All Posts by Nicole Castaneda - RND

The Gassy Bunny – Do Carrots Cause Gas?

What’s up, doc? Have you ever wondered if Bugs Bunny ever felt gassy after eating all those carrots? Let’s find out by answering the question – do carrots cause gas?

Carrots are root vegetables that are tasty, crunchy and versatile ingredients for dishes. It can be used as an ingredient for salads, entrées, and even desserts. Cultivated carrots date back to pre-900’s, and it’s mostly purple and yellow.

Did you know that when you eat a carrot, you mostly eat water? It consists of 86-95% of water! 

Daucus carota, or carrots, are rich in the following:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fibers 
  • Vitamin A
  • Biotin
  • Vitamin K1
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Beta and Alpha Carotene
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Polyacetylenes
  • Anthocyanins

The most famous health benefit of carrots is its effect on eye health because it is a good source of Vitamin A and Beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a type of plant pigment that can be converted to Vitamin A. Carrots also contain Lutein, another important key for eye health. It also has antioxidants that can help reduce cancer and heart disease risks. 

Sounds too good to be true? It probably is. But it’s not a reason to binge on carrots just yet. 

A burp here… A fart there…

These are gases from the digestive tract. It’s normal and it comes from two sources:

  • Swallowed air
  • The gas produced by the breakdown of food by the native gut bacteria

Swallowed gas? Who would do that?

Well, swallowing gas is not intentional (unless you try that, of course). One source is that it may come from ill-fitting dentures. This causes the swallowed saliva to have more air mixed in from chewing. Other causes involve sipping from straws, chewing gum, sucking lollipops or hard candies, or even chewing too fast.

The second reason for having gas is the digestion process by the gut bacteria. These gases are the by-products of the process and the quantity depends on the gut microbiome and the type of food taken. 

Everyone has gut bacteria and it helps with the digestion process. The performance of these bacteria depends on the food consumed by the person, as well as the type of bacteria present. Keep in mind that carbohydrates are usually the culprit for gas production in the body. The fermentation of fibers (the digestion process of the bacteria) produces gas, but some starches and sugars can also cause gas production. 

Gas in My Tank

So what does this mean? It means that if you eat food high in fiber or are starchy, you’d end up with a gassy tummy. That’s not a bad thing, because fiber plays an important part in a healthy diet. It keeps the bowel moving regularly. Besides, the amount of gas produced and the speed of production differs from person to person. 

Guess what, for every cup of raw carrots, you get 4 grams of fiber. You also get starch and simple sugars. So, do carrots cause gas?

Gas is normal and eating fiber-rich food shouldn’t be avoided unless you experience constant pain or are prone to bloating. Bloating is a discomfort a person feels after eating, regardless if it is a large meal or not. It usually feels like being full to the brim, and may even cause distention in the stomach.

One at a Time

It is a different case for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. For some, eating raw vegetables trigger their IBS symptoms. If you experience uncomfortable gassiness whenever snacking on a raw carrot, try blanching the carrots before eating it or try to add it to dishes instead. This makes it softer and easier for the gut bacteria to digest. 

Another good tip would be to reduce the quantity of your carrot consumption. Eat them in small amounts at a time. This will gradually increase a person’s capability to digest fiber. But, if you still feel persistent bloating even after the reduction of a certain food suspect, try removing it from your diet. You can then observe the changes whether it is beneficial for you or not. When testing it out, try not to eat carrots along with famous gas inducers like Brussel sprouts.

If bloating or uncomfortable gassiness persists, ask your physician about how to reduce your symptoms. 

Do carrots cause gas?

Yes, but it’s not a reason to avoid eating carrots even if in small quantities. It contains important nutrients that are beneficial to the body. Carrots are also versatile ingredients that can be a vibrant and interesting addition to your healthy dishes. Even if carrots sound like a superfood, always eat in moderation.

What carrot dish is your favorite? Or do you like them raw and dipped in mayonnaise?

