Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables. Along with carotenoids and anthrocyanins they are responsible for the bright colours in fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are the largest group of phytonutrients, with more than 6,000 types. Some of the best-known flavonoids are quercetin.
Flavonoids are a form of polyphenols known for their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in the body.
There are several significant groups of flavonoids, including anthocyanidins, flavanols, flavones, flavonols, flavonones and ligands.
Flavones: Flavones are associated with overall antioxidant benefits and delaying the metabolizing of drugs. Good sources of flavones are celery, parsley, various herbs and hot peppers.
Anthocyanidins: Anthocyanidins are associated with heart health, longevity, antioxidant effects and even may assist with preventing obesity and diabetes. Good sources of anthocyanidins include red, purple, blue and black berries, pomegranates, plums, beetroot, and purple grapes.
Did you know: Vita-sol Infinity Powder is high in anthocyanidins in the form of beetroot juice and powder!
Flavonones: Flavones are associated with overall antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity within the body, good sources include citrus, parsley and rosemary.
Isoflavones: Isoflavones are a form of phytoestrogen, meaning that they mimic or have a mild oestrogen like activity in the body. Isoflavones may be beneficial in lowering the risk of oestrogen related cancers, such as breast, endometrial and prostate cancers, and relieving menopausal symptoms. Good food sources include soy products and legumes.
Lignans: are a type of polyphenols that are found in high amounts in extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed, and whole grains such as rye, barley and oats. Lignans have both plant oestrogen and antioxidant qualities and may help lower inflammation within the body.
Vita-sol has been specially formulated to include as many phytonutrients as possible, to provide a boost of nutrients with every serve. Include 2 tsp daily with your morning smoothie, cereal or mixed with water.
From capsules and infused water to topical skincare and professional skin treatments we are seeing a rise in the use of prebiotics and probiotics. So what exactly is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics and is it a craze, or here to stay?
Regular probiotic intake has been shown to promote the healthy balance of gut bacteria which is linked to a wide range of health benefits such as; clear skin, weight loss, immune health, IBS, gut microbiota modulation and may even improve some mental conditions and heart health. But be warned, not all probiotic products are created equally.
Most probiotics (except for a select group) are likely to degrade until they reach the intestines, an environment that supports their growth.
The degradation process begins steadily from the moment they are manufactured. The process can be expedited by:
Moisture exposure (humidity)
Different brands of supplements and capsules contain anywhere from 1 to 30 billion colony forming units (CFU’s), which should be listed on the ingredients list of any product claiming therapeutic probiotic properties. If the product does not list the amount of colony forming units and the probiotic strains then it is likely that the product is of no therapeutic benefit. Most commonly produced probiotics are so fragile that approximately 90% of the bacteria will die before reaching the consumer. Also (depending on the strain used) some will be destroyed in the acidity environment of the intestinal tract. This is why high dose refrigerated probiotic supplements or capsules are recommended by professionals over probiotic foods or drinks to ensure that the probiotics that do survive are in high enough amounts to benefit the host.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that when taken can help improve gut health. But did you know that for probiotics to actually have an effect we need to create the right environment for the good gut bacteria to thrive?
For a visual representation, you can liken prebiotics and probiotics in our gut to planting plants in a garden. Imagine this; you carefully select a plant (probiotic) from a reputable supplier and intend to plant it in your garden without first considering the quality of your soil and the state of your garden's ecosystem (your gut). After some time the plant wilts and dies, and you wonder what you could have done to prevent it. Was it that the plant was destined to not survive? Was it because the environment wasn’t correct for the type of plant, or perhaps the garden was ridden with weeds? By firstly creating an improved ecosystem with nutrients (prebiotics) to support the plants growth there is a much better chance of survival.
In respect to ingesting prebiotics, a combination of all three could be the reason for inefficiency. In order to get the most out of taking probiotics first consider if the strain you are taking is in fact the one your body needs. Secondly ensure that you choose a prebiotic that is active and thirdly consider that increasing your prebiotic intake is going to improve the state of the ecosystem and be able to nurture healthy living organisms within your gut.
