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Fried foods have similar impact on your liver as hepatitis new
      #369231 - 02/20/13 10:26 AM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

(CBS News)

There are 160,000 fast food restaurants in the United States, serving over 50 million customers daily and the bulk of the food offerings are loaded with calories from fat and added sugar.

"We're all guilty, and every now and then you have to splurge, but the problem is that so many people are getting into eating fast food, especially kids, as their staple, and I think that's the point," said Dr. Drew Ordon of "The Doctors" and author of the book, "Better in 7."

"The Doctors" revealed study findings that found regular consumption of fast food items like fried chicken and onion rings are particularly bad for your liver, and these fried foods have many surprising complications and dangers for the people that consume them.

"The amount of fat and saturated fats creates a condition called fatty liver," said Ordon.

What's interesting about the new information is that even after just a month of consistently eating fatty foods from fast food restaurants, there are significant changes in your liver. The fried foods do not just impact your cholesterol and waist line.

Ordon describes the changes in the liver enzymes as being surprisingly similar to the damage that is seen by hepatitis, which can ultimately lead to liver failure.

They found that french fries, in particular, are one of the most dangerous foods, because of all the added ingredients to the potato.

"We know that they are adding salt, and cooking it in fat, but they're also putting sugar on them too. Why sugar? Because it helps get them golden crispy," advised Ordon. "It's three strikes."

He also warns that consumers should be wary of items at fast food establishments marked healthy or fresh because there aren't clear regulations for these items, and the food can often have added chemicals, especially salads.

"Some places actually put propylene glycol on the salads, which is anti-freeze, the reason behind that is that it prevents wilting," said Ordon. "And although they say a little anti-freeze isn't going to hurt you, obviously given a choice you don't want to be eating anti-freeze."

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Fluids may prevent constipation better than anything new
      #369547 - 05/21/13 01:46 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Fluids may prevent constipation better than anything

By Kathryn Doyle

NEW YORK ' Tue May 7, 2013 12:08pm EDT

(Reuters Health) - Everyone knows that getting enough fiber is a secret to staying "regular," but a large new study finds that people who got plenty of fluids were the least likely to suffer constipation.

The results highlight the importance of hydration, but shouldn't discount fiber or other lifestyle factors, according to lead author Alayne Markland, of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

"I still think that diet, fiber, exercise and increased fluid should remain the recommendations," Markland told Reuters Health.

Estimates of how many people regularly experience constipation are as high as 14 percent worldwide, but they range widely. How researchers define the problem and ask people about it are partly to blame for inconsistent responses, Markland's team writes in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Often, constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week, the researchers point out. But some studies have found that asking about stool consistency provides a more accurate measure of slow "transit times" of stool through the intestine, which is the source of uncomfortable blockages.

To determine how many people have "hard or lumpy stool consistency" - the type associated with slow transit - and what lifestyle factors might influence that, Markland and her colleagues analyzed responses from more than 8,000 men and women who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 2006 and 2008.

Based on survey responses about stool consistency, exercise habits and what participants ate, the researchers found that seven percent of the respondents fit the definition for constipation.

The problem was more common among women and less educated people, but it did not increase with age, as some other studies have suggested.

Neither vigorous exercise nor fiber intake was linked with a person's likelihood of having constipation.

But among the people who consumed the least amount of liquid daily from food and drinks, 8 percent of men and 13 percent of women were constipated, compared to 3 percent of men and 8 percent of women who got the most liquid.

"I scratch my head on that, it's interesting," Dr. Amy Foxx-Orenstein, of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told Reuters Health.

Past research indicates that extra fluid only alleviates constipation if the person is dehydrated to begin with, but once you're adequately hydrated more fluid probably just makes you urinate more often, said Foxx-Orenstein, who was not involved in the study.

She encourages patients in her practice to drink enough water and try to get 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily, if not from food then from a supplement, and to eat a breakfast that includes caffeine shortly after waking, as those factors can stimulate bowel movements.

The new study included a large number of participants, but didn't distinguish between different types of fiber and when they were consumed or ask about physical activity in enough detail, Foxx-Orenstein said, and she thinks it's unlikely doctors will change what they tell patients based on these results.

