Personal experience is always the best teacher.   My first experience with coconut water happened during a crisis that lasted several months beginning in the ICU of a hospital and then several weeks in a rehab hospital.  The patient was my dad and coconut water and granola bars were my main source of food.   He suffered a TBI, traumatic brain injury, and was recovering.  I had a TBI when I was 16, 50 years ago, and was still fighting a seizure disorder that I took medicine for but lack of sleep and stress still caused seizures.  However, even though there were days that I got little to know sleep and was under high stress the entire time it was that diet of coconut water and granola bars that kept me seizure free during the entire crisis.

Coconut water is popping up everywhere in a variety of healthy beverages and you may be curious if it really lives up to the hype surrounding it. But, do the benefits stand up to its actual nutritional value? Is coconut water good for you?  I read a recent article from Dr.  Josh Axe that explains why coconut water should be a mainstay in your everyday diet.

What Is Coconut Water? 

Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside a young, green coconut which is usually about the size of a basketball. Ideally, young coconuts are harvested at 5–7 months of age, to contain the most water.

As the coconut matures, the liquid is replaced with coconut “meat.” The greatest nutrient health benefits of coconut water comes from drinking the water of the young coconut, not the mature coconut milk, which is generally lower in nutrients.

The water from coconuts has been consumed for centuries in tropical countries and is believed to treat a variety of health-related ailments. In Sanskrit, coconuts are called “kalpa vriksha,” which means “tree which gives all that is necessary for living.”

In certain emergency situations, it has been used for IV hydration due to its high electrolyte content and the fact that it’s sterile if used directly from the inside of the coconut. People all over the world enjoy it for its multiple benefits and sweet taste.

Recently, coconut water’s health benefits continue to be touted, as many marketers call it “nature’s sports drink” and a “life enhancer.” But, are the claims that coconut water is good for you really true?

Coconut Water Nutrition Facts

The liquid inside the coconut contains approximately 46 calories per cup, 10 grams of natural sugar, with little protein and zero fat. It contains multiple vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that are ideal for human health. (1)

The primary nutrient in coconut water is potassium. It contains approximately 600 milligrams (12 percent daily value), making it a high electrolyte beverage. Coconut water also contains a small amount of sodium, about 40 milligrams and up to 10 percent of your daily calcium and magnesium needs. (2)

Electrolytes are critical to maintain blood volume, heart health, as well as to prevent dehydration. Maintaining electrolyte levels can help reduce fatigue, stress and help maintain muscle relaxation.


Coconut Water Nutrition Facts Table Infographic
There has also been some interesting research regarding the cytokinin content of coconut water, which in the future may show some anti-cancer properties. Cytokinins are naturally occurring plant hormones that may help reduce the growth of cancer cells, although more research is needed at this time. (3)

With these nutrition benefits is coconut water good for you? The answer is yes! If you really like the flavor, it can be a low-calorie, low-sugar alternative to soda. It is pretty refreshing to consume on a hot day and to help re-hydrate.

Other health benefits of coconut water include:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Increased athletic performance
  • Boosted energy
  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Reduced cellulite
  • Relax muscle tension

Coconut water is a safe, healthy beverage for most people. Those with kidney disease should limit consumption foods that are too high in potassium, including coconut water. Now let’s explore the research and science-backed benefits of coconut water.

Is Coconut Water Good for You? 5 Health Benefits of Coconut Water

1. Electrolyte Replacement: Coconut Water vs. Sports Drink 

Because coconut water is high in potassium, and such a great electrolyte replacement, it has even been used for IV hydration in certain emergency situations. (4)

It is also lower in carbohydrates compared to other sports drinks. Coconut water is only about 4.5 percent carbohydrates whereas other sports drinks can contain 6–8 percent carbohydrate concentration. This is good for athletes trying to watch their sugar intake and hydrate after an event. For most casual exercisers, coconut water is a great low-sugar hydration choice for after a workout.

A 2002 study compared water, coconut water and standard sports beverages to determine which beverage was best for post-exercise hydration. The eight subjects exercised in the heat and then were rehydrated with either water, coconut water or a sports drink.

Researchers found that there was no difference in sodium levels, urine output or fluid balance between the three beverages, meaning all three beverages were equally hydrating. But, there was significantly less nausea or fullness with the coconut water allowing the participants to drink more of the beverage. (5)

Overall, coconut water can be an alternative to sports drinks, but it may depend on the type of sport and the intensity. Some long-distance endurance athletes may need more specialized products that contain more sodium and carbohydrates. But, for most casual exercisers, coconut water is a great option.

2. Lower Blood Pressure 

A 2005 study found that when subjects were given coconut water for two weeks, their systolic blood pressure was 71 percent lower and their diastolic blood pressure was 29 percent lower than those who drank plain water.

The high potassium content of coconut water has led researchers to investigate the potential benefits for reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Potassium counteracts the effect of sodium in the body, helping lower blood pressure. (6, 7)

3. Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides

A 2006 study found that rats given coconut water had a decreased chance of having a heart attack. It helped decrease their total cholesterol triglyceride levels, and LDL cholesterol, specifically the cholesterol found in the heart.

