Digestion and the Body

Anaerobic Digestion Project

U.K.-based Gazasia Ltd. recently signed an agreement outlining the services it will provide to its joint venture vehicle, Philippine corporation Aseagas, during the next stage of the partnership’s project. This will see the development of an anaerobic digestion plant in the Philippines, to be based in Lian Batangas. The plant will be the first biomethane plant in the country and will produce biogas from organic waste, which in turn will be processed to generate liquid biomethane to be utilised as a clean, renewable, carbon neutral, road transport fuel. Road transport is one of the largest sources of harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions globally.  In the Philippines air pollution has reached critical levels, exceeding the World Health Organisation air quality limits. By replacing diesel with biomethane, Aseagas is playing an important role in reducing air pollution and improving public health. Following the announcement of the agreement, which was widely covered in the Philippines, Richard Lilleystone, CEO of Gazasia commented, “Gazasia is committed to improving air quality and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Our specialist team has the knowledge and experience to work with Aseagas, our joint venture with Aboitiz Equity Ventures, to enable the successful development of this first biomethane plant.” “This new undertaking is part of Aboitiz’s commitment to its sustainability platform of people, planet and profit. Aseagas focuses on all three,” said Sabin Aboitiz, president of Aseagas. The initial $47 million project is to be situated next to Absolut Distillers Inc., a subsidiary of the Lucia Tan Group. Aseagas will be taking the effluent waste water produced from the distillery process and running the raw material through the anaerobic digestion facility. The waste water will then be further processed to remove the remaining pollutants. Figures released […]

List of Starchy Foods to Avoid

Starches are carbohydrate-based foods, such as breads, pasta, cereals and potatoes. Starches account for roughly one-third of most people’s diets, according to the Food Standards Agency. While whole grain starches and starchy vegetables are rich in nutrients and fiber, other forms of starches provide “empty” calories, or calories devoid of nutritional benefits. For optimum health, aim for a balanced diet, based upon healthy foods. When you do consume less-healthy starch varieties, keep your portions modest.   Enriched Breads Enriched flour, whether white or wheat, begins as a whole grain. During food processing, most of the vitamins, minerals and fiber are stripped away. Enriched flour is the main ingredient in many breads. The Mayo Clinic recommends replacing enriched bread, which contains 0.6 g of fiber per slice, with wheat grain breads, which contain 1.9 g of fiber or more per slice. Limit or avoid other enriched bread products as well, such as commercially prepared bagels, pizza crust, flour tortillas, popovers, dinner rolls, hamburger buns, hot dog buns and English muffins. For best results, check ingredient lists on bread products. If the word ‘enriched’ is listed as a main ingredient, opt for a whole grain variety instead.   Added Sugars Added sugars are used to add sweet flavor to foods during food processing or preparation. While a modest amount of added sugars is unlikely to damage your wellness, consuming excessive amounts can lead to weight gain, poor nutrient intake, tooth decay and blood sugar problems. Common forms of added sugar in Americans’ diets, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, include brown sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, honey, lactose, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose and powdered sugar. Foods rich in added sugars […]

Does Yogurt Help Digestion?

Your digestive tract contains living bacteria that are important in metabolic functions that support digestion, the digestive system and produce essential nutrients for your body. Keeping these bacteria in balance is essential to good health. Yogurt that contains probiotics helps your digestive system function properly. Probiotic yogurts are fermented dairy products that contain beneficial bacteria. Not all yogurts are considered probiotic, so check the label for the statement “live active cultures.” Lactobacillus Acidophilus Probiotic yogurts can contain a variety of live active bacteria cultures that aid in digestion. Lactobacillus acidophilus is one bacterium that aids digestion in the small intestine. Lactobacillus acidophilus also produces vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your blood clot, or coagulate. Bifidobacterium Lactis Another beneficial bacteria in probiotic yogurt is bifidobacterium lactis, which improves digestive comfort. Bifidobacterium lactis helps your digestion and has been shown to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, according to a study headed by D. Guyonnet, published in the 2009 issue of the “Journal of Digestive Disease.” Bifidobacterium lactis also helps to prevent constipation and irregularity. Adding probiotic yogurt with a variety of live active cultures to your diet will aid digestion and may help prevent chronic intestinal disease. Streptococcus Thermophilus Streptococcus thermopohilus is another beneficial bacteria in probiotic yogurt. Streptococcus thermopohilus bacteria fight lactic acid bacterium that can impede proper digestion of your food. Streptococcus thermophilus soothes the stomach, which helps to reduce upset stomach and lactose intolerance. The beneficial effects in the digestive tract include improved lactose digestion, and reduce abdominal pain, diarrhea and flatulence from indigestion. Live and Active Cultures Standards Lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobactium lactis and streptococcus thermophilus are the more common bacteria found in yogurt, but there are other strains of beneficial bacteria such as […]