Foxx-Orenstein agreed that the definition of constipation varies widely.

"We used stool consistency, so we took a validated scale and defined constipation as those with the hardest stool," Markland said. That could have made liquids in the diet, which influence stool consistency but not necessarily frequency or amount, seem more important, she acknowledged.

Exercise and fiber may have more of an impact on frequency, Markland added.

The study doesn't mean that those factors are "bogus," she said, just that future studies need to define the weekly thresholds where each factor becomes meaningful.

"It just begs for more research on the role of fiber," Markland said.

SOURCE: American Journal of Gastroenterology, April 9, 2013.

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Limiting poorly digested carbs called FODMAPS may help ease irritable bowel syndrome new
      #369553 - 05/22/13 02:55 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Limiting FODMAPS may help ease irritable bowel syndrome

By Kate Scarlata, R.D., L.D.N., Environmental Nutrition Newsletter Premium Health News Service

4:30 a.m. CDT, May 22, 2013
Some foods, from beans to sugar-free gum, contain carbs called FODMAPs, which may trigger symptoms if you have irritable bowel syndrome.

FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates known to contribute to IBS symptoms, including gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation. The FODMAP family includes:

1. Lactose, found in milk and milk products

2. Fructose, when found at higher levels in foods than glucose, such as the case in apples, pears, honey and agave syrup

3. Fructans, found in foods like wheat, onion and garlic

4. Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS,) found in beans, lentils and soybeans

5. Polyols, such as sorbitol and mannitol, found in fruits such as cherries, apricots, and apples, and a sweetener added to sugar-free gum and mints

A low FODMAP diet can help manage the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS,) a condition that afflicts one out of five people in the U.S. The low FODMAP diet was first described in 2005 by researchers from Australia's Monash University; since then, evidence is mounting on the diet's effectiveness in managing IBS.

Unlike simply limiting lactose or sorbitol consumption to minimize IBS distress, the low FODMAP diet reduces all poorly absorbed FODMAPs as they cumulatively impact symptoms.

Why low FODMAP?

A 2006 study in Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that 75 percent of IBS patients who followed a low FODMAP diet noted symptom improvement. In a follow up study, those with improvement in IBS symptoms experienced exacerbation of symptoms when the FODMAPs, fructose or fructans, were reintroduced (Clinical Gastroenterology Hepatology, 2008.)

In a 2011 study in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers found the low FODMAP diet conferred 86 percent better symptom response than traditional IBS diet therapy.

People with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis may also benefit from a low FODMAP diet. A study in the Journal of Crohn's and Colitis in 2009 evaluated the effectiveness of a low FODMAP diet in individuals with these disorders, and found that overall abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea improved.

How do FODMAPs impact IBS symptoms?

When people have problems absorbing FODMAPs, extra water is drawn into their intestines, contributing to diarrhea. In addition, these carbohydrates are fermented by intestinal bacteria, causing gas. In a 2010 study in Alimentary Pharmacology Therapeutics, researchers evaluated stool output in a small group of individuals who required an ileostomy bag, finding that water content in their ileostomy bag increased by 20 percent on a high FODMAP diet compared to a low FODMAP diet.

Scientists also demonstrated that intestinal gas levels increase in both healthy individuals and those with IBS following a high FODMAP diet, with higher levels among those with IBS (Journal of Gastroenterology Hepatology, 2010.)

Who can't handle FODMAPs?

Everyone, whether they have IBS or not, may have some problems absorbing FODMAPs. Humans lack the enzymes to break fructans and GOS into digestible sugars. And lactose is malabsorbed in people who are lactose-intolerant and lack the intestinal enzyme lactase. Fructose is malabsorbed in 30 percent to 40 percent of individuals, likely because of its slow absorption in the intestine.

Fructose is best absorbed when glucose is also present in a similar amount in the food, such as is found in fruits like bananas, cantaloupe and grapes. Polyols are large sugar molecules that are poorly digested by most people.

