Cooking Oil: Which is Best for Gut Health?

Cooking Oil: Which is Best for Gut Health?

There’s loads of confusion around cooking oil – which ones are healthy, which are not. This is especially important if you have any kind of digestive, or other health challenge. It’s not surprising really – we’ve been told for years that saturated fats are definitely off the menu as they clog our arteries. That we should definitely be reaching for ‘healthier’ polyunsaturated vegetable oils instead. Once more it seems we’ve been misinformed, as unsurprisingly this isn’t true. So which cooking oils to avoid, and which should we use instead? Read on to discover the answer.

 

Cooking oil to avoid

Vegetable oil
Sunflower oil
Rapeseed oil
Palm oil
Rice bran oil
Blends of any of the above
Margarine (usually made from blends of the above)
Anything containing vegetable oil, e.g., salad dressing

It’s claimed they’re more beneficial for health because they’re rich sources of polyunsaturated fats, but let’s take a closer look at this for a minute.

 

Cooking oil is highly processed

Vegetable oils sound like natural, unrefined products but this couldn’t actually be further from the truth. It’s safe to assume oils are removed from the plant using chemical solvent methods, unless they’re marked as ‘cold pressed’ or similar. The oil is purified and refined before yet more chemical alterations take place to improve the shelf life, taste and texture of the resulting product.

 

If you’d like to learn more about eating to soothe your gut, I’d highly recommend downloading my online course The Ultimate Gut Health Programme to help support your digestive system whilst avoiding triggering symptoms.

It’d be impossible to include all you need to know in one blog, but the programme will have all you need to know to ensure you’re soothing your digestive system, whilst eating delicious and filling foods. 

Hydrogenation

Sometimes oils are ‘hydrogenated’ which is when they’re chemically altered to be solid at room temperature. Hydrogenated fats are preferred by food manufacturers as they have a longer shelf life, and improved texture and flavour. However, the main drawback to hydrogenated fats is that they contain highly damaging trans-fats. These are highly detrimental to health and should be avoided. You can read more about them here.

Most cooking oil to avoid is inflammatory and perhaps the main drawback of vegetable oil is it has a very high Omega-6 content. Most people eat far too much Omega-6 fatty acid and not nearly enough Omega-3.

The problem? Omega-6 fat is highly inflammatory, whereas Omega-3 fat is anti-inflammatory.

The problem is that Omega-6 is everywhere, and although we need to consume a certain amount of Omega-6, we consume far too much in relation to the amount of Omega-3 we eat.

 

Oxidation

When they’re exposed to heat these cooking oils are very easily oxidised, meaning they’re broken down into more damaging forms. This then increases the formation of free radicals which cause inflammation and oxidative damage to your cells.

 

So which are the best oils to use?

 

Extra-virgin olive oil

This has a fantastic flavour and is great for making salad dressings, or generally eating raw. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid which is good for your cardiovascular system and great for reducing inflammation. It’s not so great for high temperature cooking as it has a fairly low smoke point.

Coconut oil

This is a far better choice for high temperature cooking, such as in stir-fries. The coconut taste isn’t overbearing at all, so it’s surprisingly versatile and is rich is medium-chain triglycerides which help to boost your metabolism and brain function.

Avocado Oil

Another winner for high temperature cooking is avocado oil which has a very high smoke point. It’s also higher in mono-saturated fats and anti-oxidants than standard vegetable oils.

Butter and ghee

If you’re not vegan then grass-fed butter or ghee is a great choice. Grass fed varieties have a much higher omega-3 content than standard brands, so are a much healthier choice.
For the non-vegetarians and vegans pure animal fats such as goose fat offer a great alternative and are very stable for cooking at high temperatures.

 

If you would like to speak to me about any aspect of your gut health, including testing options, then please use this link to book into my diary for a FREE 30 minute chat so I can find out more about what is going on for you.  Alternatively please use the ‘Learn More’ link below.

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Gut Symptoms: 5 Key Reasons Behind Them.

Gut Symptoms: 5 Key Reasons Behind Them.

