Sufferers of acid reflux often experience heartburn after eating. This may be due to a weakness in the ring of sphincter muscle that separates the oesophagus from the stomach. This sphincter muscle should relax to let food through but contract again to keep food in the stomach. It can also be due to a hiatal hernia between the stomach and oesophagus.
Cholecystokinin – Excessive consumption of egg yolks, alcohol and coffee, all increase production of the hormone cholecystokinin. This hormone over relaxes the sphincter muscle between the oesophagus and the stomach, allowing gastric juices to enter the oesophagus where they can cause irritation and damage.
Plant-based diets – Cholecystokinin is also increased by meat consumption. This explains why plant-based diets are good for preventing reflux, and those eating meat have been found to have twice as much reflux. Persistent reflux can increase the risk for cancer of the oesophagus.
Foods such as eggs, meat, spicy foods, tomatoes, vinegar, citrus, saturated fats, mint and bananas can increase the chance of reflux in some people.
Antioxidant-rich foods – People eating the most antioxidant-rich foods have half the odds of oesophageal cancer. Interestingly there is practically no reduction in risk among those people who used antioxidant vitamin supplements, such as vitamin C or E pills.
Protect the Oesophagus – The most protective foods for the oesophagus are red-orange vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, berries, and apples.
As we get older it gets harder to remember things. Even the sharpest of minds can start to experience cognitive decline. However, there are many dietary modifications that you can adopt that have been shown to improve the brain function.
Consumption of blueberries and strawberries has been shown to reduce brain ageing by up to 2.5 years.
The herb rosemary, when used in cooking, has been shown to improve memory and enhance the processing speed of the brain.
Just one week on a plant-based diet can significantly drop blood levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a toxin associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dehydration causes brain shrinkage and may not only play a role in cognitive impairment, but also in levels of energy, alertness, and happiness. So try and drink up to 2.5 litres of water per day!
Nitrate rich vegetables such as rocket, beetroot and rhubarb increase blood flow to the brain and can increase cognitive function by optimising oxygen delivery.
Reducing glycotoxin intake can prevent brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. Glycotixins are present in foods such as chicken, pork, beef and fish, but can also accumulate if you are a smoker. They act on the brain to suppress an enzyme involved with the removal of plaques and tangles in your DNA. Over time these can accumulate in the brain and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
The kidneys assist the body in maintaining good hydration and electrolyte levels. They also remove excess acids and waste products from the blood, which are then excreted in urine. Maintaining good kidney health is important to prevent water retention, high blood pressure and acidosis in the body.
Kidney health can be maintained and improved in a number of ways, including:
Eating foods that promote nitric oxide release in the arteries will improve the blood flow to the smallest arteries that pass through the kidneys. Foods such as beetroot, rocket, rhubarb, garlic, spicy foods, cooked tomatoes and roasted vegetables will all help the arteries to open up and increase blood flow.
The kidneys will function at their best if you reduce the amount of acid forming foods you consume. Foods such as meat, fish and eggs, as well as fats and processed foods, will increase the acid load on the kidneys. Alkaline forming foods on the other hand, such as fruit and vegetables, green leafy vegetables and dried fruits will dramatically reduce the acid load.
How much fibre do you eat every day? Most people are not eating enough.
Average fibre consumption is around 15g per day, but the ideal diet contains over 100g per day and anything below 32g is considered deficient.
So why is fibre important? Fibre is a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the helpful bacteria in your gut. These bacteria ensure that you are digesting your food properly and extracting the nutrients efficiently. They can also reduce inflammation and cancer risk, and positively regulate your mood.
Fibre is also important to maintain a healthy level of cholesterol. Excess cholesterol passes from the blood into the digestive tract where it can bind to soluble fibre. It is then removed in your stool. In the absence of fibre in the digestive tract, the cholesterol passes back into the blood stream, where it can contribute to weight gain and attach to the inside of the arteries, increasing cardiac risk in the long term.
The best sources of dietary fibre are whole plant foods, in particular, oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, quinoa, beans, avocado, coconut, artichoke, figs, almonds, walnuts, asparagus, okra, squash, peas, pears, berries and mangoes.
You should aim to eat over 35-40g of fibre each day.
Changing dietary intake to comprise the eating of smaller meals at more frequent intervals is thought to be more beneficial for weight loss than eating larger meals less frequently. This is likely due to improved control of glucose levels, better appetite control, and increased calorie use by the body during digestion. Also eating protein at regular intervals during the day increases muscle mass after exercise training, as more protein is available for repair, regeneration and growth of muscle tissue. The number of calories you burn throughout the day while at rest is largely dependent on muscle mass and a fat burning diet can be enhanced though gains in muscle. Maintaining or increasing muscle mass is a key factor in health as we age and also with survival and recovery from many disease conditions. The best results were observed when daily calorie intake was split over 5 or more meals a day. Increased fat loss as well as gains in muscle mass were noted. A high protein diet in conjunction with higher feeding frequency, has also shown beneficial effects on body composition, greater appetite control has also been observed with higher feeding frequency, with many people consuming less calories when adopting this method.
Eat little and often (5+ small meals per day).
Eat slowly and focus on chewing food thoroughly.
Be careful not to exceed daily calorie intake (using a small side plate for meals can help you judge portion sizes). Also do not snack between meals.
Keep to a balanced diet with low glycaemic index, high protein and vegetable content.
Thick soups or healthy green smoothies fill you up more quickly with smaller portions.
Exercise (you will see better gains in muscle mass from eating protein regularly throughout the day).
In the 1920’s food merchants were concerned about the amount of money lost to spoilage. They found that if they put certain chemicals like nitrates into food, it was less likely to spoil. Nitrates are also used as fertilisers by farmers. The problem is that these chemicals preserve the cells in your body as well as the cells in food. The cells stop working. Cells that stop working are called disease.
Next, food manufacturers found that if they cook fats at about 350 degrees fahrenheit for about five hours, the fats turned into something similar to plastic. Foods processed this way are called ‘partially hydrogenated fats’ or ‘trans fats’ or ‘plastic fats’. If you look in your larder, you will probably find processed food with these fats in them.
When you eat these plastic fats, your cell membranes become more plastic. Think of a cell with a plastic membrane. It is like wrapping the cell in sellotape. The cell sends out a signal that it is hungry. In response, the body sends glucose and insulin to the cell. However, they can’t get through the membrane. The cell continues to signal that it is hungry, and the body continues to send it more food. Soon the cell is surrounded by glucose and insulin but the cell is still hungry. This is known as insulin resistance and type II diabetes. The cell membrane becomes so saturated that it starts to offload excess glucose into fat cells. Thus people who continue to eat plastic fats get fatter and fatter.
Guess what happens to a brain made of plastic? It doesn’t work well and becomes prone to depression, chronic fatigue, attention deficiency and brain fog.
Guess what happens to a liver that is made of plastic. It can’t clean out the toxins in your system, causing things like fibromyalgia. Without a functional liver, your immune system fails and you get all sorts of chronic infections.