Not all individuals will malabsorb all FODMAPs. If you have IBS, it's a good idea to see a health care professional, who can determine (through a breath test) whether you malabsorb fructose or lactose.

People with adequate absorption of these carbohydrates will not need to restrict them. Individuals with IBS seem to be more vulnerable to the aftermath of poorly digested FODMAPs, perhaps because of the greater amount of gas produced in their intestine, or because the disordered movement of their intestine traps gas and fluid.

How to start a FODMAP diet?

If you suffer from IBS, you may want to consider trying an elimination diet, in which all FODMAP food sources are removed from your diet for two to six weeks. Then foods from each FODMAP group are re-introduced methodically to identify which ones trigger symptoms, so that you're not avoiding all FODMAPs unnecessarily.

Due to the complexity of the low FODMAP diet, it may be helpful to consult a registered dietitian knowledgeable with this diet.

(Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384.

Copyright © 2013, Tribune Media Services,0,3699301.story

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Less Meat = Longer Life new
      #369605 - 06/12/13 05:18 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

People who limit how much meat they eat and stick to mostly fruits and vegetables are less likely to die over any particular period of time, according to a new study.

"I think this adds to the evidence showing the possible beneficial effect of vegetarian diets in the prevention of chronic diseases and the improvement of longevity," said Dr. Michael Orlich, the study's lead author from Loma Linda University in California.

In 2012, a Gallup poll found about 5 percent of Americans reported to be vegetarians.

Previous research has found that people who eat mostly fruits and vegetables are less likely to die of heart disease or any other cause over certain periods of time (see Reuters Health stories of March 14, 2012 and January 31, 2013 here: and

Another study from Europe, however, found British vegetarians were just as likely to die at any point as meat eaters, so it's still an "open question," Orlich said.

For the new study, he and his colleagues used data from 73,308 people recruited at U.S. and Canadian Seventh-day Adventist churches between 2002 and 2007.

At the start of the study, the participants were asked about their eating habits and were separated into categories based on how often they ate dairy, eggs, fish and meat.

Overall, 8 percent were vegans who didn't eat any animal products while 29 percent were lacto-ovo-vegetarians who didn't eat fish or meat but did eat dairy and egg products. Another 15 percent occasionally ate meat, including fish.

The researchers then used a national database to see how many of the participants died by December 31, 2009.

Overall, they found about seven people died of any cause per 1,000 meat eaters over a year. That compared to about five or six deaths per 1,000 vegetarians every year.

Men seemed to benefit the most from a plant-based diet.

Orlich cautioned, however, that they can't say the participants' plant-based diets prevented their deaths, because there may be other unmeasured differences between the groups.

For example, Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston, said the participants who were vegetarians were healthier overall.

"It's important to note that the vegetarians in this study were more highly educated, less likely to smoke, exercised more and were thinner," Lichtenstein, who was not involved with the new study, told Reuters Health.

Those traits have all been tied to better overall health in the past.


Dr. Robert Baron, who wrote an editorial accompanying the new study in JAMA Internal Medicine, said the new evidence doesn't mean everyone should switch to a plant-based diet.

"I don't think everybody should be a vegetarian, but if they want to be, this article suggests it's associated with good health outcomes," said Baron, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Instead, he writes limiting added sugars, refined grains and saturated fats trumps whether or not to include a moderate amount of dairy, eggs, fish or meat.

Previous research has found that people who were on a mostly plant-based diet still had lower cholesterol while eating a small amount of lean beef (see Reuters Health article of January 2, 2012 here:

"It's like everything else, you have to think about it in terms of the whole package," Lichtenstein said.

SOURCE: JAMA Internal Medicine, online June 3, 2013.

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Yet another reason to not skip breakfast new
      #369621 - 06/18/13 11:24 AM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Skip Breakfast, Fuel Insulin Resistance

By Todd Neale, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Published: June 17, 2013

Reviewed by F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE; Instructor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner

Note that this small cross-over study demonstrated that skipping breakfast may be associated with a less favorable insulin profile around lunchtime.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Overweight or obese women who did not eat breakfast had impaired metabolic responses after eating lunch, a small crossover study showed.