Additionally, the health benefits of coconut water helped the rats recover faster if they did have a heart attack. Researchers believe that the benefit may be related to the potassium, calcium and magnesium content in the water, all electrolytes that play a role in helping maintain heart health. (8, 9)


Is coconut water good for you? - Dr. Axe 

4. Cleansing / Detox

Our bodies have an amazing natural ability to cleanse and detox on their own, if provided the correct nutrients and hydration. Inadequate hydration leads to the build-up of toxins in our bodies because the liver and kidneys, the detoxifying organs, are unable to function properly without adequate water.

Dehydration resulting from water or electrolyte loss leads to fatigue, irritability, confusion and extreme thirst. These symptoms result from the inability for the kidney to adequately flush toxins out of the system. Adequate fluid intake, ideally 8–10 cups per day, can help prevent dehydration and maintain the body’s natural detoxification ability. Although water is great, during very hot weather or strenuous exercise, more than just plain water may be necessary.

Coconut water contains a similar electrolyte profile to human blood, making it an ideal beverage to replace fluids and help remove toxins from the body. The electrolyte potassium, specifically, can help counteract some of the negative effects of a high-sodium processed diet.

5. Reduce Stress and Muscle Tension

It’s almost as good as a massage!  Some of the electrolytes found in coconut water, specifically calcium and magnesium, may help with stress and muscle tension. Many of us are missing these critical minerals in our diets, making stress management even more challenging. Other than maintaining strong teeth and bones, calcium helps with smooth muscle relaxation. Adequate calcium intakes may help keep our all our muscles relaxed, including our heart muscle, lowering the risk of heart attacks. (10)

Magnesium has been nicknamed the “relaxation” mineral. Its primary function is in the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that helps us relax. It also helps with the formation of serotonin, the “feel good hormone.” (11)

Magnesium and calcium work together to help maintain muscle relaxation. Coconut water contains both of these minerals, so drink up on a stressful day to help you stay calm and stress-free.

Coconut Water vs. Coconut Milk

Many people confuse coconut water with coconut milk. Higher in fat and calories, coconut milk is extracted from the flesh of the coconut and is thicker, sweeter and more dense. It also is packed with nutrition and healthy saturated fats, but it is also very high in calories. A cup of coconut milk is about 552 calories compared to a cup of coconut water that is only about 46 calories!  Whew!

Coconut milk has many health benefits, as it’s a rich source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, folate, calcium and selenium.


Coconut Water vs. Coconut Milk Chart


One note too, while coconut milk is high in fat, it’s important to remember that the medium chain fatty acids of the saturated fat in coconut oil and coconut milk are very good for you! They can be used by your brain without going through your digestive tract and so they are easily accessed by your body.

Because of its great taste and texture, coconut milk is a great dairy substitute for baking and cooking as well.

The Best Coconut Water to Buy

If available, look for coconut water in a fresh, green coconut, instead of the packaged variety, it may be difficult to open, but is really fun to drink. It also contains no added sugar, preservatives and isn’t pasteurized. It is the healthiest and most delicious choice by far.

Fresh coconuts are perishable and you may find them in the refrigerated section of health stores. If they are opened, the coconut water should be kept cold and consumed within 3–5 days.

If you cannot find a fresh, green coconut, your second best choice is cold-pressured coconut water, which is only lightly processed via high pressure processing instead of heat. This exposes the water to high pressure to eliminate bacteria, but maintains a greater level of vitamins and minerals.

If coconut water does not need to be refrigerated, it usually means it has been pasteurized to maintain its freshness. During the pasteurization process, liquids are heated to a high temperature to kill any bacteria, but this also destroys many of the natural vitamins and minerals in the product.

Avoid coconut water that is from concentrate. Generally, if any fruit or vegetable is made into a concentrate, it loses nutrients in the process — therefore, it is always best to choose options that are not from concentrate.

In order to make it more “flavorful,” many companies are adding sweeteners or other flavors to coconuts. Many companies also use flavors to cover up the fact they are not using young coconuts in their coconut water, but instead are using mature coconuts that have a more bitter and acidic taste. (13)

Avoid coconut waters with added flavors or sugar. The primary ingredient should be 100 percent coconut water, there should not be any added fruit juices, natural or artificial ingredients, or anything that may indicate that the water was modified in any way.

Ways to Enjoy Coconut Water

There are different ways you can enjoy this beverage. Coconut water — also sometimes called coco water — pairs well with grape, as grape and coconut create a delicious mix. You can also add it to a smoothie.

If you looking for a great way to boost your digestive and immune systems, then eating and drinking probiotic foods is the way to do it. And if you have a dairy sensitivity, then coconut kefir water is a great option!

Kefir is traditionally a cultured dairy product that is one of the most probiotic-rich foods available. It has multiple health benefits due to its high probiotic content, for people with gastrointestinal issues as well as those who have been overprescribed antibiotics.

