Probiotic Strains Explained

Bev Dunne
As a follow on from my articles on the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics for gut health, I thought it appropriate this week to write a little more about the various strains of probiotics. We all know probiotics are the good bacteria we need for good gut health however it’s interesting to note our body contains more than 500 different probiotic strains. Researchers are now finding however, certain individual strains can be more relevant to specific health conditions.

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What are Prebiotics? And Do You Need Them?

Bev Dunne

Recently I wrote about the connection between good gut health and our mental health and particularly the importance of probiotics as well as prebiotics in maintaining good gut health.

I’m sure we all know about the importance of probiotics for good gut health, however only more recently has the importance of prebiotics really come to the fore. Probiotics and prebiotics both play an important role in our health however their roles are not the same. Probiotics are the live bacteria which we find in certain foods. Prebiotics on the other hand are a form of soluble, undigestible fibre which as it passes through our digestive system nourishes and feeds our good bacteria. This is important because it enables our healthy probiotics to repopulate and survive.

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Lentils - The Versatile, Affordable & Nutritious Legume

Bev Dunne
Last week I wrote about the benefits of good gut health, and the importance of a wholesome diet to help maintain our gut health. With the cooler weather arriving, I’m thinking it is time to get the soup pot out and cook up some tasty, wholesome soups.  I find one of the most sustaining and nutritious ingredients in a good soup is lentils. Lentils are one of those wonderfully versatile legumes which can be used in many ways when cooking vegetarian food.  They are an inexpensive and highly nutritious food source and can be used in soups, stews, curries, burgers, vegie loaves and even sprouted.  Lentils are frequently combined with rice, particularly in Middle Eastern and South East Asian cooking.

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How Does Gut Health Affect Depression & Anxiety?

Bev Dunne
Over the past two weeks I have written about the benefits in supplementing with therapeutic saffron to aid in the treatment of depression and anxiety in both adults and adolescents. There has also been much research over recent years which has found our gut controls our brain which in turn may control our moods.

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Easy Almond Meal Cakes just for Mum

Bev Dunne
I’m sure an interesting outcome for many of us since undertaking self-isolation has been the rediscovery of our love for baking. This isn’t a bad thing of course, except for our waistlines! The banana trees in our backyard have been producing beautiful bananas which has meant I’ve been baking lots of banana cakes and banana bread. Below are some of my favourite recipes.

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Saffron For Adolescent Depression

Bev Dunne

There is no doubt the disruption caused to our lives over the past 6 months has for many had a major effect on our mental health. Unfortunately  I fear we are going to be experiencing major disruption in our lives for some time to come, which is why I have been so keen to research further into the possible benefits of saffron when it comes to treating mild depression and anxiety.

Further to my article last week I was interested to find additional research on the potential treatment of adolescent depression and anxiety with saffron. 

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Saffron - The Spice to Lift Your Mood

Bev Dunne
When we think of saffron, most will think of a rather exotic, expensive spice used for centuries in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian cooking. Saffron however has not only been used to add a distinctive flavour to our foods, for centuries it has been revered in ancient Greece, the Middle East and even in Traditional Chinese Medicine for various health problems such as depression and anxiety. Even as long ago as Hippocrates, saffron was believed to have been used for treatment of stomach ailments, insomnia, cough, colds – the list goes on. Because of its beautiful, distinctive yellow colour, saffron was also used as a dye, particularly to dye the vivid yellow robes of Buddhist monks in India.

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Which Strains of Probiotics Help With Allergies?

Bev Dunne
We all know probiotics are important for our digestive system however it can be confusing trying to decipher which strains of bacteria may be beneficial for our particular health issues. Practitioners of natural health have for a long time held the belief that probiotics were important when it came to our immune health as well as prevention of allergies.

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Power Your Body With Maca

Bev Dunne

When it comes to increasing energy levels, an interesting nutrient dense food which may help with fatigue is Maca root powder. It’s interesting how we have seen so many super foods come out of areas such as South America over the past decade. Most of these foods have been around for centuries however have only become known to rest of the world in recent times. One of these super foods is Maca powder which was said to be an energising and revitalising super food of the Incas, grown in the Andes in Peru.

