Yeast the Inflammation Beast

 

candida-albicans

Fiona McMahon DPT, PT

You are what you eat. Trash in equals trash out. You can’t exercise yourself away from an unhealthy diet. These adages are often on my mind as I make my food choices because of the myriad of health professionals who have taken time to come to our practice to tell us how we can improve our own and our patients’ health by taking more time to look at what we are consuming in our diet. Lately many of these clinicians have been focusing on candida overgrowth and diet, which can contribute to pain and inflammation conditions.

What we eat can directly affect the bacterial and fungal make up of the gut, AKA the gut microbiome.The gut requires a certain level of good bacteria to help us digest what we eat. Over time a poor gut microbiome can affect how efficiently the gut works. The function of the gut goes beyond just digesting food, but also is vitally important for the production of neurotransmitters, which help to spread messages within the brain and throughout  the whole body.  The microbiome also plays an important role in our hormones, and immune system. When the microbiome of the gut is not balanced, it is called dysbiosis.

One of the most common culprits in gut microbiota dysbiosis is candida, (Yeast!). Candida is a naturally occurring inhabitant of the body and when it’s at appropriate levels, it doesn’t tend to be noticed, but anyone who has experienced a yeast infection knows that if this little guy is allowed to go unchecked, it can do a lot to make you miserable. Besides plaguing women with itching, burning vulvas, yeast overgrowth may cause many other ailments.

Science has pointed to the role candida can play in contributing to chronic and inflammatory conditions. In one study by Kumamoto in 2011, candida overgrowth was associated with delayed healing of inflammatory lesions and were associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines (chemicals) and increased incidence of inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s  disease.

Yeast overgrowth can also affect the bladder along with over colonization of saccharomyces (another form of fungus). In fact yeast and saccharomyces was found to be higher in women during a flare of interstitial cystitis than when their symptoms were low.

Yeast is not the only organism that can get out of balance and affect our bodies in harmful ways. There are many other players that can get out of balance. Some signs of an altered gut microbiome is a history of allergies, eczema, or repeated fungal infection.

 

What to do?

It all seems pretty dire, right. How do you control who is colonizing your gut, when you barely have enough time to make it to the gym after work? There are a few simple steps you can start with.

Avoid antibiotics, unless your doctor thinks you need them.

 

 

PillsThe medical community has become a lot more aware of the dangers of over prescribing antibiotics from their perspective, but it is important to keep in mind that a powerful antibiotic can wipe out good bacteria and bad bacteria in one fell swoop. If the good guys in your gut are reduced, the bad bacteria have a better chance of taking over. Take antibiotics only when recommended. Keep in mind antibiotics will not help treat viruses like the flu, they can only treat bacterial infections.

Modify your diet

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Increase your consumption of good fats (omega 3’s) to help reduce inflammation.

Food high in omega 3’s include flax and hemp seed/oils, fish (the fishier the fish, usually means more omega 3’s, for example herring is higher in omega 3 than a milder fish like snapper). Also reduce your consumption of processed foods which can increase inflammation levels and eliminate simple sugars and fried foods. If this is only minimally successful, try a gluten and dairy free diet.  

If simple changes are not helping consider seeing a professional

doctorFind a naturopath, functional or integrated MD, or nutritionist who can investigate more fully whether or not you have SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), candida overgrowth, or other gut microbiome disorder. Or perhaps you are lacking certain ingredients, vitamins or mineral.  These professionals can tailor a diet and medication regimen to help return your gut microbiome to tip top shape.

 

 

Sources:

Kamamoto C. Inflammation and gastrointestinal candida colonization. Cur Opin Microbiol. 2011;14(40): 386-391

BBPT Health Tip: Eat your Fiber

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Fiona McMahon, DPT, PT

What is fiber?

Fiber, it’s the hot ticket. It is being marketed to us like crazy. But why is fiber is so important? What fiber is best? Should you get more fiber with supplements? Let’s take a closer look into the benefits of fiber in this edition of BBPT’s Health tips.

Fiber is the part of food that we cannot digest. It is separated into two types, soluble and insoluble. Both bulk up the contents of your stomach and colon, which can help you feel more full but after that, the similarities end.

As the name implies, soluble fiber dissolves in water but insoluble does not. Insoluble fiber increases the mass of the stool and helps to get things moving, in terms of passing feces. Soluble fiber absorbs water. The truth is, most people are not getting enough fiber. Less than half of people in the United States consume the recommended amount of fiber. Let’s discuss the benefits of fiber and how to make sure you are getting enough.

So what if you don’t have issues going number 2? What else can fiber help you with?

Fiber has been shown to help with reducing the risk of the following conditions:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Fiber has also been shown to:

  • Improve insulin sensitivity in people who have diabetes
  • Enhance weight loss
  • Improve GI conditions like acid reflux, duodenal ulcers, diverticulitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids
  • Enhance the function of the immune system

How much to eat and where to get it?

Men under 50 years and under should consume at least 38 grams of fiber daily, Women under 50 should consume at least 25 grams of fiber daily. Women over 50 should eat at least 21 grams and men over 50 should get 30.  Those who suffer from constipation may add more to your diet.   We suggest contacting a nutritionist for proper amounts of soluble versus insoluble in these cases and anyone with a history of GI issues.  Also, please discuss with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.  

