What are Pre and Probiotics?

July 2, 2018
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Many of us have heard the word “probiotics.” In fact, many of us would even be able to associate probiotics with our gut or stomach. But what do they do? How do they help our stomach and digestion, and what the heck are prebiotics?

Probiotics are live bacterial cultures that help to keep our gut healthy.  Probiotics help with digestion, absorption of nutrients, and immune function.   Probiotics are found in fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, natto, and kimchi.   Probiotics can also be found in dairy products such as yogurt.  One reason why we are encouraged to eat more yogurt, (how many of us have watched Activia commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis?) and certain soft, fermented cheese. Probiotics are now being manufactured into supplement form.  

Prebiotics are fiber, that basically work as a ‘fertilizer’ for the probiotics. Meaning, while the probiotics, or “good bacteria,” is working it’s way into the gut, prebiotics are helping the probiotics multiply, grow, and improve the amount of good bacteria in the gut. Interestingly, the body doesn’t digest prebiotics. It simply utilizes them to propagate probiotics in the digestive system.

Although both pre and probiotics work together to improve gut health, they are not found in the same foods. If you’re looking to add both to your diet without utilizing food sources, both can be found in supplement form.  However, the Registered Dietitian Nutritionists’ on the B.Komplete Team strongly recommend food first – before supplements.  Dietary supplements are not tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration like medications. And the probiotic strains in the supplements may not be specific for the condition you’re looking to treat.  Always tell your Physician what you are doing that may affect your health, and schedule an appointment with a RDN on our team.

Foods Rich in Probiotics:

Yogurt: Yogurt is the number one source of probiotics. However, this only applies if the label specifically says “active live cultures.” Any pasteurization or sterilization can kill the bacteria and therefore there’s no good bacteria left.

Sauerkraut: Also known as lacto-fermented cabbage, and when unpasteurized, contains Lactobacillus bacteria (good bacteria). In this state, it actually contained more probiotics than yogurt.

Miso Soup: A very popular item on a Japanese restaurant menu, this soup is made with miso paste, an Asian seasoning made by fermenting a mixture of soybeans, barley, brown rice and several other grains with a fungus, Aspergillus oryzae.  Miso is a healthy, probiotic food that helps support digestion by adding beneficial microorganisms to your digestive tract.

Kefir: Similar to yogurt, there’s kefir, a fermented and cultured beverage, with a characteristic tart taste. For those with a dairy intolerance, kefir can be a good choice. Interestingly enough, a study done by Ohio State University, found that drinking kefir can reduce gas and bloating brought on by lactose consumption by almost 70%.

Pickles: Cucumbers that have been “pickled” in a solution of salt and water, using their own lactic acid bacteria, they are left to ferment, which turns them sour and a source of probiotics. Pickles are a good source of vitamin K too, although they are high in sodium, something to watch out for.

Foods Rich in Prebiotics:

Asparagus: Great source of prebiotics with roughly 5% fiber by weight.  Check out this delicious recipe for asparagus salad or this recipe for an asparagus frittata

Jerusalem Artichoke: Interestingly, Jerusalem artichoke has actually nothing to do with artichoke, with the exception of its heart’s flavor. Jerusalem artichoke is loaded with prebiotics as well as potassium and iron.  And, they are easy to prepare!

Bananas: A convenient food, that has fiber and potassium.  

Oats: Healthy grains with the added bonus of prebiotics. Oats contain beta-glucan fiber, which is what increases healthy gut bacteria, as well as antioxidants, which means they have anti-inflammatory effects.

Legumes:  Also great sources of protein and iron. Some common legumes include; lentils, kidneys, and chickpeas. Legumes have the right amount of fiber to boost healthy gut flora.

 

How much do you need?

At present, the verdict is out on exactly how much we need to consume, however some of the regulatory and scientific groups have put forward, per day figures of:

  • Dietary fiber: 25-38 grams

If you are not used to eating a diet that is rich in fiber, start slowly.  Try adding 1 new food each day for a week that provides a good source of fiber.  You can gradually increase each week.  

We truly hope this blog post was helpful, and inspires you to add a source of pre and/or probiotic fiber into your daily food plan.  Here at B.Komplete we believe in a healthy and balanced approach to eating.  Let us know in the comment section what you try!

