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Thinking About a Soup Cleanse?

The Chinese have always been promoting the nutritiousness of soups, as seen from the variety and how each type of soup is able to help soothe the lungs and other internal organs. However, with the recent trend in detox plans and juice cleanse, there is a new trend called – soup cleanse.

All of us here at The Wellness Insider are healthily sceptical about soup cleanses considering how little evidence there is about them, so we decided to ask the experts. Integrative Dentist and Health Coach, Dr Surinder Arora, said that the point of soup cleanses was to get “people to eat whole real foods if the soups are prepared themselves” and that “this is another way to get these good foods into the body.” However, she did mention that soup cleanses are “not needed if people have eliminated artificial and processed junk foods from their diet.”

So, in other words, it is not a total ‘don’t try it!’ diet regime and it might be a good way for you to try and cut back from sugar and other additives. Nonetheless, it’s not meant to be a long term diet but like most of us, it’s great to have a bowl of soup once in a while.

If you’re interested in doing a soup cleanse, then you may want to try out the following recipes by our friends at Gergich & Co. in this simple infographic.
Click to Enlarge Image

Soup up Your Lifestyle with a Soup Cleanse

 

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Could this be the cause of your bloating?

‘Gluten-free options available’.  ‘No gluten’.  We often hear or see these terms advertised but what is gluten? What does it do to our bodies and what do these statements actually mean?  These statements often get us thinking without us realising.  Should I go gluten free?

Gluten-containing grains, such as wheat, rye and barley, have been a component of the human diet in Western countries for thousands of years.  Due to the progressive adoption of Western lifestyles, consumption in Eastern countries is increasing.  Gluten-related disorders have a global prevalence that is estimated around 5%.

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley and their varying forms. It gives baked goods a doughy and elastic property and is also used as a thickening agent and flavour enhancer. It consists of gliadin and glutenin.  Gliadin is what causes the adverse effects when consumed.

We are no longer eating the same type of wheat that our ancestors ate.  In order for the crops to be resistant to environmental factors such as bugs and the weather, the grains have been hybridised, resulting in varying forms of gluten.  Many of these forms can lead to sensitivity when they are consumed.

How does gliadin affect my body?

When your food gets to your intestines, an enzyme (tTG – tissue transaglutaminase) breaks gluten down into gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is then broken down into peptides in the digestive system and then into amino acids.

Dr Fasano, paediatric gastroenterologist and researcher from Harvard explains that gliadin binds to the intestinal lining which activates a complex mechanism resulting in barriers (that are usually closed) being opened in the intestinal lining.  When these barriers are opened, bacteria as well as gliadin moves into the blood stream and into the body.  Gliadin resembles human proteins such as the ‘synaptin protein’ and therefore, can activate an autoimmune response.  The body cannot tell the difference between gliadin and the human proteins as they look similar and so their effects are the same.  This can result in common symptoms of autoimmune diseases including fatigue, fever and feeling generally unwell.

The amino acids also bind to the human brain and act as opiates. The opiate effect depends on the individual.  It can lead to mental fog, outbursts in ADHD, paranoia, trigger mania in bipolar and even trigger depression.

What is celiac disease?

When gluten is consumed, an autoimmune response occurs in the body which results in damage to the villi of the small intestine. These villi are finger like projections that create a larger surface area for nutrients to be absorbed. When the villi are damaged, the body is unable to absorb the necessary nutrients that the body needs. There are more than 200 symptoms of celiac disease including abdominal bloating and pain, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting and fatigue.

How do I know if I am gluten intolerant?

Take gluten out of your diet for a month and see if you feel better. If you do, chances are that gluten is not working well on your body. Lab testing is also an option to determine if gluten suits you.

Are gluten-free products healthy?

Data in the 2013 Gluten-Free/Diabetes Friendly Handbook, a Supplement to Grocery Headquarters Magazine suggests that $4.5 billion US dollars were spent on gluten free items in 2012. There is also an increasing trend amongst restaurants with increasing gluten-free options on menus.

healthy fats

Gluten-free does not necessarily mean healthy. If gluten has been removed form a product, it may be loaded up with other additives as well as sugar to aid texture and flavour. This processing commonly results in an unhealthy gluten-free item that many of us think is healthy. Always check your food labels. A gluten-free diet can be very healthy providing it is based on real whole foods.

