Osteoarthritis is a progressive and degenerative joint disease. It causes a great deal of pain and disability for millions of people. It commonly affects older people and we used to think it was caused by wear and tear. But, scientists now think there might be other causes. One such cause involves a link between gut health and osteoarthritis. I will explain how. [Read more…] about The role of ageing in gut health and osteoarthritis
Gut health and digestion
As a practitioner that uses functional medicine principles it is clear to me that to improve the health of someone with a complex, chronic condition, factors that contribute to the progression or the severity of that condition must be addressed. We might start by optimising lifestyle factors, such as diet, quality of sleep, type of exercise, stress management, and so on. But, how well someone digests their food has a key role in any functional medicine assessment, especially in relation to how gut health might be linked to overall health and vitality.
There are thousands of research studies that support the importance of good gut health. This article is about the findings of one of these studies, a 2018 systematic review about the association between a leaky gut and disease. [Read more…] about Can a leaky gut make you ill?
Research shows that if you have irritable bowel syndrome, eating a diet low in FODMAPs is likely to reduce your symptoms. I discuss what FODMAPs are and how they help IBS here.
Briefly a low FODMAP diet restricts foods that contain certain types of carbohydrates, specifically fermentable carbohydrates. However, though a low FODMAP diet is certainly a useful tool to help manage the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, it is not a cure for this complex condition. In fact, research shows that the low FODMAP diet only helps around 60 to 80% of people with IBS.
There are several reasons that a low FODMAP diet may not be entirely successful in relieving symptoms. To uncover the underlying factors can entail a bit of detective work, with careful consideration of the individual circumstances that might be responsible. [Read more…] about Some reasons a low FODMAP diet may not work for IBS
Ginger is a well known pungent, culinary spice, but it also has remarkable health-promoting properties. For instance, I’ve previously written about the use of ginger for easing painful periods and preventing menstrual migraines. But, ginger offers much more than pain relief. In this scientific review in the Royal Society of Chemistry Journal: Food and Function, researchers discuss the potential ability of ginger to protect against stomach ulcer.
The culinary and medicinal part of ginger is the rhizome, often described as a root, but actually an underground plant stem. Thought to have it’s origins in northern India, the remedy is now grown in many parts of the world. No doubt, at least partly due to its valuable contribution to several systems of traditional herbal medicine, including Chinese, Ayurvedic, Unani, Arabic, Greek and Roman. [Read more…] about Does ginger protect against stomach ulcers?
Heartburn is a symptom of GORD or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD. This burning sensation is due to liquid from the stomach rising up the gullet or oesophagus. Which can also leave a nasty taste in the mouth. This can be an occasional nuisance or it can be a severe and lifelong problem. So, it’s good to know a few simple home remedies for heartburn.
It is important to be aware that over the long term GORD can cause complications. These include ulcers in the stomach and oesophagus. Or, even a narrowing of the oesophagus, causing difficulty swallowing. These complications need more medical care than simple remedies can provide. Yet, if your symptoms are occasional or mild, research has shown that simple home remedies for heartburn may really help. [Read more…] about Home remedies for heartburn
Given the regularity of food related news headlines, and especially those that seem to contradict ‘last week’s news’, it’s perhaps not surprising that many people are unsure about what they should believe. What should we eat to improve our health or even prevent chronic disease? Low fat or low carb? What about grains or gluten? Are eggs okay, or not? It can be very confusing.
According to research the healthiest way to eat is the Mediterranean type diet. One aspect of this type of diet is the abundance of fruits and vegetables it supplies. These contain a wide variety of nutrients and fibre.
It appears the fibre could be more important than was once thought. Not just an inert substance easing the passage of stools. But, food for the microscopic organisms living in our gut, that have a huge potential to influence our health. [Read more…] about Food as medicine to prevent chronic disease
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition of the gastrointestinal tract, and many people say that food either triggers or exacerbate their IBS symptoms. Yet, there is considerable evidence that making a change to a diet low in FODMAPs can help to reduce these symptoms.
IBS is a functional condition, meaning that there are no structural changes to the gut, but that does not mean that the symptoms are not real. The main symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, bloating and a feeling of distension, with an altered bowel habit that is not explained by other causes. This might entail abnormal stool frequency, stool form, or passage of the stool through the gut.
If you suspect you have IBS it is important to be checked out by a doctor. This is because there are other conditions that may have similar symptoms and these should be ruled out before a diagnosis of IBS can be given. [Read more…] about Reduce your IBS symptoms with a low FODMAPs diet
A 2015 German study tested the use of hot oil poultices on people with irritable bowel syndrome. They found that using a hot oil poultice appeared to be a safe and effective method of reducing pain related to IBS. The researchers also reported that although the most benefit was likely to due to the application of heat, their patients said that they received the highest level of benefit from using the hot caraway oil poultice, rather than a heated poultice made from olive oil alone.
Caraway is a culinary spice used to flavour a variety of vegetable dishes, breads, cakes and biscuits. Like many spices it also has medicinal properties. For instance, caraway has antispasmodic and carminative properties, and therefore might reduce abdominal pain, spasms and bloating.
Irritable bowel syndrome is characterised by a number of symptoms, including abdominal pain and spasms, bloating or distension and altered bowel habit. [Read more…] about How to soothe irritable bowel syndrome with a hot oil poultice
If you have irritable bowel syndrome and are currently receiving treatment, the chances are, that your answer to this question will be no. In fact, research demonstrates that less than 40% of patients are satisfied with their current irritable bowel syndrome treatment. Which means that in the UK, where an estimated 6.5 to 13 million people suffer from IBS, millions of people are probably not receiving the help they need.
Whilst the main criteria of IBS are abdominal pain, altered bowel habit and bloating or distension, people experience irritable bowel in many different ways. What’s more, the effect that IBS has on their quality of life, is a major factor for many of the people that I see in clinical practice. [Read more…] about Are you happy with your current irritable bowel syndrome treatment?
The extent to which a food is processed is a major determinant in how healthy that food is. The Western diet includes many processed foods and even some ultra-processed foods. Researchers now think that this processing may have a large role in what makes the typical Western diet unhealthy.
Food processing includes food preparation methods such as chopping, mincing and blending. As well as cooking methods such as steaming, poaching, roasting and grilling. Food extrusion is a modern method of food processing used for making products such as breakfast cereals and snack bars. In fact, breakfast cereals are likely one of the most highly processed of food categories. [Read more…] about Is all processed food unhealthy?