Posts for category: Nutrition
Dr. Marv’s Gut Healing Smoothie
Smoothies are all the rage these days it seems. For good reason, though. Smoothies are one way to get a ton of nutrients into your body in a way that can be absolutely delicious and good for your gut. As an integrative gastroenterologist, people often ask me what sort of smoothie they can make that will be gut healing. Well, here is one of the many recipes I personally enjoy.
Organic Green tea (4 cups, cooled)
Half a bag of organic frozen blueberries
Half a bag of organic frozen cherries
4 generous handfuls of organic spinach
1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil
1-2 tablespoons of organic ground flax seed (or chia seed)
1 pinch of organic cinnamon
Optional: 1 organic banana (if you really need it sweeter)
Optional: 1 spoon of collagen protein powder
After I have all my ingredients in, I blend it all up in my Vitamix. What you get in the end is a wonderful and refreshing treat that will also give your DNA and microbiome a whole lot of love!
Here is a breakdown of some of the things that these ingredients can do for you:
- Green Tea is loaded with antioxidants. It can help with weight loss, reduces inflammation, and can improve brain function. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is the main type of compound we often talk about that is found in green tea that is loaded with these health benefits. I often recommend drinking 2-3 cups a day in order to get the desired benefit. The smoothie is one great way to get a head start!
- Blueberries are probably one of my absolute favorites! They are a great source of fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, phytonutrients, and antioxidants.
- Cherries are a great source of antioxidants and they are also packed with anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Cherries can help with post-exercise pain and also can help promote better sleep hygiene.
- Coconut oil gives a nice flavor the smoothies. It is a source of good fat. There is data supporting its benefit in brain health, cholesterol management, reduction of inflammation, and improved immune functioning. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid which we know has anti-bacterial properties and can reduce bad yeast like candida.
- Spinach is one of my favorite greens! I try to eat it every day. It is a great source of folate, vitamin K, iron, calcium, and a number of other vitamins and minerals. Your microbiome will love you for eating this!
- Flax and chia seeds are a great added fiber source to a smoothie. Fiber can act as a prebiotic to help the good bacteria in your gut flourish. This is also one way to get a dose of Omega 3s first thing in the morning with your smoothie! You can enjoy your delicious smoothie and know that you are improving your cholesterol at the same time!
- Cinnamon is one of my special tricks. I personally enjoy the flavor but make sure not to put too much in the smoothie because the flavor could be a bit strong if you did. Cinnamon has antibacterial properties, can aid in fat burning, and reduce bloating. It is loaded with anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It can also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar.
- Banana is something I use to help sweeten it up if you feel like you need something else. I would rather you use a banana than some alternative sugar source. Banana has vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, among many others. If you get the banana a bit towards the greener side that is probably better for you and may serve as more of a prebiotic for your gut.
- Collagen protein powder is another great thing you could consider adding in for that extra boost. I use collage protein powder with people who are concerned about leaky gut, inflammation, arthritis, skin and bone health, among several others. This is definitely something that can make your gut healing smoothie even more powerful!
When you drink this smoothie, potential side effects could include euphoria, increased attention, a boost of energy, and a happy gut microbiome! I hope you all enjoy it!
The Magic of Tea: How to heal your gut and boost your genetic potential with a delicious drink
If you are not much of a tea drinker, hopefully this article will make you think twice about it. Tea has been a popular beverage for ages and rightfully so! I drink tea often and I suggest it to all of my patients. Teas can have gut healing, anti-inflammatory, immune balancing, digestion boosting capabilities. It’s like magic!
Here are my top 7 tea recommendations:
- Green Tea (I especially like Jasmine Green tea but it’s nice to switch it up and try different flavors from time to time). Green tea owes its magical powers to its bioactive molecules such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate. This superfood has been associated with health benefits in those with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24915354).
- Oolong tea. This is another anti-inflammatory tea that has great polyphenols and can help with weight loss, inflammatory conditions, obesity, and diabetes (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25031332).
- Tulsi (Holy basil) tea. Holy basil has numerous health benefits from improved oral care and to relief from stress. One of the most exciting areas of research has been in how it can help improve memory and cognition. This magical tea may have brain-protecting properties! (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25031332).