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

References: 

http://ific.org/publications/factsheets/preprobioticsfs.cfm#Probiotics%20and%20Prebiotics%20Found%20in%20the%20Foods%20We%20Eat

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/

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What Foods to Eat in the Winter

February 4, 2018
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in Blog
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Winter means colder temperatures and less hours of daylight. With more time spent inside and little exposure to sunlight, it can become a challenge to stay happy and energized. Because of this, it is crucial to stay focused on the nutrition choices that work for you during this time of the year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression with seasonal patterns, is very common during the cold months of winter. Changes in mood, energy, focus, appetite, and sleep are normal and expected with this kind of disorder. There are many different ways that you can stay on top of your health and prevent symptoms of SAD. Staying active, eating healthy winter foods, and managing your stress are great places to start. To stay happy, healthy, and energized incorporate these winter foods into your day:

Sweet Potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, fiber. They are also packed with antioxidants. With their sweet taste and bright orange color, adding them to your meal can be fun. Also, they work well in a lot of different recipes. Whether you choose to bake, roast, or mash them, sweet potatoes are a great food to eat to keep you full and energized! Check out more recipe ideas here.

 

Brussel Sprouts are “tiny cabbages” and have a wide variety of health benefits.  When prepared with herbs, spices and some healthy oil, they taste really yummy! Brussels are full of fiber, as well as contain high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants that can protect your DNA from oxidative damage. Try tossing them in some olive or avocado oil and roasting until lightly browned. Add some herbs like oregano, cumin, or smoked paprika.  Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper, and enjoy! For other Brussel sprout recipe ideas, click here.

Salmon contains tryptophan which is an amino-acid that is a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with positive mood regulation. Salmon also contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown in some studies to help regulate depression. The fat in salmon is heart healthy and helps to reduce harmful inflammation.  Salmon can be baked, broiled, or grilled. Add your favorite marinade or season with citrus like lemon, lime and orange, and enjoy!  Check out this link for more salmon recipe ideas.

Winter Squash is full of Vitamin A and carotenoids, which have been shown to promote healthy skin as well as benefit heart health and immunity. Also rich in fiber and potassium, winter squash is a great option for many! Try all different varieties: Acorn, butternut, kabocha, and delicate squash! To learn more about squash varities, check out Epicurious, and for some yummy winter squash recipes, click here.

 

Clementines are vitamin C and fiber-packed tiny fruits.  This sweet and tart delights are great snacks for just about anywhere, anytime. Full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, clementines are easy to pack and delicious to eat, Whether you’re peeling one for your morning snack or throwing them into your salad for lunch, clementines are the perfect addition to your day!  For delicious recipe inspiration, check out Saveur

 

 

Staying happy and healthy can sometimes be a challenge. Life is crazy, and there are always things to be worrying about and stressing over. Take small steps daily to keep your mind at ease and your body strong and energized. Enjoy these winter foods for your mood and overall vitality.  Your health and well-being are important to all of us here at B.Komplete!  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to book one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to help you come up with the health and wellness strategies that work, for you.  

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete


References:

https://greatist.com/health/seasonal-winter-produce-guide

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/the-best-winter-foods-for-kids

 

 

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HOW TO START A VEGETARIAN DIET – ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

August 25, 2015
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in Blog
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Woman thinking over how to become a vegetarian

Type “becoming a vegetarian” into your favorite search engine and you are guaranteed to see a plethora of news articles, medical journals, lifestyle blogs, and social media sites filled with suggestions.  Let’s keep it simple – condensed results for you in an easy-to-follow article:

First, let’s review the benefits.  Switching to a vegetarian lifestyle can help improve personal health , sustain the environment, support animal welfare, and save money.  Whatever you believe, there is always a reason to consider trying a vegetarian diet.

If you’re reading this, then you may have thought about becoming a vegetarian at one time.  For whatever reason you couldn’t start then, we challenge you to take the venture now!  Vegetarianism is more accessible than ever, even for the busy professional. 