Alkylglycerols Boost Digestive Immunity

An animal study has shown that alkylglycerols from shark liver oil provide a profound boost to the digestive immune system, not only boosting lymphocytes in the small intestine by 40% but also boosting the number of warrior type lymphocytes that knock out viral infection. This study is important for several reasons. During aging, the digestive immune system begins to lose competence, often piling up old immune cells with little vigor or ability to get much done. The fact that alkylglycerols can dramatically boost desirable types of immune cells is quite encouraging. Secondly, during the cold and flu season every person will be exposed to airborne pathogens. When you breathe this in, you swallow, and now they are in your digestive tract. If your digestive tract’s immune system is competent, it takes care of the problem and you never notice. Clearly, alkylglycerols help boost digestive immune competence.

Stress and Digestive Problems

A bad case of diarrhea can make you feel pretty stressed. But could stress also be at the root of your symptoms? It can be difficult for people to tell which comes first—stress or diarrhea—since the two problems often co-exist. The Scope of the Problem Diarrhea is a common problem that leads to approximately 450,000 hospital admissions each year. Some people may experience diarrhea only occasionally, while others may find it a chronic problem that interferes with their daily living. The Stress-Diarrhea Connection Anxiety and stress may be factors in causing diarrhea, but it’s rare that diarrhea is solely caused by anxiety and stress. However, some studies have found a connection between stress and anxiety and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which causes diarrhea, cramping, and other related symptoms. Exactly why the relationship exists between IBS and diarrhea is unclear to many experts. Although they believe that the anxiety isn’t creating the IBS, some feel that the changes in the brain that occur when you experience anxiety and stress can also cause changes to your intestines that lead to diarrhea. In addition, people with IBS may be more sensitive to stress, which can cause their symptoms to flare. So while the stress may not be causing the diarrhea, it can be making you more aware of it and making you feel more uncomfortable as a result.

Combining Foods for Better Digestion

You’ve heard it before; “you are what you eat.” But there is more truth to that old adage than you know. How we feel on a daily basis is a direct result of what we put into our bodies and how or when we put it in there. Improper food combining in the short term can cause gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, stomach ache etc. In the long term you may suffer from symptoms of IBS, ulcers, arthritis, hypoglycemia, eczema, colon cancer and so on. Here’s the problem, you think you’re eating healthy on a daily basis, you’re getting your five servings of fruits and vegetables, 25-30 grams of fiber, and you’re drinking plenty of water. So why do you still feel bad? The answer may be in how you are eating and the combinations of foods that you are eating. Each food that we put in our body affects our digestive system in its own way. They each take a certain amount of time and certain types of enzymes to be properly digested. Combining certain foods can lead to improper digestion and a chain reaction of digestive discomfort.   Digestion and Eating Behaviors In order to adjust the combinations of foods that we eat, we first need to look at our eating behaviors. If we can correct our behaviors, using proper food combining will become easier. Eat Consciously. The first rule of digestion that almost everyone violates is over-consumption. It may sound shocking, but you can survive on one-third of your daily food intake. Our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs. The number one cause of indigestion is over-consumption. One problem is that our brains are about ten minutes behind our stomachs. This means that once our stomachs are full, […]