Here are a few gluten free food choices:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans, nuts and seeds
  • Lean meats, poultry and fish
  • Dairy
  • Gluten-free whole grains
  • Gluten-free whole grain flours
  • Certified gluten-free oats
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Teff
  • Sorghum
  • Nut flours

If you’re having digestive issues or are experiencing fatigue, it may mean that your body does not take too well to gluten.  Eliminate all sources of gluten (e.g. bread, pasta and noodles) for 7 to 10 days to see if this makes a difference. If you do find that you are slightly gluten-sensitive, opt for whole and real foods rather than ‘gluten-free’ ready made options as you would still want to keep a balanced diet. Remember to read your labels!

To find out more about gluten-sensitivity and celiac disease, do read about it here.

Contributed by Dr Surinder Arora, Integrative Dentist and Health Coach.


References

Elli L et al,  Diagnosis of gluten related disorders: Celiac disease, wheat allergy and non-celiac gluten sensitivity World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Jun 21; 21(23): 7110–7119

William Davis MD www.wheatbellyblog.com

Weiser H, Chemistry of gluten proteins Food Microbiology Volume 24, Issue 2, April 2007, P. 115–119

Celiac Disease Foundation What is Celiac Disease www.celiac.org  Accessed 07 May 2017

Photo credits: Pixabay and GIPHY

 

 

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Superfood Your Dessert with a DIY Acai Bowl

Superfoods is a recent term used on a whole group of foods that are high in nutritions but low in calories, perfect for getting your vitamins and proteins in without the popping of multiple pills. Not sure about you, but I much prefer to eat my vitamins and minerals.

The super berry Acai

The acai (pronounced as ah-sigh-ee) berry, is one such superfood and it comes from the Amazon forest. Prized as an important staple in the Amazonian diet for generations, did you know that the deep purple berry contains high natural antioxidants (the anthocyanin responsible for giving it the characteristic purple colour), essential amino acids, omega fatty acids, calcium, iron and even fibre. This means that the humble acai berry is capable of boosting one’s immunity and keep your body in balance.

acai bowl

Since we can’t get the fresh berries in Asia, the next best thing would be the freeze-dried powder as freeze drying still retains most of its nutritions. You can add the powder as a flavouring into your yoghurts, ice cream, smoothies or juices and the latest dessert trend is the delicious Acai Bowl. Making one is really not that tough and here’s the recipe which is vegan and vegetarian friendly:

Ingredients:

1 medium sized frozen banana
1-2 heaped tablespoons Nature’s Superfoods Acai Berry Powder
1 tablespoon nut butter (cashew, almond etc)
1/3 cup iced water

For garnish:
Fresh cut fruit of your choice, sweet cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds or chia seeds

Method:

Blend the frozen banana with the berry powder, nut butter and iced water until you get a smooth consistency. Top it off with your choice of fresh cut fruit and seeds as well as the cacao nibs to give it a chocolatey flavour!

 

For our bowl, we added kombucha instead of iced water to give it some probiotics and topped it off with pine nuts, chlorophyll powder, chia seeds, passionfruit and cacao nibs. You can also add in protein powder (use the flavourless or vanilla flavoured ones) or maca powder to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!


Recipe from Nature’s Superfoods.

Photography by Melissa Fann.

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Whip Up a Vegan Brunch!

Let’s meet together to prepare some VEGAN brunch!

Vegan diet can be really versatile and so delicious.  You can eat healthy and you don’t have to compromise on flavor. Classes will be conducted in accordance to plan based diet, all the dishes are also gluten-free. And the most important…. they are really yummy.

vegan brunch

We are going to prepare :

  • ”scrambled egg” – tofu . Breakfast of champions. A tofu scramble is a classic hearty vegan breakfast/brunch.
  • ”cheese” out of cashew nuts . Cashew cheese is perfect for those of you wanting an alternative to dairy or for the adventurous foodies who want to give a new recipe a try.
  • Vegan lentils a’ la baked beans

After the class we will sit together and enjoy the food.
This class will be hands-on so please wear comfortable clothing.
*Please bring your own  apron.

Experience includes:
  • Recipes
  • All ingredients and kitchen equipment will be provided
  • Instruction and tips (after the classes email support with the teacher)

Date: Sun, 9 or 16 April 2017
Time: 10.30am to 1.30pm
Price: S$65/pax

To register, please click here.

