Category Archives: nutrition

Best Supplements for Autoimmune Disease

In 2016, I started experiencing some very strange, life-altering symptoms: debilitating fatigue, GI issues, and unbearably sore joints. 18 months and many doctors later, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called reactive arthritis.

It was a frustrating process, and I wish I would’ve had more information about how to better manage my condition at the time.

Autoimmune diseases are notoriously hard to diagnose, and oftentimes even harder to treat.

And while there are many approved drugs for certain conditions, some of them come with unwanted side effects, which leads many of us to seek out supplements and alternative / homeopathic treatment options that might help.

In this article, we’ll look at supplements that may help with certain types of autoimmune disease. More research is definitely needed in this area, but there are some clinical studies available to help us understand what may work and what appears not to.

It should go without saying, but always talk to your healthcare professional before taking supplements for your autoimmune conditions … especially if you’re taking other medications.

Let’s jump right in …

What Is An Autoimmune Disease?

This description from Cleveland Clinic sums it up well:

Imagine that your body is a castle and your immune system is your army fighting off invaders like bacteria. If your army malfunctions and attacks the castle, you may have lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and/or psoriasis, among a hundred other autoimmune diseases. You may experience pain, fatigue, dizziness, rashes, depression and many more symptoms.

Autoimmune conditions are becoming more and more common. 1 in 15 people in the U.S. now have an autoimmune disease. And unfortunately, they’re one of the top 10 causes of death in women in all age groups (up to age 64).

Let’s look at some of the different types …

Types of Autoimmune Disorders

There are over 100 types of autoimmune diseases. Here are just a few of the most common:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Lupus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Psoriasis
  • Celiac disease
  • Graves’ disease

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

The causes are still unknown but there are several risk factors that can increase your likelihood of getting one, including:

  • Certain medications (some blood pressure meds, statins and antibiotics appear to increase risk)
  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Being female — 78% of people who have an autoimmune disease are women
  • Obesity
  • Infections

Scientists have also implicated the gut microbiome in numerous autoimmune conditions, including lupus, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Treatment Options for Autoimmune Disorders

Most autoimmune diseases are not curable, but you can manage symptoms with the right treatment methods. Everyone’s immune system, genetics and environment are different, and it’s important to work with your doctor (often a rheumatologist) to determine the best treatment approach for your autoimmune condition.

Common treatment options for autoimmune diseases include:

  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Depression and anxiety meds
  • Insulin
  • Sleep meds
  • Plasma exchanges
  • Corticosteroids
  • Rash creams and pills
  • Intravenous immune globulin
  • Drugs that suppress (subdue) your immune system (like Humira and Enbrel)

Best Natural Supplements for Autoimmune Disease

Supplements can also play a role in keeping symptoms at bay. Here are few that show promise:

Zinc

According to a 2018 metaanalysis, zinc deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infections and higher risk of autoimmune diseases. People with autoimmune disorders tend to show lower zinc levels.

A research team published a 2020 review that states:

The immune system is highly affected by fluctuations of zinc. Zinc is required for the proper functioning of every immune cell; thus maintaining adequate zinc homeostasis is essential for supporting an effective immune response.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31841960/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793296/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128053782000036

Learn More About Pure Food Supplements Containing Zinc

Vitamin D

An analysis of more than 130 studies showed an inverse association between vitamin D and the development of several autoimmune diseases, such as SLE, thyrotoxicosis, type 1 DM, MS, iridocyclitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis vulgaris, seropositive RA, polymyalgia rheumatica.

And a 2021 research team hypothesized that high doses of Vitamin D may be used to treat autoimmune diseases.

Vitamin D resistance provides a plausible pathomechanism for the development of autoimmune diseases, which could be treated using high-dose vitamin D3 therapy.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31323357/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.655739/full

Quercetin

Quercetin is a natural flavonoid (neuroprotective antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits) that’s in nearly all fruits, herbs, and vegetables.

According to a 2021 research paper titled Potential Implications of Quercetin in Autoimmune Diseases

In several recent studies quercetin has reportedly attenuated rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus in humans or animal models.

Quercetin will be expected to become a potential opportunity and supplement for the treatment and prevention of autoimmune diseases.

However, the research team went on to point out that the direct effects of quercetin on immune imbalance in patients are still unconfirmed and further randomized, controlled clinical studies are needed to better understand the efficacy and safety of quercetin for the treatment of autoimmune disorders.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8260830/

https://www.jimmunol.org/content/184/12/6815

Turmeric / Curcumin

Curcumin is a yellow-hued polyphenolic compound that’s the primary bioactive substance in turmeric, a flowering plant of the ginger family best known as a spice used in curry.

It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-boosting properties, and is used as a supplement to help with many conditions.

Studies have shown that curcumin may support patients suffering from autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Curcumin inhibits these autoimmune diseases by regulating inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-12, TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma and associated JAK-STAT, AP-1, and NF-kappaB signaling pathways in immune cells.

The use of purified active compounds such as curcumin at higher doses for therapeutic purposes needs further study.

It has poor bioavailability alone, necessitating special formulations (notably black pepper extract) to be efficiently absorbed.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17569223/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28059453/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18662800/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19594223/

Learn More About Pure Food’s Turmeric Supplement

Glucosamine / Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are the building blocks for cartilage and appear to stimulate the body to make more cartilage.

There are conflicting studies on the efficacy glucosamine and chondroitin, but based on what we know now it does appear that glucosamine and chondroitin can reduce the rate of collagen (joint tissue) degradation and symptoms of osteoarthritis, particularly in the knees.

Glucosamine and chondroitin’s effectiveness for rheumatoid arthritis isn’t as clear, as only a handful of studies have been conducted in relation to RA. Here’s what we know so far …

For RA patients, glucosamine appears to have positive effects for pain. When compared to NSAIDs for pain relief, glucosamine has shown evidence to produce similar pain reduction in RA patients as NSAIDs, without the side effects.

