Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Common Health Faux Pas

Adding healthier choices into your routine can be difficult, especially when there seem to be so many conflicting ideas.

Avoiding some of the most common health faux pas can have lasting effects on your overall health and well-being.

To help you navigate the good ideas versus the bad, we’ve compiled some of the most frequent healthy living mistakes and tips to avoid committing them below.

Failing to Understand that Sleep and Hydration are Key to Health

Sleep: Did you know? Going to bed too late (getting less than 7 hours sleep each night) can increase the risk of breast cancer by 200%, heart attack by 100%, the risk of premature death by any cause by 20% and the risk of obesity – by a lot. Aim for, and get close to, 8 hours/night and you will be glad you did.

Water: It’s a common belief that you must drink eight 8oz glasses of water per day. However, that is not necessarily true– your activity level, environment and general health all play a crucial role in determining how much H20 you should be consuming. Keeping these factors in mind, remember to drink lots of water throughout the day and choose fruits and vegetables with a high water concentration for snacking, like cucumbers or celery. If you are unsure of how much water you should be consuming, check out this Hydration Calculator that does all of the work for you.

Skipping the Strength Training

Focusing your workout routine strictly on cardio and neglecting strength training is another healthy living mistake. While cardio is an essential component to an active lifestyle, strength training provides equally important benefits. Incorporating simple strength training exercises like these into your weekly workout regime can help with long-term weight maintenance, disease prevention, and promote mood and energy boosts.

Forgetting to Stretch

Stretching is very important when exercising, but is often overlooked. It is essential to stretch both before and after your workouts, to help your muscles prepare and recover. Even basic stretches like these, can help improve your flexibility and reduce your risk of injury.

Substituting Fruit Juice for Fruit

The label may read 100% fruit juice, but juices are not a healthy substitution for fresh fruits. While fruit juices do contain fruit, they are often high in added sugar and unnecessary calories. Instead of grabbing that glass of fruit juice, instead try substituting water infused with fresh fruit, a homemade muddled fruit drink, or an easy, on-the-go fruit snack like an apple or banana. This swap will help you significantly cut down on your sugar intake, provide more nutritional benefits and help you feel full longer.

Ignoring Nutrition Labels

The nutrition labels on the back of all food and drinks are based on the U.S. dietary guidelines. Learning how to read and interpret these labels can help you with portion control and encourage you to be more cognizant of how much sodium, fat, and sugar you are consuming daily. To learn how to better navigate nutrition labels, check out this guide from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Eliminating the Wrong Sugars

Not all sugar is bad sugar. While eliminating processed sugar from your diet may help with your goal of maintaining a healthier lifestyle, you should not completely cut sugar from your diet, especially natural sugars like those found in fruit. Unlike processed sugar, natural sugar is more complex for the body to metabolize, which helps reduce drastic spikes in blood sugar and keeps you feeling fuller longer.

Avoiding Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables are often just as nutritious as produce fresh from the farmer’s market. In some instances, like when certain fruits and veggies are out of season, frozen produce can contain even more vitamins and nutrients than their fresh counterparts, as it usually is packaged at its peak ripeness.

Making a few simple changes to your routine can help you avoid these nutrition and lifestyle pitfalls.

Thinking that Juice Plus+ Cannot Help!

“There is no single disease or condition that cannot he helped by good nutrition; and Juice Plus+ is great nutrition!” Dr. Paul Williams, MD

More articles on Juice Plus+…

Why do the Amish rarely get cancer?

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.57.59 AM

The Amish way of life isn’t in any way modern. But when it comes to health and longevity, studies show that the Amish may be up to something very modern indeed.

A study published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control found very few instances of cancer among the Amish population of Holmes County, Ohio. Out of 26 000 individuals, only 191 cancer cases were identified between the years 1996 and 2003 (1).

The researchers were surprised to find such low rates of cancer. In fact, they theorized that the Amish would have higher instances of cancer because of their small gene pool, which should have increased the incidence of cancer-related gene mutations. Instead, this small gene pool, combined with a few lifestyle factors, may be responsible for their low cancer rates.

The secret to Amish health lies in their restrictive lifestyle. As you probably know, the Amish are a conservative Christian group that shuns conveniences of the modern world because they believe that modern technology negatively impacts humility, family, community, and faith.

