Articles on gut

Feed Your Gut - the Biotic Way!

Ms. Tehzeeb, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The one word that has been wildly doing the rounds in the media and amid health enthusiasts is ‘Probiotics.’ At some point or another, we are certain that you too must have heard all about the claims adjoined to it. However, ever wondered what it actually is? There’s probiotics and there’s also it’s pre-cursor ‘prebiotics.’ For all our curious readers on the web, we decided to put together a table shedding light on some basics. So here it is, an introduction to your 100 trillion friends! PROBIOTICS PREBIOTICSWhat are they?Live bacteria that are present in food (particularly dairy products) and also naturally found in our body. These bacteria are helpful in promoting Vitamin A, vitamin K and biotin.  Prebiotics, on the  contrary,  are specialized  plant fibers  that nourish  the good  bacteria already  present in  the colon/gut.  You could call  them good  bacteria  promoters.Where could I find them?Milk/Soy milkYogurtButtermilkFermented foods   (dhokla, idli, dosa)CheesePaneer Many fruits and  vegetables.  Some  examples below:ApplesBananasOnionsGarlicLentils/DaalKidney BeansAsparagusSpring onionsSoybeansChickpeas/Kabuli chanaHow will they help me?Will soothe stomach liningAlleviate diarrheaLower episodes of irritatble bowel diseasePromote overall well-being of the gutWill fertilize the good bacteria and stifle production of the bad, disease-causing bacteriaHelps stabilize blood sugarSuppression of bad cholesterol (LDL)Help counter inflammatory bowel diseaseNow that you better understand what probiotics and prebiotics could do for you, make sure you take advantage of this knowledge and add them onto your diet. Probiotics fueled by prebiotics just might keep the doctor away!

Good Health Starts In The Gut

Mrs. Deepti Tiwari, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Healthy digestion requires support for all the different components of digestion: Chew thoroughlyEating should always begin with thorough chewing of food to allow for complete digestion to occur.Support the gastrointestinal barrierCholine provides nutritional support for a healthy mucous layer and is found in vegetables such as cauliflower and lettuce. eggs and soybeans. Some foods also help combat or protect against the damage of Helicobacter pylori, and these include catechins found in green tea, some spices such as cinnamon, carotenoids found in vegetables, and vitamin C, found in citrus foods. Provide a healing environment for the small intestineEliminating foods to which you are intolerant or allergic can help provide a healing environment in the small intestine. Include Carotenoids ,Vit C, Glutathione ,Vit B5 found at high levels in vegetables, especially the orange- and red-colored vegetables, Mushrooms, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, corn, broccoli, and beet greens etc . The intestinal tract cells also require a number of vitamins, so adequate overall nutrition is necessary. Support the growth of probiotic bacteria It helps in better digestion and absorption of nutrients Foods that will supply probiotic bacteria include some yogurts, and other foods that have been fermented with Lactobacillus or contain Bifidobacteria, the beneficial types of bacteria. Foods that will nourish probiotic bacteria include foods that contain soy fiber, inulin and rice fiber. Provide for healthy intestinal transitFiber, in general, supports overall transit of the chyme and healthy elimination. Some fibers, like those found in rye, wheat and flax, also can bind to environmental toxins, such as pesticides, and carry them through the digestive tract for direct elimination, decreasing the amount that is absorbed into your body.Learn how to deal with stress effectivelyResearch has shown that the intestine responds negatively to stress, during which the intestinal lining becomes leaky, absorption is less effective, and your body is unable to selectively take up the nutrients it needs. Alcohol, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates, like table sugar, should be avoided. Eating meals at regular times and in a relaxed environment can also help decrease stress. 