This is where inulin prebiotics come in. Inulin is a fructan which is indigestible by our body, but the good bacteria in our gut flora flourishes in its presence and makes it stick to the bowel wall. Not only does it support probiotics, but Inulin also helps to improve absorption of minerals, and can also help satiate the appetite to aid in weight loss. Either available in powder form or from food sources such as chicory and Jerusalem artichokes found in Vita-sol Infinity and Purity wholefood powder.
"Growing Potential." Nutritional Outlook. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2015. http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/article/growing-potential
Kailasapathy, K., & Chin, J. (2000). Survival and therapeutic potential of probiotic organisms with reference to Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium spp. Immunology and Cell Biology, 78(1), 80–8. doi:10.1046/j.1440-1711.2000.00886. http://www.nature.com/articles/icb200012
S Berman, D Spicer. Safety and Reliability of Lactobacillus Supplements in Seattle, Washington (A Pilot Study). The Internet Journal of Alternative Medicine. 2003 Volume 1 Number 2.http://ispub.com/IJAM/1/2/5652#
Do Probiotics Need to Be Refrigerated?https://www.enviromedica.com/refrigerated-probiotics
Soil Based Organisms - Friend or Foe?https://www.optibacprobiotics.co.uk/blog/2015/06/soil-based-organisms-friend-or-foe
You may have noticed an increase of collagen and gelatin supplements on the shelves of health food stores and beauty clinics.The labels promote improved healing, anti-aging benefits and the sought-after glow-y complexion. So, what exactly are they? How are they different from each other? And what are their health benefits?
Collagen is a protein can be found in abundance in our bodies, it is used as a structural protein for our skin, capillaries, hair, gastrointestinal tract, bones, cartilage and joints.
The most common form of collagen found in the powders, pills and internal beauty products, is collagen hydrolysate, this consists of many free amino acids (as the bonds between the amino acids have been destroyed) which are able to be easily digested and quickly absorbed into the body.
Lifestyle factors such as smoking, stress, UV radiation sun exposure and a highly processed diet, can all drastically reduce our natural collagen stores. It is in this instance that it may be beneficial to boost our collagen levels with supplements.
In order to produce collagen, we need amino acids from protein sources, vitamins such as vitamin C and minerals such as copper and zinc.
If we intake adequate supplies of these nutrients in our diet, then collagen supplementation is not necessary. If, however you are simply not getting enough protein or amino acids in your diet taking collagen may go some way to helping new collagen formation in the body. You could of course just make sure you are getting the right nutrients naturally via your diet from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, poultry and legumes.
Commercial collagen comes from animal sources, including fish (often called marine collagen), beef and chicken. It can be mixed into any foods such as juices, smoothies, soups and even coffee as it will not form a gel like gelatin and has no flavour.
Gelatin is a protein obtained by boiling collagen. When collagen breaks down, it becomes a gel called gelatin. This process is called partial hydrolysis. The gel is then dried to form into a powder product, and when mixed with liquid it will turn back into a gel.
This is the main difference between collagen and gelatin! This gelling property of gelatin means that is can be used as a setting agent in marshmallows or jelly or thickener is soups and stews.
So, what exactly are collagen and gelatin used for? Here are some of the reported health benefits:
Improving hair quality
Increasing the elasticity of the skin
Nail strength and growth
Reducing joint pain
Helping to build lean muscle
Reducing intestinal permeability
Improving digestive health
If you choose to take a collagen or gelatin supplement it is important to always choose a high-quality product from a reliable source as cheaper variation may be derived from animals that have been given high doses of antibiotics and other chemicals.
Make sure to buy grass-fed or organic products and avoid ones that contain added sugars, preservatives or other nasty additives. Other ways that you can improving your collagen synthesis is by increasing your intake of minerals, essential fatty acids and vitamin C.
An easy and natural way to do this is by incorporating Vita-sol Infinity and Flexibility into your diet. Just two tsp a day is all you need, and they are delicious in smoothies, on cereals or even taken as a shot... and yes you can take them together for a super boost!
Acne can be a challenging skin condition to treat especially during the summer months when your skin can become even more prone to breakouts. With all the summer fun comes late night parties, rich food, exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays and increased sweating. This can result in congested pores and unexpected breakouts of acne.
