1. Saving time? You could be getting socked in the gut

    On these steamy days, spending hours sweating over a hot stove is no one's idea of summer fun.

    Not to mention all that time you have to spend shopping for the makings... chopping and prepping them... and then washing the dishes when it’s all over.

    Sure, you could get back to enjoying your summer day or evening a lot sooner if you just “nuked” something in the microwave or hit the drive-thru line.

    But whether that “convenience” comes from a bag, a box, a Styrofoam container, or a can, tearing into processed foods may open up a Pandora's box of problems.

    According to a new study, the more of them that you eat, the greater your odds of developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

    In the study, French researchers surveyed over 33,000 people about everything they ate and drank in a 24-hour period, categorized as either unprocessed (like fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish), minimally processed (like canned veggies), or "ultra-processed" (including fish sticks, chicken nuggets, and sweetened drinks).

    After researchers linked the dietary data to participants' health records, they found that those who ate the most ultra-processed foods were MORE likely to have IBS than those who ate the least.

    Now, we know that for your gut to run smoothly, you need to eat plenty of fiber, which feeds the "good" bugs in your belly and produces short-chain fatty acids that promote normal intestinal function.

    And in the study, the fiber intake of those who ate the most ultra-processed foods was significantly LESS than that of those who ate the least.

    That's likely because processed foods typically contain little fiber -- and if you’re eating THOSE instead of fresh foods, your gut simply can't get enough of the fiber it needs.

    Not surprisingly, those who ate the most ultra-processed foods in the study also had a higher intake of simple carbs (a.k.a. sugars) than those who ate the least.

    And, of course, we know that refined carbs and sugars feed the "bad" bugs in your gut that can trigger IBS.

    Plus, those bagged and boxed meals can also contain high levels of trans fats... additives and preservatives... and even contaminants from packaging, all of which may play a role in setting off IBS.

    So, if you want to avoid the misery of toilet troubles, try switching to the Paleo (a.k.a. "caveman") diet, which cuts out all processed junk in favor of only FRESH proteins and produce.

    No time to cook? Throw together a creative salad with greens, veggies, nuts, berries, and leftover chicken or steak.

    You'll beat the clock... AND the heat!

  2. Vitamin D eases IBS symptoms

    Bask in the sunshine to soothe your gut

    When you've got irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), getting out the door each morning can be a non-starter.

    Between your dietary restrictions... painful cramps... and the urge to dash to the toilet... it probably feels safer to stick close to home.

    But if you stay inside all day, you could be missing out on something essential to your health that may make you feel a whole lot better.

    I'm talking about sunshine!

    Because according to the latest research, the vitamin D that your body makes when those UV rays hit your skin could calm the tumult in your gut.

    In the meta-analysis out of the UK, researchers reviewed all of the available studies to date on the role of vitamin D in IBS and came to a couple of important conclusions.

    First off, many of the studies found that a substantial portion of those with IBS -- up to a whopping 82 percent -- are deficient in vitamin D.

    Now, they didn't necessarily determine whether that vitamin D deficiency causes IBS... or if the lifestyle associated with IBS (i.e. spending a lot of time indoors) leads to a lack of the "sunshine" vitamin.

    But the remaining studies in the new meta-analysis shed some "light" on the issue -- because
    IBS patients who supplemented their diets with vitamin D consistently had less severe symptoms AND reported a better quality of life than those who didn't up their intake of D.

    Of course, further research is needed to determine exactly how the two are linked, but we do know that vitamin D reduces inflammation and boosts your immune system and mood.

    And everything from compromised immunity to anxiety can trigger IBS flare-ups.

    We also know that those who lack enough D are at a greater risk of developing other gut diseases -- including colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease -- so it's clear that this vitamin is somehow vital to the health of your innards.

    Translation: If you want to spend less of your life locked inside the restroom, step into the sunshine!

    If you live somewhere sunny, you can get all the vitamin D you need simply by spending 20 to 30 minutes outside each day with your head and arms exposed.

    But if you live in a colder climate like I do, you can up your levels by eating D-rich foods like wild-caught fish, beef liver, egg yolks, and mushrooms.

    Either way, adding a D supplement to your daily routine is a good idea -- because as we age, it can be harder for your body to absorb vitamin D from both food AND sunlight.

    What's more, getting enough of this hero vitamin can also protect you from the flu... keep your bones healthy and strong... and slash your risk of diabetes.

    Later today, I'll share something else this miracle vitamin can do -- and it's something that can save your life. Stay tuned for the next edition of eTips.

  3. Peppermint eases IBS

    Soothe your burning gut in two months or less Holiday meals can really do a number on anybody, even those who've got a "perfect" digestive system. But if you've got irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you know all too well that you're in for some extra suffering. And, unfortunately, there's no easy conventional remedy. But there's an UNCONVENTIONAL, natural cure that...
  4. Natural IBS treatments offer alternatives to drugs

    New data review finds scientific evidence to back efficacy of natural and alternative therapies for IBS, including pre- and probiotics and peppermint oil.
  5. Run with it

    A new study, reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, shows that ginger's benefits could extend beyond nausea relief - and can work on even the toughest-to-treat diarrhea.

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