Ten Tips to Keep Your Gut Healthy for Life

Dr. Anamay K. Bidwai, General Physician
Digestive system affect each and every part of our body as it the power house that supplies energy and nutrition. What we eat affects every aspect of our health.Always make sure you eat plenty of fibre every day in form of fruits, salads, leafy vegetables, make these the major part of your diet. These not only give essential nutrient but keep your intestine clean, help new intestinal lining ( Mucosa) to grow, and prevent constipation, one of the biggest cause of colorectal cancer.Avoid eating in large portions, that is eat the same amount but instead of three large meals make it  six small meals.Avoid tea or coffee immediately after eating. Wait for at least an hour after eating and then have your fix of caffeine.Drink warm water about half an hour before meal, it dilates the blood vessels in the stomach thus diverting more blood to digestive system.Avoid eating any kind of preserved food, like pickles, packaged foods, packaged drinks, no matter what the labels say, they are laced with chemicals to prolong shelf life.As prescribed in Yoga, fast once a week, on this day if possible do not eat anything, just have warm water or just have fruits. If you are diabetic, please do not fast. Yoga Asanas are the only form of physical exercise that rejuvenates the digestive system, try to perform Sahankasan, Vajrasan, Dhanurasan, Pawan muktasan every day. Vajrasan is the only Asana that you can do even immediately after having a meal. However it is safe to learn these asanas from a qualified trainer and practice. If you are smoker, STOP IT NOW.If you consume alcohol, please do not over indulge, moderate drinking twice a week is enough. Curd is the best source of friendly bacteria, make curd part of your daily diet. Just say a big NO to junk food and fizzy drinks.

Are You Eating to Improve Your Gut Bacteria

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Your gut is a place with millions of bacteria. Out of these millions, some are good and some are bad. Good bacteria improve your digestion and the absorption of different nutrients in the gut. But do you know what you should eat to improve your gut bacteria? Recent research has shown that eating fiber can help improve good bacteria in your gut. Fiber plays an important role in improving your gut bacteria. Actually, your body does not digest fiber in its original form but it acts as food to the good bacteria present in your gut. Good bacteria utilizes fiber as its source of energy for cell functioning which further leads to breakdown of fiber. Now, after breakdown, soluble fiber gets dissolved in to your system and insoluble fiber passes relatively intact. This delays the emptying of the stomach and keeps you full for longer. Recommended intake of fiber is 35-40 grams per day. So, it is important to have a diet with sufficient fiber because if you don’t include enough fiber in your daily diet it can increase the number of bad bacteria in your gut. This further reduces the number of good bacteria and leads to painful and slow digestion, and various digestive problems.Foods rich in fiber are lentils, black beans, peas, oats, bran flakes, whole grains, apple, and broccoli. Also, other than consuming fiber, inculcate the following habits to help improve the number of good bacteria in your gut:- Include probiotic foods in your diet which include fermented products like yoghurt.- Reduce the consumption of processed or refined foods as they are high in sugar, fat and other chemical substances. Their regular consumption can lead to slow digestion and cause constipation.- Drink enough water in your day. Recommended amount is 10-12 glasses of water per day. The combination of high-fiber and water will improve your digestion.- Include a minimum of 30 minutes of workout in your day. Exercise movements help food move through your system and improve your gut bacteria as well.- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. The chemicals inside cigarettes erase all the benefits of a good diet and hinder in the absorption of nutrients.