There may be quite a few reasons you’re experiencing IBS symptoms.  If you’ve been given the all clear by your doctor but you still have gut symptoms, these five areas may be worth exploring.

 

1. FODMAPS

Although each person has different reactions to various foods, certain foods tend to trigger IBS symptoms more than others. This is especially true when it comes to carbohydrates called FODMAPS (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), which researchers have found are commonly unabsorbed in the gut and easily become fermented — which can cause significant issues throughout your digestive system.

 

The important thing to remember with the low FODMAP diet is that it is only meant to be undertaken as a temporary measure, to take the pressure off your gut while it’s healing.  It is not a long term solution, and you need to find out the underlying reason your gut is struggling.

 

Click here for more on gut testing.

 

If you’d like to learn more about eating a low FODMAP diet or to soothe the gut in general, I’d highly recommend downloading my online course The Ultimate Gut Health Programme to help support your digestive system whilst avoiding triggering symptoms.

It’d be impossible to include all you need to know in one blog, but the programme will have all you need to know to ensure you’re soothing your digestive system, whilst eating delicious and filling foods. 

 

2. STRESS

 

Higher levels of stress is tied to disturbances in digestion due to how stress raises inflammation and impacts hormone levels. Studies have found that anxiety, depression and/or every day anxieties can trigger problems with your gut.

 

The gut and brain are constantly talking to each other via the vagus nerve so the gut can receive signals from your central nervous system (brain and spine) that cause it to become unpredictable.

 

Stress and digestion are also directly related because the gut produces neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which have a direct impact on how you feel.

 

3. LACK OF EXERCISE

Studies have found that regular exercise (including aerobics, lifting weights or yoga) help control stress and can improve digestive health.

 

Studies have shown that increased physical activity improves symptoms associated with IBS and improves quality of life.

 

4. DYSBIOSIS

 

Alterations in the microbiota (dysbiosis) can come about for many reasons. Some of the most common are:

  • Exposure to environmental pollutants, toxins and moulds
  • Consuming a poor diet lacking in whole foods
  • Antibiotic use
  • Use of other medications such as the contraceptive pill.
  • High levels of stress

 

 

5. SIBO

Often when clients are experiencing stubborn gut symptoms that just won’t seem to resolve, its because SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is playing a part.

 

Common symptoms of SIBO include:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Poor nutrient absorption
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Rosacea

Foods to try cutting out of your diet as part of an “elimination diet” for relieving IBS include:

 

  • Conventional dairy products
  • Gluten

 

  • Added sugar and refined, white flour
  • Caffeine and alcohol

 

 

  • Spicy foods
  • Certain FODMAP grains, vegetables and fruit (such as apples, stone fruit, avocado, onions, garlic and broccoli)

 

If you would like to speak to me about any aspect of your gut health, including testing options, then please use this link to book into my diary for a FREE 30 minute chat so I can find out more about what is going on for you.  Alternatively please use the ‘Learn More’ link below.

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Would You Like to Learn How to Fix Your Digestive SymptomsBeat the Bloat and Feel Amazing?

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Get Ready to Permanently Beat the BloatSoothe Your Digestion and Feel Amazing 

Ultimate Gut Health Programme

Delicious, Filling & Inspiring ways to Become Symptom-Free, Soothe Your Gut and Enjoy Your Food Again!

8 Signs You Have Stomach Ulcers.

8 Signs You Have Stomach Ulcers.

For decades, stomach ulcers were considered to be psychosomatic, in other words a high-stress lifestyle was to blame. At the time doctors started identifying high rates of ulcers in hard-working businessmen who smoked a lot of cigarettes and were likely sleep-deprived.

 

A bacterium called Helicobacter pylori was then discovered that seemed to be present in nearly everyone suffering from ulcers, although only about 10% of people with H. pylori will go on to develop an ulcer.

 

Antibiotics used to combat H. pylori can work short term to lower the bacteria, but don’t seem to keep it from returning without other interventions.