- Chamomile tea. This is an oldie but goodie. I often use and recommend chamomile tea. Just make sure you don’t have an allergy to this and any related plants such as daisy and ragweed. Chamomile soothes the digestive tract, reduces stress, promotes sleep, and can boost your immune system. I love it in my patients with Irritable bowel syndrome, especially if they have anxiety as well. This magical tea is packed full of health promoting phenolic compounds, flavonoids, quercetin, and a number of other chemicals. It can help relax your bowel spasms and potentially lower your cholesterol at the same time! (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16628544).
- Lemon Balm tea. This is another favorite. A friend of mine described feeling like they were getting a spa treatment while drinking this tea; that’s how relaxed they were. I like it for those with anxiety, sleep disorders, and indigestion. It’s a great way to wind down a long stressful day. There is even science behind the claim that it has anti-stress effects (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25360512). I guess my friend wasn’t too far off the mark!
- Ginger tea. Ginger is one of my favorites! It is great for nausea, heartburn, bloating, constipation, gastroparesis, inflammation, arthritis, and a whole host of other things. For those of you who don’t like to take pills, ginger tea is another great way to get in that dose of ginger and some of its health benefits. Ginger has even been used in nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29614764). I would advise anyone using ginger or other herbs to make sure to consult with your doctor before trying anything to make sure the dose and quality of the product you are using is appropriate.
- Peppermint tea. This can be a refreshing and cooling beverage. Try it chilled! Peppermint is a great one for bowel spasms and those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, perhaps more particularly with those who have diarrhea predominance (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21389791). My kids love peppermint tea; it’s a refreshing way to cool them off after playing in the sun outside and preparing them for a gut healing snack such as carrots and cucumbers. The main thing to be aware of with peppermint is that it can make acid reflux or heartburn worse. So, for those of you with heartburn, peppermint tea may not be the best option for you, but don’t worry because you have many other choices to pick from!
If you are not a tea drinker or you never thought of drinking tea, try to switch it up a bit and experiment! Food really is medicine. Teas can be one of the greatest ways to get a nice dose of medicine that will make your mind and body happy! Just remember to source your tea from good, clean, reliable companies and try to stick with organic and loose leaf options whenever possible.
The Secret to Self-Empowerment
To become an Integrative Gastroenterologist, I had to spend 4 years in college, then 4 years in medical school, then 3 years doing an Internal Medicine internship and residency, followed by 3 years of a Gastroenterology fellowship. Then, when I thought I was done learning, I enrolled myself in a 2-year fellowship at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine which was founded by Dr. Andrew Weil. At that point, you would think I would be done, right? Well, not exactly. What I learned from the whole process of formal education is that learning doesn’t stop on graduation day. I found myself with more questions than ever.
I had to figure out how to get those questions answered a few years ago. At that time, I was an actively practicing full-time gastroenterologist who would be on call at nights, rounding in the hospital, and seeing patients in the office. At home, I have a wife and two little kids who I also want to spend time with when I’m not working. One day when I was driving to a meeting and I was stuck in traffic, I thought to myself, “man, what a drag; sitting here is such a waste of time.” I would always listen to music when I driving, and it was relaxing; but sometimes I just felt like I needed something else. That’s when the light bulb went off in my head….audiobooks! Yes, audiobooks! This was one way for me to learn about some of the questions I still had and use the time I had in the car more effectively. This was a big transition for me because I always read books. In the end, however, it doesn’t matter if you read or listen to the book…it’s the same book….and what is cool is that many of these books are actually read by the author which kind of makes it even more entertaining.
Wow, what a change it made in my life. In just under two years I read over 100 books! I got hooked and never turned back. After the first several months I was learning so much and sometimes found myself wanting to go run an errand just so I could listen to the next chapter of a book! What happened by reading all these books? Well, I was able to refine the solid knowledge base that I got from my formal education and add the extra layers I was looking for. Not only did this give me a sense of self-empowerment, it gave my patients the same because I was able to convey that knowledge and encouragement to them. I totally changed my life, health, and overall wellbeing personally through this change of mind frame in how to learn. Since I was able to read and learn more at a rapid pace, I was able to apply the knowledge I was getting to my own life. And that is when the magic happened. I started losing weight, feeling happier and more energetic, and I had a new way of looking at life. Yes, just from audiobooks!
I thought I would share with everyone my top 5 audiobooks. These are excellent choices to start your own journey of knowledge and self-empowerment with (in no particular order).
- The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani. This is an amazing eye-opening book that will help you understand how to look at things in life and get to the point where nothing can bother you.
- Mindsight by Dr. Daniel Siegel. Anything that Dr. Siegel writes is something you should read. This book was one of the first books of his that I read. It teaches you about how our minds work and how this can affect our health, lives, and sense of wellbeing.
- The Book of Joy by Douglas Abrams. This is mandatory reading for all human beings. This is a fantastic book that was written based on a series of discussions and conversations that His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had. It will entirely change your perspective on life and what true happiness really means.
- The Telomere Effect by Drs. Elissa Epel and Elizabeth Blackburn. This book is fantastic and easy to read. Dr. Blackburn was awarded the Nobel Prize for her groundbreaking research on telomeres, which are the caps at the end of our chromosomes. Read this book and learn how to live a longer life free from disease!
- Food: What the Heck Should I eat? By Dr. Mark Hyman. This is a great book, breaking down the basics of health and nutrition in a super understandable manner. It will help you understand the science behind why we should and should not eat certain foods and help put you on a path towards revamping your own health.
Wow…making this top 5 list was actually really hard. There are so many awesome books that I have encountered and read. This by no means is a comprehensive list. However, these books are a great place to start. I encourage you all to read, read, and then read some more. Read about different topics. Read about things you always wanted to learn about but never had the chance to. Learn about subjects that you never even heard of. Just get the audiobook and pop it in your car and listen. Your life will change. You may not even know how it will change when you start doing it, but if you keep doing it, the change will be apparent. What you will find is that you have a newfound sense of confidence and wisdom. Human beings are very intelligent beings; we can learn an immense amount of knowledge from each other. It is great to read the research and literature that is published in peer-reviewed journals. It is also great to read about what people think and hear different viewpoints and philosophies. In fact, the better written books reference research and the literature so you get a dose of both. Then you will end up combining your own knowledge with what you are reading and develop your own opinions and viewpoints. When this happens, you will have achieved that sense of self-empowerment and it will only make you want to read and learn more and teach others! What a fantastic thing!
Hello everyone! Welcome to my Blog!
I thought I would start off by talking a little bit about food. As a gastroenterologist, I’m often asked what types of foods are good to eat. The old saying “an apple a day will keep the doctor away” certainly does have meaning and value. However, with our increasing awareness of digestion and how the 100 trillion bacteria, viruses, and fungi in our guts affect how we feel and what medical problems we can develop, we should consider other foods that can help us protect those microscopic organisms that are good, while fighting off those that are not.
Everyone wants to know which probiotics are good for you and which ones they should take. The important thing to remember is that overall diversity and balance are very important and key to helping maintain a healthy and happy environment in the gut. Fermented foods, like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha tea, and kefir are examples of some probiotics that help you do this the best. They have some of the best health effects, and they don’t come in a cardboard package you buy in the grocery store or pharmacy. A probiotic supplement may certainly be beneficial. However, if you have concern over costs and don’t like taking pills, think about introducing some of these probiotic foods into your diet.
How can a food be a probiotic? Well, all it means for a food to be a probiotic is that it contains active bacteria. Fermented foods are some of the best sources for this. These types of foods help keep the good bacteria in and help to keep the bad bacteria out. This is in the same manner as the probiotic supplements you might take.
There are proven health benefits of including fermented foods in your diet. They can help you lose weight and regulate your metabolism. We know that these foods help reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and even have the potential to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Not only can you buy these fermented foods in the grocery store, you can make them in your own home. This gives you the power to control your health and be proactive with staying healthy.
So, yes, a pickle a day could keep the doctor away. Just make sure it’s truly fermented!
Cheers to your health!
For more information, check out the following books, which were used as references. Both are both excellent:
The Gut Balance Revolution by Dr. Gerard Mullin
Super Genes by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi