How to Improve Your Digestion & Stay Healthier in Winter

Who doesn’t love to snuggle up at home during the cold, winter months binge-watching Netflix and awards shows, and enjoying more than one or two pizza deliveries? But that kind of “winter chill” can lower your metabolism and wreak havoc on your digestive system – leading to stomach discomfort and weight gain. Even worse, an unhealthy digestive system weakens your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to viruses and illnesses.

So here’s a quick rundown of food and lifestyle strategies you can adopt to improve your digestion – helping you enjoy good health all winter long.

 

Eat those winter veggies.

Sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, turnips, and beets are plentiful in the winter, and they’re packed with vitamins and minerals that do a body good–especially in your digestive tract. Winter greens like kale, chard, spinach, and Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamin C, boosting your immune system and providing your gut with the fiber it needs for healthy balanced functioning.

 

Use lots of spices.

Spices like turmeric and ginger have been used for centuries to soothe intestinal woes. Turmeric is widely used to reduce symptoms of IBS, including cramps, constipation, and diarrhea. Ginger soothes upset stomachs.

Cumin used extensively in Hispanic dishes can help eliminate gas and bloating. If you like it spicy, cayenne pepper stimulates digestion and can even help repair damage to your gut lining.

 

Eat more, smaller meals.

Instead of loading up on three squares a day, try grazing instead. Grazing is the informal name of the eating habit that involves consuming many, smaller meals throughout the day. While the jury is still out about whether this eating style promotes weight loss, a substantial body of research shows that eating six to ten smaller meals a day improves satiety and decreases bloating and other digestive discomforts. However, you’ll want to be sure you’re choosing appropriate foods and portions at each eating interval as to not overdo it.

 

Stay hydrated.

Since winter doesn’t find most of us outside losing liquids to the heat, we often under-hydrate during the winter months, which can cause constipation and other digestive problems. Just because you don’t feel thirsty doesn’t mean you don’t need water.

In fact, by the time you feel thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. Even when you aren’t losing water through sweating, your body needs roughly 64 ounces a day for optimal functioning, including gastrointestinal and kidney function.

 

Exercise.

Moving your body stimulates digestion, and it helps you maintain a healthy digestive system. Strive to get in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking or biking, most days of the week.

 

Take a probiotic.

Probiotics like Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics have a wide range of benefits for your digestive and overall health. Probiotics are healthy gut bacteria that promote optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. Numerous things can lead to imbalances in the gut microbiome, including a poor diet, certain medications, and excessive alcohol consumption.

A daily probiotic helps to restore colonies of healthy bacteria to reduce digestive symptoms. Probiotics have also been shown to improve your immune function, which helps prevent colds and other seasonal illnesses that can further slow down your digestive system in the winter.

Keeping your digestive and overall health in tip-top shape over the winter months requires a healthy diet and plenty of physical activity. To boost your digestion, supplementation with a daily probiotic gives your gut the healthy bacteria it needs to function well despite long nights curled up and content on the couch.

 
 

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227268/
https://nutrition.org/small-frequent-meals/
https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/probiotics-may-be-effective-in-preventing-the-common-cold/

Why Prebiotics Matter & Where to Find Them

Fascinating research continues to uncover the relationships between the bacteria in the gut and the function of numerous body systems. You’ve probably heard of the gut microbiome, also called gut microflora, which is the collection of bacteria that lives in the digestive tract. The microbiome helps regulate inflammation, protects you from bacterial and fungal infections, and forms short-chain fatty acids to help keep harmful invaders out of the gut.

Your gut bacteria play a significant role in your digestive health, cognitive function, mood, and energy levels. Your microbiome is also involved in nutrient processing, the development of vitamins B and K; and the health of your immune system.

A healthy microbiome is one that’s composed of a wide variety of bacterial species. Diversity in the microbiome protects against a number of health conditions, while less-diverse flora may increase the risk of those conditions.

Probiotic supplements and foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt introduce healthy bacteria into the gut. But once the bacteria are there, how do you keep the microbiome healthy?