Traditionally, kefir has been made by adding kefir grains to dairy, such as milk. Kefir grains are not actual grains, but are small kernels that contain a specific balance of yeast and bacteria.

Although most people are generally able to tolerate kefir, even if they can’t tolerate dairy, some people may be sensitive to it or have a dairy allergy. Luckily, coconut water can also be made into kefir to help everyone reap the benefits from this amazing beverage. Here is a great recipe for coconut water that you can make at home!

Recipe: Super Hydrator Juice

If coconut water alone is too plain for you, try mixing it with other fruit juices — make sure you use 100% juice. Here is a recipe for my Super Hydrator Juice drink that contains coconut water as well as other fruit and vegetable juices for optimal hydration — 100% juice in all instances.


  • 4 ounces coconut water
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 whole cucumber
  • 1 peeled lime


Add all ingredients together into a juicer. Gently stir and drink immediately.


Coconut water has so many amazing health benefits, consider adding it to your daily routine as a beverage for ultimate hydration. It should not replace plain water, but it can be a great alternative to other beverages that is low in sugar and calories.

Be careful when buying commercial brands, as many can lack the nutrients found in the natural water. Many brands have a significant amount of added sugar or preservatives that can modify the health benefits of this amazing treat.

Coconut water is good for you. That’s why you should drink it — it has multiple health benefits and may be cardio-protective as well as help prevent cancer and other

By Jillian Levy, CHHC

Being bloated is one of those things that we try not to talk about, hoping that if we don’t mention it, maybe it will just go away. Bloating does not discriminate. The truth of the matter is that it can crop up more often than just during that time of the month and, left untreated, can make us irritable and pretty darn uncomfortable. For men, bloating could be caused by many factors.

Bloat is a buildup of gas in our abdomen, often caused by poor digestion or swallowed air. “Feeling bloated can result from an overgrowth of bacteria in the small  intestine,” says celebrity nutritionist, registered dietitian, healthy cooking expert, Keri Glassman.

 Well, the dreaded bloated stomach is usually caused by drinking carbonated beverages and eating beans, legumes and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Beside this, there are also many some other foods that we eat daily which leads to bloating.

Here are some foods that can cause bloating:

Avoid eating wheat-based foods including bread and rotis, if you are suffering from gluten sensitivity, as it can lead to indigestion and bloating.

Onions are gas-producing foods which cause bloating. Moreover, onions are not properly digested if not cooked properly making the condition worse.

Garlic also belongs to FODMAPs, which are carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed and rapidly fermented by bacteria causing gas and bloating.

Processed foods
Avoid eating common processed foods, especially those loaded with salt as it can cause bloating due to fluid buildup in the stomach.

Milk and milk products
The intake of milk and milk products increases the risk of suffering from bloating if you are lactose intolerant. It is mainly because milk is not digested by the body which in turn leads to bloating and indigestion.

Here’s a list of foods that will help prevent bloating


You likely already know that the probiotics—or the good bacteria—in yogurt are good for your gut. Because the “good bacteria” keeps your digestive process efficient, it helps to eliminate bloat. Just make sure that the yogurt you eat is plain and doesn’t contain sweeteners of any kind.


This tropical fruit contains bromelain, an enzyme that is believed to help with the digestion of protein. Supplements with bromelain are thought to treat ailments related to inflammation, which is why it’s no surprise that people tout its bloat-busting properties.


“This veggie contains certain compounds that actually act like probiotics,” says Glassman. Plus, it’s super high in fiber, which helps your digestive system stay on track.


These vegetables act as diuretics, helping you flush out the excess water in your body that’s causing you to feel bloated. Plus, fennel seeds contain essential oils that help with the digestion of nutrients.


The potassium in bananas helps get rid of excess water by managing the levels of salt in your body (too much salt leads to bloating). Just remember that when eating this fruit, it should be ripe. “Ripe bananas are full of fiber and are helpful in draining the water out of your cells,” Glassman says. The fiber in the fruit also helps you stay regulated and beat constipation.


Fermented foods are super high in probiotics, which are essential to healthy gut function. During the fermentation process, lactic acid, omega-3, and healthy probiotics are created, all of which help beat bloating. Kimchi is a traditional fermented side dish usually comprised of cabbage, scallion, radish, cucumber, and chili paste.

Papaya contains an enzyme that aids digestion by speeding up the breakdown of proteins. Add this to your meal to make sure everything is running smoothly and efficiently.


As Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, explains, ginger is a natural diuretic. That means it promotes increased urine production and helps you flush out excess fluids to beat water retention and bloating.

Bloating is going to happen no matter what we do but you now have some ideas to prevent it!

What are your thoughts on bloating?



How Much Does Constipation Affect Your Colon and Wellness

The Vast Majority of Individuals in today’s era, seventy percent or even more, struggles with constipation. Some believe the number is much higher, 80- 90 percent. {The market for laxatives is now approaching 1 billion annually. It seems that constipation is a problem that most of us deal with at one time or another.
I think that to have good health We Have to use mostly foods and nutritional supplements that are free of additives and food enhancers that are bad for the body. We will need to eat the proper foods and watch how we prepare them so that we can digest and absorb them without creating or leaving residues which become toxic matter in our colon.