Here’s what Hugh Duckworth, M.D. from the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network has to say:

In general, when taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate supplements, if no improvement is seen in two months, you’ll likely not see any improvement over time. Most physicians advise patients to stop taking the supplements altogether after six months if no indication of improvement presents itself.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3828858/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11350488/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412843/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4138964/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110930123057.htm

https://examine.com/supplements/glucosamine/

Learn More About Pure Food’s Glucosamine Supplement

Fish Oil / Krill Oil 

Fish oil and krill oil are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help your body reduce triglycerides, reduce the symptoms of depression, and improve some painful, inflammatory conditions.

The fatty acids EPA and DHA contained in fish and krill oils are involved in regulating various biological processes such as the inflammatory response, various metabolic signaling pathways, and brain function.

There have been a number of clinical trials assessing the benefits of dietary supplementation with fish oils in several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases in humans, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis and migraine headaches.

According to one research review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition:

Many of the placebo-controlled trials of fish oil in chronic inflammatory diseases reveal significant benefit, including decreased disease activity and a lowered use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Another research team found that fish oil/krill oil may have “huge potential” to treat autoimmune diseases as type 1 diabetes, RA, SLE, MS.

An animal study found that krill oil helped protect against rheumatoid arthritis.

More research is needed, but fish and krill oils appear to have some benefits that may help people suffering from autoimmune conditions.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12480795/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907316/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11802309/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8401900/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030645/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17875549/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6776881/

Learn More About Pure Food’s Glucosamine Supplement

Ginger

Zingiber officinale is a plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family, which has traditionally been used for treatment of RA in alternative / homeopathic medicines of many countries.

According to a University of Michigan Medicine study, the main bioactive compound of ginger root, 6-gingerol, is therapeutic in countering the mechanism that fuels certain autoimmune diseases in mice (notably antiphospholipid syndrome and lupus). Hopefully this will lead to human trials to further test the effectiveness of ginger for autoimmune diseases like lupus.

And in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, seventy active RA patients were allocated randomly into two groups who either received 1500 mg ginger powder or placebo daily for 12 weeks.

Disease activity score and gene expression of immunity and inflammation intermediate factors were measured before and after the intervention.

The research team found that ginger can improve RA by decreasing disease manifestations via increasing FoxP3 genes expression and by decreasing RORγt and T-bet genes expression.

Again, further study is needed but ginger may be a supplement worth talking to your doctor about.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30844477/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4058601/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34159624/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26714420/

https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/138385

Probiotics

Research on the role probiotics play in autoimmune disorders is limited, but there are a few randomized, controlled trials that have shown that microbial modification by probiotics may improve gastrointestinal symptoms and multi-organ inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and multiple sclerosis.

One research review found that synbiotics and probiotics supplementation has significant effect on some inflammatory and oxidative stress markers; but, “the number of trials was too small and further investigations may be needed.”

One thing is for certain though: our microbiomes play a role in many autoimmune diseases. An article published in the journal Nature had this to say:

Scientists are trying to understand the mechanisms behind the apparent ability of the gut microbiota to trigger or to sustain autoimmune conditions. They hope to turn that knowledge into better therapies for conditions that are currently difficult to treat — perhaps even in the form of simple probiotic pills.

Future studies are definitely needed to assess safety issues and understand optimal strains and combinations.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30340338/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33642142/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213508/

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00197-z

Learn More About Pure Food’s Probiotic Supplement

Summary: Will Autoimmune Supplements Work for You?

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your doctor(s) to decide which treatment options are best for your autoimmune conditions.

Before taking any supplement, it’s important to have a conversation with a healthcare professional so they can evaluate the potential benefits, risks, and side effects based on your unique condition. This is especially important if you’re taking medications to ensure there are no drug interactions you need to worry about.

More research is definitely needed in this area, but supplements may be able to help you alleviate at least some of your symptoms, depending on your condition.

Again, talk to several different healthcare experts so you’re armed with as much knowledge from as many experts as you can and then use that knowledge to make informed decisions that are best for your unique autoimmune condition.

Speaking from experience, it can be an arduous journey, but once you identify 1 or 2 supplements that work well for you, it can make quite the difference in how you feel.

Lactose / Dairy Free Protein Shakes for Weight Loss, Lean Muscle Gain

If you’re looking to lose weight and/or gain muscle using protein shakes, without the unpleasant side effects that come from lactose / milk / dairy, then we’ve got you covered!

In this article, we’ll share:

  • Why so many people can’t digest lactose from dairy products properly (and the potential health implications).
  • What protein powders are best for lactose intolerance.
  • How to find the best dairy / lactose free protein shakes for you.
  • 8 delicious, non dairy protein shake ideas you can make today to help with weight loss.

Let’s get started!

What Is Lactose?

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products.

What Is Lactose Intolerance?

When you’re lactose intolerant, you can’t fully digest lactose in milk and other dairy-based foods and drinks. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, gas and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products.

Lactose intolerance affects an estimated 36% of Americans and 68% of the world population.

Lactose intolerance also seems to impact people from certain ethnic populations and races more prominently, including Latin Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asians, East Europeans and Middle Easterners.lactose free protein shakes

Why Are So Many People Lactose Intolerant?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Too little of an enzyme produced in your small intestine (lactase) is usually responsible for lactose intolerance. You can have low levels of lactase and still be able to digest milk products. But if your levels are too low you become lactose intolerant, leading to symptoms after you eat or drink dairy.

Certain diseases that affect the digestive systems (including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease), stomach or intestinal infections, and injuries to the small intestine (from surgery, trauma, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy) may reduce the amount of the digestive enzyme lactase available to process lactose properly.

What Types of Foods Are High in Lactose?

High lactose foods include the usual suspects like milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy products. But lactose is often hiding in common grocery store foods like bread and baked goods, chocolate and many types of candy, salad dressings and sauces, breakfast cereals and cereal bars, instant potatoes, soups, rice and noodle mixes, lunch meats, mixes for pancakes, biscuits, and cookies, margarine and butter.

Most people also don’t realize that lactose is also present in about 20% of prescription medications, such as birth control pills (oral contraceptives), and about 6% of over-the-counter medications, including many tablets for stomach acid and gas.

So if you’re on a lactose-free diet, it’s important to scrutinize ingredient lists and food labels.

