26 September 2016

Microbiome recipe: fruity yogurt, nut and seed parfaits


This week, I'm sharing with you a recipe from 'The well-fed microbiome cookbook' I wrote about last week.

The recipes are divided in two phases: the first one is about repairing our gut, the second one about revitalizing it.
The following recipe is taken from phase 1. Recipes from phase 1 follow an adapted low FODMAP diet and are mostly for people with gastrointestinal/digestion issues such as constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and/or bloating, which are linked to IBS or IBD.
IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome, and IBD for inflammatory bowel disease. IBD may be better known as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC), two chronic diseases characterized by various inflamed segments of intestines (Crohn's), colon (both), and/or rectum (UC). IBS is a more obscure condition that is usually attributed when all other diagnoses have been ruled out.
This diet may help these conditions; however, they are not therapy replacement. IBD, as well as IBS, are serious conditions that need appropriate medical attention.
In the first part of the book, she does explain that healthy eating is a commitment and that it may be easier to sort out our cupboards before filling them with new ingredients. So I did, then I went shopping:
My well-fed microbiome shopping trolley
 There was one recipe I had my eye on when I was preparing my menus and shopping list: fruity yogurt, nut and seed parfaits!
Please note that in this series, I'm not going to give out the recipe as I think it wouldn't be too fair on Kristina Campbell if I were to share her hard work for free, right? I do think, however, that her book is lacking a couple of pictures to show how the recipes are supposed to look like, so here are mine:

Soooo good!!

See you next Monday!

19 September 2016

Feed your gut to improve your health

Morning! Welcome back to MBAI!

While researching topics for you, I came across different books on how to feed your microbiome. In a previous post, I dressed a guide to a healthy microbiota that included different ingredients to include in our diet and a couple of useful lifestyle advice that are always worth mentionning (!).

Admittedly though, it is not easy and I find myself struggling to apply my own list - because I'm too damn busy with work, family, and life in general!!
I'm also not in charge of menus and the cooking as my DH has taken on those responsibilities while I look after LO when I'm back from work!

However, this summer, DH and LO went on a second sunny holiday - without me as I couldn't take any more time off work in this busy period (mind you, any period is busy in medical communications!); I took that opportunity to find myself the 'Best' microbiome recipe book to test for you (and for me).

By Kristina Campbell

Written by a scientist - very important for me that it should't be by another self-professed nutritionist, this cookbook explains why, what, and how to do it, with laid out menus for a total of 6 weeks!
Also very handy are her tables of food to enjoy / avoid / limit, which I now refer to several times a day!

Please note, this is not a diet to lose weight per se, but the good habits you will pick up from it will lead to a healthier gut. (For more information about healthy gut and weight, come over here.)

The well-fed microbiome cookbook is also divided in two phases designed to first repair your gut, then to revitalize it:
  1. Repair the gut section is for people who may be suffering from diverse gastrointestinal issues such as IBS, IBD, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloating, or constipation. (IBS: irritable bowel syndrome; IBD: inflammatory bowel disease, e.g. Crohn's or ulcerative colitis.). The recipes follow a low FODMAP diet, adapted with a special IBD diet that has shown excellent results in people with IBD. This diet is advised to be followed for 6 weeks only.
  2. Revitalize your gut is about choosing the right ingredients to feed the most beneficial species in your gut so they proliferate and take over the bad ones' territory. This diet is advised to become the new normal.
And if you are keen to experiment with fermenting your own food, this book is definitely for you!

I will share with you my favourite recipes over the next few weeks. One thing I can tell you is that they were sooooooooooooo easy to make and they were absolutely and incredibly delicious (and right now I'm salivating thinking back to how buttery my butter chicken was, mmmm)!

All I need now is to convince DH to change his habist (!) and cook them for us...

Have you ever followed a special diet? Which one was it and what result did you obtain?

See you next Monday,

12 September 2016

Bio-Kult for colds

Well, I didn't expect that! A Summer cold!
I guess my body couldn't really cope with those dramatic temperature changes (15 to 35 to 20 to 30 to 15 in two weeks!) while protecting me from the virus that's been attacking my mum for a few days.

Coincidentally, while on holiday, I haven't been very good at keeping up with my morning probiotics routine. I didn't think it would matter too much, after all I went through winter with only one sore throat and was openly attributing that exploit to my new probiotics supplements Bio-Kult.

