1. This summer stone fruit beefs up your good belly bugs

    We're just a couple of weeks away from Labor Day -- which means that we're almost at the "unofficial" end of summer.

    And soon enough, those peaches, plums, and other delicious summer fruits will disappear from your local farmers market.

    But there's one stone fruit in particular you don't want to miss before summer's close.

    Cherries are not only delicious – but according to the latest research, they may actually improve your overall health.

    A new study shows that cherries can change the composition of your gut flora for the better... and as I've shared with you before, that’s where good health begins AND ends!

    In the study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, researchers applied the juice of either sweet black cherries or tart Montmorency cherries to bacteria from a human stool sample in the lab, and BOTH varieties of cherry juice significantly INCREASED the numbers of friendly bacteria in the sample.

    Gotta hand it to any scientist who’s dedicated enough to deal with poop in a petri dish!

    More specifically, a strain called Bacteroides grew like gangbusters -- and previous studies have shown that these good bugs can do everything from reduce body fat to prevent insulin resistance .

    Now, that was in a lab, which is all well and good. But what about in vivo?

    Well, when the researchers assigned a small group of healthy people to drink tart cherry juice every day for five days, something similar happened.

    Those who began the study with low levels of Bacteroides and another friendly strain, called Bifidobacterium, boosted their levels of these two good belly bugs after drinking the cherry juice.

    The theory is that plant compounds in cherries (called polyphenols) can supply the good bacteria with the energy they need to grow and thrive.

    And when your beneficial critters flourish, they can crowd out the bad bugs, leaving you with a favorable balance of bacteria in your gut that can smooth out your digestion... beef up your immunity... and even tamp down inflammation throughout your body.

    Now, all fresh cherries contain polyphenols -- but you'd have to eat an awful lot of them to get the same amount of the compounds as you'll find in cherry juice, which is more concentrated.

    Previous studies have shown that cherry juice can beat back gout ... bring down your blood pressure ... and even improve dementia .

    What's more, cherry juice is also loaded with melatonin, which can ease insomnia .

    So, snatch up those fresh cherries while summer's still here -- but the cherry on top is that the juice is available in many grocery stores year-round.

    Just look for the unsweetened kind that isn't loaded with added sugars.

    If the juice is a little TOO tart for your taste, you can find tart cherry supplements at your local health-food store.

  2. This is your belly on prescription drugs

    If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that your gut is home to TRILLIONS of bacteria (a.k.a. your "microbiome").

    The majority are beneficial, helping your body break down food... metabolize and absorb vitamins... and even shore up your immune system.

    But lurking among those “good guys” are some bugs from the wrong side of the tracks.

    And if anything disrupts the balance between good and evil, these rogue critters can take over, walloping you with everything from toilet troubles to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

    Now, I've told you before that antibiotics can wipe out the good with the bad in your microbiome, which can open the door for infectious bacteria like C. diff (a.k.a. “deadly diarrhea”) to walk right in and take over.

    But according to a new study, antibiotics aren't the ONLY offenders that come in a pill bottle -- because OTHER prescription meds can wreak havoc on your gut flora, too!

    In the study, European researchers tested over 1,000 prescription drugs to see what effect, if any, they had on 40 different strains of beneficial bacteria that normally reside in our guts.

    And it turned out that 24 percent of the drugs put a damper on the growth of beneficial strains of bacteria!

    But they weren’t all antibiotics. Nearly 30 percent of the NON-ANTIBIOTIC drugs also threw the balance of the gut flora off-kilter – ranging from painkillers to sleep meds to antipsychotics.

    It’s like putting your belly bugs in peril EVERY TIME you fill a prescription!

    What's more, the researchers noted that when non-antibiotic drugs threaten your microbiome, they can cause the SAME side effects as antibiotics, such as abdominal cramps and the desperate need to “go.”

    Of course, the ideal way to guard your gut is to turn to nature -- rather than drugs -- for whatever ails you. But that’s not an option for everybody, I know.

    So, if you must take any prescription med, do everything you can to protect the delicate balance of bacteria in your belly.

    Start by taking these three simple steps:

    1. Eat fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, which can help beef up the good guys and keep pathogens from gaining a foothold.
    2. If the sour tastes of those foods aren't your favorite, supplement your diet with probiotics from a trusted maker. Look for a brand with multiple strains and colony-forming units (CFUs) in the billions.
    3. Eating a diet full of fiber... exercising regularly... and even drinking black or green tea can also help promote the growth of beneficial strains in your gut.

    Just stay away from sugars (whether "natural" or artificial) and refined carbs -- because the sweet stuff makes harmful bacteria grow like gangbusters.

    You won’t believe how much better you feel – and as I shared with you this morning, bulking up on probiotics and restoring the balance in your gut could even make your BRAIN work better!

    And there’s no prescription med in the world that can do that.

  3. Not taking antibiotics? Your belly bugs might still be at risk

    Friend, right now… as you read this… you're crawling with bugs. No, I'm not talking about those multi-legged pests like ants and spiders that have started to hatch with the warmer weather. I mean the community of bacteria inside your GUT! Your gut is home to TRILLIONS of bacteria (a.k.a. your "microbiome"), and the majority of them are beneficial. They...
  4. Walnuts are good for your gut

    This crunchy nut is a friend to your gut It's amazing what you can find in the world around you if you just take the time to look. For instance, have you ever noticed that walnuts look like mini brains? With right and left "hemispheres" and folds that resemble your gray matter, Mother Nature seems to be reminding us that...
  5. The harder you exercise, the more your gut suffers

    Take some of the 'work' out of your workout to save your gut When one of my patients tells me that they don't exercise, I always ask, "Why not?" Most patients know that exercise is so critical to maintaining good health, so why would they purposely sabotage themselves? Well, in more cases than not, it turns out that these folks...
  6. The fountain of youth may be found in your gut

    Could the secret to a long life already be inside of you? When you're having a great day, you probably feel half your age. There's a spring in your step... and a song in your heart. Of course, you want to hang on to that wonderful feeling for as long as you can. But no matter how high the sun...
  7. High-fiber diet keeps your gut healthy

    Your overall health is affected by how quickly your body processes the food you eat and moves it through your intestinal tract. It turns out that the faster the foods passes through your gut, the healthier your gut flora… and the less chance of major diseases like cancer.
  8. The vitamin that can beat Crohn's

    One of the worst of these conditions is Crohn's disease, a relentless assault on the gut that can force sufferers to wonder if they're paying for crimes from a previous life. Don't lose hope -- because you might be able to get a lighter sentence by turning to the simple and safe vitamin I've been urging you to take all along: vitamin D3.

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