The acne cycle
Step 1 in the occurrence of acne is the blockage of a hair follicle (sometimes called a pore). The cells of your skin are constantly renewed to replace old cells. But, if your skin is prone to acne, the dead skin cells mix with sebum, become sticky and clump inside the follicle. This traps the anaerobic acne-causing bacteria (Cutibacterium) inside the follicle.
Step 2 in the occurrence of acne is excessive production of sebum or a thicker, stickier sebum. The androgen hormone stimulates the secretion of sebum (oil) from the sebaceous glands of the skin. The levels of androgen may become increased during puberty, hormonal changes and for some, certain food groups. This may result in the production of more sebum production and result in congestion of the follicles.
At this point, the acne-contributing bacteria receives an abundant supply of dead skin cells and oil as a food source. Combine this with an anaerobic environment due to the blocked follicle and the bacteria starts to multiply. This is step 3 in the process of occurrence of acne.
During step 4, the byproducts released by the bacteria are recognised by your body as foreign and the body produces an immune response. WBCs (white blood cells) reach the area and cause inflammation, redness, and swelling. Once inflammation occurs it sets off a cascade of events that can further disrupt the skins microbiome and thus a vicious cycle continues. Our skins microbiome is key to protecting us from pathogens and bacteria. We will cover the microbiome of our skin in later articles.
Try the below-mentioned tips to keep your acne at bay this summer:
This kind of acne occurs due to using comedogenic (acne-causing) skin or hair care products. When these products accumulate in the follicle, it becomes blocked. There is build up of excess oil and the pore is clogged resulting in acne breakouts.
It is common knowledge that some hair oils, eye creams, makeup, and heavy moisturisers can all cause acne cosmetica but there are other products that increase in use over summer that you may not have considered. Bronzing powders, highlighting creams, fake tan and even makeup primers may result in breakouts.
It is important to identify the culprit that is congesting the follicle. Choose a non comodogenic make-up such as a mineral make up and minimise the frequency of use of comodogenic ingredients. If you can’t go makeup free the whole day, remove your makeup as soon as possible after reaching home.
Use a cleanser twice a week that contains salicylic acid to help to deep clean the skin. salicylic acid works like a tiny bottle brush within our pores. Exfoliating your skin regularly helps in clearing your acne cosmetica.
Choose an oil-free moisturiser and make it a rule that you remove all makeup from the face before going to sleep at night.
Visit your skin therapist or doctor if there is no improvement in your acne after six to eight weeks.
This is a kind of acne that occurs due to excess pressure, heat, rubbing or friction of the skin. It may occur anywhere on your body such as the face, back, buttocks or shoulders. Anything, which traps heat against your body for a long period of time, puts pressure on your skin or rubs against it can trigger this type of acne. Some of these things include headbands and hats, bra straps, tight-fitted clothing and sunglasses.
To treat acne mechanica wear cotton fabrics and avoid wearing synthetic fabrics for extended periods of time. Avoid wearing tight-fitting caps, hats, and headbands for a long duration. Wash hats and headbands regularly. Take a shower immediately after any sporting activity to remove the sweat. Wipe your sunglasses to remove a build up of bacteria. This means no more brunches and shopping trips in your active wear all day after a HIIT workout!
Visit your skin therapist or dermatologist if your acne doesn’t resolved after twelve weeks.
While studies state that acne is not caused by food, certain foods may aggravate acne for some individuals. Eating a diet high in sugar, protein and dairy products has been linked with spikes in IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), which increases the levels of androgen, this may in turn increase the production of sebum. Excess sebum can lead to congestion and acne breakouts.
A diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids may improve your symptoms of acne. Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods are fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel, pastured eggs, kale, spinach, soybeans, tofu, extra virgin olive oil, nuts like almonds and walnuts, flaxseeds, avocado, wild rice, and mustard seeds. Furthermore, foods rich in dietary fibre and antioxidants may also help in reducing acne.
Including a nutrient dense green smoothie daily and increasing fibre and water intake may be beneficial. Vita-sol Purity powder is the perfect daily addition to support your liver and gut whilst increasing nutrients and fibre, just take 2 tsps daily in water or a smoothie!