The very first question a nutritionist or any other health Practitioner must ask you in your initial visit is “how many bowel movements do you have each day or each week?”

If you see a physician, your colon is the final area they want to discuss if they discuss it all.
In his article, The Bowel is an Ecosystem, in Healthy & Natural Journal, April 1997, Majid Ali, M.D. recounts, “When I returned to the clinical practice of environmental and nutritional medicine after years of pathology work, I began carefully testing the assertions of nutritionists, naturopaths and clinical ecologist who claimed that various types of colitis [a deterioration of your colon wall] could be reversed with optimal nutritional and ecologic approaches. To my great surprise, I found that such professionals, who are usually spurned by drug doctors, were right after all. My patients responded well to the unscientific therapies vehemently rejected by my colleagues in drug medicine.”

Without healthy and regular bowel movements and colon function, various illnesses may be generated in your colon beyond the discomforts, distress, and ailments normally experienced with constipation.

If a person will focus on removing the foods and habits that are causing constipation and focus on maintaining a healthy colon it is possible to take a significant step in preventing several conditions which could make your senior years a gloomy time.
I agree with the many health professionals that think maintaining a healthy colon is vital when trying to avoid any unnecessary illnesses and suffering that an unhealthy gut can create. It is worth putting forth the effort towards creating a clean and healthy colon.

Heart attacks, cancers, senility, pathogenic organisms and many more are the cause of so many deaths in the in the United States and around the world and only a small portion of them are related to natural causes or old age.

Your colon sorts out the nutrients from the foods you eat and water you drink so, when a specific organ has degenerated t’s crucial to find out what part colon toxins have played in this degeneration.

If your colon is toxic, your blood may be toxic and these toxins will slowly reach all parts of your body. The results being your body and various organs will become less efficient. Overtime this diminished efficiency will cause the body to become diseased and you will lose your good health and well-being.

Even though Hippocrates said more than 2000 years ago that all disease begins in the gut researchers still must prove that it does.

The majority of the informed populace are aware of how important it is for our well-being to have a healthy gut.  The health of which depends on healthy gut microbiota. In actually, it’s at the top of the list of things that disturb our daily routines, social events or even travel experiences as the worry, pain and embarrassment of a malfunctioning intestinal system.

There are many common sayings that describe how the gut can affect us.  We often use our “gut feeling” to make difficult decisions and when we are nervous of an upcoming job interview or a big event we have “butterflies” in our stomachs that may put the fear in us that we’ll need to make a sudden dash to the bathroom.

Researchers are increasingly discovering and recognizing that other organ systems are influenced by the gut environment.  These links are gaining attention as possible factors in a number of diseases, such as depression and lung disease.

This is just the beginning of the discoveries of the many ways in which a healthy or unhealthy gut can impact our lives.  We already know a lot about the important little bacteria and how they impact our immune system.

These Bacteria Teach Our Immune System How to Behave

The immune system is the main link between our gut bacteria and their influence on our health and disease.  We now know that this education begins even before we are born.

Previously, it was assumed that the prenatal environment in the womb was free from bacteria, but thanks to increasingly sophisticated analytical methods, we now know that bacteria are already present in the placenta. We are born with a naïve immune system and are at first protected by antibodies from our mother. However, the immune cells need to be educated further in order to learn how to protect the body from harm when the maternal antibodies are gone. This education is essential for our future health.

Bacteria Educate Our Immune System from the Moment we are Born

We also know how important bacteria are for maintaining a normal immune system from experiments with germ free laboratory mice born without any bacteria at all.

These mice have an immature immune system lacking important types of immune cells. But when they are provided with even a restricted bacterial flora, the immune system matures and develops more diverse cells. These experiments have provided extensive knowledge on the function of the immune system, and of the effects of single bacteria or specific groups of bacteria.

Research conducted in both animals and humans has helped us to understand the early life factors of disease development. For example, we know that children born from caesarean section have a higher risk of developing certain diseases – some studies show as much as 20 percent higher risk of type 1 diabetes, asthma, and an increased risk of obesity, compared to vaginally born children.

This is probably due to the cleaner method of delivery, which delays the colonisation of gut bacteria and the education of the immune system. It is also known that extensive treatment with certain antibiotics at a young age increases the risk of allergy and asthma. The hygiene hypothesis has led the way to this line of thinking, but other factors such as antibiotics use of the mother and pre-term planning of caesarean sections with immature maternal milk may also influence these increased risks of disease.

Gut Bacteria Maintain a Balanced Immune System

Throughout life, we are constantly exposed to new things in our gut, nose and lungs, via our food and environment, such as food additives, pollen in the air or non-pathogenic microorganisms in dust or dirt. But thankfully, most people have healthy immune systems that handle all of these invading objects with ease.

If it didn’t, it would elicit an inflammatory response every time you tried a new food or visited a new country with different types of trees. This would be a highly ineffective and unnecessary use of energy.

The essential task of the immune system is to maintain a balance between reaction and tolerance. It is essential that this tolerance, called oral tolerance, is established. And a diverse gut flora established in early life with many types of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms, is crucial for this, as it teaches the cells of the immune system that not everything is bad.

Since balance of bacteria in our gut influences the balance of our immune system, an unbalanced bacterial flora with for instance too many opportunistic pathogens can shift the immune system to an increased inflammatory state with a so-called “leaky gut”. This inflammatory state may then affect other body systems and increase the risk of obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and even depression.

Bad Gut Bacteria Can Lead to Disease

Most bacteria are beneficial, but some are responsible for the progression of disease.

It is perhaps common sense that gut bacteria play a significant role in diseases directly related to the gut, such as inflammatory bowel diseases. This has been studied for years and today, treatments are available to correct skewed bacterial compositions and aid recovery of beneficial bacteria via faecal transplantation in some colitis patients. Most people are also familiar with the use of over-the-counter probiotics especially during exotic vacations.

Bacteria are survivors in the best Darwinian style, and they will to some extent adjust to the environment they are in. This is, for instance why resistance to antibiotics occurs. This also means that if good bacteria are removed due to for example diet or medication, some of the opportunistic commensals, or pathogens, will immediately move in and try to fill the gap.

A Diverse Gut Flora is the Healthiest

It is not so easy to permanently change an established gut flora, good or bad. Once disturbed, the flora will return to normal within a short time frame, just like when you return home after a vacation and eat your usual diet.

But an imbalanced gut is able to loop in a bad cycle, whereby harmful functions are reinforced. In laboratory mice, researchers have shown that a certain bacterial composition is associated with type 1 diabetes and obesity – in fact, researchers were able to transfer obesity to lean mice by transplantation of the gut microbiota.

Such skewed microbiotas all have one thing in common: a lack of diversity. A diverse microbiota is more likely to bounce back from unhealthy fluctuations in diet and withstand outside intruders, and this means a much more tolerant and well-regulated immune system.  The colon contains more than 10,000,000,000,000 cells per gram of intestinal content and between 300 to 1000 different bacterial species.

Gut Bacteria Could Lead to Personalized Microbiota Transfer Therapy

So how can we use all of this knowledge in the future?

We know that presence or absence of bacteria is important in the development of several diseases. We also know that it is rarely just one or two bacterial strains that make a difference, but more likely a whole group of certain bacteria influencing other bacteria.

This is all very challenging to study in humans—especially in complicated scenarios, where these skewed bacterial communities cause trouble elsewhere in the body.

Until now, scientists have focused on understanding the presence or absence of certain bacteria, but what really interests us today, is what these bacteria produce and what signals they send to the rest of the body. Luckily we now have advanced tools at our fingertips to figure this out.

Systems biology with whole genomic, whole proteomic, and whole metabolomics analyses are revealing new details about these bacteria and might even lead to personalised diagnosis and treatment. For instance, it is likely that in the near future, the examination of patients will include a full assessment of the microbiota or its products just like a routine blood sample, leading to precise interventions in diet or administration of bacteria.

Let Your Kids get Dirty

In addition, these methods help explain other mechanisms in the body related to bacteria. For example, a 2017 Nature paper showed that some of the beneficial effects of the type 2-diabetes medicine “Metformin” that enhance insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients, are due to its effect on gut microbiota and their products. In particular due to the promotion of the good bacteria Akkermansia Muciniphila.

Using these methods, we can establish clearer cause and effect relationships between bacteria and outcomes, which have previously been difficult. In other words, we are a step closer to tracking down exactly which part of the gut microbiome is different in a disease state, improve it with diet, medicine or bacterial transplants, and follow the change in bacterial products and messengers.

Researchers will probably soon be able to buy their laboratory mice with a “diabetes – or obesity” inducing gut microbiota or even with a humanized microbiota. This could improve our disease models and make them more effective. It might even help us understand what circumstances are necessary to really permanently change a person’s gut microbiota to the better.

Research in nanotechnology is producing new ways of delivering medicine, vaccinations, and bacteria to the body. Imagine a nano-sized container with a specific bacterial mix meant for the distant part of the gut,designed to protect the bacteria and only open when they meet the appropriate “key” at the right location, for instance an enzyme or a specific pH value.

Clinical studies of microbiota transfer therapy in humans are already taking place and probiotic use is increasing (autism spectrum disorder improved with faecal therapy) and there is no doubt that new and more specialized probiotics will be presented in the near future (for example, the NxtGenProbio project is expected to yield interesting results).

Personalised bacterial “diagnosis” and treatment would certainly be a valuable tool for health professionals, but it is unlikely to become a commonly used tool any time soon since there are still many unknown factors and risks. For instance, should a faecal “donation” come from your own gut, or from a different part of the intestines? How do we prevent transfer of bad bacteria along with the good ones? Are family members more compatible donors compared to a standard foreign donor?