While most Amish communities shun modern society as a whole, others are more open minded and may embrace technology as long as it doesn’t disrupt family and community stability.

1. They Lead A Humble Life
Amish families rely on hard labour to survive. In fact, Amish children quickly learn how to build homes and furniture as well as how to tend to the land. This constant exercise maintains their cardiovascular health and keeps their organs and tissues fueled with essential nutrients and oxygen. The Amish also don’t smoke or drink, aren’t sexually promiscuous, and keep their skin covered from the harsh sun. These habits reduce their risk of developing certain cancers.

2. They Make Everything At Home
Since Amish people shun modern conveniences, they don’t use the chemical-laden products popular in American homes, such as dishwasher soap, deodorant, fragrance plug-ins and toxic cleaning products. Amish people also aren’t exposed to cancer-causing EMFs in their daily life because they simply don’t own any appliances or electronics.

3. They Eat Organic Whole Food
Most Amish communities grow their own organic food and use heirloom seeds, which tend to be more biological compatible with the human body than GMO seeds. These communities don’t rely on herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizer and their meat and dairy products don’t contain any hormones or antibiotics.

4. They Believe In Modern (alternative) Medicine
Amish people experience fewer medical interventions throughout their lifetime than other Americans. When they do have a medical problem, most Amish families rely on natural remedies to get their health back on track. Some turn to traditional medicine, but many prefer reflexologists and chiropractors to conventional doctors. This approach limits their exposure to liver-damaging pharmaceuticals and the potentially devastating side-effects of conventional drugs.

The Amish people seem to have it right when it comes to living a carcinogen-free life. While joining them completely may be a bit of a stretch, it’s worth looking into following a more natural lifestyle to ensure better long-term health.

Read full article… 

Why gut bacteria is good for you

Blame it on our naivety, ignorance or hypochondria, we tend to associate the word ‘bacteria’ with illness and poor health.

Combined in equal parts with our ancestral disdain (because our microbiota is mainly a replica of that harboured by our parents) for salads and greens (the richest source of fibre on which these bacteria thrive), our gut bacteria have now been pushed to the brink of near extinction.

So where does this diminishing biodiversity leave you? For starters, let’s just say, more incapacitated than you thought!

Role of gut bacteria

The bacterial consortium residing in our gut is an important determinant of our optimal wellness. From assimilation of essential nutrients in food, synthesising of Vitamin K, digestion of cellulose in green vegetables, to promotion of angiogenesis and regulation of enteric nerve function, these bacteria perform myriad jobs in our body.

Furthermore, these commensal bacteria strengthen our immunity by enhancing barrier integrity, thus preventing pathogens and harmful bacteria from invading our systems.

Other benefits rendered by gut microflora include absorption of minerals, transformation of bile acid and destruction of toxins, genotoxins and mutagens. Some bacteria even prevent formation of kidney stones.

To put the acuity of their roles in perspective, consider the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ which posits that disruption of microbiome in the body leads to onset of autoimmune diseases due to compromised immunity of the individual.

Other studies have found association between depleted microbiome and diseases such as Type II Diabetes, and conditions like allergies and food sensitivities.

Gut microbiome and lack thereof has been implicated in obesity because these organisms contribute in appetite regulation and energy harvest from food.

An unhealthy or imbalanced bacterial flora has also been alleged in conditions such as intestinal inflammation, cardio-metabolic diseases, and colorectal, prostate and gastric cancers which occur due to production of genotoxins by bacteria and microbial metabolism of carcinogens’ in food.

This upheaval is triggered by a number of factors such as environmental exposures, genetic makeup, age, use of antibiotics and most importantly, diet.

Dietary fibre is given way less credit than it is due. It does so much more than just regulating bowel movements. For instance, research links high fibre diet with lesser incidence of breast cancer in females as increased consumption of fruits and vegetables during adolescence cuts back cancer risk by 24%.

Scientific data accrued over several decades shows plausible ties between fibre rich diet, thriving of gut microbiota and low cancer incidence. Additionally, variety in type of fibre consumed benefits the human body even more as it tends to diversify the bacterial population because different bacteria specialise in metabolism of different type of fibre.