On the days the women skipped breakfast, there were greater spikes in insulin and glucose levels after lunch compared with those seen on the days the women only had water in the morning, according to Elizabeth Thomas, MD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.

In addition, not eating breakfast was associated with significantly higher levels of free fatty acids before lunch because lipolysis was occurring, she reported at the Endocrine Society meeting here.

"It's possible that insulin resistance over time may predispose to further metabolic derangements and possibly progression to type 2 diabetes," she said, noting that longitudinal studies have identified a relationship between skipping breakfast and both increased weight gain and risk of type 2 diabetes.

"Learning about these mechanisms does give us better data to recommend eating habits to people, and I think our society is having trouble with eating habits," said Lisa Fish, MD, an endocrinologist practicing in Minneapolis and a member of the society's Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee.

Fish said that many people eat only one or two meals a day and then snack.

"People may be doing that to try and eat less but they end up with a dysfunctional use of fuel for their bodies that causes them to actually gain more weight and develop more insulin resistance," she said.

An estimated 10% to 20% of the population skips breakfast, and that practice has been associated with increased body mass index (BMI) in both adolescents and adults.

Some short-term studies -- mostly in lean individuals who habitually ate breakfast -- have looked at the metabolic effects of skipping breakfast and produced varying results: impaired insulin sensitivity; no change or an increase in energy intake; increased hunger; decreased satiety' and worse lipid profiles.

Thomas and colleagues explored the issue in a crossover study involving 10 women, ages 25 to 40 (mean 29), who had a BMI of 27 to 35 kg/m2 (mean 31.4). Eight of the women regularly ate breakfast and two regularly skipped the meal.

The study took place on 2 separate days, 1 month apart, during the follicular phase of the women's menstrual cycles. The women were told to not exercise the day before each assessment. The night before each study day, the researchers provided the women with a standardized dinner -- 15% protein, 30% fat, and 55% carbohydrates -- that provided 35% of the total daily energy requirements.

On the morning of the first study day, the women were randomized to either eat a standardized breakfast -- with the same macronutrient breakdown as the dinner the night before -- containing 25% of daily energy requirements or to consume only a glass of water. On the second study day, the women did the opposite.

Four hours after eating breakfast or drinking the glass of water, the participants were given a standardized lunch providing 35% of daily energy requirements.

Pre-lunch insulin levels were similar in both the breakfast and no-breakfast groups, but insulin levels increased to higher levels after lunch in women who did not eat breakfast that day. The area under the curve (AUC) was significantly greater in the no-breakfast group (P=0.001).

The findings were similar for glucose, for which the AUC was significantly greater in the women who did not eat breakfast that day (P=0.004).

The level of free fatty acids before lunch was higher in the no-breakfast group, and eating lunch resulted in a rapid drop. However, the AUC was still significantly higher in the women who skipped breakfast (P=0.03).

Fish noted that one potential limitation of the study was the use of a healthy breakfast with a mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, which doesn't reflect a typical American breakfast consisting mostly of carbohydrates.

"It may be helpful for [the researchers] to look, in addition, to things that are more realistic for what's actually going on," Fish said.

Thomas disclosed support from an NIH grant, an NIH/NCRR Colorado CTSI grant, the Endocrine Fellows Foundation (Fellows Development Research Grant Program in Diabetes, Obesity, and Fat Cell Biology), and a Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center Pilot Grant.

She did not report any conflicts of interest.

Primary source: The Endocrine Society
Source reference:
Thomas E, et al "Metabolic effects of skipping breakfast in obese women" ENDO 2013; Abstract OR09-2.

Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. She is the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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A Tale of Two Fibers new
      #369657 - 06/28/13 01:42 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

A Tale of Two Fibers

By Tamara Duker Freuman
June 25, 2013 RSS Feed Print
Tamara Duker Freuman

Tamara Duker Freuman

There's much ado about fiber these days, and for good reason. But for all you hear about fiber's benefits, I've found that it remains one of the more misunderstood dietary components.

