Friday, July 26, 2013

Seniors Beware, Your Diet is Important

I have enjoyed helping people from age 5 to 95.  Seniors have many unique challenges.  My prospective for their diet has proven very helpful in improving their quality of life.  Talk to any senior about their discomforts and the subject of their unfortunate bowel habits will come up.  The colon is a muscle and as with other muscles in the body, when we get older they are not as strong.  Added to this is the lessening of mobility.  So it is vital for their diet to have plenty of natural fiber.  This will also help lesson diverticulosis which is so common with seniors and can become fatal.  Diverticulosis occurs when the muscle wall thins out from lack of fiber and the resultant sluggish colon allows for old stool to accumulate.  This in turn produces gas.  This gas puts pressure on the thinned out muscle wall and causes pockets to form.  When food gets into these pockets and gets infected the result is diverticulitis which can be deadly. 

Fiber can be enjoyable.  Fresh fruit, real (not canned) vegetables and whole grains are a must.  Besides being tasteless, canned vegetables have lost most of their vital nutrients including fiber.  No more white bread, white pasta or processed foods!  These are cheap foods but in the long run cost more dollars because of the expense of medications to counter-act the side affects caused by them.  These foods turn into a gooey sticky mess in the colon making them difficult to eliminate.  They also raise blood sugar whereas whole grains as a complex carbohydrate breakdown slower not usually causing a rise in blood sugar levels.  

We all love cheese.  Yet cheese is a slow processor in the colon and can cause constipation.  This is also true of red meat, i.e. beef, pork and lamb.  These should be eaten in moderation.

It is wise to incorporate Greek yogurt into the diet.  Besides being a good source of calcium and protein, yogurt has beneficial bacteria which is necessary for the colon to function properly.  In a healthy person the colon's wall has about 80% friendly bacteria versus 20% unfriendly.  This friendly bacteria is decreased with antibiotics and steroidal drugs, both commonly used by seniors.  Yet, if their diet is supplemented with beneficial bacteria their immune system will be better able to protect them from future infections.  This is how our bodies naturally defend itself from unwanted invaders such as viruses and infections. 

And let's not forget water, water, water!  Coffee is the mainstream in today's society yet it dehydrates the body including the colon causing harder, thus difficult to move stools.  Additionally, the caffeine in coffee is a stimulant just as ExLax is, thus causing the colon to become lazier and lazier as it becomes dependent on a stimulant to function.  So coffee should be consumed in moderation.  Juices, if the senior is not a diabetic, are also a good way to increase fluids. 

So eat to better health, not that you haven't heard that before.  The sooner these helpful hints are applied the faster the senior or anyone for that matter will feel relief. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The New Prozac....Probiotics?

A new study done by researchers at UCLA revealed that the microbes in probiotics have shown mind-altering effects in helping individuals with anxiety and depression.  Here is an article about the study. 
Is there anything that probiotics cannot do?  The list for probiotics’ benefits gets longer and longer.  Why should this surprise us when we are composed of trillions of these little guys?  
Dr. Michael Gershon coined the term, ‘the second brain’ in 1996 and published a book with the same name.  He says,95 percent of the body's serotonin is housed in the gut, where it acts as a neurotransmitter and a signaling mechanism.” You can find more information about his research in the new field of neurogastroenterology at:

People often take prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) for depression.  The drug’s purpose is to increase levels of serotonin in the body.  Since 95% of the serotonin in our bodies is found in the gut, it’s not a stretch to understand why improving the health of the gut with beneficial bacteria will also help our mood and anxiety.  In a healthy gut 80% of the lining is made of beneficial bacteria. The value of taking daily probiotics is underscored for not only intestinal health and immune health but also for happiness health.  Now that’s something we can cheer about!

Please visit my site about Quintestinal Probiotics. One of it’s five strains of active microbes includes ProDURA™ Bacillus Coagulans.  ProDURA™ is a spore forming bacterium with a protective coating that stays dormant until it meets the perfect conditions of heat, pH, and moisture found in the large intestine. Unlike many cultures, it can survive extreme processing, shipping, storage as well as the natural challenges of the digestive tract.