Is Epsom Salt a Laxative? It’s More than Your Bath Salt

Epsom salt or bath salts can make a warm bath more relaxing. But, there is more to it than that. Let’s answer the question: is Epsom salt a laxative?

Epsom salt is the common name for magnesium sulfate. This is a mineral made from the combination of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It is different from your table salt which is scientifically called sodium chloride. And, it differs both in composition and the taste. Contrary to the salty flavor of table salt, Epsom salts are bitter and might ruin your dish when added to it.

Fun fact: Epsom salt is named after the town where it was originally discovered: Epsom in Surrey, England.

Another name for Epsom salt is “bath salt”. You guessed it right – it’s dissolved in baths for a luxurious soaking session. It is claimed to help relieve the sore muscles of the body and reduce the pain of sprains or bruises. 

You can buy Epsom salt in drugstores, grocery stores and online. Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) is also available as an injectable solution and infusion solution. These solutions are used to treat hypomagnesemia, toxemia of pregnancy, torsades de pointes, and stopping of preterm labor among others. Some people dissolve this mix in water to treat constipation. 

Constipation

Some signs and symptoms of constipation include having an irregular bowel movement of fewer than three bowels per week. These bowels are lumpy, dry and painful or hard to pass. Treating constipation involves lifestyle and dietary changes. Increasing fluid consumption and eating more fruits and vegetables or fiber-rich food is a good starting point. Taking laxatives is also an option, but it’s recommended as a short term solution only.

Is Epsom Salt a Laxative?

Laxatives help treat constipation. When thinking of laxatives, it is normal to imagine them in a tablet or capsule form, right?

There are different types of laxatives such as fiber laxatives, stool softeners, stimulant laxatives, and osmotic laxatives. Different food can also act as laxatives and can help with constipation. 

Epsom salt is an osmotic laxative that creates an osmotic gradient for water retention in the body. This type of laxative helps with both occasional and chronic constipation. It retains fluids and can increase distention and movement in the colon.

Not for Everyone

Take it with a grain of salt (pun intended), but using dissolved Epsom salt is not for everyone. It is harmless when used for bathing, but it gets serious when consumed. 

True that magnesium sulfate has a laxative effect, but it has some side-effects such as:

  • abdominal bloating
  • flatulence
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

Magnesium also has significant roles in the body, particularly in nerve and muscle functions, muscle contraction, bone strength, blood glucose, etc.

Did you know that magnesium is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions inside the body? 

This means that an imbalance of magnesium can have drastic effects on a person. These effects range from muscle weakness to respiratory collapse. It depends on their health status and magnesium levels in their body.

If you have pre-existing conditions such as heart, neuromuscular, or kidney disease, diabetes, eating disorder, or are pregnant, you have to ask your doctor whether taking Epsom salts is the right laxative for you.

Think Twice Before you Drink

Thinking twice about drinking Epsom salts is particularly important for pregnant women. Why? Because it can affect the skeletal system of the fetus. 

Magnesium sulfate can interact with many different drugs too. Some effects can range from mild to moderate and to serious interactions. Make sure that you inform your physician or pharmacist before using Epsom salt as a laxative.

You might say, “but Epsom salt is a medicine, so why can’t I do it on my own?” 

The important factor here is that the infusion and the injectable solution has a carefully measured dosage and strength. The patient’s conditions are also considered before administering this type of medication. 

But, if you have decided to push through with your salt drink, you have to check if you are taking food-grade Epsom salt. Read and follow the label of the package because the concentration differs per brand. 

The effect of drinking Epsom salt ranges from 30 minutes to six hours. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids after taking your laxative drink. 

The Natural Removal Team

 

Excessive magnesium intake rarely happens. If it does happen, it only means that the person took in supplements or had too many magnesium laxatives. Why? Because the body has a natural way of removing excess magnesium. 

The same goes for hypomagnesemia or lack of magnesium in the body. This condition is common for alcoholics, those who have malabsorption of minerals and nutrients, or those with type 2 diabetes. 