What Protein Powders Are Best for Lactose Intolerance?

Most milk-based protein powders, including whey protein, contain lactose. So it comes as no surprise that these types of animal proteins can lead to gut disturbances for folks who are lactose intolerant.

There are certain whey protein powder brands that are lactose-free and/or contain the digestive enzyme lactase, which helps your body break down lactose. But it’s up to you the consumer to determine if these products are actually “non-dairy” like they claim to be.

Vegan / plant based protein powders are completely free of any dairy, so these may be a safer / more suitable option if you’re trying to avoid lactose.

How to Find the Best Non Dairy Protein Powders for Your Health Needs

First off, what are your health goals? What do you want your protein powder to do for you?

Help you feel better?

Look better?

Lose weight?

Do you care where the ingredients come from and if they’re organic? Or is cost more important to you?

For example, I choose supplements that help me look and feel better. I want my supplements to be organic and plant-based whenever possible, free of dairy and other allergens, and have no sugar added (because added sugar is one of the biggest causes of weight gain).

I also look for ingredients grown in the U.S. and Canada instead of China, where most brands source their ingredients from.

So determine what your top 3-4 most important criteria are, and then find a protein powder that fits your needs. It takes a little work, in full disclosure, because most of the top selling brands have ingredients that come from China, added sugar, and hidden junk that may not be dairy free.

8 Lactose and Dairy Free Protein Shake and Meal Replacement Recipes for Weight Loss

We used our protein powder, Pure Food, for these smoothie recipes, but any non-dairy protein powder option will work (as long as it doesn’t contain added sugar).

dairy free protein shake recipes

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Top 10 Gifts to Buy Yourself for a Healthier You in 2022

As nice as it is to give gifts to others around the holidays, guess who’s the one person most of you probably aren’t thinking about this time of year?

Yourself!

That’s why I put together a list of 10 of my best health and wellness-related recommendations for a healthier you in 2022!

These are truly the gifts that keep on giving (unlike the jelly of the month club) because they are all investments in your health that will pay dividends many times over if used consistently.

So here ‘ya go …

10 Health and Wellness Gifts to Buy Yourself This Year

  1. Exercise Band Set. Using exercise bands is one of the best ways to strengthen and lengthen muscles, boost functional strength, improve mobility and balance, and increase flexibility. I incorporate them into most of my workouts these days. Bonus: you can take them with you anywhere.
  2. Percussion Massager Gun. One of my favorite purchases in the last two years, a percussion massage gun helps relieve muscle aches and pains. This thing has helped me recover faster countless times, particularly when I get knots in my neck and back area (which is often). You can also try the newer Theragun Wave, which is a mini version that may be better suited for spot treatment. Better yet, treat yourself to regular massage therapy if you’re able!
  3. Viome Gut Intelligence Test. I’ve said it before, but personalized nutrition is the future and Viome is at the forefront. For $99, they will analyze your unique gut bacteria composition and tell you which foods you should/shouldn’t be eating.
  4. 23andme Health and Ancestry Kit. How cool is it that you can now learn about your family history through genetic testing? On top of that, 23andme’s health reports will tell you i.) genetic factors that may influence your chances of developing certain health conditions, ii.) whether you have specific genetic variants that may not affect your health, but could affect your children’s health, iii.) how your DNA may affect your body’s response to diet, exercise, and sleep, and iv.) the genetics behind your appearance and senses. Pretty amazing stuff.
  5. White Noise Machine. Struggle with sleep? This white noise machine is a life saver. Best investment I’ve ever made in my sleep.
  6. Calm Subscription. Taking time to meditate and breathe each day offers too many benefits to list–from improving your mood and memory to lowering blood pressure. Calm is a highly-rated app that has guided meditations sessions specifically for anxiety, work stress, grief, sleep, and more. I also love their ambient music tracks for focusing during the workday.
  7. Arbor Day Foundation Membership. Even if you’re not a gardener or green thumb, you can impact future generations long after you’re gone by helping plant trees. Make a donation or buy trees directly from their mail order catalog (at great prices) and they’ll ship them in the mail for you along with planting instructions. 
  8. My Immune Health Supplement Stack: Get sick less and recover faster by taking this Immunity Support stack daily: 1 Zinc + vitamin C capsule, 1 vitamin D3 capsule, and 2 Pure Food Digest capsules (1 with your two largest meals).
  9. Ullo Wine Purifier. Love wine but hate hangovers? Then try this wine purifier that removes sulfites, one of the most common causes of the dreaded wine headache.
  10. Books / Audiobooks:

So there you have it. Let us know what investments you’re making in your health this year in the comments!

Defining the Best Natural Protein Powder: What Makes It Natural?

Best Natural Protein Powder

One of the hottest trends in the health and wellness product market is “all natural.” But what does this actually mean? Truth is, “all-natural” is often just a marketing ploy to try to capitalize on a consumer’s desire to be healthy. To find the best natural protein powders, it’s important to dig a little deeper beyond the marketing claims to uncover what’s actually in the product. Here are a few things you should watch out for when looking for an all-natural protein powder.

Sugars & Artificial Sweeteners

It’s fantastic when your favorite healthy products taste great. But oftentimes, taste and “healthy” are mutually exclusive. Most so-called healthy natural protein powders that taste great contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners and “natural flavors” that don’t have any nutritional value and may actually do more harm than good.

The best natural protein powders should be lower in added sugar. If you want your protein to taste sweeter, blend it with fruit or add a natural sweetener like monkfruit or stevia. That’s because excess sugar in your diet is one of the leading causes of weight gain, diabetes, higher blood pressure, and a host of other issues.

It’s counterproductive to create a “healthy” and “all natural” protein powder that contains added sugar.

Fillers, Gums, & Other Junk

You’ll also notice the difference between natural protein powders and the less-than-natural powders while you’re mixing them. Thickeners and gums are generally used to even out the powder for a smoother finished shake. Generally, if you can just stir, mix or give your bottle a quick shake to create a smooth drink, the product is using these products. The best natural protein powders don’t use these things because they have zero nutritional value and can cause GI issues like gas, bloating, and diarrhea. If you find a good all natural protein powder that doesn’t contain this junk, use a blender for 5-10 seconds and it’ll mix up just fine.