Most of the confusion about fiber rests in the fact that there are numerous different types of fiber, each with its own physical properties. These properties influence how fiber behaves in the body and account for its multiple – and often conflicting – functions. All fiber has one thing in common: By definition, it is indigestible by human enzymes. But beyond this, fiber can wear many different physiological hats.

For example, some types of fiber speed up digestive transit time – a polite way of saying that it helps move poop through your pipes faster. Other types of fiber can actually slow down digestive transit time, enabling the absorption of excess water in the colon, so that stool is less watery and more formed when it comes out. Some types of fiber are more likely to produce gas than others. And different types of fiber nourish different resident bacterial species in the gut, therefore, diets with a variety of different fibers from multiple food sources may promote a more diverse gut flora than diets with less fiber variety.

In other words, not all fiber is created equal. In my practice, where I'm routinely called upon to help patients manage irregular bowel patterns like diarrhea or excessively urgent bowel movements, I've found that the most important distinction to make is that between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that dissolves in water, and in so doing, transforms into a gooey, gummy, spongy mass that travels the length of the gut on its own timetable. But don't confuse this fiber's tendency to downshift digestive transit time with a constipating effect; rather, it is regulating.

Soluble fiber still contributes to fecal bulk and is able to hold onto water, therefore contributing to stools that are soft, well-formed and easy to pass – the Platonic ideal of a poop. Generally, soluble fiber is found in the flesh of fruits, root vegetables and in cooked grains. Examples include beta glucan in oats and barley and pectin in apples and citrus fruits.

Insoluble fiber is what you might call "roughage." When combined with water, its physical properties generally change very little; this is because it doesn't absorb water well. Therefore, insoluble fiber contributes bulk to the feces, helping to put pressure on the colon walls to stimulate a bowel movement. In this manner, insoluble fiber speeds up digestive transit time and is especially helpful when constipation is at issue. Insoluble fiber is found in the form of cellulose and hemicellulose from leafy veggies, fruit and vegetable skins or the bran layer of most whole grains; it's found in lignans from sesame or flax seeds and some mature vegetables. (A third type of fiber, called resistant starch, has some properties of both soluble and insoluble fiber. It's found in foods like beans, unripe bananas and potatoes that have been cooked and cooled.)

A variety of different fibers from different foods sources will deliver a variety of different and important health benefits. Therefore, in healthy people without bathroom woes, the ideal diet would contain a mix of both fiber types. Certain types of soluble fiber help lower cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber has been credited with helping to prevent colon cancer, since it helps speed toxins and cancer-causing food compounds out of the body without haste. Some fermentable types of both soluble and insoluble fiber help increase calcium absorption from the diet and stimulate the growth and activity of the gut's most beneficial bacterial populations. Both types of fiber also help delay stomach emptying after a meal and therefore tend to help improve blood sugar control.

Generally, when constipation is a problem, a mix of both fiber types is helpful and well tolerated. But among people prone to diarrhea, urgent loose stools or "hyperdefecation" (increased frequency of bowel movements, even if they're not diarrhea), the mix of fiber in the diet may deserve more careful management. I often tell my patients with chronic diarrhea that soluble fiber in particular is their best friend: It helps slow down stool that's racing through the gut too quickly and can often consolidate trips to the bathroom for people who experience multiple, incomplete bowel movements in rapid succession.

Lots of insoluble fiber, conversely, can make things a whole lot worse (particularly if it's not balanced out by some soluble fiber), exacerbating a pre-existing tendency toward urgent, loose bowel movements. For these patients, it can be helpful to think of soluble fiber as the "anchor" of each meal, ensuring that a fruit, veggie, grain and/or seed rich in soluble fiber plays a starring role in the mix.

At the risk of overstating the benefits of this approach to dietary fiber manipulation, I will share that my patients routinely describe the effect of so-called soluble fiber therapy as "life changing." Furthermore, the timing of fiber intake can play a role in managing symptoms. For people prone to urgent, loose bowels in the morning specifically, limiting insoluble-rich foods like salads at dinner and including a soluble-rich veggie (squash, skinless sweet potato), cooked grain (rice, pearled barley, quinoa) and/or soluble fiber supplement (Citrucel, Benefiber) can help smoothe out choppy morning bowel patterns. If symptoms tend to occur in the afternoon or evening, having a super-soluble breakfast (like oatmeal, chia seeds and banana) can help keep things flowing smoothly later on in the day.