A rich gut microbiome translates into increased cellular nutrition and less chances of acute and chronic inflammation.

Direct impact of low fibre diet on gut microbiome was recently studied by a team of microbiologists at Stanford University. Experiments conducted by microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg and his team using a mice model found that low fibre diet did indeed render the gut microbes virtually extinct.

Using mice loaded with identical gut flora, the investigators fed them high fibre diet and then randomly switched half of them to low fibre chow for a period of seven weeks. As expected, the microbiota of low fibre group badly suffered, with colonial count of as many as 60 different microbes waning dramatically.

Not only this, but the effect cascaded through generations as the researchers found that the off springs of test subjects had narrower microbiomes, and even more bacterial species blinked out if these mice consumed low fibre diet like their ancestors.

The change was also found to be irreversible in fourth generation of mice even when fed high fibre diet subsequently. Other studies show that the gut microbiome of industrialised populations is much less diverse than those residing in rural areas and consuming a high fibre diet of vegetables and fruits.

So the next time around, don’t pass the salad for chicken nuggets. You will be doing yourself an enormous favour as it will take more than a tub of yogurt to reverse the impact of your oil and salt rich diet on your friendly gut residents.

Full article … 

Purpose: Secret to a Longer, Healthier Life


NO, I’m not obsessed with the subject of longevity, even if I do hit 70 this summer (after all, 70 is the new 50, right?!) But this is good stuff from Life Reimagined

Having a clearly defined the purpose not only makes your life more meaningful, but can extend it as well. This is one of the newest and most exciting trends in health research. Eric Kim, a research fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health studies how aging, positive thinking and physical health are linked. Here are some of his encouraging findings.

Research in psychology has almost exclusively focused on how negative factors lead to worse health. Now, we’re learning that positive psychological factors like optimism, satisfaction and purpose in life appear to have a unique positive impact on health—an impact above and beyond the absence of psychological distress. We also find that positive factors that are beyond an individual’s control—for example, the psychological functioning of your partner—can have an impact on health. Our research suggests that you would be healthier if your partner was more optimistic. Further, the level of cohesion in your neighborhood appears to impact your health and create a healthier lifestyle.

Are meaning and purpose the same?

For hundreds of years philosophers and theologians have been writing about purpose and meaning in life. It is only very recently that scientists have begun examining this topic. In general, meaning looks backward and helps us process and make sense of life events that have happened in the past. In contrast, purpose in life looks forward and helps motivate us into the future through aims, goals and directions.

Is purpose different than optimism? Do you need both?

Purpose is indeed different than optimism. Purpose is a self-organizing life aim that helps people stimulate and organize goals, which in turn helps manage behaviors. Optimism on the other hand is a generalized expectation that good things will happen. I don’t know of any studies that examined whether we need both purpose and optimism in order to have a positive impact on health, but my educated guess is that having both will lead to better health compared to having only one or the other.

What does your research reveal about the health benefits of having purpose?

I have had the good fortune of leading studies on purpose in life with a number of experts in different fields. In a nutshell, we found that higher purpose in life was longitudinally associated with a reduced risk of stroke, myocardial infarction and sleep disturbances. We also found that purpose in life was associated with an increased likelihood of obtaining several preventive screenings, including cholesterol tests, colonoscopies, mammograms, pap smears, prostate exams and flu shots. Further, purpose in life was associated with fewer overall doctor visits and fewer overnight hospitalizations. In all of these studies, we found that these associations between purpose and health persisted in several statistical models that adjusted for plausible confounders.

Can having purpose make anybody healthier?

We are tackling the question of whether the health benefits of purpose cross all socioeconomic lines. The preliminary answer appears to be yes. This study is not yet published, but we have found the association between purpose and a healthy life persists across levels of wealth and education. We also plan to see if the health benefits of purpose persist across racial/ethnic lines.

Are there any projections on how much the health care industry could save if everyone lived more purposefully?

This is difficult for me to calculate, however here are some results from our study, conducted in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults over the age of 50. Compared to people with the lowest purpose, people with the highest purpose make 32% fewer doctor visits and spend 61% fewer overnights in the hospital. Further, compared to people with the lowest purpose, people with the highest purpose are 121% more likely to obtain flu shots, 228% more likely to obtain cholesterol tests, and 133% more likely to obtain colonoscopies. Women are 330% more likely to obtain a mammogram and 210% more likely to receive a pap smear, while men are 386% more likely to receive a prostate exam. Each hospital stay for an adult aged 65-84 costs approximately $12,300. Physician visits average $218 per visit.

What’s the future of research on purpose and its relationship to wellness?

There is rapidly growing interest in this topic. Religion and philosophy have explored this topic for several centuries, but recently scientists, healthcare, and even the world of business is realizing how important purpose is. Also, there is an interesting concept called Blue Zones, places where people seem to live longer. People in these zones have some things in common including an active lifestyle, healthy diet and a sense of purpose. Okinawa Japan is a Blue Zone where they have a term called “ikigai,” which translates into “a reason for which you wake up in the morning.” This reason for living isn’t always large and grand in scope—although it is sometimes. For example, some people say their “ikigai” is tending a vegetable garden that helps feed his/her children and grandchildren. More research has to be done on these Blue Zones, but it’s a fascinating concept.

Some of us are working on maintaining our own Blue Zones. My Life Purpose is “to encourage others to their full potential”. My Life Goal is “to know and love my great-grandchildren”. Can you connect them? I can! That means these kiddos children!!

2015_Daly-9699-Edit copy (1)

Eating for bone health

This is a guest post by by Ann Caldwell, nutritionist and registered dietitian at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Nutrition and bone, muscle and joint health are closely related. A healthy diet can help prevent and manage osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal disorders by assisting in the production and maintenance of bone. If you are not getting the right nutrients you are putting yourself at greater risk for bone, muscle and joint disease.

Osteoporosis is called the silent disease because many people do not know they have it until they suffer a fracture. Ninety percent of adult bone mass is in place by the end of adolescence. Studies show if you are over 50, one out of every two women and up to one in four men will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

The following nutrients, and the foods that contain them, hold particular promise in promoting optimal bone health:

Calcium is a mineral essential for both building bones and keeping them healthy. Unfortunately the majority of Americans are not getting enough. Ideal food sources include milk, and enriched milk alternatives, such as soy or almond milk, cheese and yogurt. Other sources include bok choy, kale, turnip greens, almonds, white beans, tofu and fortified orange juice. The recommended daily allowance for adults over 50 is 1200 mg per day.

Vitamin D also is important for bone health, as it promotes calcium absorption. There are a few sources of vitamin D in food, such as fatty fish, cheese, egg yolk, fortified milk, milk products, orange juice and cereals. Vitamin D can also be obtained through sunlight, but with the use of sunscreen this is not adequate. The best advice is to always get as much vitamin D from the diet, but supplementation is often required. The current RDA is 400 IU’s, but if you are deficient the dose can be much higher.

Other nutrients have been linked with bone health, including vitamins C and K and magnesium. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may protect bones as these are rich in antioxidants—including watermelon, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, bell peppers and guava.

Eating habits with a moderate intake of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains leads to a healthier lifestyle.

High levels of protein, caffeine, sodas and sodium have been linked to calcium loss. Many Americans consume too much protein, which can increase the urinary excretion of calcium. Yet at older ages protein intake is often too low and this can lead to bone loss and fractures. It is important to have a balance. We should aim to have not too much but enough, which can be said for all nutrients.

Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and physical activity are key to prevent bone disease. Physical activity should combine weight-bearing activity, simply to carry the weight of your skeleton, such as walking. Strength training is helps improve the muscles that support your skeleton and exercise improves your balance to help prevent falls.

Taking charge of nutritional health and exercise will help promote healthy bones as you age.

Over the first 10 years of using Juice Plus+ products, Jenny had her bone density measured several times and was told she had the bones of a young woman, 20+ years younger. Now, after more than 22 years on Juice Plus+, she is even younger!

The results we have seen in Jenny and in many others (including some dramatic reversals of osteoporosis) come from the combination of powerful, plant-based macronutrients (carbs, protein and fiber) in our Juice Plus+ Complete powdered drink mix, and the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and enzymes) in both the Complete and the Juice Plus+ capsules (fruits, veggies and berries).

Of course, a major contributor has also been the improved diets and lifestyles that result from, and are part of, the Juice Plus+ Experience.