 

Here are some signs stomach ulcers may be an issue for you:

 

  • Abdominal pains and burning sensations, including bloating (especially after eating and between the tummy and breastbone)
  • bleeding when vomiting or going to the loo
  • nausea and vomiting
  • darker stools
  • loss of appetite and changes in body weight
  • trouble sleeping due to pain
  • other digestive complaints like heartburn, acid reflux, feeling gassy
  • diarrhoea can occur as a symptom even before other stomach ulcer symptoms start.

 

Additionally, you may experience dehydration and fatigue if you’re not eating and drinking properly as a result of having these unpleasant stomach ulcer symptoms.

 

Needless to say, if you’re experiencing symptoms like these then do get a diagnosis from your doctor first, to ensure ulcers are definitely what you’re dealing with.

 

Medications such as antacids and PPIs may be prescribed for ulcers BUT they’re not really a long term answer – managing your symptoms naturally, and getting to the underlying cause will give you the lasting results that you want.

 

Here are some common triggers, so these need to be avoided if you want to overcome ulcer symptoms.

 

1. Overeating. People with ulcers tend to eat one or two large meals each day, so try cutting down to smaller meals.

2. Hot, spicy foods may be a trigger for some people.

3. Processed food.

4. Sugar – stay away from this as far as you can, it’s highly inflammatory and with ulcers you definitely want to avoid further inflammation.

5. NSAIDS such as ibuprofen.

6. Caffeine and alcohol.

 

There seems to be a big stress link with ulcers, and indeed anything gut related, so undertake stress relieving activities such as meditation, outside exercise, etc whatever floats your boat. I’ve got loads of videos and blogs with relaxation techniques so do check those out if you need some inspo.

 

If you’d like to learn more about eating to prevent a recurrance of ulcers or to soothe the gut in general, I’d highly recommend downloading my online course The Ultimate Gut Health Programme to help support your digestive system whilst avoiding triggering symptoms.

It’d be impossible to include all you need to know in one blog, but the programme will have all you need to know to ensure you’re soothing your digestive system, whilst eating delicious and filling foods. 

Bone broth

Bone broth is very healing for the gut, so aim for one cup two or three times a day to ease symptoms. 

Aloe vera juice

 

Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties and is very soothing to the gut lining.  It has also been shown to be very healing for ulcers and H. pylori.

 

Cabbage juice

Some people find cabbage juice to be very healing for stomach ulcers.  It can also be mixed with bone broth to make a very soothing soup.

Chamomile

 

Two or three cups of chamomile tea in quick succession is fabulously soothing for the gut.  It will also help a lot with sleep and relaxation.  

 

There are some great supplements and probiotics available which would need to be tailored to your unique situation, including whether or not they’re compatible with other medications you’re taking.

 

The stool test I use routinely checks for H. Pylori infection, so do get in touch if you’d like more info about that.

 

If you would like to speak to me about any aspect of your gut health, then please use this link to book into my diary for a FREE 30 minute chat so I can find out more about what is going on for you.  Alternatively please use the ‘Learn More’ link below.

Free Mini Programme

Would You Like to Learn How to Fix Your Digestive SymptomsBeat the Bloat and Feel Amazing?

1:1 Coaching Plans

Get Ready to Permanently Beat the BloatSoothe Your Digestion and Feel Amazing 

Ultimate Gut Health Programme

Delicious, Filling & Inspiring ways to Become Symptom-Free, Soothe Your Gut and Enjoy Your Food Again!

Bloated Stomach?  Here’s What to do About it.

Bloated Stomach? Here’s What to do About it.

 

Bloating. It’s a very common problem which affects most of us at some time or other. However, unfortunately a lot of the time it can be persistent, uncomfortable and even escalate as the day goes on.  Read on discover what may cause a bloated stomach, and some simple home remedies to try.

 

Often clients will complain that their clothes fitted them perfectly well in the morning when they were getting ready for their day, but by the time the afternoon rolls around they feel as though they’re six months pregnant and bursting out of their clothes.  Not nice at all. Luckily, in most cases the dreaded bloating can be alleviated by making a few simple changes to your diet and routine.