If you are curious about what natural food has magnesium, you’re in luck because they are fairly common. Here are some magnesium-rich foods that you can incorporate in your diet:

  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Almond
  • Cashew
  • Tofu
  • Soy products
  • Brown rice and other whole grains
  • Milk

So, is Epsom salt a laxative? Yes. But there are other safer and more natural alternatives for curing constipation. Consider lifestyle change! Drink more fluids, exercise, and eat a balanced diet. This is a more sustainable alternative to running and finding laxatives on short notices. If you have chronic constipation, always ask your physician first before trying to self medicate on Epsom salts. 

Does Flax Seed Make You Poop? Yes, and There’s More

The flax plant is a popular crop, dating back to centuries of cultivation. The plant is used from the fiber which is used for making underclothes and table linens, to the seeds for its medicinal attributes. Even if it is known for its heart benefits and cancer risk reduction, it is also beneficial for a healthy gut. Here we’re going to answer how does flax seed make you poop?

Multipurpose Plant

Flax, also called “linseed” and “common flax” has the scientific name of Linum usitatissimum. Evidence of its uses dates back to the pharaohs in Egypt. Flax linen was found after the excavation of the tomb! King Charlemagne of the Frankish Empire believes so much in the health benefits of Flax that he made a law about eating flaxseed.

It is a multipurpose plant that is used not only as a source of fiber for textile production but also as medicine. The oil is from seeds, that’s why you might see “linseed oil” as an ingredient to some products. Some people even claim that this plant is a “superfood”.

More than the Seed

Flax is so common that it now has different forms used for products. 

Did you know that flaxseed is an ingredient of frozen waffles and oatmeals? Yep! There are around 300-flax-based products launched in the USA and Canada and that was a decade ago!

Linseed oil is common, but you can also get flax as whole seeds, tablets, flour, powdered, or in capsules. It is also fed to chicken to increase the Omega-3 fatty acid content of the eggs. This sought after Omega-3 fatty acid is a major beneficial component of flaxseed.

The small, nutrient-packed flaxseed contains the following in one tablespoon (approximately 7 grams):

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fiber
  • Monounsaturated fat
  • Polyunsaturated fat
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Phytosterols
  • Lignan

Now that’s a mouthful!

Does flax seed make you poop?

Flaxseed is known for being good for the heart because of Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a good alternative to fish oil due to the presence of Alpha-linolenic acid which is a plant-based type of Omega-3 fatty acid. 

Another known health benefit of flaxseed is its antioxidant property caused by lignans. Flaxseed contains 800 times more lignan than other plant sources.

It’s time to highlight Fiber which is a major component of Flaxseed responsible for gut health.

Flaxseed contains both soluble (around 20-40%) and insoluble fibers (around 60-80%). 

Fun fact: One tablespoon of flaxseed contains three grams of fiber. 

Now you might be asking, so what? 

Fiber is a critical part of bowel movement. The combination of both soluble and insoluble fibers in food helps in regularizing the bowel movement of a person. The native gut bacteria ferment these fibers before they can do their sweeping process. The fermented fibers “push and pull” the bowel so that it can pass through smoothly.

Soluble means that it can be dissolved, and this is exactly what happens with soluble fiber. After being dissolved, it slows down digestion speed by mixing it in with the intestinal contents. This process increases the consistency of the bowel.

Insoluble fiber, being the opposite, gathers and binds water to the bowels. It increases the bulk of the poop while making it softer.

Give Me My Flax!

Now we’re going to the tasty part. Here are some tips and tricks for adding flaxseed to the diet:

  • Buy ground flaxseed or grind them using a food processor or coffee grinder.
  • Add flaxseed to your cereals, oatmeal, yogurt snack, smoothies or even salads
  • Mix flaxseed to your mayonnaise or mustard before adding it to your sandwich.
  • Love baking? Add ground flaxseed to your cookies, cakes and other pastries.

Moderation is the key to having a healthy and balanced diet. There is no superfood that people can binge to cure all illnesses, and that is the same for flaxseed. Here are some reminders about flaxseed:

One Tablespoon Flaxseed = One Serving. Limit your daily servings to a maximum of five tablespoons a day. USDA approves up to 12% flaxseed to be used in food.

Be mindful not to eat unripe and raw flaxseed since these are toxic. 

Due to the binding action of insoluble fiber with water, you have to drink plenty of fluids when eating flaxseed.

Too much flaxseed can cause bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, flatulence, and sometimes, even diarrhea.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, try to avoid eating flaxseeds. Phytoestrogens from phytosterols and lignan may affect the breastmilk and hormones during pregnancy. The same goes for those taking hormones for therapy or birth control pills. 

Flaxseed can be a fun and healthy addition to the diet. It has a wide range of health benefits such as cancer risk reduction, heart, and gut health. Its versatility makes it easy to incorporate into the diet, but it must be moderated of course. So, does flax seed make you poop? Yes, it does. 

Difference Between Prebiotics & Probiotics: Predator and Prey

The gut is at the center of the human body and plays an integral role in its functions. Inside the gut is a flora of bacteria that are beneficial to digestion. Like living organisms, these microorganisms need to be fed too. Here is where the difference between prebiotics and probiotics lie.

Centuries ago, people would look at you with disgust if you tell them that they have microorganisms inside their bodies. Some questions about how to remove it and the harmful effects would rise and might cause them unrest. 

Needless to say, they would raise an eyebrow about the mere thought of eating living bacteria!

But it’s not the case now. Probiotic food is bought and sought for because of the health benefits. Simply put, these are “good” or “beneficial” bacteria and yeast. An example of this would be the famous Lactobacillus strain. But there are also the Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces strains.

Did you know that there are around a dozen strains of lactobacillus that are used as probiotics? These live organisms are in certain food like yogurt or even as supplements.

The Gut and Beyond

Some of these bacteria aid in digestion and can synthesize short-chain fatty acids and Vitamin K. They also help in maintaining the integrity of the colon lining which protects the gut from harmful bacteria and fungi. Probiotics also appear to be helpful for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but the intensity and effective combination of strains and species are still uncertain.

The effect of probiotics goes beyond the gut.

Other studies about probiotics include the improvement in the general health of a person such as the absence from colds, reduced gestational diabetes, and reduced needs for antibiotics. 

Prebiotics are the substances that the bacteria in the gut eat. These are usually carbohydrates and fiber which we, as humans, can’t digest on our own. 

Sounds fun! Feeding two or more with one food!

You are what you eat

What you eat affects the flora of your bacterial gut. Keep in mind that fiber is the preferred food of these probiotics. So, what if you eat fatty, sugary food all the time?

These food choices might cause a decrease in the number of probiotics inside the body. It can then increase the number of harmful bacteria living inside the gut which may displace the native bacteria living in it. After that, the person may acquire new food intolerances. Trust me, it’s not like a superpower. For example, when a person eats vegetables after a long time of fatty diet may feel more bloated or gassy than usual. That or they feel indigestion instead.

Studies about prebiotics are limited. Some suggest that prebiotics help improve calcium absorption and the processing of carbohydrates. It is also beneficial in the growth of gut bacteria.

Probiotics and Prebiotics in your life

The following are some food with probiotics that you can take for a healthy mix of gut bacteria. The first thing you might see is that these are usually fermented and so you might enjoy them if you are a fan of kimchi.

  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha Tea
  • Some non-pasteurized pickles
  • Some non-pasteurized pickled vegetables
  • Fermented cheeses

Now if you are curious about what to take to “feed” your probiotics, here are some prebiotic foods. Note that these are mostly fibrous or contains complex carbohydrates:

  • Nuts and Legumes
  • Oats
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Fruits

You might notice a familiar combination here.

For instance, yogurt topped with fruit bits? It’s common and tasty way to improve your gut flora.

What about pickled vegetables? Some food have both the probiotics and prebiotics mixed in. You just have to know the nature of the food which is fermented and fibrous.

Balance and Variety

Taking probiotic supplements needs a lot of consideration and consultation with your physician. Different brands have an original mix of probiotic strains formula. This means that the effect can vary depending on your microbiome and circumstances.

Having a healthy and balanced diet reduces the need for prebiotics and probiotics. It doesn’t have to be a chore to consider the need for eating these foods unless prescribed by your dietitian or physician. in addition to that, it’s not for everyone. People with Crohn’s Disease and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) should be careful when taking probiotics. The same goes for immunocompromised people. They may feel weaker and can hamper the reduction of their symptoms.

To summarize, prebiotics are complex carbohydrates such as fiber which the beneficial bacteria and yeasts called probiotics eat. These microorganisms are native to the gut, or sometimes induced by taking probiotic food. However, choosing probiotic food doesn’t have to be a conscious choice. As long as a person has a balanced and varied diet of meat, fruits and vegetables, and some occasional fermented food and cheeses, they are good to go. And that is the difference between prebiotics & probiotics.

The Liquid Form: Does colloidal silver kill good bacteria?

Various diets come and go. It rises and falls depending on the trends and needs of the era. The same goes for the miracle ingredients that seem to be the cure for all diseases or be an instant health pill. But, some stand the test of time. Here we are to answer the question, does colloidal silver kill good bacteria?

Silver: More than your Jewelry

No, we are not talking about killing werewolves.

Silver has already stood the test of time as an antimicrobial tool. (It even dates back to the time of Herodotus.) There is even a process called “silvering”, where silver coins are kept with water to keep it fresh. 

There is one silver product used for water filtering called silver oxide. It is a result of silver’s reaction with oxygen and sometimes added in water filters to prevent bacterial growth.

Another form of silver called silver nitrate is used as eye drops for infants to prevent conjunctivitis. This prevents them from the infection from passing through the birth canal. 

A recent study checked out the efficacy of a silver colloidal gel in a dental set-up. They studied its effect in preventing oral bacteria from developing plaque formation and tooth decay. Turns out that the silver gel was effective in preventing the growth of the biofilm by three bacteria.

The Silver Elixir

What does it mean when you say “colloidal silver”?

It means that super tiny particles of silver are floating around in a liquid.  These are “nanoparticles”. It means that these are invisible to the eyes.

In liquid form, it is easy to consume colloidal silver. This makes it accessible for those who believe in the health benefits of taking silver in the body. These claims include treating Lyme disease, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and cancer. 

The health benefit claimed by the product is different from what science says. Researches do not have enough support for the claims and tend to lean more on the effects of the item in question.

Different Shades of Silver

Some time ago, before the years of antibiotics, silver nitrate nose drops were used to fight infection. This method stopped because the patients failed to improve and were turning grey. It then led to the classification of “argyria”. It is the grayish discoloration of the skin because of the deposition of silver compounds in it.

This did not deter the manufacturers that use colloidal silver in supplements. The antifungal and antibiotic property of colloidal silver is undeniable. But, the test-tube set-up is different from the real human body.

Silver Zombie

As an antibiotic, silver does not choose what bacteria to kill. Research suggests that silver damages the cell membranes and damages its DNA, hence killing the cell. The dead cell absorbs and serves as a storage room for the silver nanoparticles. 

These particles do not stay long inside the cell.

The silver particles leech out to the environment and are absorbed by the living cells. And then, this cycle continues until all cells are dead.

It sounds like a zombie apocalypse – microscopic version.

Too Much Unkown

The effect of colloidal silver varies depending on the concentration of the mixture and the size and shape of the particles. The smaller the particle size, the more silver ions released. The quantity of silver particles that can fit in the liquid also increases. 

It is important to know that there is no standardized process for colloidal silver products. Even commercial products vary in the size and concentration of the silver particles inside it, which may cause harm especially if self-medicating. 

There is no current evidence that colloidal silver has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties when consumed. 

The usage of silver has improved along with mankind’s growth. But, there is still a huge room for the exploration of silver for medicinal applications. 

Don’t get me wrong though.

