Supplements for Summer Gut Health – Aloe Vera

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Aloe Vera and Gut Health

Aloe vera has a long history of use as a therapeutic agent and is commonly used orally and topically around the world. The products aloe vera gel and latex are sourced from the leaves of the aloe vera plant. There is some supporting evidence to suggest that the consumption of aloe vera products might be beneficial to health by helping to heal the gut.

Peptic ulcers.

Aloe vera has been found to be an effective treatment in those suffering with gastric and duodenal ulcers. These anti-ulcer effects have been attributed to the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of aloe vera as well as its ability to inhibit gastric acid secretion. Aloe vera has also been found to be an effective anti-inflammatory in the Helicobacter pylori (H.Pylori) infection. H.Pylori is a common pathogen which can be responsible for causing gastric ulcers.

Constipation.

Aloe vera contains compounds known as anthraquinones which have a laxative effect on the body through increasing the water content in the intestines and playing a role in the contraction and relaxation of the intestinal muscle. Therefore aloe vera is commonly used in the treatment of constipation.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Aloe vera is often considered as an alternative therapy for those suffering with IBS, particularly when constipation is the predominant symptom. However, one study comparing the effectiveness of aloe vera against a placebo in those suffering with IBS found that the consumption of aloe vera failed to show any improvements in the quality of life in these individuals.

How can I include aloe vera in my diet?

One of the most easily accessible forms of aloe vera in the diet is through aloe vera juice or capsules.  Aloe vera juice is now becoming relatively easy to source in the UK market and can be purchased from a range of health stores as well as in the world foods section of many supermarkets. However, make sure to pay close attention to the ingredients as many of these products are packed with added sugar. Aloe vera capsules are available in different strengths from a wide range of health stores and can be taken daily as an alternative therapy for some of the conditions above.

Diabetes Week, 14th-20th June 2015

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Diabetes week is here and to show our support, Love Your Gut has put together some healthy recipes using a star ingredient- sweet potato. Sweet potato is a great replacement for white potatoes; it has a lower glycaemic index (GI) meaning blood glucose levels rise more steadily leading to a slower rise in insulin after digestion. Sweet potatoes are also packed with fibre and other nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin A (beta carotene). For a great alternative to the typical white potato check out the below recipes:

Veggie sweet potato and cottage pie

Great as a midweek alternative to standard cottage pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped10349614_637688159659955_1882076475_n
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 large sweet potato, peeled, chopped and boiled
  • 1 carton tomato passata
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • A handful of pumpkin seeds
  • Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • of vegetable oil
  • Dash of milk (can use almond or soya)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Fry chopped vegetables with onion, garlic and beans in oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato passata and continue simmering over a medium heat for a further 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and rosemary.
  • Mash the cooked sweet potato together with the milk.
  • Place the vegetable mix into a lasagne dish and top with the mashed sweet potato, spreading it across evenly.
  • Top the sweet potato with the pumpkin seeds and bake for 30-40 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Not so naughty nachos

Enjoy a favourite treat, minus the guilt, with this high fibre nacho dish!

Ingredients

For the sweet potato crisps:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped thinly
  • Pinch sea salt10932475_625429537585791_86531078_n
  • Tbsp of vegetable or coconut oil

For the guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Juice of a lime
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh coriander
  • ½ medium spiced fresh chili pepper, finely chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the topping:

  • One can of mixed beans, drained
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  •  1 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 onion
  • Sea salt for seasoning
  • Natural yoghurt for topping

 

 Method

  • Place the oil onto a medium sized baking tray and preheat in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake for a further 10 minutes or until they appear crispy.
  • Meanwhile prepare the guacamole by placing the avocado flesh into a food processor along with the lime juice, onion, coriander, chili and sea salt. Blend until you have a desired consistency. Tip– blend on a low setting for several seconds for a chunky guacamole.
  • Prepare the topping by frying the onion together with the can of mixed beans for 5 minutes over a medium heat.
  • Add the can of chopped tomatoes as well as the chili powder and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Season with salt.
  • Place the sweet potato chips onto a large plate. Top with the mixed bean chili, followed by the guacamole.
  • Top with some natural yogurt and tuck in!

 

To find out more about Diabetes Week 2015, visit the Diabetes UK website.

 

GastroCycle 2015

Friday, June 19th, 2015

 

GastroCycle is a cycle event for all abilities. In 2015 the route will be following an adapted version of the 3rd stage of the last Tour de France.

GastroCycle 2015 will take you on a specially adapted version of the Cambridge to London stage of the Tour de France. Most of the stage is on newly smoothed roads and the route, which takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of Cambridgeshire, is suitable for all abilities, as well as being signposted and safe. GastroCycle finishes at the Olympic velodrome in London.