A thriving community of gut flora needs to be fed a nutritious diet, and that’s where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics are the food the bacteria in the gut consume to maintain optimal health.

Prebiotic foods are generally types of dietary fiber that can’t be digested by the body. Here are five of the best prebiotic foods, with tips on how to fit more of them into your daily diet.

1. Garlic

Garlic is a culinary staple for many cooks, and it promotes the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria while preventing the growth of “bad” bacteria. Garlic may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, according to research, and it also has been shown to have antioxidant effects.

You can use garlic in practically any savory dish for added flavor and excellent prebiotic benefits. Sautee or roast it to tame the spiciness and mellow out the flavor. Add it to meat and vegetable dishes, soups, and stews.

2. Onions

Like garlic, you can add onions to nearly any dish, including your breakfast scrambled eggs, pasta dishes, soups, and stews. The prebiotic fiber in onions helps strengthen the gut flora and increase nitric oxide production in the body’s cells. Onions also contain powerful antioxidants that help fight diseases.

3. Asparagus

The prebiotics in asparagus promote healthy bacteria and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Roasted asparagus makes a great side dish for a lean protein, or you can add lightly steamed asparagus to salads and soups.

4. Bananas

Bananas make a quick and easy snack, and they’re fantastic in smoothies, sliced over cereal, and baked into bread. The prebiotic fiber found in bananas increases populations of beneficial bacteria and helps reduce bloating. Bananas are inexpensive, and they’re rich in vitamins and minerals.

5. Apples

Rife with fiber, apples are an excellent prebiotic source. The pectin in apples increases short-chain fatty acids that feed healthy gut bacteria and reduce the number of bad bacteria in the gut. Apples have also been shown to improve digestive health and boost fat metabolism.

Prebiotic Supplementation

Research shows that shifts in the composition of the microbiome may be associated with the development of inflammatory bowel disease, blood cancers, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Especially as we age, it’s essential to make lifestyle choices that promote a healthy, balanced microbiome. Eating plenty of prebiotic and probiotic foods or taking supplements will help you maintain better health on many fronts.

A prebiotic supplement like Stonehenge Health’s Ultimate Prebiotic Complex helps to ensure you’re getting the daily prebiotic fiber you need for the healthiest possible gut microbiome. Ultimate Prebiotic Complex can help relieve digestive woes, increase your energy levels, and promote optimal absorption of nutrients for better overall health and vitality.

 

 

Sources:
https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2179
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6041804/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5797576/

6 Ways to Get Your Weight Back on Track after the Holidays

Are you feeling an extra inch or two around your middle?

This time of year, sweet and savory temptations surround us. And unless you’re superhuman, total resistance to all the delicious holiday delights is almost impossible.

No wonder experts say that between Thanksgiving and Jan 1, the average American adult gains about one pound. Now, one pound might not sound like a whole lot. But problems arise when that extra pound sticks around long after the holidays are over. After a few years of accumulated holiday pounds, the excess weight adds up.

But don’t worry. Losing holiday weight gain is easier than you think. Keep reading for a few simple things that you can do to get yourself back on track, and jump-start your way into a fit and healthy new year!

 

#1. Exercise Every Day for One Month

There’s nothing better for your body than moving. Study after study shows that exercise can both improve the quality and the duration of your life. Exercise every day can also help you quickly drop a few pounds while toning up your body.

Now there’s no stopping you from keeping the daily exercise going as long as possible. But by giving yourself a short term, incremental goals, you are much more likely to reach your ultimate weight loss and fitness objectives.

 

#2 Find A Friend To Workout With

What’s more motivating than knowing someone is saving you a mat at the pilates studio? Working out with a friend helps you avoid skipping your daily exercise when you’re feeling less than inspired. You’re more likely to meet your weight loss goals with a friend because you’re simply less likely to give up. And studies show, when you work out with a friend, you work harder too.

