Review – 2/21/18

1. Looking for a new type of exercise that’s easy, free, and more beneficial than yoga? Try hiking! Predicted to surpass yoga in popularity in 2018, hiking has all the benefits of yoga and then some. “There are few things more important to our health than spending time in nature.” MindBodyGreen

→Takeaway: Whether you’re hiking through your city park, your neighborhood, or a mountain trail, make it a weekly priority to find a green space and put foot to earth.

2. Engineered probiotics in the presence of broccoli kill colorectal cancer tumors in a recent study.  Scientists engineered E.coli Nissle (a harmless gut bacteria strain) into a probiotic that adheres to colorectal cancer tumors. The probiotic secretes an enzyme that transforms glucosinolates (a natural component found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower) into sulphoraphane – an anticancer agent. The probiotic cocktail combined with broccoli extract killed more than 95% of colorectal cancer cells in a petri dish and reduced tumor numbers by 75% in mice with colorectal cancer. While highly effective in fighting colorectal cancer, the probiotic-veggie combo showed no effect on other cancers. Biomedical Engineering

→Takeaway: It will be some time before these probiotics hit the market, but those involved in the study hope to use them (in conjunction with cruciferous vegetable consumption) for colorectal cancer prevention and as adjunctive therapy after surgery in patients with colorectal cancer. And of course, eat your broccoli! As the lead researcher Dr. Chun-Loong Ho says, “Mothers are right after all, eating vegetables is important.”

3. Daily consumption of hot tea is linked to increased risk of esophageal cancer, when consumed alongside alcohol or cigarette smoking. The 9 year study included 450,000 participants and found that esophageal cancer risk was five times greater in those who consumed scalding hot tea and drank more than 1/8 of a cup of alcohol daily and two times greater in those who drank hot tea daily and smoked. Annals of Internal Medicine

→Takeaway: If you are a smoker or drink alcohol daily, reduce your consumption of scalding hot tea to less than once per week, or decrease the temperature of your tea overall.

4. Maternal antibiotic exposure before or during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of offspring childhood hospitalizations due to infections. Scientists attribute alterations in the mother’s microbiome and shared heritable traits and environmental factors as the mechanisms contributing to the association. International Journal of Epidemiology

→Takeaway: Avoid antibiotic exposure whenever possible – if not for yourself, for your offspring. If you are exposed to antibiotics before or during pregnancy, make a vaginal birth (if possible) and breastfeeding a priority and eat a veggie-centric, whole food diet to help in balancing your microbiome. For more tips on how to optimize microbial health, check out The Microbiome Solution.

5. A probiotic mixture improves infant colic over a 3-week period in 53 colicky, exclusively breastfed infants. The infants experienced a significant decrease in inconsolable crying minutes per day and parents reported a better quality of life. Nutrients

→Takeaway: Probiotics may help in reducing colic-related symptoms in exclusively breastfed infants. This specific formulation is currently undergoing clinical trials and not yet available to consumers. Previous studies have shown that Lactobacillus reuteri reduces daily crying with no adverse side effects in colicky infants.

6. Precision nutrition – using dietary interventions tailored to an individual’s genetic and metabolic makeup to manage chronic disease – could be a successful therapeutic approach to type II diabetes.Yet, scientists stress the need for more research in this emerging field before it becomes a solid therapy. The Lancet – Diabetes & Endocrinology

→Takeaway: While knowing what foods work best for your body is important, at Gutbliss we value a whole food, plant-based diet primarily comprised of non-starchy vegetables and plant foods high in indigestible fiber and inulin. Eating more of these foods will result in improved health for virtually everyone.

By: Leslie Ann Berg, MSPH