Thursday, November 30, 2017

Gut - Brain Connection

The gut-brain connection. What is it? The gut and brain have a steady ability to communicate via the nervous system, hormones, and the immune system. Some of the microbiome can release neurotransmitters, just like our own neurons do, speaking to the brain in its own language via the vagus nerve.
The body responds to stress (mental or physical) via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. For example, if you are eating lunch and a lion jumps into the middle of your picnic table, your “fight or flight” system is fired into full gear, your heart pounds, your pupils dilate, your hair stands on end, natural steroids and adrenaline flood your system to strengthen your muscles and give you an extra burst of speed. Even your platelets change shape so they are more sticky, leaving you less likely to bleed out if you are attacked.
Under conditions of chronic stress,mental or physical, the feedback tends to get messed up, leading to symptoms of chronic stress which includes mental issues such as anxiety or clinical depression, but also physical problems such as chronic gut problems, headaches, and high blood pressure. What does all of that have to do with the gut?
Our stress response doesn’t readily distinguish between mental and physical distress; your heart pounds and you tremble with anxiety when you are in an uncomfortable meeting or situation. = When our body is under stress, it releases what are called inflammatory cytokines, little chemical messengers that bring a certain part of our immune system into high alert. In a sense, our body reacts to all stress as if it were an infection, and to chronic stress as if it were a chronic infection.
Here is the kicker, the immune system works with inflammation that saves your life from all the pathogens out there like the flu and strep, but chronic levels of inflammatory response also lead to all sorts of chronic disease. For example depressive disorders, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases such as ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis. Immune system activation can also determine whether or not we develop cancer.
Where does the gut get involved? Well, it turns out the gut microbiome plays a key role in regulating our immune response. Thus the make-up of our gut microbiome could make the difference as to whether we are sick or well, both mentally and physically. The “right” gut bacteria also interact on a hormonal level, helping to turn off the cortisol and adrenaline response that can cause long-term harm to the body.
Changing your diet will have immediate effects on your gut health by cutting out process foods, grains and diary.
-Eating probiotic-rich foods, like kefir and sauerkraut, can also cause your gut and mood to thrive. Probiotics are good bacteria that primarily line your gut and are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system.
-Healthy fats are essential for brain development. Olive oil, for instance, includes a high amount of antioxidants that protect your cells from damage. It also helps improve memory and cognitive function, and works as an anti-inflammatory. Avocado benefits range from protecting your heart to helping with digestion, but it’s also a great pick for improving your mood.
-For many people, limiting gluten will also have positive effect on their gut microbiome. The traditional methods of soaking, sprouting and souring grains in order to make them digestible and nutritious has been abandoned for a fast and convenient method of mass producing food.
Maybe there is a good correlation between feeding and fighting diseases! Eat to fight disease before taking a prescription pill!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Busy mornings? Easy breakfast idea !

If you have busy mornings, and "can't" find time for breakfast, look no further than right here! Yes, plan ahead and make your breakfast the night before is the best option to ensure you are getting in some proper fuel for your day! What is the easiest thing to prepare? Overnight oats !
What are overnight oats? Overnight oats are simply oats that are soaked in some form of liquid overnight in the refrigerator. Personally, I like to use almond milk or coconut milk for some added flavor. Or you can add in some greek yogurt for some creamy texture. Another way to get in more protein is by mixing your milk with some protein powder before pouring into your oat mixture. That way you now have the added protein bonus and you didn't have to think about it!
Making overnight oats can get your creativity stirring. You can add in any mix-in flavors that you want the next morning. A word of warning on the toppings though, your mix-ins/toppings will get soggy if left overnight, so don’t add anything to your overnight oats you don’t mind getting a bit mushy.
Benefits of Overnight Oats
NO cooking required
Easy to prepare
Extremely portable
Cost effective for those on a budget
Oats remain intact and creamy, not mushy like cooked oats
Packed with nutrition
Incredibly versatile
Enjoyable for all ages and tastes
Endless options
Can be savory or sweet
How to Make Overnight Oats
The typical ratio that yields the best results for most people is combining equal parts raw rolled oats and milk (or yogurt). Don't use the instant oats, make sure they are old-fashioned ones. From there, put the mixture in the fridge (covered or uncovered, your choice) and let them meld for overnight or a minimum 5-6 hours in order for the oats to absorb the liquid.
The long chill allows the oats to become soft and creamy without getting overly mushy, but you must give it time for this to happen.In the morning, open the fridge and you have your overnight oats ready to go. Then add in your toppings and BOOM you got yourself a meal. Do you know what the real beauty is? Convenience and easy transportation. Make them in a mason/ canning jar that has a lid. This way you can just grab and go!
Here are some ideas!
Peanut Butter Cup
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup yogurt
¼ cup milk
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
2 tablespoons peanut butter
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Sweetener to taste
½-1 tablespoon cocoa powder (optional)
Almond Joy-inspired
½ cup rolled oats
⅓ cup yogurt
½ cup milk
¼ cup coconut flakes
½-1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
⅛ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
Chocolate chips (optional)
Hope you enjoy them! Tag me in your posts if you make them!