The registration fee covers all the event costs and includes a GastroCycle 2015 cycle jersey. You will get full technical and mechanical support throughout the ride, as well as two snack stops and a lunch stop. Luggage transport from the start to finish lines is available. The whole route is 86 miles but you can choose to start at the halfway point in Essex.

As well as being a great experience, GastroCycle is about supporting research into conditions that affect the gut, the liver and pancreas. Collectively these are known as digestive diseases and they are a factor in 1 in 8 UK deaths.  Event organiser and Love Your Gut partner, Core – the Digestive Disorders Foundation, is the only national charity fighting all these conditions.

Core works with professionals and patients to:

  • Improve outcomes for people who have a gastrointestinal condition.
  • Increase scientific understanding of the causes and effects of gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Increase the public understanding and awareness of digestive health.

Jamie Dalrymple, Chairman, Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology (also a Love Your Gut partner) will be taking part in the event this year.

“This is a fantastic way to get moving and also raise money for research into digestive diseases that affect so many people every day.  Core receives no government support for its work so it is vitally important that events such as this raise the funds to continue the research into fighting diseases of the gastrointestinal tract”.

“I am looking forward to retracing the steps of the Tour de France cyclists from Cambridge and the experience of entering the velodrome at the Olympic Park where Sir Bradley Wiggins recently broke the UCI Hour record.”

For further information on Gastrocycle 2015 see:  http://www.gastro-cycle.co.uk/

For tips on getting ‘Gut Active’ see: http://www.loveyourgut.com/getting-gut-healthy/gut-active/

This week is both Bike Week and National Picnic Week

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

There is nothing more invigorating and enjoyable in the summer months than a bike ride followed by a picnic with family and friends. With it being both Bike Week and National Picnic Week there is no better time to embrace these activities!

Bike Week aims to encourage cycling, helping to raise awareness of its social, health and environmental benefits. The focus for this year’s Bike Week is to encourage people to use their bikes to cycle to work. Bike Week is the biggest nationwide cycling event in the UK. They have hundreds of events planned for 2015, so why not get involved? http://bikeweek.org.uk/

Picnics provide a great opportunity to bring people together, with National Picnic Week offering the ideal opportunity to share advice, tips, recipes and information for that perfect picnic. To get picnic inspired and learn more visit http://www.nationalpicnicweek.co.uk/

So why not cycle or walk somewhere new and try out our gluten and dairy free picnic suggestions:

seaside

Asparagus, quinoa and beetroot salad (gluten and dairy free):

Ingredients:

1 cup of cooked quinoa

4 asparagus spears

2 cooked beetroots

Handful of cherry tomatoes

Fresh parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

Drizzle of olive oil

Pepper

Simply cube and chop the asparagus, beetroots, cherry tomatoes and parsley and mix all the ingredients in a bowel together.

 

Kale chips (gluten and dairy free):

Ingredients:

1 bag of kale

Drizzle of olive oil

Salt or your favourite spices

Add the olive oil to a bag of kale and shake. Remove from bag and place on a baking try and cook until crisp. Place in another clean bag and shake in your favourite flavours. Enjoy!

 

Carers Week 8th- 14th June 2015

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Carers Week is an annual campaign which raises awareness on the challenges that carers face and also recognises the contributions that carers make across the UK.

Around 6.5 million people in the UK are unpaid carers, caring for friends and family members who are physically or mentally unwell. They may help individuals with getting dressed, cooking and shopping.  This can often mean lots of time is dedicated to helping others which can put a huge amount of pressure on carers.  This year’s campaign is all about building carer friendly communities. Carer friendly communities such as schools, hospitals and other local services are aware of the work done by carers as well as the challenges they may be facing. They aim to address the needs of carers by offering them support to make their lives that little bit easier.

Why we need to be more carer friendly.

Although supporting someone can be a very positive and rewarding experience, caring for someone with a lack of support from others can have a negative effect on someone’s life for many reasons:

  • Full time carers are more likely to suffer from bad health than non-carers.
  • 3 million individuals have quit work to care for someone and 1 in 5 carers have had their work negatively affected.
  • 54% of carers struggle to pay household bills and 35% have to cut back on other household essentials.
  • 40% of carers say they have had a relationship breakdown and 60% have found it difficult to maintain their friendships.
  • The cost to the economy due to carers having to give up work is £5.3 billion.

More services need to be put in place to ensure carers get the support they need and live happier, healthier lives.

Visit the Carers Week Website to see how you could get involved with carer friendly communities and check out the carer’s week events that may be happening near you.

http://www.carersweek.org/

 

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