Until then: Let your kids get dirty with a good conscience… you are priming their gut flora into being balanced and healthy.

The Many Axes of Gut Bacteria

Signals run along axes from the gut to other parts of our bodies via neurons, hormones, and perhaps most importantly via the immune system. We call these “axes” and they help describe the connection between gut bacteria and disease else-where in the body.

1. The gut-brain axis

The most studied axis so far is the connection between gut and brain, since it is documented and well-known among health professionals that patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases often also suffer from depression.

The gut is able to alter the brain chemistry via neuronal pathways and through messengers of the immune system, called cytokines – and these messengers depend on the state of the gut microbiota.

Stress is a good example: stress changes the gut microbiota, and the signals running to the brain may impact how we behave. For instance, early life stress changes the gut microbiota of monkeys, and rat pups which are stressed by separating them from their mothers prematurely. Their gut microbiota is disturbed as a result, and they have increased levels of stress hormone and a different immune response.

2. The gut-liver axis

Another axis is the gut-liver axis, which is studied widely in liver research, since 70% of the blood flow to the liver is directly flowing from the gut.

Gut bacteria are a vital source of fat components and of circulating antigens, and may impact the risk of fatty liver disease.

3. The gut-lung and gut-kidney axes

The gut-lung axis is of interest in respiratory disease research, where the gut microbiota influences both asthma, COPD, pneumonia and even development of cancer.

Scientists have also proposed a gut-kidney axis where the bad toxic products of a diseased kidney affect the microbiota and a bad microbiota increase the amount of toxins released as a disease mechanism in chronic kidney disease.

So, can an Unhealthy Gut Have a Negative Effect on a Person?

What do you think?


Thank you Medical Express and ScienceNordic for your contribution to the Eat Healthy Everyday mission


Healthy Bowel Movements (BM) are a fact of life.  The subject doesn’t make for the best table conversations but (no pun intended) it is a constant in everyone’s everyday life.

The number of times a day, or week, varies from person to person. Some people might go up to three times a day, while others only have a bowel movement a few times a week.  Some researchers indicate that anywhere from three bowel movements a day to three a week can be normal. It’s also important to remember that sometimes the consistency of a person’s stool can be a more significant indicator of bowel health than frequency. However, if a person doesn’t poop often enough or too frequently, both can cause severe health problems.

Constipation happens when your colon absorbs too much water or the muscles contract too slowly or poorly, which means stool moves through your digestive system too slowly. When the stool loses too much water, it hardens. If feces sit in your colon for three days or longer, the mass becomes even harder and more difficult to pass.

There are a number of different causes of constipation and vary from person to person.  Here is a list of fourteen possible reasons for your constipation.

1. Hypothyroidism

An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can cause your metabolic processes to slow down. According to Dr Catherine Ngo, a board-certified gastroenterologist at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in California, “The slower the system, the longer the digestive contents have to be reabsorbed by the colon, resulting not only in decreased frequency of stools, but harder stools.”

Although constipation is not always related to thyroid problems, Dr Carla H Ginsburg, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, says, “When I see a young person who’s constipated more than normal and really complaining, I do tend to get a thyroid level.”

Woman with painful neck

2. Medications

Medications come with side effects and many list constipation. Common offenders include antidepressants (especially SSRIs like Prozac), anti-anxiety drugs, heartburn drugs and blood pressure medication.

“There is always an alternative medication you can try,” Dr Atif Iqbal, a gastroenterologist and medical director of the Digestive Care Center at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, told Reader’s Digest. “You just need to be clear with your doctor about what problems you’re experiencing.” If your heartburn medication contains calcium, for example, you can try one that contains magnesium.

Painkillers – prescription or over the counter – can also cause constipation. “These medications bind to the same receptors in the stomach, blunting the whole digestive system as well as your pain,” explains Dr Iqbal. Don’t use painkillers continuously for longer than 30 days. Dr Iqbal says you should address the underlying injury or find alternative ways to treat your pain.

Man taking medication

3. Bad bathroom habits

If the need to go strikes while you’re at the office or mall, do you hold it in? Experts say you shouldn’t, and doing it too often can lead to constipation. “You eventually confuse the muscles in the rectum and anal sphincter and develop constipation,” said Dr Gina Sam, assistant professor of gastroenterology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

In addition, the longer stool remains in your colon, the more water it absorbs which will make it even more difficult to pass when you eventually get home to your toilet.

“Some research suggests that people who use the bathroom at timed intervals and don’t fight the urge to have a bowel movement tend to have more regular bowel movements,” Dr David Poppers, a clinical associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at NYU School of Medicine and NYU Langone Health, told Women’s Health.

“Butt Shyness” is a real problem for so many people!!

Public bathroom

4. Diabetes

According to a 2014 study, about one in three diabetics suffer from constipation. When you have diabetes, nerve damage  affects your entire your entire body over time.

When this damage affects your gut, you may experience “slow transit time in your intestines, as well as problems with rectal sensation”, Dr Ron Schey, an associate professor of medicine in the gastroenterology department at Temple School of Medicine, told Men’s Health. And that results in constipation.