Why Feces Isn’t Shit: The Brain in Your Gut

Dr. Sachin Chittawar, Endocrinologist
Am I completely out of my mind to literally call "shit" as "not shit"? The end product of our body which we get relieved off every morning is the excretion of our digestive system. We have seen people following cows while grazing for dung in India. The utility of cow dung is something we know is indisputable in India.Is there any value to human feces?Has human shit become a priceless thing for just about?Is it like kidneys for some who need a renal transplant?Has it got as important as heart patient waiting for a donor?It was Joshua Lederberg  who coined the term ‘microbiota'  the forgotten organ of the body. This breakthrough led to many scientific conclusions, making us believe that it is the gut which thinks like a brain. The relationship between gut flora and humans is not merely commensal (a non-harmful coexistence), but rather is a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship. The microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused food matter, training the immune system via end products of metabolism, preventing growth of harmful species, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host (such as biotin and vitamin K), and producing hormones to direct the host to store fats.Immunity The natural commensals of the human gut are the bacteria which maintain the equilibrium between the good and bad ones in our intestines. They provide the template antigens for the immunity in our body. When we are frail, there is a dramatic fall in the gut flora. Healthy gut flora is becoming a marker of good health. The symbiotic relationship between a mammalian host and its gut flora has a significant impact on shaping the host's immunity. The immune system and bacteria engage in "crosstalk", exchanging chemical signals. This permits the immune system to recognize the types of bacteria that are harmful to the host and combat them while allowing the helpful bacteria to carry out their functions. A newborn gets the intestinal commensals from the mother's milk and some of it comes from the exposure to the external environment and their own feces. This early colonization helps to show the symbiotic microbiome inside early in its life. The bacteria are also able to stimulate lymphoid tissue associated with the bowel mucosa. This enables the tissue to produce antibodies for pathogens that may enter the gut.Diarrhea Gut flora maintains a proportion in the gut milieu. The balance helps us in fighting diseases like diarrhea. The good organisms decide the friendlier environment of the gut. Most of the trivial diarrhea episodes can go with a tablet of good bugs available in the marketplace. Pre and probiotics are the ones which create a good atmosphere for the wellness.Irritable bowel syndromeIn layman terms, the storm of disturbance in the gut does not settle in this disease. Illness revolves around the bowel disturbance. The tyranny of frequent visits and no relief continues. The pain can go by creating a good friendlier environment in the gut. Insulin resistance in type 2 DiabetesThe root cause of diabetes is insulin resistance which manifests in darkening of the neck, skin tags and the poor metabolic parameters in the conformation of the poor lipid profile with more of triglycerides and lowering the good cholesterol the HDL. The blood pressure goes up and the chances and the risk of having a future heart attack also increases. Research has proved that the gut bacteria are responsible for the upkeep of the insulin sensitivity. Gut decides the insulin sensitivity and governs the disease. Asthma, allergy, some cancers are the illnesses triggered by our deranged immunity and we can touch on it by creating a disease curing atmosphere in our gut. Extensive modification and imbalances of the gut microbiota and its microbial or gene collection are related to obesity. Good bacteria can be  a solution for curing obesity. Where to grow good bacteria? Gut microflora is principally composed of three bacteria: Prevotella, Bacteroides, and Ruminococcus. There is an affiliation between each bacteria and dirt. For example, Prevotella is related to carbohydrates and simple bread, while Bacteroides is associated with proteins, amino acids, and saturated fats. One organism will dominate depending on the diet. Intestinal milieu changes in diet. Trillions of bacteria reside in harmony in out the gut.They make 60% of our stools. Frail, ill people have less of the colonies and are more prone to suffer.  The best source is the milk and the milk products. Yogurt is a fertile source of lactobacillus lacti. Yeast is also a supplier of the bad bashing bacteria cabbage, cauliflower, beans, bananas and many plants and fruits are a good source of these good bugs for the gut. There are plenty of nonpharmaceutical products in the market in the form of nutritional supplements which are known to increase the good gut factors. Drugs delivering the good ones are also available. What should we do to protect gut- Avoid taking antibiotics irrationally Take antibiotics under supervision of a doctor Get the full course as advised Self-medication could be life-threatening. The physician should also think twice for prescribing antibiotics for trivial matters.Is the there anything like fecal transplantation?Like cow dung , human feces from a healthy individual has been used as a drug for those who are ill. This is in its preliminary stages. This also reassures the benefit of having good gut flora for a healthy body.