There is a possibility of using this mixture in the medicinal field because there are still too many unknown things about it. In addition to that, there are no existing studies about consuming nanoparticles. 

Does colloidal silver kill good bacteria? The answer is yes. It does not differentiate which is which. As far as science and research are concerned, this is not a good excuse to take it as a supplement or medication. If you are looking for food to help your gut flora, worry not for we have the article just for you.

How to Test Gut Bacteria: Know Your Microbiome

The word “bacteria” has a negative connotation for many people. It’s like something that must not be there at any time. But, it started to shift to the positive light with the introduction of probiotics. Humanity reached the years where people know how to test gut bacteria in their own homes.

When we say “gut bacteria”, we must not think of individual units of bacteria living in the gut. We must think of it as a community, the interaction and by-products happening inside the gut. This is called “gut microbiome”. 

So, is it only for food digestion?

No, this is not only beneficial for digesting food and energy metabolism. The gut microbiome can also affect the immune system and nervous system activity.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There is a very simple way of viewing gut bacteria – it is by categorizing them into the good and the bad bacteria. If you recall the definition of the microbiome, it is the interaction between the bacteria that is important. It doesn’t mean that you have to do something drastic because you found out that you have one bad bacteria in your gut. 

The interaction of the bacteria varies depending on the presence of other bacteria. It also depends on the diet and lifestyle of the individual.

You see, it’s that personal and complex. Classifying a group of microbes as healthy isn’t as simple as people imagine it to be. The result depends on what the person eats, drinks, stress level, and genes. It is so complex that millions of samples are needed for analysis before a predictive index of the microbiome is made.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t go ahead and have your gut tested out of your curiosity. Another good reason to know your gut is if you have an unhealthy and unbalanced gut microbiome. Some signs of this are having an upset stomach, autoimmune conditions or difficulty digesting food. For example, if you often have gas, diarrhea, bloating, nausea and abdominal pain. You may have Chron’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. 

How to Test Gut Bacteria?

It doesn’t have to be an extensive test especially if you’re curious about your microbiome. 

A first and light trial will be to test your tolerance to different food. You can go and identify your trigger food and experiment on how to ease your discomfort. Some of the common trigger food are the following:

  • dairy
  • gluten
  • caffeine
  • salicylates from plants
  • sulfites in the preserved food
  • fructose from fruits and vegetables

Think of it as fumbling in the dark. 

Test from Your Home

Another test is the use of bacteria test kits. These kits can be used at home or in the clinic. Common brands are Viome and UBiome which you can order online. The fun part about home-based test kits is that you can gather your sample at the comfort of your own home.

Yes, it won’t be awkward.

After sending your sample, they will review and analyze the gut bacteria from your stool. They then provide some dietary recommendations based on the microbiome of the gut. Besides the review by the test kit company, you can also give the result to your physician to interpret it further and provide more suggestions. 

Gut Bacteria Snapshot

A word of caution is that there are limitations to the results of these home-based tests. It cannot be used as a diagnostic tool or as a validation for a disease. As mentioned before, the microbiome in an individual’s gut is very complex. It varies depending on a wide variety of factors such as diet, lifestyle, and genes.

Think of it as taking a selfie. You can take your picture one day and as much as you want to replicate it, it’s near impossible.

A slightly different pose…

A slight muscle twitch…

A hair astray….

These might be minor differences but it makes the original image different anyway.

The same goes for the gut. Following a very specific routine and eating the same food daily won’t help and will be harmful to you.

It’s also crazy!

So bear and understand that as science progresses, this field will also improve. Various scientists and physicians are looking into the potential of microbiome-based tests. In the meantime, home-testing kits are useful if you’re curious about how to test gut bacteria. Remember that it is only a snap of your present gut bacteria and can change depending on your diet and lifestyle. For urgent matters, go directly to your doctor. They can help identify your condition using different methods besides the microbiome-basted tests. 

One of the Mints. Does Peppermint Help Digestion?