As a scientist, I know that correlation doesn't equate causation and with a sample population of 1 (me), my old PhD supervisor wouldn't be very proud of me if I was directly linking my viral invasion to the temporary lack of probiotic supplements in my gut, but... Although my case may well be a coincidence, some studies have shown that taking probiotic supplements helps to reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold:
A major Cochrane review gathered data of 12 controlled clinical trials of 3720 people and concluded that probiotics were found better than placebo in reducing the number episodes of acute upper respiratory tract infections, the rate of episodes of acute upper respiratory tract infection and reducing antibiotic use.
So, is it still a coincidence? Maybe, but as I felt my body weaken under viral invasion, I did my body a favour: I stayed in bed and drank my lemon honey teas... And I upped my daily dose of probiotics. As a result, and similarly to what a 2015 experimental study showed, the severity and length of my infection was shortened to a mere 4 days between the onset of bothering symptoms and full recovery (no more runny nose or sore throat, allow 5-6 days for your body to eliminate the invaders).

Are you taking supplements? What do you do to get rid of your cold?

See you next Monday,

The Bio-Kult photo is an affiliate link.

5 September 2016

Red wine and chocolate on the menu!

Welcome to My Bugs And I!

Thank you very much to all new readers for subscribing during the Summer Break Giveaway, I hope you find my articles interesting; they are all amazing stories about what our microbiota (microscopic world living on and in us) do for us to keep us safe and sane.

Our Summer Break Giveaway Winners are:
Melissa Lee, Melissa Crowe, and Adrian Bold

As a new school year begins all over the world, let's look at an academic study that showed that red wine and chocolate are good for you. Oh yes, let's...

Something that we've discussed in previous posts is that the more diverse your gut flora is (higher number of different species), the lesser your risk of developing various diseases. Another thing is that everyone's composition of species is unique, and it makes it very difficult to say this or that species is essential to be healthy!!

Now, a large study on thousands of people, and their poo (where our gut species end up eventually), came up with what influences our gut flora's diversity: 31 intrinsic factors, 12 diseases, 19 drug groups, 4 smoking categories, and 60 dietary factors that can explain 18.7% of the variation seen in the interindividuality of microbial composition.

Among those factors, we'll be happy to know that drinking coffee, tea, red wine was associated with increased diversity. Drinking buttermilk was also shown to be good as it was associated with abundance of two species commonly used in fermentation.

As expected, no need to stress that sweetened drinks and other alcohols are definitely not good.

I was surprised to see, however, that whole fat milk is contributing to lower microbial diversity: whole milk is recommended for infants between the ages of 1 and 2, so I guess there's a bit of risk-benefit balance to play there.

Another good news is that the absence of calprotectin in people's poo (a good thing), was associated with consumption of veggies, plant proteins, chocolate, and bread; while its presence was associated with high BMI, diabetes, use of statins and metformin (again, let's weigh the risk-benefit balance), and systolic blood pressure.

As for everything, all in good measures!

Want to know the basics on how to promote a healthy gut, follow me here and here!

What do you do to influence your high gut flora diversity?

See you next Monday!

9 July 2016

Summer break giveaway!!!

Summer is finally here!!!

We can enjoy those gardens, pimm's, flip flops and dresses we bought at the last sale...

There's so much to do during July and August, between summer camps for big kids and playgrounds for the little ones, juggling with work and nursery drop offs and pick ups, organising summer BBQs and parties, celebrating weddings and birthday parties, I admit blogging is a bit far down the list of priorities... And I haven't even mentioned the two weeks away for a beach holiday with the preparations beforehand and the tidying up afterwards!!!

So, what I'm trying to say is that I've had to make the difficult decision to take a summer blogging break! Sniff... I know...

But while this is happening, let's have a GIVEAWAY!!! And I'm feeling generous...

You know the rules...

The giveaway will run from 10th July until 31st August 2016
- One winner will receive Ella Woodward's book 'Deliciously Ella every day' and 2 Giffgaff sim cards
- One winner will receive Rachel Kelly's 'Walking on sunshine: 52 small steps to happiness' and 2 Giffgaff sim cards
- One winner will receive 2 Giffgaff sim cards
- You need to be 18 or over
- UK residents only
- No automated entries

Get a free giffgaff Sim

If you'd like to participate, don't forget to follow your email subscription through!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone and Happy Summer!!!