The Best Natural Protein Powders Generally Have Less Ingredients

Once again, check out the ingredient list. If you see a long list of ingredients and chemicals you can’t pronounce, chances are good that there are some unnecessary things in there, and they probably aren’t all good for you. The best natural protein powders keep things clean and simple with a clear and minimal ingredients list. It’s a protein powder, not a magic potion.

One last thing: if you have questions about a particular product, ask the manufacturer! You’ll get a good sense of how the company operates and what their values are by seeing how they answer your questions.

If you’re getting answers that sound too rehearsed and/or are skirting around the issues you have, it’s probably a red flag to find another product.

The best natural protein powders out there actually want you to be healthy AND enjoy their product.

Visit our website to learn more about Pure Food all natural protein powder.

The Benefits of Plant-Based Protein Powders

Protein Powders Plant Based

If you’re looking to supercharge your workouts and build muscle, then you should consider upping your protein intake with protein powders. Plant-based options today are becoming more and more popular for helping people achieve their nutritional goals. But what exactly are the types of protein powders available? And what are the specific benefits that come with choosing plant-based protein powders? Read on to learn more about these powders and why protein powders from the Pure Food Company might be the right choice for you.

The Benefits of Plant-Based Protein Powders

There are plenty of benefits to enjoying protein powders, plant-based ones in particular. Here are the top four major benefits that come with choosing plant-based powders over the others, and what that means for your health and your lifestyle.

1.  A great source of iron: pea protein is just as effective as red meat for getting iron, so you don’t need to rely on animal protein to get it.

2.  Plant-based proteins have naturally-occurring dietary fiber: unlike many animal-sourced proteins, plant-based proteins tend to be higher in fiber, which is a key nutrient for digestion and overall health and helps you feel fuller for much longer.

3.  Same protein with less calories: overall, plant-based proteins have fewer calories than, and the same amount of protein as, animal-based protein sources, which gives you greater control over your caloric intake.

4.  Less bloating: many protein powders (whey and casein) contain lactose, a milk-based protein which leads to bloating and a gassy feeling for the 2/3 of people who are lactose intolerant. Plant-based proteins avoid this so that you can feel healthier and get the protein you need.

Protein Powders that Meet Your Body’s Needs

Besides the distinct advantages of plant-based protein powders, they also have another important advantage: they are friendlier to more dietary needs and sensitive bodies. As many people discover that some foods don’t sit well with them, more are on the hunt for products that help them feel great while meeting their nutritional needs.

This is one of the reasons why many people turn to plant-based protein powders. Plant-based powders that use all-natural ingredients are easier to digest and easier on our bodies in general, meaning that you can enjoy them without worrying about symptoms that could impact your lifestyle.

Want Effective Protein Powders? Plant-based is the Way to Go

If you’re looking to boost your protein intake with protein powders, plant-based options from Pure Food Company can help you get the nutrition you need to feel healthier and supercharge your workouts.

Our protein powders are made with all-natural ingredients, and our plant-based recipes are designed to fit most dietary needs. No matter your goals—weight loss, muscle gain, better gut health, more energy—our protein powders can help. Be sure to browse our selection to find the that suits your goals and your tastes. Contact us for more details. Protein powder that suits your goals and your tastes.

Vegan Protein Powder – Five Secrets You Need to Know

Best Vegan Protein Powders

Are you considering adding a vegan protein powder to your diet, or are you curious about why so many people are making the switch? Finding the best vegan protein powders can provide you with a host of benefits, so let’s take a dive into the top five secrets you need to know before investing in plant-based protein.

They Contain Lots of Fiber

Unlike animal-based proteins, vegan protein powders actually contain a lot of fiber. Fiber is essential for digestion, but most people don’t get nearly enough. Investing in the best vegan protein powders can be a good way to boost GI health, particularly if you suffer from problems related to digestion. Whey proteins can result in bloating, gas, and other discomforts, but the right plant-based solution can often optimize your gut health when whey doesn’t agree with you.

It’s Easy to Find Natural, Sustainable Brands

It’s not hard to find plant-based protein companies that have a mission for natural, sustainable products. But the best vegan protein powders won’t contain any of the additives, chemicals, sugars, fillers, gums, and other unhealthy products that are commonly found in animal-based proteins and even many plant-based brands as well. You should also keep an eye out for companies that encourage sustainability and give back to their communities.

They’re Super Nutritious

The best vegan protein powders will also give you a lot more than protein. Since plant-based protein powders are made from plants, you get a variety of other nutrients, too. Depending on the protein powder you pick, you could end up with an amazing blend of minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and probiotics. Just like using superfoods makes for a great salad, using super-powders makes for a nutritious, satisfying morning smoothie.

Safer Than Whey

You should also be aware that plant-based proteins may be safer than whey-based proteins, particularly for those who have trouble digesting dairy. While animal products and their proteins have long been associated with health risks such as heart conditions, fatigue, and digestive issues, vegan protein powders can enhance your health, energy, and mental clarity. One little-known fact is that plenty of athletes use plant-based proteins and lifestyles to promote better athletic performance and reduce inflammation.

Not All Plant Proteins Are Built Alike —The Best Vegan Protein Powders Are Better for a Reason

Don’t be fooled into thinking all plant-based proteins are alike. Many people that haven’t used protein powders before fall into the trap of incomplete protein powders, which won’t provide you with the same benefits as complete proteins. The best vegan protein powders mix a variety of plant-based ingredients and nutrients to give you the full spectrum of proteins you need for proper nourishment.

And they don’t contain added sugar, “flavors”, gums, or other junk … just real foods. If your plant protein tastes like a sugary milkshake, then it’s probably not healthy!

Overall, there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to finding the best vegan protein powders. From fiber to types of proteins, the right plant-based protein can transform your health and invigorate your daily routine. It’s no wonder so many people are taking advantage of the mental and physical benefits vegan proteins can offer. Visit our website for more information.