Christmas just finished and it is arguably the season of peppermints. The red and white stripes of candy canes and small round candies are everywhere! This is in-time for the bountiful feasts during this time of the year, and we’re here to answer the question of whether peppermint helps digestion or not.

Everybody is familiar with the smell of mint. After all, it is a common ingredient of toothpaste, mouthwashes, gums, and candies. But nobody will blame you if you sometimes get confused with the other mints. Mint has around 15 to 20 plant species under the Lamiaceae family. We’ll focus on one mint for this article, and that’s Mentha piperita, also called peppermint.

Fun fact: Peppermint is a hybrid plant from watermint and spearmint.

The Many Faces of Peppermint

This vibrant plant can have many forms, such as rubs, creams, fresh or dry leaves, and oil. You can eat it as raw leaves or turn into tea. Peppermint oil coated in enteric capsules for consumption is also available. 

For it to be used to flavor toothpaste and other products, it has to be steam distilled and turned into a concentrated essential oil. 

Peppermint’s major chemical component is menthol. Menthol gives the characteristic fresh and cooling property to the mint plants. The menthol in peppermint adds a fresh, minty flavor to toothpaste and mouthwashes. This freshens the breath of the person. But this is just scratching the surface of the uses of peppermint.

This caffeine-free tea serves as a refreshing alternative to coffee and black tea. Some people drink it for its possible health benefits.

Another health benefit claim of peppermint is headache and migraine relief. This is due to the muscle relaxant effect and the cooling sensation by menthol. In line with this, a study showed the efficacy of mint in reducing the pain and clinical signs and symptoms of painful dysmenorrhea.

Did you know, Peppermint oil can also reduce bacterial infections? It can kill Staphylococcus bacteria, along with common bacteria found in the mouth. It can also fight and prevent the growth of Listeria, Salmonella and E. Coli in pineapple and mango juices.

 

Does Peppermint Help Digestion?

You may have heard how peppermint can help in weight loss. There are a few studies about it but there is no definite answer to this topic. But, there are some studies about the effect of peppermint oil on Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gastrointestinal ailments.

Peppermint oil has various mechanisms such as smooth muscle relaxation, visceral sensitivity modulation, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effect. It affects the esophagus, the gallbladder, colon, and the gastric and small bowel. 

Peppermint oil can reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) such as pain, bloating, diarrhea and gas. It is a short-term, yet safe and effective treatment for IBS. It also helps improve the flow of bile, making it helpful for those with indigestion. 

The majority of the studies involve using peppermint oil. So, there is no definitive answer on whether peppermint tea and other derivatives can have the same effect. 

It’s all cool and dandy, but some risks and precautions must be observed. Here are some of the no-no’s of using peppermint:

  • People with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) must avoid mint for their digestion issues. Why? Mint acts as a trigger for this, sometimes increasing the symptoms of indigestion. It only affects the small percentage of GERD patients, but it’s better to avoid it anyway. 
  • If you have heartburn, do not take any form of mint. Mint acts as a muscle relaxant and can close off the stomach from the esophagus. This will only make your stomach acid flow back or stay longer in your esophagus.
  • Do not consume excessive amounts of peppermint oil since it is toxic.
  • Do not consume pure menthol, nor apply mint oil to the skin of a toddler or infant. 
  • Peppermint is not recommended to people with diabetes, hiatus hernia (it relaxes the colon), people taking antacids and other medications metabolized by the liver.

If you’re like me and you like minty food, here are some tips and tricks to make peppermint a part of your life:

  • Make your peppermint tea with one handful of torn peppermint leaves and two freshly boiled cups of water
  • Add it to your cucumber or lime drink for a minty fresh drink
  • Mix it with your chocolate chip cookies and other desserts
  • Add it to your fruit salsa for a different twist

Peppermint is a healthy ingredient and caffeine-free tea alternative. It is a natural product that has a short-term yet effective treatment for IBS. It also helps with digestion with its effect on different parts of the gut. So, does peppermint help digestion? Yes, it does. Not only that, it is available in different forms, safe and easy to turn into tea. Just remember to take everything in moderation and not to go overboard with the peppermint oils.