PS: Let me know in the comments which book you would prefer, should you be one of the winners! Good luck!

The prizes' images are affiliate links.

4 July 2016

Distinct microbes in breast cancer tissues

Breasts cancer tissues contain different bacterial species than those existing in healthy breasts, concluded a very recent study published online last week.

When I started this blog about bugs and poo, I knew it would take me a bit further than our colon and I would be writing about all sorts of diseases. However, the big surprise is how essential a healthy microbiota to lower the risk of developing cancer!

Cancer is such a bad word, isn't it? We know it's around us, we know it might strike us at any moment, we know and lost people who suffered because of it. Cancer is like a sword above our head, we don't know when it will fall.

I've already talked briefly about the link between cancer and our microbiota. And as research will get published, I will try to make sense of it all. And I'm glad to report I'm not the only one thinking that this may be (one of) the missing link(s) to treat cancer effectively. Recently, the biggest pharma companies have declared that microbiota research will now be an integral part of their cancer research programme, and that is GOOD news - they wouldn't spend millions on something they don't believe in, right?

The present study, an academic non-pharma-funded one, looked at tissues in breasts of healthy women, women with breast cancer, and women with benign tumours.

It's important to note that the tissues collected from malignant or benign breast tumours were not only the tumours themselves but also taken in a region of the breast that would, in all other circumstances, be considered as healthy tissue.

What the scientists realised is that the microbial species found in the different samples were different despite all being healthy tissues. The main results are the following (see figure for summary):
  • The microbial profile of malignant tumours was identical to the microbial profile of benign tumours' and their adjacent tissues
  • The microbial profiles of malignant and benign tumours were different from healthy breast's
  • The microbial profiles of malignant and benign tumours contained less beneficial species such as lactic acid bacteria, which are known for their anti-cancer properties
  • The microbes found in malignant and benign tissues have been shown to have the ability to cause DNA damage (in the lab)

The results
It may be scary to know that even though your tumour is benign, the bacteria around it have the ability to cause cancer by breaking DNA, but the authors of the study do specify that this may not be sufficient in itself to promote breast cancer development unless it occurs in someone who is genetically susceptible to develop cancer and already contains mutations in DNA repair.

I don't know about you, but I find these results almighty important! As I aways say when reading about amazing research like this: 'We're getting there'

Would you like to know more about the link betwen our microbiota and diseases such as cancer?  Do you believe it or do you think it's a fad?
See you next Monday,

27 June 2016

The importance of a diverse gut flora

Over the past few weeks, the key message from my latest posts has been that it's become absolutely essential to look after our gut microbiota to feed our most beneficial species!
My essential guide to a healthy microbiota pointed to a few things we could all easily do such as eat more fibres, sleep well, exercise, cut down on alcohol, and give up smoking!
Oh yeah, oh well, I hear you think, another miracle and fashionable diet!
And in part I guess it is true that it has become popular, but - in my honest, scientific opinion - for good reason! Scientists have only realised these past 10 years or so how influential our inhabitants are on our health, and certainly since the Human Microbiome Project started in 2008 (follow me here to read about this).

On thing that has become apparent is how important our microbial diversity is.
Broadly speaking:
  • High count of different species = healthy microbiota
  • Low count of different species = increased risk of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, allergies, cancers, asthma, gastronintestinal diseases to name but a few (More on the risk of developing these diseases)
Two topics I would like to address very soon are the difference in species count between countries, and the correlation of a low count with consumption of soda (coming soon on MBAI, further reading here and here).
While we may think it's our personal problem if we are not looking after your microbiota, recent research has shown that our worsening low count of species is being passed down to younger generations with irreversible consequences (check it out over here).
Looking after our microbiota truly is for the greater good because what we are doing right now will impact on future generations.
My last note will be about the big C. That's what we are more scared of developing, right? Well, now it's pretty clear that a diverse microbiota helps our body escape cancer, helps treatment work, and helps us bear the side effects of heavy treatments (more on this here).

I've definitely upped my fibre intake, and been taking my probiotics, have you?
Let me know in the comment section,
See you next Monday!

My bugs and I Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon