A BALANCED GUT IS A HEALTHY GUT The Importance of Probiotics and Prebiotics THE THOMAS TIMES
Depak Chophra is a brilliant physician who received his initial medical education in India and completed his medical degree in the United States. Hence, he has a very broad perspective and can see things that others may not be able to see. One of the most profound things that I’ve heard him say is, “The single greatest detriment to healing is fear.” We are surrounded by fear. As we listen to the media, we hear the medical terrorists, social terrorists, financial terrorists, etc. and they are scaring the health out of people. The more we listen to their propaganda, the more it presents itself in our lives. Steven Covey makes a suggestion in his books “Principle Centered Leadership” and “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” to exert your energy within your sphere of influence. What this means is don’t buy into things that people say over what you have no control over. Choose to process the events differently. Ask yourself, “How can I make a difference?” I was having lunch at a restaurant when the incident at Charlottesville came on the television. I noticed a couple sitting next to me arguing and I told them that I wanted to do something to make a difference in light of this tragedy and offered to buy them a drink. You would have thought that I gave them a $100 bill. Their attitude changed immediately, and as it turned out, we realized that the gentleman had actually been treated at our clinic several years ago. We don’t change the world by legislation but by small acts of kindness. As one of my good friends states at the end of every email, “Be kinder to people than you think you should. Everybody’s trying to work through something.” Randy’s Ramblings
In recent years, science has gained a better understanding of the critical role that gut health plays in overall health, and society is starting to pay attention. Most people know that probiotics aid in digestion, but few people understand how. While probiotics are gaining popularity, prebiotics have flown largely under the radar. According to health experts, most Americans don’t consume enough prebiotics every day, which can result in indigestion, higher levels of inflammation, increased likelihood of weight gain, and increased risk for various chronic diseases. Although research is fairly new in this area of nutrition, here is what’s known for sure.
Probiotics are good bacteria (live cultures) naturally found in your gut. It is believed that probiotics boost immunity and promote gastrointestinal and overall health. Besides aiding regular bowel movement, probiotics have also been used to manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). To add more probiotics into your diet, eat fermented dairy foods like Greek yogurt, kefir products, and aged cheeses. All of these foods contain a significant number of live cultures. If you are dairy- intolerant, try eating kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and cultured nondairy yogurts.
Prebiotics are natural, nondigestible fiber compounds that promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics pass through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract undigested. Once they reach the colon, they are fermented by gut microflora, promoting the growth of probiotics.
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... continued from cover Prebiotics keep good and bad gut bacteria balanced, improve gastrointestinal health, and may even enhance calcium absorption. The best way to naturally include more prebiotics in your diet is to eat fructooligosaccharides and galactooligosaccharides. In other words, eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as acacia gum, raw dandelion greens, raw jicama, underripe bananas, raw or cooked onions, raw garlic, raw leeks, raw asparagus, and Jerusalem artichokes. Prebiotics and probiotics work together in your gut as part of a tiny ecosystem. Probiotics feed on prebiotics to maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria. If there aren’t enough prebiotics to feed the probiotics, the bacteria can become unbalanced, which can result in a number of conditions, from indigestion to heart disease. Together, prebiotics and probiotics battle inflammation and lower overall disease risk. THE DYNAMIC DUO
functions, which is why it is essential to maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria. When probiotics metabolize fibrous foods, they produce short-chain fatty acids that improve the health of the intestinal lining. When your intestinal lining is healthy, your body can better regulate electrolyte levels, digest food properly, and prevent diarrhea. A healthy intestinal lining is also essential to immunity. Prebiotics and probiotics improve your body’s ability to absorb important nutrients and trace minerals from food. They also lower the pH in the gut, which is vital for preventing urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, digestive disorders, colds, and even colon cancer. Finally, research suggests that mood-related disorders like anxiety and depression can be tied to gut health. Your mood and hormone balance are affected by many internal and external factors, one of which is the state of the bacteria living in your gut. Your gut helps absorb and metabolize nutrients from the foods you eat, and these nutrients are used to support neurotransmitter functions that create the hormones that control your mood. Without
a balanced gut, your body can’t absorb and use these nutrients correctly.
Although there are many pills, supplements, and cleanses available to those who want to incorporate more probiotics and prebiotics in their diet, supplementation is often unnecessary. Probiotics and prebiotics are natural ingredients in everyday foods, and if you eat a healthy, balanced diet, there’s no reason for you to take supplements, unless you suffer from certain food allergies. Meals that contain both probiotics and prebiotics are called “synbiotics.” So eating bananas with yogurt or stir-frying asparagus with tempeh will cover all your bases. While research is still relatively new, health experts can confidently say that a balanced gut as a result of a diet enriched with probiotics and prebiotics is beneficial to your overall health. While probiotics seem to currently soak up the spotlight, make sure you are also eating enough prebiotics for optimal intestinal health. Remember, a balanced gut is a happy and healthy gut.
Gut health is closely tied to many other bodily
It’s not uncommon for physical therapy (PT) to focus on the strictly physiological aspects of your health; after all, the word “physical” is right there in the name. But while PT is an incredible recovery tool, it provides a number of other benefits that are often overlooked. EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING The emotional impact of PT cannot be overstated. An injury can cause feelings of helplessness, fear, and uncertainty, which can suffocate even the most iron-willed individuals. After a major surgery, it feels defeating to wake up every day with severe limitations. PT helps you take proactive steps toward recuperation, putting the power back in your hands. SLEEP QUALITY Before pursuing physical therapy, many patients experience varying levels of sleep deprivation. This can lead to a slew of other health complications and a decrease in quality of life. When you start physical therapy, you push your body to its limits, and the natural effects of exercise will help you sleep better. You’ll also sleep better once pain no longer keeps you tossing and turning at night. Nonphysical Benefits of Physical Therapy
STRESS RELIEF Stress caused by an injury can derail your body’s homeostasis, piling up and creating a catastrophic landslide in your life. By actively participating in regular physical therapy, your mindset will change, and the stress caused by your injury will gradually begin to decrease. CONFIDENCE BOOST Perhaps the most substantial nonphysical benefit of PT is what it does for your confidence. When you’re on the path to recovery, you don’t have to feel vulnerable anymore. You are in control of your destiny, and that will give you the peace of mind and confidence to achieve your goals. Physical therapy may feel daunting in the beginning as you teach your body to relearn proper movement and work through an injury. But if you stick with it and follow your physical therapist’s instructions, you’ll come out the other side feeling better physically and emotionally.
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Improve Cognitive Function in Minutes Meditation has often been touted by New Age gurus as a way to find inner peace and stillness. But what if meditating could reduce the effects of aging on your brain? According to research, taking a fewminutes out of your day tomeditate may improve cognitive function. How Meditation Helps You Maintain Brain Health
THE HIPPOCAMPUS Your hippocampus helps you process and formnewmemories, and it’s very sensitive to stress. In fact, research shows that your hippocampus will shrink in response to stressful situations and chronic stress. The remedy? Meditation. Dr. Lazar’s study showed a positive correlation betweenmeditation and a higher concentration of gray matter in the left hippocampus. THE AMYGDALA Often called the fear center of the brain, the amygdala is triggered by stressful situations. But unlike the hippocampus, which shrinks in response to stress, the amygdala has been shown to become denser. In one study, people who attendedmindfulness meditation classes showed a smaller stress response in brain scans compared to those who did not attend the classes. Meditationmay help to decrease the density of the amygdala and therefore increase your ability to handle stress. Of course, in addition to these benefits, there’s a good chance that five minutes of meditation each day will simply make you feel better. People whomeditate report an increase in overall well-being.
Clinic/ Workshop Upcoming Workshops Your prefrontal cortex thins with age, which is associated with decreased cognitive function in your later years. However, meditationmay reduce this age-related thinning. Dr. Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist specializing in the effects of yoga andmeditation on cognitive and behavioral function, reports that long-time meditators don’t show a decline in the thickness of the prefrontal cortex. As meditation’s popularity has spread, so have studies of the practice. The results of 100 studies examining the cognitive effects of meditation all show evidence of improvements in psychological and cognitive functions. Some of the results are intuitive, such as howmeditation helps us deal with stress. But other results are incontrovertible, such as scans showing that meditation causes structural changes in the brain. For people facing age-related changes like memory loss, the results of these tests are especially relevant. The studies point to evidence that meditation can strengthen certain areas of the brain— the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the amygdala— that weaken as we age. THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX
Why not give it a try?
FATHER’S DAY CHILI LIME CHICKEN WINGS
MARK YOUR CALENDAR We have a summer full of workshops and
This Father’s Day, spice up your wings with this zesty recipe that’s sure to please the whole family.
clinics that are open to you! *Note: All clinics/workshops are from 5:30–7 p.m.
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1/4 cup soy sauce
4 pounds chicken wings 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 1 1/4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 lime, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup honey
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Randy Thomas, PT
1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. Rinse wings under cold water and pat dry. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast on a baking sheet for 25 minutes or until skin becomes crisp and brown. 3. Blend butter, red curry paste, honey, and soy sauce in a large mixing bowl. 4. Toss wings in butter mixture. Squeeze lime juice on top, transfer to serving plate, and garnish with cilantro.
10 Most Important Exercises You Can Ever Do
Cheryl Wynn, DPT
Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com
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Thomas Physical Therapy www.ThomasPhysicalTherapy.com
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100 Professional Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32114 386-257-2672
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE Randy’s Ramblings PAGE 1 A Balanced Gut Is a Healthy Gut PAGE 1 Physical Therapy Is MoreThan a Physical Journey PAGE 2 HowMeditation Can Help the Aging Brain PAGE 3 Father’s Day Chili Lime ChickenWings PAGE 3 A Natural Sweetener With Real Health Benefits PAGE 4 Honey is a wonderful all-natural sweetener. Despite being sweet, it comes with actual health benefits — something you can’t say about other types of sugar. But some honeys are better than others, so it’s important to buy the right kind. Raw honey may help your body heal itself more effectively. One study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine pointed to raw manuka honey as an effective way to speed up the time it takes wounds to heal while also reducing risk of infection. Simply apply manuka honey to a wound and let it do the rest. One of the best types of honey you can buy is raw, unfiltered, local honey. While it isn’t known to decrease the healing time of wounds, it can reduce symptoms related to allergies. Raw honey contains trace amounts of pollen,
HONE IN ON HONEY NATURE’S WONDER SWEETENER
as well as other allergens from grasses and weeds. Local honey contains many of the pollens and allergens you would normally breathe in on an average day. The pollens in local honey are just enough to kick your immune system into gear. As a form of immunotherapy, raw, local honey helps your body become acclimated to those allergens. But these three points — raw, unfiltered, and local — are crucial. When honey is processed and filtered, it loses practically all of its allergy-fighting power and becomes an ordinary sweetener. Most experts advise finding honey that was produced as close to your home as possible, preferably within 20 miles. The closer, the better. Keep in mind that it can take several weeks before you feel results. Of course, you won’t find a more delicious way to combat allergies.
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