Can Owning A Dog Can Help Your Microbiome?

Our bodies contain around eight million genes. Yet only about 0.3 percent are human. The rest come from your microbiome — the sum total of genes from the numerous microbes (mostly bacteria, but also viruses, yeasts and fungi) that coat your skin, mouths, gut lining – just about everything.

And any number of lifestyle factors can influence your microbiome, things like diet, antibiotic use and even the people we live with.

While a person might only have 10 percent of their microbiomes in common with a random stranger, people who live together share more microbial populations in common.

Research has even shown that you and your dog share similar microbial populations and UCSF scientists who conducted a study in 2013 suggested that living with a dog in infancy may lower a child’s risk of developing asthma and allergies, largely as a result of exposure to what they call “dog-associated house-dust”.

“The idea of combining animal, human and environmental health, and seeing the whole picture through the lens of the microbes that we share, is an increasing direction for research,” Knight said in a recent interview with U-T San Diego.

Reference

Fikes, B. Dog germs may be good for you. The San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015.

Havstad, S., Ganesa Wegienka, Edward M Zoratti, et al.  Effect of Prenatal Indoor Pet Exposure on the Trajectory of Total IgE Levels in Early Childhood. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2011:  128(4). Elsevier Ltd: 880–885.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.06.039.

Tse, I. 7 Surprising Health Benefits of Dog Ownership. LiveScience. 2012

 

What 3 Things Can You Do NOW that Can Improve Your Health

I was interested to hear Dr Jeffrey Bland (the father of Functional Medicine and author of The Disease Delusion, answer the question “ What 3 Things Can You Do NOW that Can Improve Your Health?”

Here is his answer.

  1. Get away from the fast food restaurants for a period of a couple months and see how that influences your health. That alone will make a difference
  2. Improve your omega-3 oil intake from fatty fish like salmon. I know there’s a lot of back-and-forth controversy about omega-3s right now, but I can tell you if you weigh the studies going back to Joel Kremer who was at New York Medical College and did the first studies on placebo-controlled trials in rheumatoid arthritis with fish oils and showed a very positive clinical benefit under controlled conditions.
  3. Move your body without overdoing it. You need to keep moving because a low level of your immune system activities reforming and recycling old materials is really important for reducing inflammation. It almost seems paradoxical that a small amount of inflammation induces anti-inflammation, but that’s how it works. So you want to be in a proper physical conditioning program— movement, massage, physical medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, all these things can be very helpful in the structural component of these conditions. Structure and function are intimately tied together. Often we forget that function is structure, and structure is function. So we need them to be tightly tied.

 

Top Ten Tips for adding Alkaline foods to your diet

In PART 1 HERE, I discussed the reason we should care about acidity and alkalinity.

Research shows that diets consisting of highly alkaline foods — fresh vegetables, fruits and unprocessed plant-based sources of protein, for example — result in a more alkaline urine pH level, which helps protect healthy cells and balance essential mineral levels.

A scientific review published in the “Journal of Environmental and Public Health” in 2012 suggests that a diet based heavily on alkaline foods can benefit your health.

Here are my top ten tips for  adding more alkaline foods to your diet.

  1. Cooked or raw, dark green leafy vegetables are among the most alkaline of all vegetables.
  2. Alkaline forming fruits are lemons, oranges, cherries, dates, figs, nectarines, pears, watermelon, apples, bananas, and avocados.
  3. Jicama, kale, sweet potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, bell peppers, beets, eggplant, cucumber, lettuces, mushrooms, squashes (including pumpkin), greens, and most herbs and spices.
  4. Instead of heavy condiments and sauces, use alkaline options such as ginger and garlic in your cooking!
  5. Instead of frozen vegetables (more acidic), get to the grocery store or your local farmers market for fresh, organic options
  6. Try to eliminate anything out of a can or a box, including most of the options in the freezer aisle.
  7. Reduce wheat flour, white flour, beef, shell fish, cheese and dairy, processed foods.
  8. Replace spagehtti with spaghetti squash
  9. If you drink one can of soda it takes 32 8oz. glasses of water to neutralize it. Drink lots of water!
  10. Use cucumber and jicama to dip in your guacamole!