 

 #3 Ditch Unhealthy Holiday Treats

Is your fridge full of holiday leftovers, cakes, candies, and treats? This may sound crazy, but -open the fridge door, pull out every weight-buster you see – and throw it all away. If you can’t stand the idea of tossing good food, donate it to your local food pantry. Getting temptation out of your site is the only way you to avoid adding them to your waistline. And when your fridge is empty, fill it up with fresh, healthy, wholesome food – only.

 

#4 Be Prepared

When you’re extra busy at work, and hunger is gnawing at you, that’s when you are most likely to reach for a readily available – and unhealthy sweet treat. The key here is preparation. Prepare all your food for work the night before. When your meals are ready to go, you won’t make unhealthy, spontaneous choices. And while you’re at it – get your fitness bag ready too. Make sure there’s no excuse to skip the gym – remember, your buddy is waiting!

 

#5 Drink Lots of Water

Drinking lots of water cleanses your body of toxins, boosts your metabolism, and even suppresses your appetite. Drinking lots of water also stops your body from retaining water – leading it to drop extra water weight.

Thirst can make you think you’re hungry when you just need water. So before you decide on a snack, drink a glass of water first.

 

#6 Gut Health is Everything

The holidays are the prime season for overindulging on sugar, alcohol, and unhealthy fat – all things that throw your gut microbiome out of whack and make digestive issues much more likely.

At the same time, you’re less likely to eat high fiber foods that your helpful gut bacteria need to survive. Taking a probiotic supplement reseeds your gut, keeping your digestive health on track.

When it comes to holiday weight gain, studies show that taking probiotics from the Lactobacillus family can help. A study done on L. Fermentum showed it reduced weight by 3-4% over 6 weeks. That means a person weighing 165 pounds can lose 6.6 pounds just taking this one probiotic daily.

Fermentum, along with other strains shown to help you lose weight is included in the 16 strains of probiotics in Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics.


Learn More >>

Sources:

Omar, Jaclyn M., Yen-Ming Chan, Mitchell L. Jones, Satya Prakash, and Peter J.H. Jones. 2013. “Lactobacillus Fermentum And Lactobacillus Amylovorus As Probiotics Alter Body Adiposity And Gut Microflora In Healthy Persons”. Journal Of Functional Foods 5 (1): 116-123. Elsevier BV. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2012.09.001.

5 Common Signs of a Gluten Sensitivity and How to Remedy It

Gluten has, in recent years, been demonized in many circles, leading to a mass boycott of this family of proteins. But gluten is harmless if you don’t have an adverse reaction to it.

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. Gluten consists of two main proteins called glutenin and gliadin. When these two proteins mix with water, they become glue-like in consistency, hence the name. Gluten gives bread dough it’s elastic nature and gives the final product its much-beloved chewy texture.

Around one percent of the population has celiac disease, which is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. In people with celiac disease, the immune system believes that the gluten proteins are foreign invaders, and it attacks them–along with the gut wall. Classified as an autoimmune disease, celiac disease can cause severe damage to the digestive system.

Gluten sensitivity, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is different from celiac disease and has milder symptoms. Unlike celiac disease, gluten sensitivity doesn’t damage the gut lining, but it can cause serious intestinal discomfort nonetheless.

Studies show that the majority of people who believe they’re gluten intolerant may not have a gluten sensitivity at all. One study found that only 25 percent of those who reported gluten sensitivity met the diagnostic criteria. That doesn’t mean that eating a lot of gluten still won’t make your gut unhappy.

Common Symptoms of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

The symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity are wide-ranging, and some, like headaches, aren’t directly related to digestion. On their own, each symptom can have a myriad of causes. But if multiple symptoms occur together, it could be a sign of gluten sensitivity. The following are the five most common signs of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

1. Bloating


Bloating is a very common digestive woe, and it’s associated with all kinds of foods and conditions. Research shows that around 87 percent of people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience frequent bloating discomfort.