Are Plant-Based Protein Powders Better for Your Health?

protein powders plant based

Are you debating which protein powder to incorporate into your routine? Getting your protein powders from plant based sources instead of whey based can bring a lot of advantages to your health. From nutritional benefits to muscle-building to gut health, let’s take a look at what plant-based protein powders have to offer compared to their animal-based counterparts!

Nutritional Benefits

When you get your protein powders plant based, you’ll get a much greater nutritional diversity than whey-based protein powders offer. This is because plants have a much richer nutrient profile, which your body needs to function well. One of the most important nutrients you find more of in plant proteins is fiber (more on this below).

Where whey does have the edge is in its complete amino acid profile, but this can be addressed with plant based proteins by combining several different sources together..

Most people in America aren’t getting the amount of daily nutrients their bodies need, so a quick addition to your routine with plant-based protein powders is the convenient and smart way to ensure you’re better nourished.

Fiber & Digestion

Another benefit to getting your protein powders plant based is that they are generally much higher in belly-filling fiber than whey-based proteins. Fiber is excellent for your digestion, and this can be essential for those that struggle with digestive issues. Incorporating some plant-based protein powders into your routine can help your digestive system to run more smoothly and keep you more regular.

Improve Blood Flow

A lot of people invest in protein powders because they want to improve their athletic performance. This is why some of the top athletes get their protein powders plant based: because plant proteins help to improve your blood flow, which increases healing time after exercise.

Avoid Health Risks

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “The adverse effects associated with long-term high protein/high meat intake in humans were (a) disorders of bone and calcium homeostasis, (b) disorders of renal function, (c) increased cancer risk, (d) disorders of liver function, and (e) precipitated progression of coronary artery disease.”source: NCBI).

Getting your protein powders plant based can help you reduce your intake of animal protein.

Lactose Free

Up to 65 percent of people in the U.S are lactose-intolerant, which can mean major gut issues when consuming whey and other dairy-based proteins. That’s why, if you’re lactose-intolerant, it’s good news to know that you can get your protein powders plant based.

Don’t settle for proteins that will make you sick or avoid proteins altogether—get the protein you want without the negative effects on your body.

Overall, plant-based protein is a better choice than whey protein for many people, especially those with GI issues. If you get your protein powders plant based, especially from high quality plant protein sources like Pure Food, you can count on certain benefits, such as higher nutritional density, improved digestion, natural ingredients, better blood flow, avoiding health risks, and a lack of inflammation-promoting lactose. Click here for more details.

Vegan Protein Powder for Bodybuilders, Athletes, and Conscious Eaters

There are many good reasons to seek out the best vegan protein powders if you’re an athlete, bodybuilder, or simply a conscious eater. Protein powders are especially important if you follow a plant-based / vegan diet and you’re an athlete or bodybuilder (it takes lots of protein to obtain/maintain a healthy physique)! We’ll talk about this more below.

In addition to smoothies, vegan protein powder can also be used in other recipes, too. The best vegan protein powders can be used for puddings, breads, cookies, and in protein bar recipes.

If you’re an athlete or body builder looking for the best vegan protein powders, here are a few things to consider to find the “best” one for you!

Types of Vegan Protein Powder

If you are looking for more ways to get vegan proteins into your diet, you obviously don’t want to choose protein powders with whey, egg, milk proteins, collagen, or other obvious animal proteins because, of course, those are not vegan.

Even for non-vegans though, dairy and whey can cause GI problems … especially for bodybuilders and athletes who tend to consume more protein than most folks.

Vegan proteins come from ingredients like brown rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein, and chia seed protein, which are completely plant-based and easy to digest. Pea and rice protein, in particular, are higher in essential amino acids than other plant-based proteins and are absorbed easily by the body, making them among the best vegan protein powder choices.

Who Needs Protein Powder?

If you’re an athlete or bodybuilder, it’s generally recommended to eat close to 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight each day.

If you can get that much protein from eating whole, plant-based foods, then that’s great! But for 99% of people, that’s a very difficult thing to do.

Vegan protein powders are best for people who aren’t getting their daily protein requirements from whole foods.

Why Vegan Protein?

The best vegan protein powders contain only all-natural, plant-based ingredients that blend well into shakes, smoothies, and other recipes.

Watch out for hidden junk ingredients like gums, “natural flavors,” and sugars / sweeteners.

If you want to sweeten your vegan protein shake, add your own ingredients (like fruit)!

When figuring out the best vegan protein powders for you, it’s important to do your homework. Make sure you’re reading the ingredients lists and nutrition labels, researching the company you’re buying from, and looking beyond price (because you get what you pay for!).

So long story short, the best vegan protein powders are convenient, they’re “clean,” and they’re not made from ingredients that your body does not want. Read more about the ingredients in our vegan protein powders to see if they’re right for you.

How to Select the Perfect Protein Powder for Women

Protein powders are everywhere these days. They’re made with a variety of ingredients, plant- and animal-based, and come in many different flavors. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which is the best womens protein powder.

In this article, you’ll learn what protein powders are most commonly used for and the criteria we use to evaluate the best protein powder for women.

What Exactly Are Protein Powders and What Are They Used For?

Protein powders are powdered versions of common food proteins (duh).

The most common type of protein powder is made from whey, which is a milk-based protein. The problem with whey protein is that many women and men are lactose intolerant (an estimated 65% of adults!). If you’re lactose intolerant, consuming dairy products can cause issues with inflammation, digestion, immunity, etc.

Collagen protein is a newer source of animal protein made from the hair, skin, and nails of animals like cows, chicken, and fish. The long-term benefits and risks of collagen protein have not been established just yet, but it appears to be safe based on the current data available.

The most popular vegan option is soy protein powder. Unless it’s organic, however, soy protein is made from genetically modified (GMO) soybeans. Other plant-based protein options include pea, rice, hemp, pumpkin, and chia.

But plant proteins can be lacking in certain amino acids and therefore are not synthesized/absorbed quite as well as dairy proteins in the body.

That’s why the consensus among health experts is that the best women’s protein powder is actually a blend of other plant proteins like pea, rice, hemp, pumpkin, and chia. If you blend the right ratio of vegan / vegetarian proteins together, it can result in a perfect PDCAAS (protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score) of 1.0, the same as whey but without the inflammation!