As you can see, there's a lot more to fiber than meets the eye – and more to know than what a typical nutrition label reveals. If you need help figuring out how to tweak the fiber content of your diet to optimize your health and digestive tolerance, consult a registered dietitian to help you navigate the supermarket shelves to your advantage.

Hungry for more? Write to with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, CDN, is a NYC-based registered dietitian whose clinical practice specializes in digestive disorders, Celiac Disease, and food intolerances. Her personal blog,, focuses on healthy eating and gluten-free living.

Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. She is the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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Soy foods protect against colon cancer new
      #369935 - 08/06/13 10:09 AM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Scientists learn how soy foods protect against colon cancer

EurekAlert!, 08/06/2013

University of Illinois scientists have evidence that lifelong exposure to genistein, a bioactive component in soy foods, protects against colon cancer by repressing a signal that leads to accelerated growth of cells, polyps, and eventually malignant tumors. "In our study, we report a change in the expression of three genes that control an important signaling pathway," said Hong Chen, a U of I professor of food science and human nutrition. The cells in the lining of the human gut turn over and are completely replaced weekly, she noted. "However, in 90 percent of colon cancer patients, an important growth–promoting signal is always on, leading to uncontrolled growth and malignancies. Our study suggests that the aberrant Wnt signaling during the development of colon cancer can be regulated by soy–rich diets." "The good news is that a diet rich in soy genistein represses those signals through epigenetic modifications at the regulatory regions of those genes," said Yukun Zhang, a doctoral student in Chen's laboratory.

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Spicy Foods and IBS new
      #369996 - 08/16/13 12:59 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Spicy Foods and IBS

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Coconut Oil for IBS? new
      #370000 - 08/16/13 01:02 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

Coconut Oil for IBS?

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16 Foods that May Help Fight Acid Reflux
      #370043 - 08/23/13 01:38 PM

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7795
Loc: Seattle, WA

By Denise Reynolds RD G+ August 19, 2013 - 12:45pm for eMaxHealth

At the entrance to your stomach is a valve, a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter or LES. Normally, the LES closes as soon as food passes through, however, if it does not, digestive acids produced by the stomach can move back up – or reflux – back into the esophagus. This can lead to burning chest pain called heartburn. If these acid reflux symptoms happen more than twice a week, you have acid reflux disease, also known as GERD.

Common risk factors for acid reflux disease include:
• Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
• Being overweight or obese
• Snacking close to bedtime
• Smoking
• Being pregnant
• Taking aspirin, ibuprofen, certain muscle relaxers, or blood pressure medications

Doctors Jamie Koufman MD and Jordan Stern MD, along with French master chef Marc Bauer, have written the book Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure." Included are 75 healthy recipes that include foods that are good for patients with reflux disease.

Oatmeal is a bland grain that is filling in small amounts. Eating too large of a meal out of hunger can often lead to reflux, but the fiber in oats can help keep you full longer without "filling up." If eating plain oatmeal is just too bland to be palatable, try adding a spice such as cinnamon (as long as that isn't a reflux trigger) or even a little sugar. Remember to use low-fat milk or water, as high-fat dairy can lead to symptoms.

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and has been used throughout history as a treatment for gastrointestinal conditions, including nausea. A 2007 study found that ginger extracts can be just as effective as acid-blocking medications.

Ginger root can be peeled, sliced, diced or shaved using a grater. Add it to your favorite dish, steep it into a tea, or add it to a smoothie.

Aloe Vera
The leaves of the aloe vera plant is often used topically to relieve pain. Just as it eases burning of the skin, aloe vera juice can help treat the burning within the body from GERD. WARNING, though…aloe vera juice can be a powerful laxative. Long-term use is not recommended.

