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Got Gas? Eat These!

An upset, gassy stomach is not fun – but some foods can help quell the digestive chaos. Find out which foods to choose when you feel gassy.

If you are feeling bloated or gassy, some foods can help calm your stomach. Try these three:

1. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). The seeds, leaves, and roots of the fennel plant are readily available in many forms including plain seeds, sugar-coated seeds, extract, oil, and capsules. All offer a natural way to help relieve gas. When shopping, note that fresh fennel seeds should have a strong aroma, and other forms should have a freshness date. Simply chew and swallow one-half to one teaspoon of fennel seeds after eating, whenever distended from gas, or as recommended by product label. Children can take half the adult dose.

2. Baked potatoes. They are easy to digest, making them a good choice for an upset stomach when you are still hungry. Plus these universally loved vegetables are loaded with vitamins C and B-6, potassium and fiber.

3. Eggs. The protein in eggs can help to soothe a gassy stomach. Choose organic, free-range eggs, and poach or hard-boil them for the most benefit.

Is Your Microbiome In Charge?

Is it possible that the hundred trillion microbes that make up the microbiome in the human gut "know" what nutrients they need, and in seeking them influence our dietary choices? This interesting theory holds that, in some cases, our intestinal flora nudges us toward fat or sugar and possibly obesity. A new review of recent scientific literature concludes that our microbes actually can trigger cravings, as their attempts to receive more of the foods they need for growth affect our eating behavior. The authors of the review write that it is “unclear” how the microbes might do this, but suggest that they may influence food choices by releasing signaling molecules into the gut, which has links to the immune system, endocrine system and nervous system. Another possibility: according to researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico, gut bacteria may sway our eating decisions in part by acting through the vagus nerve, which connects 100 million nerve cells from the digestive tract to the base of the brain. On the upside, the reviewers note that our food choices can alter the microbiome within 24 hours. Better yet, the authors write that microbiota “are easily (manipulated) by prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, fecal transplants, and dietary changes…(offering) a tractable approach to otherwise intractable problems of obesity and unhealthy eating.”

My take? We know that our individual microbiomes are very different from one another, and it appears our own unique balance of organisms influences our health. Recent research suggests, however, that our microbiomes in general are becoming increasingly unbalanced for a number of reasons, including diets heavy in processed foods and increased exposure to antibiotics via both medical treatments and residues in foods from animals treated with the drugs. This review suggests that it's likely we ultimately have the power to control our own microbiomes, instead of the other way around.

“Athena Aktipis, Carlo Maley, Joe Alcock, “Is eating behavior by manipulated the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms.” BioEssays doi: 10.1002/bies.201400071

Mustard – Spices in the Kitchen (Video)

Dr. Weil discusses mustard seeds and the various types available for culinary use. There are three species for mustard that are most-commonly used: black, white, and brown. Black mustard is the most pungent and originated in the Middle East. Brown mustard is used to make Dijon mustard and is native to the Himalayas. White mustard is the mildest, native to the eastern Mediterranean, and is used to make traditional yellow mustard. Medicinally, mustard is used to treat gastrointestinal issues as well as joint-related aches and pains.

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What’s Your Take On The Microbiome – Allergy Connection? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed microbiome in the gastrointestinal tract and how it may be connected with allergies: Do the Bugs in Your Belly Cause Allergies? Check out the article and let us know your opinion on the connection between the microbiome and allergies.