Improve Your Health and Longevity with Epigenetics

Your Beliefs Are Stronger Than Your Genes – this is a very thought-provoking article by Dr. Christiane Northrup.

Scientists have long been fascinated with our DNA. The 20th century brought huge advances in the study of human genetics; we finally witnessed the complete mapping of the Human Genome. And once it was complete, many experts realized what I have been saying all along: Your genes are not necessarily your destiny. In fact, your genes cause less than 10 percent of all diseases!

The science of genetics imparts that you are destined to get the diseases that run in your family. This is known as genetic determinism. If you go to your doctor for genetic tests, you will get information on the gene expressions you carry along with scary statistics stating that you have a certain percentage of a chance for developing any number of serious diseases. But, the same doctors who provide you with those statistics will be the first to admit, that even with this detailed genetic information, most of them don’t change their prevention or treatment plans. That’s because your genes don’t determine anything all by themselves.

If Your Genes Aren’t Driving Disease, What is?

I am here to tell you that Epigenetics – the study of how our environment affects our genes – is far more accurate when it comes to determining your health. For example, we know that eating nutritious foods, engaging in physical activity you love, and making other healthy lifestyle choices can actually improve your health. Well, guess what? Your beliefs are your environment. Your beliefs, along with your relationships, the food you eat, the air you breathe, the way you handle stress, and many other internal and external factors, are what trigger how your genes get expressed.

recent study conducted by Richard J. Davidson, Founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and The William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that changes in gene expression happen very quickly when intensive mindfulness is used. Specifically, the study found that, after eight hours of meditation, people had reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes and recovered more quickly from stressful situations.

Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., Best-selling author of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing The Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles, says that our genes are just blueprints with no more power than a paper blueprint. We give them power to turn on and off with our beliefs. He also states that most health problems occur because of “misperceptions” we have learned or acquired. And, since perceptions can be changed, so can our health. So you see, changing your beliefs is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. If you truly believe in your unconscious mind that you are young and vibrant no matter your age, your belief triggers a switch to turn on your longevity genes.

Also, you may not be the only one who benefits. Just as you may have received your grandmother’s gene for some trait, there is always the potential for passing your created good health along to future generations. That means, if you are considering having children, changing your beliefs about your health destiny may be the best way to ensure your children’s health too.

Your Beliefs Are Stronger Than Your Genes

It’s not too late to change your beliefs and change your health for the better. Here are my tips for empowering yourself toward vibrant health despite your genes:

Tip 1. Take notice of how you talk about your health.

Your words become your destiny. The words you speak go into your own ears. They literally land in your body, and your cells respond. Instead of speaking about any dis-ease or dis-ability, speak positively about what you are capable of doing and how you are supporting yourself, and you will become as healthy as your words.

Tip 2. Acknowledge what diseases run in your family.

It’s important to be able to fill out your family history for your medical provider. But, don’t allow this information to take up too much space in your brain. And, don’t speak as though it is inevitable that you will end up like a family member who has a particular disease.

Tip 3. Use your inner wisdom to elevate your health legacy to a vibrant level.

As you know, my book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, is all about cultivating your inner wisdom to create health. There are many ways to access your inner wisdom. One way is to pay attention to your dreams. Other ways include tuning into your emotions, your menstrual cycle or even your energy levels at different times.

Tip 4. Listen to what your dis-ease is telling you.

Listening to your body is the easiest way to create health daily. Ideally you will listen to your body before dis-ease sets in. If you are already experiencing symptoms, pay attention to what they are telling you. Acknowledge that you may need to make some changes. Allow space for your emotions to surface and be released.

Read full article…. 

Obesity in America is on the rise; what can we do?

We’ve been talking about weight and gut health, so let’s stay on that theme for one more post, with excerpts from a recent article by Fooducate.

A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association presents stark figures regarding America’s obesity challenges. Despite heightened awareness in the last few decades, overweight and obesity rates are still increasing.

Data for over 15,000 adults aged 25 was reviewed. Since the early nineties, the percentage of overweight and obese men rose from 63 to 75 percent. The percent of overweight and obese women grew from 55 to 67 percent.