Man testing glucose levels

5. Overusing laxatives

When you are constipated, it’s natural to reach for laxatives. But don’t rely on them for long-term use – over long periods of time nerve cells that release chemicals that tell your colon it’s time to move a stool become depleted. Eventually you’ll need to use more laxatives for them to work, until they no longer work.

“More of a problem is that when they stop working, the other simple measures that we might try have less chance of working as well because those stimulatory neurons are now dead,” Dr Pradeep Kumar, a gastroenterologist, told Fox News.

Man using toilet

6. Vitamins

Generally, vitamins shouldn’t cause constipation but sometimes calcium or iron can cause your system to become backed up.

“I would tell a patient to stop taking the iron [or calcium] unless they really need it and, if they do need it, I would put them on a stool softener to counteract that,” said Dr Ginsburg, who is a spokesperson for the American Gastroenterological Association.

Woman taking vitamins

7. A lack of exercise (or too much)

Not exercising often enough can cause digestive problems that may lead to constipation. Exercise helps stimulate intestinal activity, which keeps food waste moving through your digestive system. In fact, exercises that focus on toning your abdominal muscles can even help with bowel movements.

On the other hand, however, too much exercise can also cause constipation. Exercising causes your body to sweat, which helps regulate body temperature. As a result, your body may need more water, which your intestines may try to recover from stool moving through your digestive system. Constipation can occur when the poop becomes hard and compact, and unable to pass easily through your rectum.

Make sure you are properly hydrated before, during and after exercise.







8. Too much dairy

A diet high in cheese and other low-fiber/high-fat foods such as eggs and meat can slow down your digestion. The obvious solution? Cut down on your intake of such foods, and increase fiber intake to 20 to 35 grams a day.

“If you’re going to have cheeses and red meat and eggs, mix in some salads or other foods that have fiber,” Dr. Park advises. And avoid fast foods and processed foods, which are generally low in fiber.













9. Antidepressants

Constipation can be associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants such as Prozac (fluoxetine).

However, constipation is more of a problem with older tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil (amitriptyline), says Dr. Park. Why any of these drugs have this effect isn’t clear, though.

If you’re taking an antidepressant and have this side effect, think about using a gentle stool softener.








10. Depression

Ironically, the very condition that antidepressants are meant to treat – depression – can also cause constipation.

Like hypothyroidism, depression causes a general slowdown of the body’s normal processes, which can also affect the bowel.

People with irritable bowel syndrome, which can be closely linked to depression, are also prone to constipation, Dr. Park says.








11. Antacids

Antacids are great for fighting heartburn, but some can cause constipation, particularly those containing calcium or aluminum, Dr. Park says.

Fortunately, the drugstore aisles are crammed with options, so if one medication is a problem you can try something else.

You can also cut down on your risk of heartburn by not overstuffing at meals. And consuming fewer fatty foods and more fiber will help prevent both problems.















12. Childbirth

Constipation is common during and after pregnancy, but childbirth itself can be a problem, possibly due to sluggish abdominal muscles or perhaps the use of pain relievers or an anesthetic during the delivery.

Also, “there may be some perineal soreness right after the delivery, so the fear of causing more discomfort may be an important factor in the constipation,” says Dr. Park.

Although stretch injuries during childbirth can sometimes cause nerve damage that leads to constipation, this is less common.








13. Diabetes and neurological conditions

Diabetes can cause nerve damage that can affect a person’s ability to digest food, says Dr. Park.

Most people with advanced diabetes know they have it. Still, it’s reasonable to do a blood sugar test on someone who is regularly constipated, says Dr. Ginsburg.

Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease can cause constipation. Usually, though, “this goes with another symptom such as trouble urinating, double vision, or a gait problem,” Dr. Ginsburg says.











 14. Anticonvulsants

AED’s (anti epileptic drugs)  are supposed to stop seizures but unfortunately they can also stop the bowels from operating properly.

The way I found to combat that is to drink water on a regular basis, a minimum of 32 ounces a day, and to follow a sensible diet with a minimum amount of dairy and sweets.










We all have BM issues to deal with.  The important thing is to know your body and adjust what’s necessary to improve and maintain the overall functioning of it.

Probiotics are the rage right now and they should be.  Long considered a superfood by many in the natural living and health conscious community they are now being noticed by the public.

Probiotics are food products fermented by lactic acid bacteria and they play a major role in modulating the gut flora, thereby managing many gut disorders. Yogurt, buttermilk, tempeh, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and cheese are some probiotics that provide various health benefits.

Of course, in today’s world it’s hard to eat the right foods for various reasons so a supplement like Peak BioBoost can help.

What are some of the benefits of making Probiotics part of our daily diet?  Well, let’s see:

  • Improves immunity by boosting the good gut bacteria
  • Helps manage acute and chronic gut disorders1
  • Relieves lactose intolerance symptoms
  • Shortens diarrhea caused by rotavirus
  • Relieves ulcerative colitis and pouchitis (inflammation of an artificial rectum)
  • Improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

The human gut is a complex network of gastric acid, bile, intestinal microflora, and some good and bad bacteria. So you want to make sure that there’s more of the good bacteria that can help you maintain a balance. That’s where probiotics come in.