 

(If you’ve got persistent bloating that won’t shift, no matter what you try, then always pop along to your GP to get them to check it out).

What causes a bloated stomach?

 

In most cases it boils down to one or more of the following –

 

Insufficient breakdown of carbohydrates and sugars

 

This is due to a lack of enzymes needed to do this. You may have heard of the low FODMAP diet – this method involves removing the harder to digest carbohydrates from your diet, temporarily alleviating symptoms. It’s not a method I recommend using for too long as there are far too many very healthy and delicious foods which are high in FODMAPs! It’s far more beneficial to unearth why you’re not digesting these foods efficiently.

 

Poor protein digestion

 

This may also be due to a lack of enzymes.

 

Disturbances in your gut microbiome

 

In other words, too many non-beneficial species and not enough of your beneficial species. There are a few strains of bacteria that are notorious for causing excessive bloating. Not only that, but they can damage your delicate gut-lining and hinder your absorption of vital nutrients. Gut testing can reveal whether or not you have excessive levels of these.

 

Yeast overgrowth

Particularly candida, can cause bloating among other numerous symptoms.

 

Food allergies or intolerances

 

The easiest way to determine whether or not a suspect food is aggravating your system is to remove it from your diet for a week or two and see if your symptoms subside. You may then like to try reintroducing it very slowly to see what happens. Dairy and gluten-containing foods commonly cause bloating and other issues for people. (Needless to say don’t try this with foods you have a known severe allergy to).

 

Dehydration

 

You may notice your bloating is much worse if, for example, you’ve been out for the evening eating salty food or drinking more wine than usual. Although it seems counter-intuitive drinking more water will help things flow much more easily through your digestive system.

 

SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)

 

This is when you have bacteria living in the wrong part of your intestine. We want the bulk of your bacteria residing happily in your large intestine. If it starts migrating up to your small intestine you may get some very uncomfortable symptoms, including bloating. Testing will show whether or not this is causing your symptoms.

If you’d like to learn more about eating to alleviate bloating, I’d highly recommend downloading my online course The Ultimate Gut Health Programme to help support your digestive system whilst avoiding triggering symptoms.

It’d be impossible to include all you need to know in one blog, but the programme will have all you need to know to ensure you’re soothing your digestive system, whilst eating delicious and filling foods.

Most importantly, how do we alleviate a bloated stomach?

 

Fibre

You want to be aiming for 25-30 grams of fibre each day in your diet. If your diet contains a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, together with plenty of legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, whole grains (if you tolerate them) along with nuts and seeds you’re probably on the right track with your fibre intake. If you know you’re off-track and you’re getting plagued with bloating this would be a great place to start. Increase your fibre intake very slowly though, to allow your gut to get used to it.

Probiotic supplements and foods (beware of these if you have a bloated stomach)

 

If you have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut these can help rebalance things for you. But beware! If you’re unknowingly suffering with SIBO taking probiotics may well aggravate your symptoms, so if your bloating is very uncomfortable it’s best to test before taking probiotics.

Herbs & Spices

Have plenty of delicious herbs and spices on hand! My favourite is by far chamomile tea – it’s superb for so many ailments, including anything gut related. Two or three cups should help to bring balance back for you. Other useful ones to have to hand are ginger (in all its forms – fresh, diced into a cup of boiled water is great, as is tea), mint and fennel.

Stress

Finally, reduce stress. Easier said than done I know, but if you can learn to manage your stress levels your gut will be a lot happier because of it. You may have noticed that when you start to feel worried or stressed your digestion takes a nose-dive. This is because the stress response sets off a whole gamut of cascades throughout the body, which are all designed to allow us to escape from danger (but we’re not running from lions most of the time!) Inflammation will increase, and energy will be redirected from our digestive system to our muscles to help us escape danger.

 

Indulge in whatever floats your boat when it comes to getting a handle on stress – journaling, meditation, walking in nature, yoga, art or playing music will all benefit you greatly.

