Fermented foods for better gut health

Kelly Bilodeau    Executive Editor, Harvard Womens Health Watch

Fermented foods
Naturally fermented foods are getting a lot of attention from health experts these days because they may help strengthen your gut microbiome—the 100 trillion or so bacteria and microorganisms that live in your digestive tract.

Researchers are beginning to link these tiny creatures to all sorts of health conditions from obesity to neurodegenerative diseases.

Fermented foods are preserved using an age-old process that not only boosts the food’s shelf life and nutritional value, but can give your body a dose of healthy probiotics, which are live microorganisms crucial to healthy digestion, says Dr. David S. Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Not all fermented foods are created equal

The foods that give your body beneficial probiotics are those fermented using natural processes and containing probiotics. Live cultures are found in not only yogurt and a yogurt-like drink called kefir, but also in Korean pickled vegetables called kimchi, sauerkraut, and in some pickles.

The jars of pickles you can buy off the shelf at the supermarket are sometimes pickled using vinegar and not the natural fermentation process using live organisms, which means they don’t contain probiotics.

To ensure the fermented foods you choose do contain probiotics, look for the words naturally fermented on the label, and when you open the jar look for telltale bubbles in the liquid, which signal that live organisms are inside the jar, says Dr. Ludwig.

Fermented foods for better gut health

WHO calls for elimination of trans fats in five years.

WHO calls for trans fats to be eliminated within five years Removing trans fats may prevent 500 000 cardiovascular disease-related deaths, says WHO.

Tom Miles, Reuters / 14 May 2018

WHO unveils plan to remove trans fats. s.

The world could eliminate industrially-produced trans fats by 2023, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday, unveiling a plan that it said would prevent 500 000 deaths per year from cardiovascular disease.

Trans fats are popular with manufacturers of fried, baked and snack foods because they have a long shelf life, but they are bad for consumers, increasing heart disease risk by 21% and deaths by 28%, a WHO statement said.

“Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?,” WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the statement.

Implementing the WHO’s strategy for replacing trans fats, including promoting healthier alternatives and legislating against the harmful ingredients, would remove them from the food chain and score a major victory against heart disease, he said.

Several rich countries have already virtually eliminated trans fats by putting limits on the amounts allowed in packaged foods. Some have banned partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially-produced trans fats, the WHO said.

“Trans-fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there’s no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed,” said Tom Frieden, a former head of the US Centres for Disease Control who now leads the Resolve health initiative.

Earlier this month WHO issued its first draft recommendations on trans fats since 2002, saying adults and children should consume a maximum of one percent of their daily calories in the form of trans fats.


These 5 Habits Can Add 14 Healthy Years to Your Life.

NEWS: 5 Habits Can Add 14 Healthy Years to Your Life, According to Science

Science confirms what we know from our research and study of centenarians in “Blue Zones” regions.

The longest-lived people in the world share nine commonalities: they move naturally in their daily lives; eat a plant-slant diet, go to happy hour and drink Wine at 5; they wake up in the morning with purpose; find ways to down shift and shed stress; eat to 80 percent full; belong to faith-based communities; always put family first; and have close friends with similar values – we call these the Power 9.

According to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, five very similar lifestyle habits have been shown to increase life expectancy at age 50 by 12 to 14 years. The study is the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of adopting low-risk lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the U.S.

Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at the following to determine how they affect longevity:

Not smoking
Eating a healthy diet
Regularly exercising
Keeping a healthy body weight
Moderate alcohol consumption

Along with lifestyle and medical data from adults in the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), as well as mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers determined that in the more than 30 years of follow-up, following all five lifestyle habits improved projected life expectancy at age 50 by 14.0 years for women and 12.2 years for men.

“This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the U.S. population,” said Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “However, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low. Therefore, public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food, built, and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles.”


Genius Foods. Raw Fruit And Veggies Improves Mood, Mental Functioning.

Controlling for the covariates, raw fruit and vegetable consumption predicted lower levels of mental illness symptomology,

such as depression, and

improved levels of psychological well-being including positive mood, life satisfaction and flourishing.

These mental health benefits were significantly reduced for cooked, canned, and processed fruits and vegetables.

This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe, and adjuvant approach to improving mental health, Dr Conner says.

The top 10 raw foods related to better mental health were:




dark leafy greens such as




citrus fruits,

fresh berries,

cucumber, and




Gary Taubes. The Case Against Sugar

Science writer Gary Taubes has a knack for subverting conventional wisdom.

Sixteen years ago, he published a groundbreaking feature article in The New York Times Magazine arguing that decades worth of government-approved nutritional advice was flat-out wrong, ideologically motivated, and contributing to rising rates of obesity and diabetes.

Traditional dieting guidance attacking fatty foods and praising carbohydrates, he wrote, was based on a big fat lie.

Back then, Taubes was excoriated.

(Reason published pieces both attacking and defending him.)

But today his thesis is gaining ground among health and nutrition researchers.

His work has been highlighted everywhere from The New York Times to Time magazine.

Protein-rich regimens have taken off after millions of Americans found that stocking their pantries with supposedly “heart-healthy” snacks such as granola bars and fruit juice failed to improve wellness.



The Diet That May Help Depression

The Diet That Might Cure Depression

Several studies show that healthy eating is connected with better mood.

Olga KhazanMar 29, 2018

At the turn of the 20th century, prominent physicians who were trying to understand where mental illness comes from seized on a new theory: autointoxication.

Intestinal microbes, these doctors suggested, are actually dangerous to their human hosts. They have a way of inducing “fatigue, melancholia, and the neuroses,” as a historical article in the journal Gut Pathogens recounts.

The control of  diet is readily accomplished, but mastery over his intestinal bacterial flora is not,

wrote a doctor named Bond Stow in the Medical Record Journal of Medicine and Surgery in 1914.

The innumerable examples of autointoxication that one sees in his daily walks in life is proof thereof … malaise, total lack of ambition so that every effort in life is a burden, mental depression often bordering upon melancholia.

Stow went on to say that

a battle royal must be fought with these intestinal germs.


Can your gut be keeping you up at night?

Dr Jonathan D Moch

Kate Leaver

Could it be your gut keeping you awake at night?

An increasing number of scientists are waking up to the idea of a link between the digestive system and problems with sleep

Mon 19 Mar 2018

We know that people who live with depression and people who sleep poorly both have abnormal microbes in the gut.

When we lie awake at night, unable to sleep, we usually blame stress, depression, anxiety, adrenaline or the memory of something stupid we said in 2003.

But what if our guts were actually the culprit?

What if the trillions of microbes sitting in our small intestines – known collectively as the microbiome or microbiota –

were actually affecting our mood, digestion, overall health and ability to get a full eight hours shut-eye?

Scientists are beginning to suspect there is a strong, if as yet unproven, link between gut health – the diversity and wellbeing of bacteria in the stomach, small and large intestines – and sleep health.