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The Truth About Green Juices and Smoothies

The popularity of green juices and smoothies have been increasing over the years, especially when health magazines or ‘experts’ have been expounding the virtues of drinking your veggies rather than chewing them. It kinda makes sense, considering that we often eat less vegetables than we’re supposed to and drinking green juices or smoothies is a good way of ensuring your 1 out of 5 per day while also filling you up until your next meal.

However, just like any health trend, there are some controversy over drinking green juices and smoothies – mainly that consuming that much vegetables on a regular basis contributes too much oxalate into the body, which will cause health problems such as kidney stones later in life. This is especially harmful to the 20% of people who are oxalate sensitive or already naturally produce oxalate, as they will have a higher tendency to have oxalate stones forming in any part of the body.

Moreover, most of these green juices and smoothies contain cruciferous vegetables, which may not be suitable for those with thyroid problems. Others also say that by blending the vegetables into a juice or smoothie, you’re actually destroying up to 90% of the nutrients, which defeats the purpose of drinking said juice or smoothie.

So what’s the truth? Firstly, there isn’t much evidence to prove that 90% of nutrients will be gone after blending. Although it is true that you cannot get 100% of the vegetable’s nutrients unless you get it off the farm and consume it without cutting it.

Cardiologist, Dr Joel Kahn, wrote an article about this and he discussed the science behind why green juices or smoothies or even eating more vegetables is good for your health. The inorganic nitrates within the vegetables promote heart health and when we swallow these nitrate-rich veggies, they’re rapid absorbed and released into our blood stream, and converted into nitric oxide (NO) by enzymes.

According to Dr Kahn, this NO gas is made in the lining of our arteries (endothelium). When our arteries produce a lot of NO, our arteries relax, our blood pressure is normal, our blood is less likely to clot and our arteries resist making plaque. There’s another reason to be grateful for NO. When we want to have sex, it’s NO that causes blood vessels to dilate and engorge the parts that need to grow. In other words: When you want to say yes to sex, say NO.

So when we eat leafy greens and drink our green juices and smoothies, the dietary nitrates power our blood vessels and improve the overall quality of our lives.

There is an argument that in order to get the benefits of the nitrates, our food needs to come in contact with bacteria on our tongue that convert the nitrates to make NO in our arteries. If you quickly gulp your green juices or smoothies past your tongue, you may not permit time for the bacteria to munch on the dietary nitrates.

But, according to Dr Kahn, there is another pathway for the dietary nitrates to be fully absorbed and NO to be produced. When our blood level of nitrates rise after eating or drinking plant-based nitrate-rich foods, the nitrates enter our salivary gland and are concentrated in our saliva. Our saliva may have nitrate concentrations 10 times that of our blood and the green drink we swallowed 45 minutes ago may be secreted right on to our tongue to enjoy the bacteria-nitrate interaction. So if the bacteria doesn’t get your dietary nitrates the first time down, this “entero-salivary” recirculation makes sure they get them the second time around.

Conclusion? Go ahead and enjoy your green juice or smoothie but lay off on the fruits which add sugar. Here are a couple of our favourite green smoothie recipes, both of which are great as breakfast smoothies:

Pick-me-up
1 tbsp Chlorophyll powder
1 cup chilled green tea
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup fresh baby kale
juice of half a lemon
half an apple or a banana
half an avocado

Blend everything in a food processor until smooth

Ready For the Day
1 cup osmanthus tea
1 cup fresh baby kale
1 cup cucumber
1 cup of bak choy
1 tsp of grated ginger
1/2 cup of your favourite kombucha

Blend everything in a food processor until smooth.


Photo credits: Pixabay
With references from MindBodyGreen

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10 Amazing Benefits of Chlorophyll

You may have heard a lot of buzz surrounding the healthiness of vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables with deep, rich colour tones. In many ways, they’re perfect foods and part of the credit is owed to the chlorophyll they contain. Chlorophyll is a green pigment that’s instrumental in photosynthesis. Research also suggests it’s instrumental in promoting good health. The following 10 benefits demonstrate its amazing versatility and power.

1. Helps Control Hunger and Cravings

A study released in September of 2013 determined that compounds containing chlorophyll might help suppress hunger. Twenty moderately overweight women were given test meals on three separate occasions one week apart — two meals with chlorophyll, one without. They reported reduced hunger following the meals containing the chlorophyll and blood tests showed stable blood sugar levels. [1] These results suggest chlorophyll should be considered as an effective way to manage hunger and promote weight loss.