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Avoiding the Dreaded Mozzie

Bev Dunne

Well the long-awaited rain has finally arrived and with it has arrived an army of mozzies. What I’ve always found fascinating is why mozzies find some of us more attractive than others. 

There’s a belief mosquitos are attracted by the amount of carbon dioxide in our breath, our body temperature, odorant markers related to our blood type, alcohol and pregnancy.

If you’re a beer drinker, consuming just 350ml of beer when you’re enjoying the lovely summer outdoors is believed to make you more attractive to mozzies. The jury is out on why this is the case however there’s some belief this may be because of the increase in body temperature and the increase in ethanol emitted in our sweat. So, if you like a beer out on the back deck in mozzie season, you could be in trouble.

Mosquitoes it seems are more likely to target their prey by smelling the carbon dioxide discharged from our breath. It seems the larger we are, the more carbon dioxide we exhale, and the more likely mosquitoes are going to be attracted to us. Interestingly, it’s believed mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide from up to 50 metres away and to detect this carbon dioxide, mosquitoes apparently use an organ known as a maxillary palp.

There has been some research (1) which has shown mosquitoes prefer certain blood types. It’s known mosquitoes will bite us to collect the proteins from our blood and one particular study conducted in a controlled setting reported those with Type O blood have hit the jackpot. If you’re a Type O blood type, according to this study you’re twice as likely to be targeted by mosquitoes than a Type A blood type.  If you’re a Type B blood type your attractiveness to the mosquitoes falls in between Type O and Type A. Another fascinating piece of information is around 85% of us secrete through our skin, a chemical signal which will indicate to the mosquito what particular blood type we may be. However, 15% of us won’t secrete this chemical through our skin and are therefore the lucky ones who are less likely to attract the mosquitoes.

If you’re outside undertaking vigorous exercise, you’re also more likely to attract mosquitoes. Obviously, our body temperature is going to rise which mozzies love however it’s also because mosquitoes are more attracted to ammonia, lactic acid, uric acid and other substances which are sweated out when we exercise.

In 2011 there was a study(2) which indicated that when we have substantial amounts of bacteria of a limited type of bacteria on our skin, this made our skin more tempting to mosquitoes. We all have bacteria on our skin however it was interesting to note having masses of bacteria which covered a greater area of our skin made our skin less appealing. There is a thought that because our feet and ankles naturally have more vigorous bacteria colonies, this may be why we are more likely find mozzies attacking those areas.

It’s also been found if we’re pregnant we’re likely to attract twice as many mozzies. This may be because when we’re pregnant we exhale 21% more carbon monoxide and our body temperature is higher than normal.

Natural Insect Repellent

When it comes to insect repellent, I’m sure we would all prefer to use something natural. My preference is a spray containing Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus which is the only natural ingredient recommended by the Centre of Disease Control and the World Health Organisation as a natural insect repellent. A study (3) published in the Journal of Insect Science in 2015 found plant-based sprays containing oil of lemon eucalyptus were the only DEET free formulas to deliver strong and long-lasting results. It is important to note there is a difference between oil of lemon eucalyptus and lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Due to the difference in processing, they have quite different chemical compositions and efficacy. The essential oil does not have the effectiveness of the oil of lemon eucalyptus.

When it comes to relieving the symptoms of insect bites, I’ve found a formula containing Chickweed, Calendula, Aloe Vera and Tea Tree to be very effective. Chickweed and Calendula are great for skin irritations, inflammation and itchiness. Aloe vera can also help in easing itching and swelling caused by bites and stings plus the gel contained within the leaf contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, obviously helping with bites and stings. Tea Tree is well known for its antibacterial properties plus helps by soothing and reliving skin irritations and bites.

For more information on natural mozzie protection or any other health issue call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita your health shop in 5 North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev on Go Get Healthy on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.30pm.

(1) ncbi.nim.nih.gov  JMed Entomol 2004 Jul;4(4):796-9
(2)  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028991
(3) Journal of Insect Science 2015:15(1):140 DOI:10.1093/jisesa/lev125

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