This means that 7 out of 10 adults need to lose weight, right now. While more men need to lose weight, women need to lose more weight. There are currently 68 million men that are overweight and obese compared to “only” 64.8 million women. However, 35.9 million women are obese vs. 31.8 million men.

If you are part of those statistics, don’t get discouraged. You can change your immediate environment to decrease your chance of falling to temptation:

1. Always have a bottle of water at hand so that you won’t be tempted to gulp soft drinks

2. Go to the supermarket after you have eaten, and stick to your shopping list

3. Buy less snacks at the grocery store. This means less temptation at home

4. Have fruits and veggies pre-washed, ready to eat on the countertop and in the fridge

Read full article…     More posts on Weight Loss…  We have a 30 day Jump Start program to put you on the right track to a new, healthy lifestyle (NOT a diet!) It’s called Transform30 … here’s the creator of the program, biochemist Dr. Mitra Ray:

Weight Loss and Gut Bacteria

In my last post we discussed the exciting new field of research: the microbiome, aka our gut health. The microbiome and the friendly bacteria living there are the subject of a new book in the UK, which suggests that there’s more to weight gain than simply eating too many calories.

The Diet Myth

According to British scientist (and author) Tim Spector, of King’s College London, the reason for the global obesity epidemic is the lack of variety in the Western Diet.

In 20 years of studying 11,000 identical twins, Spector found that caloric intake was not  a significant indicator of weight gain. In some cases, a person who had dieted for 20 years weighed very similarly to her twin who didn’t restrict calories at all.

Spector, a genetics expert, contends that variety in food ingredients translates to a variety in gut bacteria populations, which in turn regulate our metabolism and health. The food many of us are eating today is derived from far fewer ingredients than in the past. This is  mostly due to highly processed junk and fast foods. Hello corn and soy ingredients!

This dearth of variety has led to a rise in certain types of fat loving gut bacteria that are associated with inflammation. A change can occur in as little as a few weeks of eating junk food. On the bright side, changing your diet to consume a wide variety of whole foods can restore the beneficial gut bacteria fairly fast.

Why can eating healthy food be a gassy proposition?

“So you’ve been on a new, healthy diet and you have a little gas, do ya? What would you rather have, a little gas (healthy human function) or colon cancer?” These are the words of our friend and colleague in Juice Plus+, Dr. Mitra Ray (research biochemist and expert of nutrition disease prevention). She doesn’t pull her punches!

Reading this NPR article will help answer her question.

Not long ago, we heard about a catchy name or a cookbook: “Fart-free food for everybody.”

In theory, these recipes would be helpful for some people — and those in their vicinity.

But being a bit gassy may actually be a small price to pay for a lot of benefits to our health.

We know that air often comes after eating nutrient-packed vegetables, such as cabbage, kale and broccoli. And researchers have found that fiber-rich foods, like beans and lentils, boost the levels of beneficial gut bacteria after only a few days.

So all this got us wondering: Could passing gas, in some instances, be a sign that our gut microbes are busy keeping us healthy?

Absolutely, says , a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“Eating foods that cause gas is the only way for the microbes in the gut to get nutrients,” he says. “If we didn’t feed them carbohydrates, it would be harder for them to live in our gut.”

healthy-gutAnd we need to keep these colon-dwelling critters content, Kashyap says. When they gobble up food — and create gas — they also make molecules that boost the immune system, protect the lining of the intestine and prevent infections.

“A healthy individual can have up to 18 flatulences per day and be perfectly normal,” he adds.

Gas gets into the digestive tract primarily through : Swallowing air (which we all do when we eat and chew gum) and your microbiome. That’s the collection of organisms in the GI tract that scientists and doctors are currently all fired up about. (Check our colleague Rob Stein’s recent on it.)

That microbiome includes hundreds of different bacteria. But there are also organisms from another kingdom shacking up with them: the .

All these microbes are gas-making fools. They eat up unused food in your large intestine, like fiber and other carbohydrates we don’t digest, and churn out a bunch of gases as waste.

But that’s not all they make. They also produce a slew of molecules (called short chain fatty acids) that may promote the growth of other beneficial bacteria and archaea.

And the more fiber you feed these friendly inhabitants, the more types of species appear, studies have found. This bump in microbial diversity has been linked to a .