Probiotics comes from the fusion of two Greek words – “pro” meaning for and “biotics” meaning “life.”

Today, stores are flooded with probiotic products – we even have probiotic ice-cream. Live cultures are being added to a variety of foods to make them gut-friendly.  Here are 7 natural probiotics you can grab at the store and if you want, can make at home.

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics, which are friendly bacteria that can improve your health.

It is made from milk that has been fermented by friendly bacteria, mainly lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.

Eating yogurt is associated with many health benefits, including improved bone health. It is also beneficial for people with high blood pressure (

In children, yogurt may help reduce the diarrhea caused by antibiotics. It can even help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Additionally, yogurt may be suitable for people with lactose intolerance. This is because the bacteria turn some of the lactose into lactic acid, which is also why yogurt tastes sour.

However, keep in mind that not all yogurt contains live probiotics. In some cases, the live bacteria have been killed during processing.

For this reason, make sure to choose yogurt with active or live cultures.

Also, make sure to always read the label on yogurt before you buy it. Even if it is labeled low-fat or fat-free, it may still be loaded with high amounts of added sugar.

2. Cheese

  • Boil full-fat milk.
  • While it is still hot, add enough lemon juice to curdle the milk.
  • Chunks of cottage cheese will appear.
  • Drain the leftover fluid and tie the cottage cheese tightly in a muslin cloth or cheesecloth to bind it.

There is good news for cheese lovers. Indulging in this food can give you a probiotic boost. Cheese is a great delivery vehicle for probiotic cultures. It is also loaded with conjugated linoleic acid and bioactive peptides that have health benefits.

But all cheeses might not do the trick. Aged cheeses like Gouda, mozzarella, and cheddar are good sources. Cottage cheese also packs in probiotics and can be easily made at home.

3. Sauerkraut

  • Mix 1.5 spoons of salt to shredded cabbage (medium-sized) and toss for a few minutes.
  • Leave it for about 10 minutes or till it starts leaving some water.
  • Flavor it with caraway seeds (optional).
  • Cram the cabbage tightly into mason jar along with the water it released.
  • Forget about it for 3 days and enjoy it afterward.

If you are vegan or have sworn off dairy products, sauerkraut might just be your thing. Another wonderful non-dairy source of probiotics is sauerkraut prepared from shredded cabbage fermented by lactic acid. Fermented products like sauerkraut can serve as carriers of probiotic microorganisms. It also carries a punch of vitamin C from the cabbage.

  4. Kefir

  • In 1 glass of whole milk add 1 tsp active kefir grains.
  • Cover the glass with a cheesecloth or paper napkin, and secure it with a rubber band.
  • Store it at room temperature away from sunlight for 12–48 hours.
  • Strain out the kefir grains (they can be reused) and drink up.

The word for the fermented drink comes from Turkish and means “pleasure” or “good feeling.” It’s quite good for the health too! Studies have shown that kefir has antimicrobial, antitumor, anticarcinogenic, and immunity-modulating activity. It also improves lactose digestion.

In postmenopausal rats, kefir has also shown improved bone mass and microarchitecture, which are key to bone quality.

  5. Pickles

Pickles (also known as gherkins) are cucumbers that have been pickled in a solution of salt and water.

They are left to ferment for some time, using their own naturally present lactic acid bacteria. This process makes them sour.

Pickled cucumbers are a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria which may improve digestive health.

They are low in calories and a good source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting.

Keep in mind that pickles also tend to be high in sodium.

It is important to note that pickles made with vinegar do not contain live probiotics.

  6. Traditional Butter Milk

The term buttermilk actually refers to a range of fermented dairy drinks.

However, there are two main types of buttermilk: traditional and cultured.

Traditional buttermilk is simply the leftover liquid from making butter. Only this version contains probiotics, and it is sometimes called “grandma’s probiotic.”

Traditional buttermilk is mainly consumed in India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Cultured buttermilk, commonly found in American supermarkets, generally does not have any probiotic benefits.

Buttermilk is low in fat and calories but contains several important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorus.

7. Some Types of Cheese

Although most types of cheese are fermented, it does not mean that all of them contain probiotics.

Therefore, it is important to look for live and active cultures on the food labels.

The good bacteria survive the aging process in some cheeses, including Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese

Cheese is highly nutritious and a very good source of protein. It is also rich in important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium

Moderate consumption of dairy products such as cheese may even lower the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis

Probiotic Foods Are Incredibly Healthy

There are many very healthy probiotic foods you can eat. 8 of those are mentioned here, but there are many more out there.

This includes numerous varieties of fermented soybeans, dairy and vegetables.

If you can’t or won’t eat any of these foods, you can also take a probiotic supplement.

Shop for probiotic supplements online.

Probiotics, from both foods and supplements, can have powerful effects on health.