Here are four steps to make it happen:

Step 1 – Let’s be honest…

Before skydiving for the first time, would you calmly hop in your car and drive to the nearest airport?  Probably not; you may consider a few things like risk, personal health and cost, prior to jumping.  Similarly, if you want to become a vegetarian, consider the following:

  1. What foods do you enjoy and what don’t you like?
  2. Are you an adventurous eater or do you to stick with what you know?
  3. Do you eat in restaurants or at home?
  4. Do you cook or buy ready-to-eat meals?

Understanding your preferences will help make this work.  For example, don’t expect to become a vegan chef overnight if you don’t like cooking.  You may enjoy some ready-to-eat options instead while you ease yourself into cooking a few meals. 

Step 2 – What do you know?

There are different types of vegetarianism.  Here are the most popular:

  • “No food with a face” – Quoted from TV character Phoebe Buffay of Friends , this type of vegetarian avoids food with a face, or simply put animal meat. The technical name is lacto-ovo vegetarian, which includes eating animal byproducts like dairy and eggs, but not the animal flesh itself. 
  • One fish, two fish… – A pescatarian fuses the health benefits of fresh fish with nutrient rich plant-based foods. A pescatarian avoids all land animals like beef and poultry and may also exclude byproducts like eggs and dairy.
  • Animal hugger – Also known as vegan. This version completely omits animal product from the diet including byproducts like eggs, dairy, honey, and foods with Red40 coloring. 
  • What the heck is a flexitarian? – A newer term, the flexitarian  consumes meat less frequently and in smaller amounts. For example, a flexitarian  may eat plant-based foods only, but will eat meat on special occasions like holidays.

Which one sounds good?  Choose the best fit for you and set it as your goal.

Woman pointing out produce and vegetable options in grocery store to a man.

Step 3 – Let’s eat!

Enough thinking, let’s start eating! 

  • Tip 1 – Make your favorite already-vegetarian dishes:

Do you like sandwiches like grilled cheese and PB&J, veggie lasagna , rice and beans , tossed green salads and other potato, pasta and fruit salads, minestrone soup, or mac ‘n cheese?  If you do, good news!  These are already meat-free dishes!  

  • Tip 2 – Embrace “gateway” meat products:

While some people turn their noses up at the processed nature of faux meats, this option can be an efficient way to add protein and make a meaty dish vegetarian without losing the flavor and texture of the dish.  These products can be found in most grocery store chains, in the natural food and frozen food isles:

For more healthful vegetarian products, check out our previous post.

  • Tip 3 – Substitutions for Vegan-friendly dishes

Avoid dairy and eggs by using plant-based ingredients instead.  Items like applesauce, bananas, nut milks, flax seed, and coconut can be substituted while cooking and baking.  In addition to great taste, your foods may be healthier!  Check out conversion charts available online.

Step 4 – Nice to meet you!

To be a successful vegetarian, introduce yourself to new meals and ingredients.  Plant-based dishes can be delicious, easy to find, and healthy.

Take the Challenge

Starting a vegetarian diet can be easy to do, and can be a gradual process.  It’s helpful to have a support system in friends and family. 

To help you get started, we challenge you to take the 3-day B.Komplete Vegetarian Challenge!  All you need to do is try three breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners that fall within the type of vegetarian you want to become.  Use the recipe sources in this post or stick to your already vegetarian favorites.  Then, let us know how you did by leaving a comment below! 

Not willing to commit yet?  Try out Meatless Monday.  A now global movement, this  organization encourages people to “once a week, cut the meat.”  Their website has a vault of resources to help you commit to reducing overall consumption of meat.

keep calm vegetarians

Resources for you:

Vegetarianism and Sustainability – http://www.businessinsider.com/reasons-to-go-vegetarian-in-charts-2013-10

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/vegetarian-and-special-diets/curious-about-vegetarianism

Animal Welfare – http://www.peta.org/

Money Saving Tips – http://www.nomeatathlete.com/save-money-vegetarian/

Pescatarianism – http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/start-pescatarian-diet-9760.html

Vegan Diets – http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/vegan-diet

Flexitarianism – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/flexitarian/bgp-20056276

Recipe sources – http://allrecipes.com, http://www.marthastewart.com, http://www.vegkitchen.com, and http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/search/vegetarian

Meatless Mondays – http://www.meatlessmonday.com/

Vegetarian Asian Blend

                 Vegan Asian Blend – Made with Tempeh

 

B.inspired, B.educated, B.Komplete!

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