Gastroparesis Explained

This is a condition that slows or inhibits the stomach’s ability to empty its contents, also known as delayed gastric emptying. It typically affects more women than men, though the reason being is unknown. Most people with this condition have not been diagnosed with a known cause, despite medical tests; this is called idiopathic gastroparesis. For those with an identifiable cause, diabetes is the most common culprit. High levels of blood glucose in diabetics over time can damage the vagus nerve, which controls the stomach muscles and movement of food through the digestive tract. Gastroparesis can affect those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Among the other identifiable causes are intestinal surgery and diseases of the nervous system, like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. The most common symptoms of gastroparesis include: Nausea Feeling full after consuming a small amount of food Heartburn Abdominal bloating In most cases, gastroparesis is a chronic, incurable condition. However, a combination of nutritional changes and medication can help manage the severity of symptoms.

Soaking Seeds and Nuts for Better Digestion

Step 1: Soak Soak nuts in clean, filtered water (twice as much water to nuts) and sea salt (1 tablespoon for every 8 cups of water). Below I have walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. I soak mine for at least 12 hours.  In the evening, after dinner start the soak (7:00 pm).  They are ready to drain and rinse the next morning around breakfast (7:00 am). Why you should soak:  it removes enzyme inhibitors and makes them easier to digest. Step 2: drain and rinse (well) Step 3: Dehydrate. Remove excess water with a towel (sort of pat dry method), but they do not have to be completely dry before going into the dehydrator). If you have one single layer, they will dry faster.  I tend to overcrowd, so I dehydrate longer and move them around a little halfway through. Note: You CAN use your oven, the seeds/nuts just won’t be “raw.”  Dehydrate in the oven on the lowest setting until crispy.  Not sure how long.  You will have to watch them and check every few hours. Dehydrating Times and Temps: Walnuts: 12 – 14 hours (130 degrees) Hazelnuts: 12 -14 hours (130 degrees) Almonds: closer to 18 hours (130 degrees) Pumpkin seeds:  4 – 6 hours (110 degrees) Sunflower seed: 4 – 6 hours (110 degrees)

GERD and Exercise

Heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, but it can make you feel miserable. In adults, it is identified by a burning sensation in the chest often accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth. It may come on after a big meal, while you are lying down, or even in the middle of a workout routine. It can last for only a few minutes or it may feel like it lasts all day. There are numerous over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help alleviate the symptoms. Lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, can help, too. Weight Loss Maintaining a healthy weight is one way to prevent heartburn, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is because excess weight can increase the pressure on your abdomen, which, in turn, puts pressure on your stomach. This added pressure forces stomach acids to back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. A sensible combination of diet and exercise designed to help you lose 1 to 2 pounds per week can help to control heartburn-related discomfort. To effectively lose weight, you should include both aerobic and anaerobic exercises in your routine. Aerobic exercises, such as jogging or swimming, are great for burning calories and have the added bonus of benefiting your heart. Anaerobic exercises, such as weight lifting, helps build muscle and can burn fat. Exercise Tips Keep in mind that exercise can bring on heartburn, so it is important to exercise intelligently. Skip foods that are high in fat or protein if you know you will be exercising within the next couple of hours. Instead, consume foods that are higher in carbohydrates for preworkout meals and save the protein for afterward. Remember that exercising will put stress on your abdominal muscles, […]

Walking After a Meal

We are all too familiar with the overstuffed feeling after a big meal/feeding frenzy. As tempting as laying on the couch afterwards may be (we may or may not be guilty of this), taking a short walk instead will actually help your body digest that loaded-up barbecue. According to an article published today in The New York Times, it turns out a walk, even as short as fifteen minutes, can aid in breaking down food and even improve blood-sugar levels. Here’s some motivation for moving: In one study, German researchers discovered that walking accelerated the rate at which food passed through the stomach. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it could mean the difference between feeling bloated and blah, versus sound and satiated. There is also a general consensus that a brief stroll after meals can ameliorate blood-sugar control. In another study, scientists found that in overweight, sedentary older adults, fifteen minutes of strutting their stuff after each meal improved daily blood-sugar levels more effectively than a single 45-minute morning walk. What’s the science behind all this? Researchers believe that a post-meal walk helps in clearing glucose from the bloodstream, because more of the sugar is taken up by our muscles.