2. Diarrhea and constipation


People who have regular bouts of diarrhea or constipation may be gluten-sensitive, especially if their feces are particularly foul-smelling. A recent study found that over half of people with gluten sensitivity have frequent diarrhea, and around 25 percent experience regular constipation.

3. Headaches


While headaches are very common and have numerous causes, regular headaches that occur along with digestive symptoms can indicate a gluten sensitivity. In fact, some studies show that gluten-sensitive people may be more likely to experience migraines than non-sensitive people.

4. Fatigue


Up to 82 percent of people with gluten sensitivity frequently feel tired and fatigued, according to research, especially after eating foods containing gluten. In some cases, gluten intolerance can cause anemia, which contributes to fatigue.

5. Skin issues


Skin problems are common in people with celiac disease, and they can also indicate a gluten sensitivity in those without celiac. Skin problems associated with gluten sensitivity include psoriasis (scaly, red skin), alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss), and chronic urticaria (itchy, pink or red lesions with pale centers).

How Gluten Sensitivity is Diagnosed and Treated

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is diagnosed if:

•You experience immediate symptoms after ingesting gluten.
•You cut out gluten and symptoms disappear.
•You re-introduce gluten and experience symptoms again.
•Medical exams rule out celiac disease and wheat allergy.
•A blinded gluten test confirms non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

If you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the most important thing to do is to take good care of your digestive health every day to reduce symptoms. A daily probiotic like Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics can help keep your gut flora in balance to reduce digestive discomfort, while our Incredible Digestive Enzymes support gluten digestion as well as the digestion of carbs, dairy, and fiber.

Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your gluten sensitivity, you may need to avoid gluten altogether, although some people with this condition can consume small amounts of gluten without too much trouble. Through trial and error, and with supplemental digestive support, you can find out what works best for you.





 

 

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24740495
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19362553
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24885375/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12741468/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003198/

The 10 Worst Foods for IBS

For many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), symptoms may be triggered by specific foods. What triggers your symptoms may be different from what triggers the symptoms of fellow sufferers, but these 10 foods are likely culprits for anyone with IBS.

1. Gluten

Although gluten is often unfairly demonized, it’s fair to say that gluten can be a major trigger for IBS. Gluten is a type of protein found in certain grains, including rye, wheat, and barley. Many people who have IBS are also gluten intolerant and may experience symptoms like bloating, cramps, and diarrhea.

2. Fried Foods

Fried foods are high in fat and can be particularly hard on the digestive systems of people who have IBS. Frying food makes it more difficult to digest, so other cooking methods are recommended for people with IBS and other gastrointestinal problems.

3. Caffeine

Coffee and other drinks containing caffeine stimulate the intestines and can cause diarrhea. Instead of consuming drinks with caffeine when you need a little boost, go for a brisk walk.

4. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are found in sugarless gum, candy, and diet drinks. Commonly used artificial sweeteners include acesulfame potassium, aspartame, and sucralose, and since these and other sugar substitutes are difficult for the body to absorb, they can easily trigger IBS symptoms.

5. Alcohol

Many people with IBS have trouble drinking alcohol because of how their body digests it. The dehydrating effects of alcohol are also problematic for people with IBS. If you enjoy drinking alcohol, stick with gluten-free beer, or enjoy a cocktail mixed with soda water.

6. Broccoli and Cauliflower

While broccoli and cauliflower are healthy vegetables, they’re not always ideal for people with IBS. These vegetables are among the hardest for people to digest, and when they’re broken down in the intestines, they produce gas and may cause constipation.

7. Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber is that which can’t be digested. Although it adds healthy bulk to your diet, insoluble fiber can make diarrhea worse for people with IBS. Soluble fiber, which is found in grains, root vegetables, legumes, and berries, is a better choice if you have digestive woes.

8. Dairy

Dairy products contain fat, which can worsen diarrhea. They also contain lactose, and since many people with IBS are also lactose intolerant, dairy products may need to be restricted. Suitable dairy substitutes include rice, soy, or nut milks and cheeses.