 

If you would like to speak to me about any aspect of your gut health, then please use this link to book into my diary for a FREE 30 minute chat so I can find out more about what is going on for you.  Alternatively please use the ‘Learn More’ link below.

Free Mini Programme

Would You Like to Learn How to Fix Your Digestive SymptomsBeat the Bloat and Feel Amazing?

1:1 Coaching Plans

Get Ready to Permanently Beat the BloatSoothe Your Digestion and Feel Amazing 

Ultimate Gut Health Programme

Delicious, Filling & Inspiring ways to Become Symptom-Free, Soothe Your Gut and Enjoy Your Food Again!

Easy Spice & Herbs for Gut Health.

Easy Spice & Herbs for Gut Health.

If you find your digestion’s feeling bit off, maybe with bloating, nausea or aches and pains, you could do a lot worse than to make sure you have plenty of spices and herbs for gut health to hand in your kitchen cupboards.

There are literally hundreds of herbs and spices to help with day to day tricky gut situations.

Some herbs will support your body in producing bile – a digestive substance produced by the gallbladder which helps you digest fatty foods.

Also, many of these herbs and spices will soothe the gut wall and ensure your gut is functioning correctly to get any pesky excess gas out of your system.

However they do their job, you can be assured that the following herbs and spices will support healthy digestion, allowing the gut to function as it’s supposed to.

And apart from all that they taste amazing too!

If you’d like to learn more about incorporating herbs and spice into your diet, I’d highly recommend downloading my online course The Ultimate Gut Health Programme to help support both your digestive sysem and hormone health, whilst avoiding triggering symptoms.

It’d be impossible to include all you need to know in one blog, but the programme will have all you need to know to ensure you’re soothing your digestive system, whilst eating delicious and filling foods.

Here are four of my favourites –

Fennel

The seeds are often served in Asia alongside or after your food to promote healthy digestion.  An easier way is to drink fennel tea, or buy a fresh fennel bulb from the supermarket – it makes an awesome soup!

The seeds and the plant have been scientifically proven to be –

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti inflammatory

So, it may well help you get rid of any bacteria which is causing gassiness, or help with an upset stomach.

sChamomile

My favourite herb of all time and so handy – I have a box of chamomile tea in the kitchen all the time as I use it for sleeping and relaxation.

A lesser known benefit of chamomile is as a great treatment in case of any stomach aches or bloating.  It works so well.  Sometimes I just have three small cups of chamomile tea, one after the other, and it nails most minor digestive complaints.

It’s also been proven in animal studies to be anti inflammatory and reduce diarrhoea.   It  also inhibit the development of stomach ulcers – amazing!

Ginger

A very well known remedy for all types of nausea, including morning sickness and travel sickness.

It’s very versatile so you can either buy the fresh bulbs and then grate or chop it into hot water to make tea, or in stir-fry or curries.

Alternatively buy it as a tea or use dried ginger in cooking.

Cumin

Cumin is great for indigestion and actually revs your digestive processes up by increasing the activity of digestive enzymes.
Again, cumin will increase the production of bile so it’d be a great idea to include some of this if you tend to feel uncomfortable after eating fatty foods.

People with IBS have even reported improved symptoms after taking cumin as a supplement.

You might have noticed that a lot of these spices are traditionally served alongside notorious foods which commonly aggravate digestion, such as beans and lentils – think chilli and dhal.  

There is a reason for this, they do actually help your gut to break down these harder to digest foods.

So there you go, four essential herbs and spices to have in your cupboard to support your digestion day to day – enjoy them as teas or in cooking!

 

If you would like to speak to me about any aspect of your gut health, then please use this link to book into my diary for a FREE 30 minute chat so I can find out more about what is going on for you.  Alternatively please use the ‘Learn More’ link below.

Free Mini Programme

Would You Like to Learn How to Fix Your Digestive SymptomsBeat the Bloat and Feel Amazing?

1:1 Coaching Plans

Get Ready to Permanently Beat the BloatSoothe Your Digestion and Feel Amazing 

Ultimate Gut Health Programme

Delicious, Filling & Inspiring ways to Become Symptom-Free, Soothe Your Gut and Enjoy Your Food Again!