While you steep your peppermint tea, check out two other oils that you might have read recently: CBD and MCT oil.

Matcha and Diarrhea: An Uncomfortable Combination

Ahh, matcha.

This unique ingredient became a global phenomenon in the last decade. We are all familiar with the fine, green powder, but what do we know about this? It has a lot of health benefits, but it doesn’t mean that you can consume more than recommended as it may cause some stomach discomfort, like diarrhea. So, what more can we say about matcha and diarrhea?

Matcha originated from Japan and is made from Camella sinensis leaves. This plant is also the source of black tea, oolong tea, and white tea. The difference with matcha is that it is of the green tea variety of the plant and is ground with the leaves, resulting in the kind of powder that we are all familiar with. 

This made matcha easier to use since it does not need to be steeped anymore. It adds the “instant” factor because you can add hot water and, voila! You have your matcha drink. 

Matcha and Diarrhea 1

It cannot be denied that matcha is an acquired taste. It has this leafy, bitter taste that not all can appreciate. But there is a certain charm to this tea, that it even has a tea-making ceremony in Japan. To cope with the changing generation of consumers, various products are now matcha flavored, such as ice creams, cakes, and pastries.

You know what, you can drop by your nearest Starbucks and get the matcha frappe. That is if you still haven’t tasted matcha before, or just craving for it.

 

What’s in the tea?

Green tea contains various vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to the body. For this article, we will only highlight the most known components – EGCG, and caffeine.

Matcha is associated with epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, a known antioxidant flavonoid. This EGCG helps with cancer prevention, immune system strengthening, and detoxification among others. Most of the health benefits of matcha and tea, in general, are because of this component.

Another noteworthy thing about matcha is that it has caffeine. Now, caffeine is a well-known stimulant, to the point that there is a myth about it being addictive. 

(Spoiler alert: Experts said that it’s not. It’s because the withdrawal symptoms are not as severe as with alcohol or drugs)

 

Caffeine is Life, Caffeine is Hype

As a stimulant, caffeine increases the alertness and thinking of a person by improving the function of the brain’s neurons. It hypes up the nervous system, so to speak. Caffeine is not only stimulating for the nerves, but it can also stimulate other systems, such as the gastrointestinal tract. Caffeine urges motility, which feels like having a queasy stomach. This makes your bowels move faster than their usual travel time. 

Caffeine is also a diuretic. It means that there is increased urine output whenever you take or drink caffeinated beverages and food. This does not only affect the renal system (the kidneys), but it can also draw in more fluid to the intestines. This means that there is more water in the intestinal tract to aide the stool during excretion.

Combine the stimulant with the diuretic nature of caffeine, and you get a more watery, quick exit poop. 

Yep. It sounds like diarrhea, and it is diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common experience for those sensitive to caffeine, or those first-timers with green tea in general. When you look at it from the perspective of a person who has constipation, it is a good thing. This combination can help them regulate their bowels by balancing out the slow movement of their gut.

I have met my match-a

Good thing that it is a beverage, and you can control how it affects your body. Here are some things on how you can moderately add matcha in your life.

  • Don’t take matcha, or green tea in general, on an empty stomach. This reduces the effect of caffeine on your body.
  • Have less than five cups of caffeinated drinks (including green tea) a day. Keep in mind that you are consuming the leaves of the plant too. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns that more than five cups of green tea a day is not applicable.
  • Some drugs interact negatively when taken with caffeinated beverages. Be careful and ask your physician about it. 
  • Drink lots of water or fluids to counter the diuretic effect of caffeine.

Matcha and Diarrhea 2

Matcha is fun and tasty when added to food and beverages. Not only is it an interesting ingredient, but it is also a healthy drink that can be substituted for coffee. But, like all other food, it should be taken in moderation. Be mindful of your matcha intake since it may cause all the side effects caused by caffeine, including an upset stomach and diarrhea. 

If you already have diarrhea, try to lie low on your matcha craze. You can also read more about what to eat and what to avoid here.