Adding  fiber to your diet when you are not used to it can sometimes be a little difficult. If you add too much too quickly, you may experience gas and bloating. Start slow and work your way up.  Also, drink plenty of water.

Start by adding in whole wheat items (unless you have a gluten sensitivity), legumes, fruits, and vegetables slowly to your diet. Check out the Mayo Clinic’s full list of fiber rich foods here .

Sources

Anderson J, Baird P, Davis R, et al. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutr Rev. 2009. 67(4)188-205

Family Doctor.org Decermber 2010: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/food-nutrition/nutrients/fiber-how-to-increase-the-amount-in-your-diet.printerview.all.html. Accessed November 11, 2016.

Medlineplus. Soluble vs. insoluble fiber.https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002136.htm. Accessed November 17,2016.  

Pelvic Health 101: Does my diet really matter?

By Fiona McMahon, DPT

Calories in should equal calories out, right? It turns out there’s a little more to health than that. Learn more about how diet can affect your pelvic floor. Get practical tips for integrating diet into the management of pelvic floor dysfunctions such as constipation, interstitial cystitis ( painful bladder syndrome), and many others.

veggiesOur next course, where you’ll learn all about nutrition and pelvic health from nutritionist Jessica Drummond, is Tuesday, November 3, at 7pm in our office!  First-time attendees will receive FREE copies of Amy’s DVD, Healing Pelvic and Abdominal Pain, and we provide snacks. We will also be tweeting the highlights of the seminars at @beyondbasicspt!

Pelvic Health courses are free to the public, but space is limited. Please sign up at Pelvichealth101.eventbrite.com  for an evening of informative information that will help you better manage your pelvic floor symptoms!

Hope to see you soon!

Photo Source: www.frigoscan.com

Lymphedema and Diet

By Roseanne C. Schoen, PT, DPT, LLCC

There is no specific lymphedema diet, but there are some general guidelines to follow:

Limit salt intake– try to avoid processed foods or foods with high sodium content which can cause fluid retention and increased swelling

Adequate water intake– proper hydration is essential, especially following lymphedema treatment sessions, to remove waste products from the body

Balanced diet– it is suggested to a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in order to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle

 

Resources:

The National Lymphedema Network-http://www.lymphnet.org/lymphedemaFAQs/questions/question_01_00.htm

Dawson R and Piller N. Diet and BCRL: facts and fallacies on the web. Journal of Lymphoedema, 2011, 6:1. 36-42

Easy as Pumpkin Pie

Now that you and your fellow bloggers have heightened levels of fiber consciousness, you will be happy to know that one of this season’s favorite vegetables, the pumpkin, is a healthy-eater’s new best friend. Not only are pumpkins chock full of fiber (3.5 grams per half cup of canned pumpkin, 1.5 grams per quarter cup of seeds) and protein (7 grams per 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas), but they also contain Vitamins A and C, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. These vitamins and minerals collectively help tame free radicals, preserve healthy bones and teeth, fight cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, and improve the immune system.  Furthermore, pumpkins contain carotenoids (like carrots, hence the orange color) which has anti-infection and anti-aging properties. Pumpkins pack a powerful punch!  (Try saying that one five times fast!)

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be on your way. Select a pumpkin that is heavy for its size, ideally a small pumpkin that weighs between 2 and 5 pounds. Whole pumpkins can be stored for up to six months, preferably in a cool dry location. Once they are opened they should be refrigerated for up to 2-3 days if raw or 4-5 days if cooked. Pumpkins may also be frozen once opened. Try out the recipes below to add some pumpkin spice and flavor to your healthy life! Enjoy!

Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice

Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Pie

An Ounce of Prevention

Join us at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy in celebrating this September, “Fruit and Veggies- More Matters Month” with the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of maintaining pelvic floor health by providing fiber, a crucial bulking agent that contributes to normal stool consistency. In addition, adequate fiber intake promotes the normal movement of stool through the large intestine (colon).

There are two main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble.  Soluble fiber allows for proper sugar absorption in the stomach, and it decreases the amount of harmful low density lipoproteins (LDLs) in the bloodstream.  Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, dried peas, prunes, psyllium husks, nuts, barley, oranges, pears, peaches and apples.  Insoluble fiber is directly related to the passing of regular bowel movement, to preventing constipation, and to maintaining a healthy pH in the large intestine.  Foods that provide insoluble fiber include whole wheat products, brown rice, popcorn, green beans, potato skins, cauliflower, and flax seeds.

Constipation prevention and maintaining normal bowel movements is an important piece in pelvic floor health.  Otherwise, excessive straining and bearing down while attempting to pass a bowel movement can overly stretch and stress the pelvic floor muscle.  This may result in pelvic organ prolapse.  Healthy, normal bowel movements stimulated by proper fiber intake is the best form of prevention.  Nutrition labels can be include information about the amount of dietary fiber per serving, so try to be mindful of your fiber intake- aim for 25-35 grams per day.  Just make sure to drink enough water to ensure proper movement of the fiber through your system- aim for 8 cups of 8 fluid ounces of water per day.   Happy fruit and veggie month!