A lot of folks these days are trying to make smarter choices about what they eat. Why? Because the reality is that everything is related to what we put on our plate—digestive problems, cholesterol, weight gain—and statistics show that as a country our poor eating habits have been the driving force behind a rise in obesity and obesity-related disease that has reached epidemic proportions.
In an effort to lose weight and improve their health, many Americans are paying more and more attention to food labels, and it seems their attentiveness is paying off. Experts recently analyzed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that people who look at things like ingredients, serving size and nutrition facts are likely to be healthier than their non-label-reading counterparts.
Specifically, label readers consume fewer calories and more fiber in their daily diet, along with less sugar, sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol, and as a result they tend to be slimmer and in better shape overall. Health experts hope that as more and more people start paying attention to labels, food manufacturers will do their part and clearly display important nutrition information. So here’s to smart reading and smart eating!
In 2008 a gastroenterologist in Minnesota discovered that he was able to cure one of his patients of a destructive Clostridium difficile infection by transplanting healthy bacteria from her husband’s gut into hers. Clostridium difficile, more commonly known as C. diff, is a bacterial infection that can cause severe diarrhea and inflammation of the colon, but within hours after the beneficial bacteria was transplanted into her colon, the woman’s C. diff infection disappeared—along with her symptoms.
No, it’s not science fiction, just an emerging field of real science that continues to amaze doctors, scientists, and just about everyone in the health care community. And at the heart of it all is something that can’t even be seen with the naked eye—the trillions of microscopic bacteria that have been living in your gut since the day you were born.
The human digestive tract is where more than 70 percent of the body’s natural immune defenses are found. That means it plays a vital role in preserving overall health, and study after study has shown that the good bacteria (called probiotics) can help prevent everything from digestive problems such as irritable bowel and constipation to inflammation-related conditions such as asthma and allergies. Not only that, but the variations between one person’s gut environment and the next can make a big difference when it comes to whether or not they are more prone to certain diseases or conditions throughout life.
While this comes as no surprise to natural health experts—who have been touting the benefits of probiotics and a balanced gut for years—their hope is that it will increase awareness about the benefits of taking a daily probiotic supplement at every age in order to promote lifelong health.