly reported medical cannabis access was associated with far lower prevalence of opioid abuse and doctor shopping.
Changes in marijuana’s legal status is associated with an annual reduction in obesity-related medical costs. Writing in 2015 in the journal Health Economics, San Diego State University researchers reported, "[T]he enforcement of MMLs (medical marijuana laws) is associated with a 2% to 6% decline in the probability of obesity. ... Our estimates suggest that MMLs induce a $58 to $115 per-person annual reduction in obesity-related medical costs." Separate studies comparing subjects with a history of cannabis use versus controls consistently report that consumers are less likely to be obese, to suffer from diabetes, and are at a decreased risk of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Gold Star Mother writes a letter to Trump!! It is viral. Well worth reading.

A Gold Star Mother Just Went Viral With An Open Letter To President Trump

Written by TalesOfTheNorth
This weekend, President Trump falsely accused his predecessors, including President Obama, of not calling the family of fallen soldiers to offer condolences, and he followed that by insulting the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson.
Since then a series of strong rebukes of Trump’s compassionless attitude toward America’s Gold Star Families have come out, but none more powerful than this letter from Gold Star Mother Candie Glisson.
Glisson lost a son ten years ago, Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Jason Alan Schumann, ten years ago and received very different treatment than Gold Star Families now receive from Trump. Her courageous words speak for volumes and say everything about the heroes who bravely serve our country and the president who is disrespecting their service.
Her letter is below as shared by Common Defense PAC. Thank you Candie Glisson for your continued courage and strength.
“My son was killed in Iraq. Here’s my message to Trump:
On October 4th, 2017, four of our troops were killed in an ambush in Niger. For twelve long days, we didn’t hear a word from this Commander in Chief. Twelve days. Total silence.
On Monday, he said he was “too busy” to pay respects to the Gold Star families (although he had plenty of time for golfing, sabotaging our health care, and trying to ban Muslims). Finally, last night, he called one of the grieving mothers. But instead of offering sympathy and remorse, he callously said that her son, SGT La David Johnson, “knew what he signed up for.”
This is beyond the pale, even for Trump. When my son, SGT Jason Alan Schumann, was killed in Iraq 10 years ago, George W. Bush sent me a heartfelt letter. Now we have a president who degrades our fallen heroes, then calls their mourning families liars on Twitter.
This goes so far beyond party politics. Trump is a dangerous liar. He fabricated the truth on national television by claiming no previous president ever reached out to Gold Star families. He tried to use fallen heroes to score political points. Now, after saying La David Johnson should’ve known better, Trump is accusing a Gold Star widow and a Gold Star mother of making the story up.
When George W. Bush contacted me, he didn’t brag about it. He did so quietly. When Barack Obama met fallen soldiers at the airbase in Dover, he didn’t take to Twitter or turn it into a politicized photo-op. I may have disagreed with Bush, but at least he was respectful, humble, and dutiful.
To say I’m sickened by Trump’s remarks would be an understatement. And I know, with certainty, that my son would be utterly disgusted too. Not just by Trump’s remarks this week, but by Trump’s entire platform of bigotry, hate, and divisiveness. That isn’t the kind of country he swore an oath to protect. That’s not the kind of country he fought and died for.
Thank you,
Candie Glisson
Gold Star mother