In other words, combining these plant-based protein powders supplies your body with a healthy source of “complete” protein.

Why Use Protein Powder? 

People may want to increase their protein consumption with protein powders for a variety of reasons.

Many people use protein powders to help build muscle or improve body composition, while others use them to recover from sports injuries.

Women and men tend to lose muscle mass as they age, which is why eating a little more protein is recommended for most older adults.

What to Look in a Protein Powder

There are a few things that you should look for when you are shopping for the best women’s protein powder.

Organic – The best protein powders for women and men should have organic ingredients. You don’t want to consume unnecessary chemicals and toxins along with your protein.

• Easily digestible – Some protein powders, especially whey protein, can be hard for many folks to digest. For most women, a plant-based protein blend with pea, rice, hemp, chia, and/or pumpkin seed protein will be easier on the stomach.

• Tastes good (but no sugar) – Choking down a glass of awful tasting protein powder each morning is not fun…but the best women’s protein powders taste good and are good for you … so avoid any protein shakes with added sugar, which is the biggest contributor to weight gain!

• Probiotics –The best women’s protein powders are more than just a source of clean protein. Look for products that also give you added benefits, like probiotics, fiber, and amino acids.

The Best Women’s Protein Powder

One of the best women’s protein powders on the market is Pure Food Plant Based Protein Powder.

It’s made of a blend of organic pea, organic brown rice, and organic hemp proteins, and it is sweetened with all-natural stevia leaf extract. No gums. No “flavors”. No junk.

Each serving of Pure Food Plant Based Protein Powder has 20 grams of protein per serving, 4 grams of branched chain amino acids, and 4 grams of fiber. It also contains 9 essential amino acids, 1 billion CFUs of probiotics, and zero grams of sugar per serving.

Pure Food Plant Based Protein Powder is available in vanilla and raw cacao flavors, and it blends smoothly for a delicious finish. Mix it with your favorite fruits, vegetables, plant milks, and/or nut or seed butter to make a satisfying shake. Try Pure Food Plant Based Protein Powder if you are looking for one of the best women’s protein powders. Click here to find out more.

How to Improve Gut Health Naturally

microbiome git health

Your microbiome, the community of around 100 trillion bacteria, viruses, and fungi inhabiting your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, plays a pivotal role in health and disease

The microbiome has been implicated in multiple chronic conditions ranging from inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease to colorectal cancer.

Your microbiome has a direct impact on how you think, feel, and act too. 

We know that the gut microbiota undergo significant fluctuations over the course of one’s lifetime … and these modifications are frequently associated with undesirable effects on your health. 

But, these fluctuations are influenced by several controllable factors, such as lifestyle, stress, nutrition, and antibiotic use. A 2021 study showed “how little of the microbiome is predetermined by our genes and therefore how much is modifiable by diet,” according to researcher Sarah Berry. 

In this guide, we will cover four proven strategies for improving your gut health. We will talk about some exciting research that will show you how to 1.) breathe, 2.) move, 3.) exercise, and 4.) sleep better to create long-term, sustainable changes to your microbiome and in turn, your overall health and wellness. 

Let’s get started … 

Download the PDF Version of This Gut Health Guide Here

Breathing

deep breathing for gut healthYou know that feeling you get when you’re stuck in traffic and late for a meeting? Or somebody cuts you off then has the audacity to honk at you? 

These types of stressful events cause emotional responses like anger or fear, which prompt an immediate physical reaction within your body: your heart beats faster, your breathing gets quicker, and your stomach tenses up. 

This “fight or flight” response causes blood to move from your gut to the larger muscles, which hampers digestion, weakens your immune system, and increases inflammation.

The changes may not last long, and in the short term they aren’t harmful and may even be helpful in certain situations. But when they happen repeatedly, over time they can cause dysbiosis (when your gut bacteria are out of whack). 

The good news is, you can learn to recognize and turn off these automatic responses through deep breathing.

Before you dispel this as New Age mumbo jumbo, here’s some science to quell your skepticism.

According to the University of Michigan Health System

For those suffering from GI symptoms, diaphragmatic breathing offers specific benefits: Activating the diaphragm creates a gentle massaging action felt by internal organs like the intestines and stomach, which can reduce abdominal pain, urgency, bloating and constipation. While diaphragmatic breathing, you are facilitating the activation of the parasympathetic system, which can be thought of as the relaxation response of the body or the “rest and digest” state. 

Deep breathing has additional benefits, including:

Action Steps: 

  1. Read this primer on how to breathe better
  2. Practice deep breathing each day. Start with just 1-5 minutes then work your way up from there (I personally aim for 10-30 minutes each day, spread out over 2-3 sessions depending on the day). There are many different deep breathing techniques (progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, repetitive prayer, guided imagery, the Wim Hoff Method, to name a few).

Eating

foods to improve gut health naturally

Eating for better gut health is a highly individual affair. 

In this section, we’ll cover some different dietary approaches that may be beneficial for those GI issues. 

First, it’s important to talk to a specialist if you’re having digestive issues to make sure it’s not something more serious. I also highly recommend getting tested for food allergies and getting a gut intelligence test. These two tests will tell you exactly what foods you should and shouldn’t be eating, based on your unique physiology. 

Now let’s unpack a few dietary approaches that may (or may not) help improve your gut health. 

The FODMAP Diet

FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut, which can trigger symptoms in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut disorders. 

These substances include lactose, fructose, fructans, galactans, and polyalcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, and isomalt). 

Clinical trials suggest that most patients with IBS report a reduction in symptoms from following a low-FODMAP diet. 

Also, people with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) seem to benefit from a low-FODMAPs diet and often experience a reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms.

But despite the demonstrated beneficial effects, low-FODMAPs diet have generated some concerns, namely: 

  • IBS patients have been shown to have a dysbiotic microbiota, which might predispose them to additional pathological dysbiosis (a gut that’s out of balance that can lead to other health issues). 
  • In one clinical trial, microbiota of IBS patients submitted to 4-week dietary intervention was compared with that of an IBS patient with a habitual diet. The authors demonstrated a reduction in concentration and proportion of Bifidobacteria after the carbohydrate restriction. 
  • Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) patients on the low FODMAP diet experienced a reduction of beneficial Bifidobacteriaceae and an increase of disease-promoting Lachnospiraceae were observed in their gut microbiota. 