Probiotics for Weight Loss

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Our digestive system has over 500 different types of bacteria living in it which are responsible for the health of our intestines and assist in digesting food. We suffer from digestive disorders when the balance of these bacterias in the intestines is disturbed. This could be due to any number of reasons like an infection or side effect of taking a medicine etc. Probiotics are touted as the next big health trend that can help manage your gut better. Probiotics are used as natural substitute for these digestive bacteria and help improve and maintain the health of the intestines when the current equilibrium is disturbed.The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus, is naturally found in yogurt with live cultures. Yeast is also a probiotic substance. But only certain types of bacteria or yeast (called strains) have been shown to work in the digestive tract.Lately probiotics foods are being promoted in the market. The reason behind adding probiotics in the food product is just to make it a healthy and intestine friendly product because it aids in digestion and also keep intestines healthy. Another benefit of going for Probiotics that it even boosts the body’s ability to burn fat and could play a role in treating and preventing obesity.Effect on Weight LossAs in 2010 in one of the study, the improvement in fat percentage was observed in some of the individuals who were kept on probiotic foods. The findings also included a decrease in body weight, body mass index, waist size and hip size by almost 2 percent each. In a different study published in 2011 by the "Annual Review of Nutrition", differences were found in the gut bacteria of lean and obese individuals. Study data suggested an inverse correlation between the amount of gut bacteria and the presence of fat and other disorders - greater number of bacteria are associated with less development of body fat, diabetes and low-level inflammation associated with obesity.Probiotics and Weight LossThe mind-body connection comes into play, too. If your gut is not working, you might feel temperamental and crave food that make you feel happy which may or may not be healthy. Resorting to comfort food may get you in serious weight trouble in the long term. Studies have shown that a healthy gut often equates to a happier person and the person feels less depressed, therefore making it easier for a happy person to lose weight and avoid temptation.Probiotics play an important role in food metabolism and are involved in the absorption of most nutrients in the small intestine and in the processing of undigested food in the large intestine. The large intestine completes digestion by absorbing additional nutrients, producing vitamins and creating waste products. Probiotics can help to maintain the levels of healthy bacteria in the gut to optimize the function of the digestive system, especially in overweight and obese individuals.The state of your digestive tract acts reflects your overall health. Keeping it balanced will keep your body and mind in shape. Whether you want to lose weight or improve your overall health, eating foods rich in beneficial bacteria or taking probiotic foods can give you great results.

6 Essential Nutrients for Women

Dr. Sujoy Dasgupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
A woman's body needs a lot of nourishment. There are many vitamins and minerals that ensure a healthy body. However, as you reach puberty and age more, a few nutrients become vital for healthy functionality, reproduction as well as vitality. On this International Day Of Action For Women's Health, 28th May, learn more about the women's health so that you or women around you stay healthy.Here are top 6 nutrients that are a must for women of all ages:1) Vitamin B12 - Women suffer from extreme fatigue as soon as they reach late 20s or mid-30s and vitamin B12 has proven to be extremely efficient in not only curbing the feeling of fatigue, but also in promoting swiftness and alertness in the body.2) Vitamin D3 - Lack of vitamin D3 is detrimental for breast and ovarian cancers which plague a large number of women. This vitamin also builds immunity against certain autoimmune diseases and provides adequate strength to muscles, bones and teeth.3) Iron - Adequate levels of iron in the body ensures that you never run out of energy and are always active. In addition, iron plays an important role in maintaining efficient functioning of the brain.4) Vitamin B6 - Vitamin B6 mainly promotes the maintenance of a healthy and regular sleep pattern and protects against sleep-related disorders such as insomnia. It also helps in the correct regulation of your appetite while maintaining hormonal balance, thus protecting you from mood disorders.5) Folate - Women who are expecting or have recently given birth certainly benefit a great deal from adequate consumption of folate. These women are highly vulnerable to a number of spinal and brain defects which are effectively prevented by the nutrient. It also helps to make the body highly resistant to colon and breast cancers.6) Calcium - Calcium is like a wonder drug for all women as it solves a majority of problems which hinder their daily life. It plays an important role in maintaining a stable blood pressure and is extremely efficient in controlling certain noxious symptoms of PMS. It is important also to maintain their bone density as they age.