When you choose a salad over fried fast foods, you aren't only avoiding a potential GERD trigger, you are also consuming a food that is low in fat, calories and could help ease symptoms. Leafy greens are another filling food that will not leave you "over-full." But beware of high fat dressings, cheese, and fried croutons on your salad. Plus you may also want to avoid onions or tomatoes, as these can be triggers as well.

Bananas are neutral pH (5.6) and another food that is filling and bland, making them a great snack for those with acid reflux. They also contain substances that help suppress acid secretion in the stomach. The most effective bananas are those that are fresh and yellow; overripe bananas do not provide the same benefits.

Keep in mind, though, that every person with GERD has different triggers, and there are about 1% of patients that actually find bananas to worsen their condition. Keep a food diary so that you find your own personal reflux triggers.

Melons have a pH of 6.1 which makes them weakly acidic. However, they are a great source of magnesium, a mineral that is found in many reflux medications. Melons that seem to be particularly good for reflux sufferers include honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon. But, as with bananas, there is a small percentage of patients who find melon to worsen symptoms instead of helping.

Fennel may help improve stomach function. Steep it into a tea by adding two teaspoons of fennel sliced thin (the white bottom part) to boiling water. Strain after five minutes and drink. Fennel is also a great addition to salad and in chicken dishes.

Chicken and Turkey
Speaking of chicken, as long as you don't eat it fried and avoid the skin, chicken and turkey are a low fat, high-protein bland source of filling nutrients that are good for patients with reflux disease. Try it boiled, baked, grilled or sautéed.

Fish and Seafood
Here is another example where whole foods are better than supplements. Taking fish oil capsules may actually trigger symptoms, but if you eat the whole fish, it can be heartburn soothing. Again, eat it broiled, baked or grilled versus fried.

You might have heard of celery as a negative food – it burns more calories that it contains. That may not be entirely true, however it is true that celery is mostly water and fiber. It can work as an appetite suppressant to keep you from overeating.

For thousands of years, parsley has been used as a medicinal herb to settle the stomach and aid digestion. But most people ignore that little green garnish. Use parsley as a seasoning for foods instead of leaving it on the side.

Couscous, Rice and Potatoes
Complex carbohydrates are perfect foods for reflux sufferers. You may think that you should eat very bland grains, but that isn't true. Fibrous grains are not anymore likely to cause symptoms. Try couscous, bulgur and brown rice in soups and stews to make them more filling.
Potatoes are also a filling complex carb to include with meals. Just avoid the high fat sour cream and butter.

Fresh Pineapple
Fresh pineapple is rich in enzymes, particularly bromelain, which help aid digestion, alleviate inflammation and can help with the process of healing. Keep in mind that only fresh pineapple is recommended – not the juice, and not canned fruit in heavy syrup.

Papayas contain papain, which helps the stomach to better digest protein. Papaya also has anti-inflammatory benefits and is a powerful source of antioxidant nutrients. Try mixing diced papaya in salad or blend into your favorite fruit smoothie.

Chamomile is traditionally known for its calming and sedative properties. It may also help aid digestion, decrease stomach acid, and relieve irritation in the esophagus due to its high calcium content.

Apple Cider Vinegar (use at your own risk)
There are many who swear by a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar a day for reflux or other digestive problems. It is highly acidic, so obviously is not recommended in large doses. Small doses are thought to potentially help improve digestion, but there are no medical studies to back this claim.

This method certainly is safe to try unless you have ulcers (which the acidic nature of vinegar will aggravate) or if you are on certain medications (including diuretics, laxatives, heart disease medication, or diabetes medication). Apple cider vinegar may also damage tooth enamel.

Resources Include:
"Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure" by Jamie Koufman, Jordan Stern and Marc Michel Bauer. 2010
WebMD: Treating Acid Reflux Disease with Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Doctor Oz: Say Goodbye to GERD

Journal Reference:
Mugur N Siddaraju, Shylaja M Dharmesh Inhibition of gastric H+, K+-ATPase and Helicobacter pylori growth by phenolic antioxidants of Zingiber officinale. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Mar;51(3):324-32. PMID: 17295419

Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. She is the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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