The Body Ecology Diet (BED) Column
......with Donna Gates
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Tuesday, July 5th, 2011:
Oils That Fight Stress: Good Fats Are the Key to Longevity
Oftentimes, those with yeast Candida overgrowth are sensitive to excessive amounts of fats and oils.
This is because the gastrointestinal tract does not have enough good bacteria to digest fats or because the liver is extremely congested and overworked. It is important to remember that good fats and oils:
- Support mental and cognitive function.
- Protect against neurodegeneration.
- Play a significant role in creating hormones in the body.
- Maintain the structure of cell walls.
- Support energy production.
- Have been shown to reduce inflammation.
- Help protect against oxidative stress.
Healthy fats and oils are a key component of longevity and wellness. Therefore, as soon as the inner ecology of the gut is nourished with healthy microorganisms, it is essential to add these beneficial oils back into the diet.
Candida overgrowth contributes to inflammation.
Chronic inflammation anywhere in the body is bad news. This is because inflammation puts extra pressure on the adrenal glands, which are little glands that sit on top of each kidney and regulate stress and blood sugar in the body. Chronic inflammation can also exhaust and overwhelm the immune system.
There are a few key steps that you can take to reduce inflammation in the body and support the adrenals glands.
One of these steps is consciously choosing to use only healthy oils in your diet, especially essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFA oils are rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Because healthy oils have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect, they are instrumental in repairing the epithelial lining of the digestive tract.
- The epithelial lining is extraordinarily sensitive.
- These epithelial cells work in conjunction with your immune system and beneficial microbes to keep large food particles, proteins, and pathogens like Candida out of your bloodstream.
- When this lining is breached, it sets the body up for an inflammatory response.
- Inflammation is a significant internal stressor to the body.
Support the adrenal glands because they play a significant role in reestablishing a balanced inner ecosystem.
Stress is a toxin. Stress can create an acidic environment in the body. An acidic environment practically invites pathogenic microorganisms to set up shop. Stress can come from anywhere, and often we are unaware of the physiological effect that it has on our bodies:
- Lack of sleep
- Irregular eating patterns or eating late at night
- Intestinal bloating
- Physical injury
- Emotional trauma
- Intense exercise
- A high sugar or high caffeine diet
Studies have found that stress actually alters the populations of beneficial microflora in the gut.
How does stress alter these populations? It decreases the numbers of good bacteria, Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. (1) Stress then increases the body’s susceptibility to infection and overgrowth of Candida.
We also know that stress increases inflammation and has been found to make the gut more permeable.
The hypothalamus is located in the brain and signals next door to the pituitary gland to release hormones. These stimulating signals, when released, can affect their target endocrine gland. Endocrine glands are glands like the ovaries, the testes, the pancreas, and the thyroid. The adrenals are also one such gland.
It has been found that one signal released from the hypothalamus called corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) actually alters intestinal function. The release of CRH to the hypothalamus eventually plays a role in asking the adrenal glands to release stress hormones. When this happens, the barrier of the gut wall becomes hypersensitive. The mucosal barrier of the gut wall also loses integrity. (2)
The right balance of essential fatty acid intake contributes significantly to adrenal recovery, as well as to your general health. (3)
Healthy oils are those oils that are organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed.
These oils are from non-industrial sources. They are oils like extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseed, sacha inchi, hempseed, and pumpkin seed oils. Get your omega 6 GLA (gamma-linolenic) from evening primrose, black currant, or borage oils.
Refined seed and vegetable oils, such as corn, soy, safflower, and sunflower oil are overly processed and often rancid, and therefore will give your body oxidative stress. What else? It has been found that hydrogenated fats actually inhibit the synthesis of adrenal hormones. (4) When cooking, always use coconut oil or fat from a pastured, grass-fed animal. These fats, which are saturated in nature, are most stable to heat and have their own health benefits.
Healthy oils are also found in foods that we eat.
- Wild, cold-water fish: A great way to boost your intake of omega 3 EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is one of the main building blocks of the brain.
- Purslane: A unique source of omega 3 EPA content. This is extraordinary for a land vegetable, as most omega 3 EPA comes from oily fish and microalgae.
- Spirulina: An excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Body Ecology Potent Proteins provides all of the 8 essential amino acids and is 50% fermented Spirulina! The fact that it is fermented means that it is easier to digest and gives a boost of beneficial microflora.
If you are insulin resistant, make sure you are getting direct sources of omega 3 EPA and DHA. Converting omega 3 oils, such as those found in flaxseed or hemp seed, into omega 3 EPA and DHA is difficult for those that are insulin resistant. And in fact, insulin resistance encourages the body to turn these good fatty acids into pro-inflammatory compounds. (5)(6)
It is essential to realize that stress, whether physical, mental, or related to inflammation, affects gut permeability.
Diligence in choosing what types of oil and fats you include into your diet can alleviate the various types of stress that our bodies experience on a daily basis. The right fatty acids will also support adrenal function, which is the main gland in charge of regulating stress, and will prompt a healthy balance of microflora in the gut.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Healthy fats and oils support cognitive function, protect against neurodegeneration, maintain healthy cell structures, and even reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative stress. Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system. This is why it's important to include more healthy oils in your diet to support the adrenals and heal your gut barrier due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Too much stress can affect the levels of good bacteria in the gut and increase inflammation. Eating more healthy fats and oils will give your body the essential fatty acids it needs to aid in adrenal recovery and protect your overall health. Make sure to enjoy healthy oils that are organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed. Healthy oils can also be found naturally in wild, cold-water fish, purslane, and Spirulina to give your body the protection it needs to fight stress and restore your digestive health!
1. Lakhan, Shaheen. Gut inflammation in chronic fatigue syndrome. Nutrition and Metabolism 2010, 7:79.
2. Brummer, Robert. Nutritional modulation of the “brain-gut axis”. Scandanavian Journal of Nutrition 2005; 49 (3): 98-105
3. Wilson, Jim (2010). Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome (Kindle Locations 1791-1792). Smart Publications. Kindle Edition.
4. Kharrazian, Datis. Why Do I Still Have THYROID Symptoms? New York: Morgan James, 2010.
5. Storlien LH, et al. Fatty acids, triglycerides and syndromes of insulin resistance. Prostaglandin Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1997;57(4-5):379-385.
6. Brenner R. Nutrition and hormonal factors influencing desaturation of essential fatty acids. Prog Lipid Res 1982;20;41-48.
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