Are You Having Gaps in Your Teeths?

Dr. Ratnika Agarwal, Dentist
Is your smile compromised with a gap? As a dentist, I often come across patients concerned about gaps in their teeth. Gaps are an interesting phenomenon resulting from a variety of causes – from natural to behavioral.Children’s teeth develop gaps as they grow because their jaw is getting bigger and their baby teeth remain the same size. Children may have temporary gaps as their baby teeth start to fall out. This is normal and should not cause any alarm.Gaps in adult teeth are referred to as diastemas. Diastemas appear most often between the two upper front teeth, though they can occur between any two teeth. Diastemas are also normal (take Mike Tyson for example) and like gaps found in children, may result from a mismatch between jaw bone size and teeth size. Other than normal sizing issues, there are three other reasons why gaps may form:Tumor growths. A gap can be a sign of a serious medical or dental condition. Tumor growths may need to be treated surgically.Gum disease.Gum disease, which results in a loss of bone that supports the teeth, may be prevented by regular brushing and flossing. However, if a gap is forming as a result of gum disease, you need to see your dentist as soon as possible.Self-inflicted behavior. These gaps occur when people push their tongue against their front teeth when swallowing or as a result of ‘mouth jewelry’. This pushes teeth forward and makes small gaps bigger. Again, if a small gap is getting bigger, have your dentist check it.Perfect your smile in Smile Up Dental Care & Implant Center by below mentioned ways:Bonding: If the space between teeth is relatively small, dental bonding can be a solution. In dental bonding, a resin-based substance is applied to the tooth, sculpted and shaped to fill in gaps. This process forms the tooth to the overall look of your mouth. Often, bonding can be completed in one dental visit.Veneers: Fixing bigger gaps may require reshaping. With veneers, the tooth is shaved down to provide a surface that can be covered with porcelain, which is then specifically shaped to match surrounding teeth.Traditional Braces: Orthodontic braces are the most widely used method to help tighten teeth and eliminate gaps. This process can take several years.Invisalign Braces: Invisalign uses a series of clear, plastic retainer-like devices to gradually realign the positioning of teeth. This discrete process can take anywhere from several months to several years and is generally more expensive than traditional braces.                                                                                                                                                                             

Shiny Teeth, Skin Nails and Hair

Dr. Sowmya, Dentist
Did you know that your gums, skin, nails and hair share a similar structure?Are there components in your diet which are good for all the four of them?Have you noticed that usually all the four of them are affected together?Are you aware that gum health is equal to gut health?In answer to all the above questions, this article will try to highlight the fact that the four important mirrors of health-gums, skin, hair and nails are interconnected.  The common component in their structure is keratin.  Keratin is a protein.  So, if there is a deficiency of protein in your diet all of them will suffer.  Bleeding gums, acne, brittle hair, mottled nails are what you notice.  All these can be seen also if you have disorders that affect your digestion like diabetes, high blood pressure, indigestion.  Since your oral cavity continues as gut inside your body, lack of health of any part of the digestive system will show up as bad gum health sometimes in the form of bad breath or halitosis. If the probiotic bacteria in your gut suffer due to lack of healthy diet, it affects your gum health and your skin(acne).  Vitamin C is another component of your diet which makes a lot of difference to the health of gums, skin, hair, and nails.  It is an antioxidant which keeps a lot of activities going on to maintain the health of all of the above.  Another component is Vitamin E which is also an antioxidant.  A diet rich in all of the above needs to be consumed like almonds, citrus fruits, walnuts, flaxseeds, green leafy vegetables.  Supplements work in case there is a limitation of diet due to various reasons.  I have observed that people who don't consume home made food are the ones affected like those in IT, field jobs, travel related jobs etc. Even those eating homemade food can be affected if job stress is very high. For such people, supplements from organic sources following GMP and quality checks are a good alternative but they need to be taken by consulting nutrition background professionals.