Exfoliation During the summer increased sweating and using sunscreen and extra makeup can all lead to congested follicles and breakouts of acne. Exfoliating your skin regularly helps in keeping the acne at bay during the summer months. Use enzyme exfoliants such as bromelain and papain to exfoliate your skin. They are gentler than scrubs and work by digesting the dead skin cells and producing a smoother, healthier, younger looking skin.
SummaryDuring the summer months, your skin can become more prone to acne breakouts as your pores become congested due to increased sweat, dirt, debris, sebum and skin cells. The acne-causing bacteria multiply in the hair follicle leading to inflammation and acne. You can manage your acne by reducing the use of makeup, using noncomedogenic makeup, wearing cotton clothes, washing your hats regularly, taking regular showers after sporting activities, eating a diet rich in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids and exfoliating your skin regularly.
Liver loving foods & nutrients that help with detoxification
We’ve all heard of the term ‘detox’ and many of us read about and try different things such as diets, drinks and juice cleanses to help detox the body but in all of this we forget that our bodies are extremely smart, intricate and capable as we have organs, such as the liver, that are designed for detoxification!
The liver neutralises and removes toxins and harmful substances from our body through a 2-step process. We love our livers! Before we delve into all of the liver loving foods and nutrients, it is important to briefly understand the 2-step detox process that occurs in 2 phases.
Phase 1 of liver detox takes all of the fat soluble chemicals and toxins in the body, such as caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats, medications, pesticides and other environmental pollutants, and turns them into more toxic intermediate metabolites using cytochrome P450 enzymes. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t detoxification meant to reduce toxicity and make our bodies LESS toxic? Well, think of Phase 1 like packing up the garbage into the bins to get it ready for collection, and once this garbage or intermediate metabolites are ready for collection, Phase 2 begins!
Phase 2 is like the garbage pick up, attaching specific molecules to the highly toxic intermediate metabolites (called conjugation) making them non-toxic and water soluble allowing them to be excreted from the body for good! If the garbage or intermediate metabolites are not picked up or detoxified through Phase 2 then these toxins act as free radicals in the body and cause lots of damage to our cells and tissues and can lead to disease. This is why having Phase 2 function effectively is so important, and the good news is that we can all enhance our natural detoxification process through supporting this phase with lots of nutrients!
We always want to aim to keep Phase 2 working at the same speed as Phase 1 in order to make sure you are picking up all that garbage to get rid of all those nasty toxins. In today’s stressful society, sometimes Phase 1 can be overworking due to caffeine, alcohol and other toxins and this is why we need to ensure we are getting all of the important nutrients for Phase 2 to work.
The main nutrients required for Phase 2 detoxification are:
Amino acids – Cysteine, Glycine & Glutamine (these are used to make Glutathione – a powerful antioxidant and great detoxifier!)
Sulphur containing amino acids – Glutathione, Cysteine & Taurine
B Vitamins – 2, 3, 6, 9 and 12
These nutrients can be found in many foods including:
PROTEIN! – Protein sources such as good quality meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes and good quality diary products all contain amino acids, zinc and B vitamins that are all vital for Phase 2 detoxification Hot tip: Vita-sol Flexibility contains protein.
Cruciferous veggies – broccoli, kale, radish, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, turnips and sprouts (these all contain those sulphur amino acids that enhance detoxification) Hot tip: Vita-sol Purity powder contains 13 different sprouts!
Nuts & seeds – contain zinc, B vitamins and magnesium and brazil nuts contain high amounts of selenium
Fruits such as capsicum, orange, kiwi fruit, lemon, papaya, strawberries, raspberries, banana and avocado contain vitamin C and magnesium
Vegetables including dark leafy greens contain vitamin C, B vitamins and magnesium
Whole grains such as brown rice and oats great sources of B vitamins
As you can see, there are many foods that you can include into your daily diet in order to get the nutrients needed to support and enhance your natural detoxification process.
Incorporating Vita-sol wholefood powders into a balanced diet will give your liver a nutrient boost and will help to reduce the toxic load on your body to make you feel fabulous!