Taking probiotics might help offset some of this. According to this 2019 study

Supplementation of the diet with probiotics could help in maintaining the beneficial component of gut microbiota, especially considering the inverse correlation between Bifidobacteria and the symptomatology of IBS. 

The Impact of Ketogenic Diets on Gut Health

Low carbohydrate diets like keto, Paleo, and Atkins focus on drastically reduced carbohydrate intake in favor of fats and protein. 

More research is needed on the long-term effects of these diets on gut health. Here’s what we know so far, based the current body of evidence

  1. A few human and animal studies have shown different results demonstrating positive effects on reshaping bacterial architecture and gut biological functions, while others reporting negative effects as a lowered diversity and an increased amount of pro-inflammatory bacteria. 
  2. According to several different studies, better strategies are needed to maximize the benefit of ketogenic diets. Here’s what they recommend: 
    1. Introduce the use of whey and plant proteins (i.e., pea protein).
    2. Reduce the intake of animal protein.
    3. Implement fermented food and beverages (yogurt, water and milk kefir, kimchi, fermented vegetables). 
    4. Introduce prebiotics and probiotics. 
    5. Reduce omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids ratio (increase omega 3 while decreasing omega 6).
    6. Introduce an accurate quantity and quality of unsaturated fatty acids. 
    7. Avoid artificial sweeteners and processed foods.
    8. Test your microbiome if needed (analysis of 16S rRNA to identify biodiversity and richness).

Gluten Free Diets and Gut Health: What We Know So Far

What about a gluten free diet? It’s a low-carb world, and many people are pushing grains off their plate in an effort to control their waistline and improve GI symptoms. 

Gluten-free diets are essential for people with celiac disease and other medical conditions that are negatively affected by gluten. 

But for most people, gluten is unjustifiably vilified. 

A 2019 meta analysis published in the scientific journal Nutrients reported that in patients with cardiovascular disease, after two years on a gluten-free diet, the “imbalance of duodenal mucosal microbiota were not completely restored with a worsening in the reduction of bacterial richness.”

And while some potentially pathogenic bacteria such as E coli and Staphylococcus may decrease on a gluten free diet, levels of beneficial species as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus also remain low. 

Anti-nutrients: Good or Bad? 

Anti-nutrients are natural substances found in certain plant- and animal-based foods that can block the absorption of nutrients. A common refrain you hear from people who swear off grains is that anti-nutrients are terrible for you and cause all types of issues.  

That may not be the case though. 

According to the Harvard School of Public Health

  • The pros and cons of anti-nutrients on long-term human health is an area of active research. 
  • Though certain foods may contain residual amounts of anti-nutrients after processing and cooking, the health benefits of eating these foods outweigh any potential negative nutritional effects. 
  • Eating a variety of nutritious foods daily and avoiding eating large amounts of a single food at one meal can help to offset minor losses in nutrient absorption caused by anti-nutrients.
  • Many anti-nutrients have antioxidant and anticancer actions, so avoiding them entirely is not recommended.

Why Most People Should Not Give Up Grains

Based on the current body of evidence, whole grains have some unique digestive health properties that make them a valuable addition to the diet for most people. The pros outweigh the cons. 

Teresa Fung, adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, saysThe main benefit of whole cereal grains, such as wheat, oats, and barley, is in the fiber. Cereal fiber is different from vegetable fiber or bean fiber.”

A reduced risk of colon cancer has been linked to fiber from grains, but not necessarily fiber from other sources, such as fruits and vegetables, she says. 

Whole grains have other health benefits as well. They lower cholesterol levels and reduce chronic inflammation, which has been linked to cancer and heart disease. Reducing chronic inflammation inside the body may also help to control blood pressure.

A 2016 study published in the journal Circulation found that people who ate at least four servings of whole grains each day had a 22% lower risk of death from any cause during the study period, compared with people who didn’t eat as much. The study’s authors also found a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer associated with diets rich in whole grains.

How Whole Grains Affect Your Microbiome

Whole grains break down slowly during digestion, which helps to keep blood sugar levels on an even keel. Similarly, some studies have linked whole grains with a lower risk of getting diabetes.

The fiber in whole grains acts as a prebiotic, which is a substance that helps to feed, grow, and sustain healthy bacteria in your intestines. 

One study found that “whole grains, including oats, constitute important sources of nutrients for the gut microbiota and contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.”

Another study published in 2019 in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition showed “Increasing cereal fiber consumption should be encouraged for overall good health and for gut microbiota diversity.

Action Steps: 

Cleveland Clinic Gastroenterologist Christine Lee, MD, shares six tips to improve your gut health and digestion naturally.

  1. Eat five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Fill your plate with the colors of the rainbow, from red to dark green. Stock up on canned and frozen veggies for convenience, but also be sure to include lots of fresh produce into your meals. Try to add a few veggies with each meal. 
  2. Choose whole grains more often. Look for and choose packages that say “whole grains” more often than white or processed bread or other grains. Then also check the amount of fiber the product contains. Try to choose items with at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving for the most benefit.
  3. If you eat meat, limit the amount of beef, pork, lamb and processed meats you eat. Choose poultry or fish more frequently than red meat and limit all processed meats, like salami, bacon and hotdogs. Smaller portions of meat (1-4 oz.), consumed less often, are also beneficial. Most people don’t need to consume more than 6-8 ounces of meat every day. Try replacing meat with some beans or other plant-based protein for more fiber. One half cup of beans provides the same amount of protein as in 1 ounce of meat.
  4. Experiment with healthier cooking options. Opt for steaming, poaching, stewing, microwaving, braising and boiling over grilling and frying. And don’t forget – it’s important to make sure your meat gets cooked thoroughly before eating it to reduce other digestive health risks, such as salmonella (author’s note: I spent a day in the hospital after getting salmonella … trust me when I say you don’t want to experience it). 
  5. Consume foods with probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that help fight off the bad bacteria in your gut. They also produce healthy substances that provide nourishment for your gut. Good sources of probiotics include fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchee, raw apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic and sauerkraut. If those foods don’t suit your fancy, then a probiotic supplement may help. 
  6. Limit foods that have added sugars and animal fats. These foods can produce harmful chemicals in your GI tract and cause major damage over time. Read ingredient labels for sources of added sugars – they can be tricky! 

Sleeping

microbiome supplementsThere’s a direct link between sleep disturbances and gut health. 

Just as you can influence your waking routine, scientists have determined poor night-time practices and an unhealthy diet can change your gut flora and impact your risk of insomnia

There are several theories on how your gut microbes might affect sleep: 

  1.     The Gut-Brain Axis

The connection between our brain and our digestive system is a complex system connected by the vagus nerve. Key signals can be passed between these two, such as when we’re hungry, stressed, or even our emotional state.

If your gut microbiome shows signs of gut dysbiosis, leading to leaky gut syndrome, it’s possible neuroinflammatory metabolites may be traveling up the vagus nerve and penetrating the brain. These metabolites have been shown to influence our stress response, impacting our heart rate and disrupting sleep structure patterns.

  1.     Hormone Regulation:

Many microbes within our gut microbiome produce serotonin, a key biochemical that regulates our mood. Serotonin is also a precursor for melatonin, another hormone essential to our light-dark cycle that eases us to sleep. If the gut microbiome isn’t producing it’s fair share of serotonin, this hormone flow may cease to a trickle and change standard sleep patterns.

This theory has also been supported by the number of people suffering from mood disorders like depression who also report additional issues with sleep. Researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan said, “Changing which microbes are in the gut by altering diet has the potential to help those who have trouble sleeping.”

  1.     Immune System:

Scientists say our gut houses upwards of 70% of our immune system. When we’re at our optimal health, this “immune organ” works in peak performance like an efficient fighting machine. However, when our body is under long-term assault from toxic substances, invading bacteria, or injury, our immune system can interrupt normal processes and change how well we regulate our sleep cycle.

When the gut ecosystem becomes imbalanced, it can cause an immune reaction that permeates through the digestive lining and penetrates peripheral tissues. If this immune response reaches organs such as the lungs, the inflammatory response can impact breathing at night and increase the likelihood of disorders like sleep apnea.

Action Steps: 

  1. Improve your diet by following the Action Steps in the Eating section above.  
  2. Try a prebiotic / probiotic / digestive enzyme supplement
  3. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Try going to bed 20-30 minutes earlier than normal each night. Dr. Meeta Singh, a sleep disorder expert at Henry Ford Sleep Disorders Center says “If you increase your time in bed by even 15 – 20 minutes, you will notice a difference.”
  4. Don’t eat or drink caffeine in the afternoon. Caffeine can disrupt your sleep. Cut it out after 3 p.m.
  5. Don’t drink too much alcohol. 1 or 2 drinks a night should be your limit. Any more and your sleep will suffer.
  6. Keep your room as dark and quiet as possible. I have two young kids, so I know “quiet” is relative for many of us. But a room darkening shade and/or a sleep mask is a great investment if you don’t have them. And to drown out those loud kids, pets, partners, use ear plugs.
  7. Invest in a white noise machine and ear plugs if needed (check out the links for the ones I use). The Lectrofan white noise machine is the loudest and best white noise machine I’ve used … we have four of them in our house!
  8. Cut out screen time while in bed. Watch TV, check your phone, or dabble on your tablet outside of the bedroom. Studies show technology in the bedroom negatively impacts sleep.
  9. Spend 15-30 minutes winding down. Read, do yoga, stretch, foam roll, or meditate to wind down before bed. People who do sleep better.
  10. Invest in a good pillow and mattress. Think about how much time you spend in bed. A good mattress will probably set you back $1000+, but upgrading your pillow is a super easy sleep hack. I recommend the Coop Home Goods Pillow and body pillow. They’re highly rated on Amazon, hypoallergenic, and you can adjust the amount of memory foam inside to your liking.
  11. Use a sleep tracker. There are many sleep tracking products on the market now. I have used both the FitBit Charge 2 and Charge 3 with success, as well as the Withings Sleep Mat. All are $150 or less. I’ve heard good things about the Oura Ring too, but it’s a bit more expensive. 

Moving 

Studies suggest that exercise can:

  • Enhance the number of beneficial microbial species
  • Enrich the microflora diversity
  • Improve the development of commensal bacteria. 

Microflora diversity is indispensable to homeostasis and normal gut physiology and contributes to efficient signaling along the aforementioned brain-gut axis.

Exercise also improves the Bacteroidetes-Firmicutes ratio, which may contribute to reducing weight and gastrointestinal disorders, stimulate the proliferation of bacteria which can modulate mucosal immunity and improve barrier functions, and stimulate bacteria capable of producing substances that protect against gastrointestinal disorders and colon cancer. 

Here are some tips to improve your gut health with exercise …

Action Steps: 

  1. Schedule a little exercise every day. Add a recurring event on your calendar for 5-15 minutes of exercise every day. 5 minutes may not seem like enough, but you will often find that you want to do more when you have the time. And even if you only have time for 5 minutes, it’ll help you create a habit, which is imperative to long-term success. 
  2. Find some types of exercise you don’t hate. You’ll be more likely to stick with something you enjoy. So try different types of workouts until you find a couple you like doing. 
  3. Switch things up for best results. You need to constantly push your body outside of its comfort zone to create adaptation. The point of diminishing returns happens when you do the same thing for too long and it yields less and less desirable results relative to the work put in. Constantly seek out and try new ways of moving. 
  4. Don’t sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. If you spend a lot of time sitting, changing that habit is one of the best things you can do for your overall health (and particularly your gut health). Stand up and go for a 5-minute walk around your house, stretch, dance, do a few yoga poses. Try “walking meetings” whenever possible. Here are a few of my favorite exercises I do in between my daily tasks. 

Download the PDF Version of This Gut Health Guide Here