It is reported that those living in the blue zones live longer and have the lowest incidence of disease in the world. Studies believe that a common factor of people in these areas is diet, particularly a style of eating commonly referred to as the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is high in plant based foods and healthy fats.
Eating a diet high in plant based foods rich in antioxidant compounds called Polyphenols may significantly contribute to our general health and longevity. Polyphenols are a type of phytochemical (plant chemical) that occurs naturally in plants. There are over 500 unique polyphenols.
Eating a diet high in all forms of polyphenols may be beneficial to our health in many ways. Nearly all fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols and choosing polyphenol rich foods may help protect our cells from disease and damage.
Possible benefits of a Polyphenol Rich diet include:
Reduced risk of inflammatory related disease such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and hormonal imbalance. Polyphenols may help to protect the cells in the body from free radical damage that occurs from a poor lifestyle, stress, medications and glycation.
Polyphenols may help with a healthy gut microbiome by promoting the growth of healthy gut flora. There is some evidence to show that a high polyphenol intake can positively modulate the intestinal microbiome enabling more of the eubiotic bacteria that produce short chain fatty acids (which are important in maintaining a healthy gut). Gut microbiota and dietary polyphenols have a symbiotic relationship: the microbiota enzymatically transforms polyphenols to improve bioavailability, while polyphenols modulate microbial composition by enhancing the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the growth of pathogens, thus exhibiting the prebiotic-like effect. In turn this may help with the health of the gut and may benefit those with gut related disorders and diseases.
Polyphenols may help to protect the cells from damage by helping to protect telomeres. Telomeres are the caps at the end of the chromosomes that protect the DNA. Telomeres are particularly susceptible to oxidation and so eating a diet rich in polyphenols may assist with slowing the rate of telomere degradation.
Polyphenols may benefit brain function, cardiovascular health and circulation by providing blood vessel support and lowered risk of oxidations of fats in the cellular membranes.
Polyphenols may boost insulin sensitivity, as well as slow down the rate the body digests and absorbs sugar.
Higher flavonoid intake may be associated with a lower BMI and waist circumference.
Polyphenols may impact genes and gene expression. A person's specific genes can also affect how their body responds to certain types of polyphenols.
Polyphenols may assist with healthy glowing skin. Particularly important for those wanting to delay the signs of premature aging, or those wanting to prevent pigmentation, acne, rosacea and inflammatory type skin conditions.
Plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits tend to be high in polyphenols.
The number of polyphenols in a food can vary depending on where the food is grown, how it is farmed and transported and how it is cooked or prepared. High heat and prolonged cooking may damage or destroy the polyphenol content of food.
Some major sources of polyphenols include:
Tea including black tea, green and white tea
Red, blue and black fruits such as berries, red grapes and cherries
Apples, citrus fruits
Purple and red vegetables such as beetroot, eggplant
Wholegrains – oats, barley, rye
Soy, flaxseeds and legumes
Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, celery seeds, basil, marjoram and oregano
Nuts and seeds
Olives and extra virgin olive oil
Vita-sol Infinity powder
Eating a plant based diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds and full of fresh produce and minimally processed food is proving to be the healthiest way to eat. Of course a fabulous way to boost your polyphenol intake to maximise the health benefits is to ensure you take 2 teaspoons of Vita-sol Infinity powder every single day.
The Ketogenic Diet (keto diet for short) was first used as a diet to effectively manage epilepsy, and other medical conditions, it has now become a very trendy way to lose weight and its popularity continues to grow.
The Keto Diet involves intentionally putting your body into ketosis by drastically reducing carbohydrate intake whilst increasing fat intake. Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when the body does not have sufficient amounts of glucose to produce energy, and so instead, the body converts fats into ketone bodies (this is where the ‘fat burning’ comes in) that are used up as energy for major organs such as the brain, heart, liver and kidneys.
The ketogenic diet promotes a constant state of ketosis to use fat storage as energy, to achieve this it is recommended that you consumer only 20-50 grams of carbohydrates per day (for example 1 medium banana + 1 apple equates to approx. 50 grams of carbs), adequate amounts of protein and high amounts of fat (65-75% of total energy intake). Think of including foods such as salmon, tuna, barramundi, flaxseeds, tahini, walnuts, chai seeds, pine nuts, brazil nuts, avocado, plant and seed oils and eggs, and reducing foods such as processed cakes/biscuits/muffins/pastries, deep fried and take-away foods.
Some of the benefits of a Keto Diet that are related to a reduction in blood glucose levels include:
Increased insulin sensitivity
Reduced lipogenesis (fat production) as excess glucose from carbs is stored as fat
Beneficial to the small blood vessels of the eyes and kidneys as glucose damage these
Excess fructose (found mostly in fruits) can increase risk of developing a fatty liver
Many people react to carbohydrates such as fructose and lactose (dairy), so removing these may help reduce allergic/intolerant symptoms
However, despite these health benefits and weight loss success stories, the Keto Diet can also lead to numerous undesired side effects as glucose is the bodies preferred energy source and carbohydrates, including fibre, are important for maintaining regular bowel movements, reducing LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and feeding our healthy gut bacteria. Additionally, you need to have an optimally functioning liver with excellent bile production in order to digest and absorb these large quantities of fats.
Therefore, without a healthy liver, sufficient bile production and consuming very low amounts of carbs and fibre, the Keto Diet may cause unwanted side effects such as:
The ‘keto flu’ – as your body adjusts from using carbohydrates as the main fuel to using fats and ketones as energy, you may experience a ‘keto flu’ which can cause symptoms such as headaches, weakness, nausea, low energy, reducing concentration and brain fog.
Acetone smelling breath – this is due to the ketone bodies
Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) which can cause dizziness, sugar cravings and mood changes
Sleeping problems and fatigue
Digestive issues – due to not digesting the fats efficiently
Constipation – due to not having enough fibre
Diarrhoea – due to too much fat
Reduced muscle mass if not consuming adequate
May be too socially restrictive and isolating
May cause weight gain if not doing it correctly as fat is very energy dense
Too much saturated fat can cause an increase in cholesterol levels which increases cardiovascular disease risk
Can lead to nutrient deficiencies such as magnesium, potassium, vitamin C and folate
May throw off your pH balance by making your body more acidic
TIP: Vita-sol Purity Wholefood Powder will assist in the healthy production of bile.
While it may be tempting for a quick weight loss solution, any strict diet regimes should not be undertaken without the guidance of a medical practitioner.
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!