“Undigested carbohydrates allow the whole ecosystem to thrive and flourish,” Kashyap says.

Most gas made by the microbiome is odorless. It’s simply carbon dioxide, hydrogen or methane. But sometimes a little sulfur slips in there.

“That’s when it gets smelly,” Kashyap says.

But here’s the hitch: Many of the smelly sulfur compounds in vegetables have healthful properties.

Take for instance, the broccoli, mustard and cabbage family. These vegetables are packed with a sulfur compound, called sulforaphane, that is strongly associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

Another possible benefit of a little smelly gas? “It may reduce the total volume of air in the gut,” Kashyap says.

Why? Because bacteria and archaea make the sulfur gas from other gases in the gut, like hydrogen.

“Bacteria that make sulfide gas are really important,” Kashyap says. “They can cause smelliness, but they can reduce the total amount of gas flow.”

Of course, having too much of anything can be bad. If gas and bloating start interfering with your quality of life, Kashayps recommends seeing a doctor.

“But don’t immediately blame your diet,” Kashyap says.

In many cases, people who complain about too much gas actually don’t generate more than others, he says. Instead, they perceive the passing more intensely. Or they pass it .

“Yes, a more fiber-rich diet will produce more gas,” Kashyap adds. “But completely eliminating fiber from the diet should not be the first option. You don’t want to starve your microbes.”

So go ahead. Enjoy those lentils. Chow down on the cabbage. Then if you stink a little, think of it as a thank you gesture from your microbiome.

We might say: “It too shall pass!”

But seriously, gut health and the microbiome are becoming a very big deal in the corridors of advanced biology, and Juice Plus+ is a significant player.  After more than 30 clinical studies of Juice Plus+ have been published, still more are underway, including one relevant to our topic today.

The University of Memphis is studying Juice Plus+ over 16 weeks in 80 stressed nurses, with a BMI >25. This is a gold standard, randomized, placebo controlled study, which will answer these questions:

1. Can Juice Plus+ consumption alter the microbiome?

2. Can Juice Plus+ improve intestinal permeability?

3. Is there a correlation between gut health modulation via Juice Plus+ and low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress?

Exciting times!

Getting fruits and vegetables to those who need them most

USDA logo

We all know we should eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But for various reasons, the vast majority of Americans don’t. If eating right is hard for people across the board, imagine how difficult it is for those who are struggling to get food, any kind of food, on the table. That’s why I was heartened to hear the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $31.5 million in grants to help people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchases of fresh produce.

The grants, awarded to 31 separate organizations in 26 states, were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The programs will be administered by diverse organizations — city and state governments, networks of farmers’ markets, community foundations, and food banks — for periods of one to four years. At the end of the test period, the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program will compare the efficacy of different programs in order to determine the best methods of promoting fruit and vegetable consumption by low-income families.

What are some of the methods being tested?

· Many programs offer dollar-for-dollar or other matches to increase participants’ purchasing power at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or CSAs. (Participants of CSA — or community-supported agriculture — buy a share of a farmers’ produce in advance and receive a weekly box of whatever’s in season.)

· Other programs support mobile markets that bring produce into food desserts, which are neighborhoods that lack convenient places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

· Some programs will distribute nutritional information, organize cooking demonstrations, or hold forums to determine the barriers to fresh food access in specific communities.

· Most programs will serve all SNAP participants, but the San Antonio Food Bank plans to target pregnant women and new moms, and the International Rescue Committee will work to increase access to locally grown foods to refugee and immigrant populations in New York City. Organizations in Maine and Florida plan to create incentives for SNAP participants to buy produce grown in those states.

The sheer diversity of these programs, and the fact that they will be evaluated so we can learn what really works, makes me hopeful about tackling the problem of improving nutrition for the most vulnerable among us. Over 60 percent of people who receive SNAP benefits are either children, elderly, or disabled.

But of course, no matter what your age or income, everyone needs to eat a diet rich in health-giving fruits and vegetables. There’s no substitute for that. However, there is a solution for the times we fall short, and that’s Juice Plus+. Together, the Orchard and Garden blends contain 20 different fruits, vegetables, and grains, providing another kind of safety net for getting the nutrition we need.

What if we could get Tower Gardens in every community center?