9. Beans and Legumes

For some people, beans and legumes can help reduce constipation by increasing the bulk in the stool. But they’re also notorious for causing gas, cramping, and bloating, especially in people with IBS. Different varieties can produce different results, so trial and error may help you find which types you can safely eat.

10. Processed Foods

Highly processed foods like bread, crackers, sweets, and chips contain high levels of fat, sugar, preservatives, and other additives that can cause problems with digestion. Choosing mostly fresh, whole foods is the healthiest way to eat whether or not you have IBS.

Everyone’s IBS triggers are different, and once you know what yours are, staying away from those foods will help you remain as symptom-free as possible. Regardless of what you eat, a daily probiotic like Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics can help you maintain optimal gut flora balance for better digestion and fewer IBS symptoms.



Sources:
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/eating-diet-nutrition
https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs-a-to-z

The Mysteries of Your Digestive System Revealed

human digestive system

If you often feel cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or pain in your gut, you must know that digestive woes are extremely common. In America 60 to 70 million people live with a digestive disease, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

From chronic constipation to Crohn’s disease and from gallstones to gastroesophageal reflux disease, digestive problems can dramatically lower your quality of life. Understanding how Continue reading “The Mysteries of Your Digestive System Revealed”

Taking Antibiotics? Here’s What You Should Eat

Woman taking antibiotic

Antibiotics save lives, but they can do a number on your gut microbiota (flora), a complex ecosystem of microbes that helps keep us healthy. In recent years, healthy gut flora has been associated with optimal functioning of numerous body systems, including the nervous and digestive systems, and it promotes a healthy brain and optimal hormonal function.

Continue reading “Taking Antibiotics? Here’s What You Should Eat”

Recipe: Big Flavor Super Hummus Dip

We know that this time of the year, there are plenty of “bugs” going around…

And since you’re a loyal member of the Stonehenge Health community, you already know — one of the best ways to stay healthy is to:

Keep your gut healthy.

Now, chances are, you’re already on the right track — especially if you’re using any of our gut supporting formulas, like Dynamic Biotics or Incredible Digestive Enzymes

But, we understand that you’re going to indulge every now and then — like when you’re hosting a party for a big sporting event, movie night, or family gathering.

Foods at an event like that can be strong enough to knock down even the HEALTHIEST gut.

So, to keep your health on track and keep those “bad gut days” at bay…we’re sharing a simple, nourishing, affordable recipe you can make to snack on during your favorite championship game, party, or really anytime at all.

We call it our “Super Hummus Dip” — because it’s ALWAYS a hit at every big get together.

Here’s how you make it:

Super Hummus Dip

Prep Time: 1 HR

Servings: Makes two cups

INGREDIENTS:

*1 Head of roasted garlic
*3 cups of chickpeas
*Zest of 1 large lemon
*Juice of 1 large lemon
*2 ounces of tahini
*2 ounces of olive oil
*Sea salt and white pepper (to taste)

Step 1:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Grab your garlic. Cut them about a ¼ of an inch from the top to expose the cloves. Peel off the loose skin and place the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzling a bit of olive oil on top.

Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes. When you check on the garlic, you should be able to easily slide your knife in.

When the pan is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the soft garlic and set the pan to the side.

Step 2:
Now, place your chickpeas in a bowl and run some lukewarm water over them. Next, dump them out and shake off any excess water.

Place your chickpeas in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes. (Set this up right after you place your garlic in the oven to save yourself some time.).

Step 3:
Finally, we’re ready to prepare the hummus: Place your chickpeas in a food processor. Add in your garlic, the zest of a lemon, lemon juice, your tahini and lastly, your olive oil.

Now, process the mixture until you achieve your desired level of smoothness. (If the mixture is too thick for your liking, just add in a bit of cold water until it’s the consistency you desire.)

Now all you need to do is season everything with some salt and pepper.

Voila, you’ve got an incredibly simple, delicious, healthy snack you can prepare for any championship occasion.