Detox For Your Gut:  Is It Necessary?

Detox For Your Gut: Is It Necessary?

In recent years the phrases ‘gut cleansing’ and ‘detox’ have become very popular indeed. There are lots of products and methods being bandied around which claim their product, method or diet will ‘detoxify’ you.  Both terms are a bit misleading, suggesting you need to do something particularly special, or spend lots of money on expensive products in order to get results.

 

These phrases are misleading because our body is constantly detoxifying on its own. For example, the main function of your liver is to filter and remove toxins from your body. There are lots of processes involved using a variety of complex biological systems. These eventually end up showing toxins the door.

 

 

Other ways your body is constantly detoxing include –

 

  • Your skin pushing out bacteria through sweat
  • Kidneys filtering blood and producing urine
  • Lungs expelling carbon dioxide
  • Intestines extracting nutrients from food and excreting waste.

 

Your liver is very busy, clearing toxic xenobiotics from pharmaceutical drugs, food additives and environmental pollutants. These are metabolised by detoxification enzymes into less harmful compounds.

So, in a nutshell you’re already gut cleansing and detoxing without thinking about it!  It’s really just a question of how effectively you’re doing it.

 

How to support gut cleansing & detox

Although detoxification happens naturally, that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to support it in doing its job. Your body’s own detoxing mechanisms don’t work properly without the right fuel. The right fuel being the nutrients contained in whole, natural foods.

So while it’s not accurate to suggest that certain types of food/juices/supplements/superfoods will cleanse your gut and detoxify you directly, a healthy diet is definitely necessary to provide your system with the enzymes to detoxify your body adequately.

 

 

In addition, factors like –

  • Chronic, ongoing stress
  • Poor sleep
  • Lack of physical activity
  • A diet high in processed foods

 

Can cause your body’s detoxification systems to underperform and not remove all those toxins efficiently.

However, a ‘detox diet’ can provide a great focus to get your body back on track, and help it to efficiently do what it’s supposed to.

If you’re worried your diet is impacting your gut health, and also your sleep, I’d highly recommend downloading my online course The Ultimate Gut Health Programme to help support both your digestive sysem and hormone health, whilst avoiding triggering symptoms.

It’d be impossible to include all you need to know in one blog, but the programme will have all you need to know to ensure you’re soothing your digestive system, whilst eating delicious and filling foods.

In a nutshell, what you’ll need to do to help your body detox more efficiently, is to minimise the things it doesn’t need, whilst maximising what it does need.

Help your body detox like this –

If you tend to drink fizzy and sugary drinks, swapping them for plain filtered water, herbal teas and green tea will ensure you stay well hydrated whilst at the same time reducing your toxic load.

Reduce or eliminate sugary foods from your diet. Sugary foods don’t provide you with any nutrients and take a lot of effort for your system to process. Therefore, knocking biscuits, pastries, sugary chocolate bars and sweets on the head will definitely help your system function properly.

Cut out all highly processed and pre-packaged foods such as ready meals, convenience foods and snacks from your diet.

Whilst you’re decreasing your intake of processed and sugary foods, ensure you increase you intake of whole raw foods, cook from scratch and include healthy protein foods.

It’s just a case of providing your body with the building blocks it needs to do its own, inbuilt, cleansing process naturally.

 

If you would like to speak to me about any aspect of your gut health, then please use this link to book into my diary for a FREE 30 minute chat so I can find out more about what is going on for you.  Alternatively please use the ‘Learn More’ link below.

Free Mini Programme

Would You Like to Learn How to Fix Your Digestive SymptomsBeat the Bloat and Feel Amazing?

1:1 Coaching Plans

Get Ready to Permanently Beat the BloatSoothe Your Digestion and Feel Amazing 

Ultimate Gut Health Programme

Delicious, Filling & Inspiring ways to Become Symptom-Free, Soothe Your Gut and Enjoy Your Food Again!

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