What Can’t Probiotics Do?

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After birth, our gut is colonised by trillions of micro-organisms called probiotics which we are supposed to have for life. These micro-organisms, mostly beneficial bacteria, are important to the health and wellbeing of our bodies and carry out numerous functions which include enhancing immunity, digesting food and manufacturing energising B vitamins. Each of us have a unique probiotic profile which is influenced by genetics, gender and age, all of which cause it to change throughout our lifetime. This probiotic profile is of course also influenced by our diet and lifestyle.

With increasing research, we are finding out that many probiotic species have specific roles to play in the body including elevating mood, preventing gum disease as well as protecting our heart. So which probiotic supplement should you take? And can you take more than one probiotic supplement? Read More…

How To Settle A Sore Stomach

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When a friend had a bad bout of food poisoning with severe diarrhoea recently, I asked naturopath Ben Brown, technical director of Viridian Nutrition, for advice. He suggested she do the following:

  • Take an oral rehydration solution (available from chemists nationwide).
  • Avoid dairy food as transient lactose intolerance can develop and make diarrhoea worse.
  • Introduce a daily zinc supplement, containing around 20mg of elemental zinc. Try Solgar Zinc Picolinate (£9.91, victoriahealth.com).
  • Take 500mg of the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii, which has strong antimicrobial and anti-diarrheal activity, twice daily. Viridian Nutrition Travel Biotic (£20, victoriahealth.com) contains S. boulardii in a ginger-root base.
  • Sip strong black tea (the tannins help battle the infective bacteria and reduce inflammation), plus ginger tea if you feel nauseous. Eat grated or stewed apple with the peel on.

Read More…

My Organic Life

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Helen Browning OBE, 54, is an organic tenant farmer in Wiltshire and chief executive of the Soil Association. She has been chair of the Food Ethics Council since 2002. I grew up on the 1,350-acre livestock and arable farm that I now run. I always knew I wanted to farm and did a degree in agricultural technology.

I had all the usual aspirations about getting huge yields, but then I saw the countryside changing, hedges being ripped out, wildlife disappearing and poor welfare of farm animals – especially pigs and chickens. Organic farming seemed like a possible solution, so I started to experiment. Read More…