2. Controls Body Odour

Chlorophyll is good for your body from the inside out, literally. This includes body and fecal odours. When tested in a nursing home with 62 patients, one study reported improvements in the odors emanating from the test subjects. In addition to odor reduction, it also alleviated constipation and gas. [2]

3. Encourages Healing

The use of chlorophyll to promote the healing process was first reported nearly 100 years ago. One report published by Butler University (in 1950!) discussed its use for improving healing times. [3] A more recent study found that, when used as a spray, chlorophyll significantly helped wound therapy. [4] The research clearly backs its effectiveness in this area.

4. Promotes Cleansing

Environmental pollutants such as toxic metals can quickly destroy health. Chlorophyll binds with toxic metals to hamper absorption, and research has shown it can do the same with some carcinogens. A crossover study with 4 human volunteers tested chlorophyll’s ability to remove ingested aflatoxin, a known carcinogen. Each volunteer received three servings of the aflatoxin, followed with a meal, the latter two included a tablet of chlorophyll. The results showed rapid elimination with 95% evacuated within 24 hours. [5]

5. Protects DNA Against Fried Foods

Fried foods aren’t just bad for your waistline, they also contain chemicals known to damage colon tissue and the DNA of colon cells. In one study, participants who ate fried foods coupled with protective foods, including chlorophyll, were observed to have less DNA damage of colon cells. [6] Don’t take that as just cause to go crazy with the fried foods, the best idea is to avoid them altogether.

6. Super Potent Antioxidant Action

Chlorophyll’s status as a superfood is due to its nutritional and potent antioxidant properties. It protects cells from oxidative damage by eliminating free radicals. [7] One plant known for its high chlorophyll levels, Conyza triloba, showed very active superoxide scavenging behavior. An in vitro study found it capable of reducing free radicals while reducing cell damage. [8]

7. Promising Potential for Cancer Therapy

Although the research doesn’t currently show that chlorophyll is an all out cancer cure, researchers are excited about its potential as a therapy. One study found men with lower levels of dietary chlorophyll had higher risks of colon cancer. [9] Another study noted it effective at stimulating liver detoxifying enzymes and may protect against other carcinogens. [10]

8. Effective Against Candida albicans

Candida infection is a big problem for many individuals and can lead to fatigue, depression, and digestive problems; just to name a few. Research has shown that isolated chlorophyll solutions stop Candida albicans growth. [11]

9. Relieves Systemic Redness and Swelling

Traditional medicine has long used green leaves for infections. With modern approaches that have limited effectiveness and a long list of side effects, natural remedies are getting another look. Animal studies have found that green leaves help to reduce swelling and redness! [12] 

anaemia

10. Promotes Healthy Iron Levels

A modified form of chlorophyll known as chlorophyllin may be highly effective for anaemia. By swapping iron for magnesium at the center of the molecule, it provides a bioavailable form of iron the body can use. [13] While scientists may look for ways to develop patent-able medicines, no one needs to wait to take chlorophyll to gain its benefits.

Chlorophyll: An Excellent Dietary Supplement
Chlorophyll possesses an amazing range of benefits and is readily available to everyone. Chlorophyll rich foods are also healthy in their own right and contain essential vitamins and nutrients needed for cardiovascular, muscular, and neural health. Consume foods containing chlorophyll or take a dietary supplement for best effect. Blue-green algae is one of my favourites. Do you take chlorophyll? What effects have you noticed? 


If you do not consume enough green leafy vegetables in your normal diet, you might want to try Unicity’s Chlorophyll powder which can be easily dissolved in drinking water or juices as a simple but effective supplement. 


This article first appeared on http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/10-amazing-benefits-of-chlorophyll/ by Dr Edward Group.


References:

 

 

 

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Melissa’s Table Top Talk Episode 14: So You Don’t Think You Need To Detox?

There has been a lot of talk about going on detox diets by health ‘gurus’ or wellness-related companies but is there a medical or scientific basis to this? Also, quite a few medical doctors have said that it is not necessary to go for any detox diet because the body itself has a natural detoxification system.

This week, we discuss this topic with wellness coach Chong Su Lee as she gives her view on detox and why it is important to do so at least annually. We also received quite interesting comments from a viewer who informed us that livestock imported into Singapore does not contain any hormone injections!

Catch the ‘live’ version of Melissa’s Table Top Talk every Tue, 8.30pm (Singapore Time) at Wellness Insider’s Facebook page. To be updated on the latest episodes, you can also subscribe via our YouTube channel.

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