You Don’t Need to Have Yeast Infection to Have Candida

Candida is a topic that is rarely discussed but is quite often the cause of many less than optimal health issues such as low energy, low mood and joint pain. Probiotics help to combat Candida by “crowding out” bad bacteria with good bacteria.

Yeast can actually take over your gut, preventing adequate binding of key hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, making you feel low and demotivated. Probiotics can help to counter this. It’s important to look for probiotics that are dairy free, as many people develop Candida as a reaction to dairy (and the sugars in it).

Taking a probiotic on a regular basis consistently helps prevent Candida from occurring in the first place. It is also important to consume less sugar (even natural kinds…such as fruit and honey), as yeast thrives on all kinds of sugar.

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Confused about Prebiotics? This will Help!

What is a Prebiotic?

You are likely seeing and hearing a lot about prebiotics. You may even see it on your probiotic label if you are purchasing a combination product. So what is a prebiotic, and do you need one?

The scientific definition of a prebiotic is a “selected fermented” ingredient that allows gastrointestinal flora to thrive. In basic English, prebiotics are “food” for beneficial bacteria in the gut that help them thrive. Most prebiotics are carbohydrate compounds –so they often end in –ose or –itol, meaning they are sugars or alcohols.

So no, prebiotics and probiotics are not the same thing.

Prebiotics help your existing gut bacteria to thrive, whereas probiotics introduce good bacteria to your gut. When these two forces are combined together, they are often referred to as a symbiotic, because they help each other do their job.

Do I Need One?

The answer to this really depends on your diet and lifestyle.

Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that are not digestible by your body. Lots of natural foods contain this fiber, and so you may not need to add another supplement or pill to your diet.

If you are getting lots of “undigestible” fiber in your diet from chicory root, the skin of many vegetables and fruits, or find that your probiotic alone is doing its job, you may not need to add a prebiotic.

However, if you are finding that a probiotic alone is not working, it may be wise to look into a combination product, or add more specific kinds of fiber to your diet.

What Do I Need to Do?  

The first thing you need to do is be cautious of “prebiotic” packaged foods.

Many companies are adding inulin to their crackers and cereals, and proclaiming that they are “prebiotic” foods.

The actual benefit to your body is questionable, as you would need to ingest boxes of the stuff to get any benefit. You will, however, get diarrhea from all the indigestible fiber, and you will outdo any benefit by eating crackers full of gluten that will only inflame your gut.

Outside of that, be sure to get lots of “indigestible” fiber in your diet, by trying to eat the skins of the vegetables you are already consuming. Chicory root can be added to smoothies or coffee.

Finally, you can choose to add a liquid or pill form prebiotic to your supplement regular routine. On their own, prebiotics have not been shown to have any real benefit, but you can always see for yourself and/or combine them with a probiotic.

Regardless of whether or not you choose to take prebiotic, it is essential to be consistent.

You are keeping up a level of “good bacteria” in your system. Like keeping a volleyball in the air, it is important to take a prebiotic daily, otherwise it is not able to do its job, and you are throwing money down the drain.

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Leaky Gut 101

Leaky Gut, What Is It and Why Should You Care?

What is leaky gut and what causes it? Does it mean you are sick? Why do you need to pay attention to it?

With the rise of gluten-free products, probiotics, and other “digestive” products, leaky gut is a topic of much discussion online and on social media.

I am a big believer that before you do something for your health, or purchase any product, you should at least understand some of the rationale behind it. You don’t need to know every detail, just enough to ask smart questions (especially when famous people use jargon to sell you stuff).

And that’s part of the problem.

Leaky gut sounds like something you should be speaking to your mechanic about, not your doctor. In fact, if you mention leaky guy to your doctor, you will undoubtedly be met with skepticism and a weird look on his/her face.

So that’s what this gut health article series will be about – the basics of leaky gut: What is? What causes it? Why should you care about it?

Barriers, Good for Your Gut and Your Life   

Leaky gut is a condition caused by tears in your gut lining.

Think of it this way.

Imagine you have a neighbor that has trouble with “boundaries’. She loves her hideous shrub that is planted a little too close to your yard. So close, in fact, that all of its trimmings and debris blow into your yard, ruining your pristine landscaping.

Now picture this.

You get fed up one day, run to Home Depot, and build a wooden fence in between your two yards. The stakes of the fence are brand new, they are in the ground solidly, and none are missing. Now, when your neighbor trims her shrub, none of her cuttings can blow into your yard and mess up your pristine flowers, because the fence is a solid barrier.

One day there is a powerful storm, the fence gets damaged, and some of the stakes get bent.

The fence is still there, but now there are “leaks”.

Maybe one or 2 stakes are missing. The fence is still there, but now random bits of hedge debris from her yard are going to fly into yours.

One Culprit, Many Symptoms

Leaky gut is kind of like a leaky fence. When there are tears in your intestinal lining, “outside” debris is able to enter your bloodstream, causing issues that you may not even notice.

You don’t have to feel sick or have poor digestion to have leaky gut.

It does not just affect your digestive system, it affects your whole body. Leaky gut causes you to feel sluggish and tired, have trouble losing weight, not be of optimal mood, and have difficulty sleeping (and that’s just to name a few of the symptoms!)

There are lots of things are caused by leaky gut, but one central culprit unifies all of these symptoms – chronic inflammation.

In the next article, I’ll explain what causes chronic inflammation is, why it is such an issue and why you need to address it ASAP

leaky gut

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Gut Health. Yes, It’s Important

Unless you have been living under a rock these days, you have probably been hearing nonstop about gut health, leaky gut, probiotics, prebiotics, etc. Not just how important it is for your health, but how it can affect your mood, sleep, and even skin.

Why is gut health suddenly such a hot topic?

Well, a lot of people want to sell you a lot of stuff, and gut health is trendy. But more importantly, it’s only been recently that the scientific community has really started focusing on this importance of gut health.

It is a widely accepted fact that there is a gut-brain axis, which is how your brain and gut are connected. Think of it as a 2-way communication pathway.

Since these two pathways are directly connected, it would make sense that they highly affect one other, right?

Bacteria in the gut activates your central nervous system – which helps to control your brain. As a result, issues such as anxiety, minor depression, and lack of motivation are all affected by your gut

Welcome to Your Smarter Brain

Taking a step back, your gut-brain is not the connection mentioned above. It’s a smaller, smarter, and more vital brain inside your gut.

This brain is just like your regular brain – it contains chemicals your brain uses for signaling (known as neurotransmitters) that are very important to our mood, motivation, sleep, sex drive, hormones, and energy.

It’s “smarter” because it produces more neurotransmitters than our head brain. Chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, the stuff that makes us motivated and happy, are produced in greater quantities in our gut brain.

Feed Your Gut Brain

Does it sometimes feel like your gut is speaking to you?

Well, it turns out you are probably right. The bacteria in your gut will affect how effectively these systems are working, and will directly affect your mood, mental health, and the messages being sent to you.

Ancient cultures have always made gut health and digestion a priority. It’s a big reason why fermented foods are present in most cultures, no matter the region of the world. They long understood that when foods are fermented, “good” bacteria is present, and that’s good for your body and mind.

In modern life, consuming large batches of kimchi and sauerkraut may not be practical. There are other ways to balance your gut health. Taking a pill is not always the most balanced option, but it is the most convenient.

Adding a probiotic that is more effective than hype is the simplest way. It won’t undo eating foods that are causing your gut problem (anymore than exercise will undo a bad diet), but it is an easy way to make gut health a priority.

Do you feel the difference in your mood when you eat certain foods? Comment below and share your thoughts.

gut brain

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