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How Pre- and Probiotics Boost Immunity
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How Pre- and Probiotics Boost Immunity

Pre- and probiotics could be powerful immunity boosters. Are you getting enough of the good stuff? This article takes a closer look at the effect of pre-and probiotics on boosting your immunity, ability to avoid disease and ability to get better faster once you become sick.

What are Probiotics?

It’s a strange thought, but right from the moment we’re born, the human body becomes a host for other microorganisms. This includes the beneficial bacteria in our intestinal tracts, simply called “probiotics”.

These bacteria have daunting names such as “Lactobacillus acidophilus”, “Bifidobacterium bifidum” and “Bifidobacteria infantis”, but without them our immune systems wouldn’t be able to function as it should. These beneficial bacteria perform a number of important functions and also keep harmful bacteria in our gut in balance. Probiotics stop these bad bacterias from running rampant in our digestive tracts. This is one explanation as to how probiotics help us avoid illness... they help stop bad bacteria from getting out of control and making us sick.

What are Prebiotics?

We have established that probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve our health and immunity. “Prebiotics”, on the other hand, are food components that improve the food supply for micro-organisms in our gastrointestinal tracts. Prebiotics give the beneficial bacteria (i.e. probiotics) nourishment and thus a chance to grow and flourish. Our prebiotic levels can be naturally boosted by eating lots of fruit and vegetables. Some probiotic supplements, such as Restore 30 Billion Probiotic and Restore Bowel and Colon Probiotic have added prebiotics to help probiotics survive and grow in our stomach.

Beneficial bacteria in babies

Before birth, a baby’s gastrointestinal tract is totally sterile. This means that it doesn’t contain any bacteria – not even the “good” ones. During the natural birth process, the baby receives some beneficial bacteria from the mother – organisms that immediately start to multiply, boosting the little one’s immunity.

Preliminary research shows that these good bacteria (mostly Bifidobacteria infantis) can decrease the growth of so-called Rota viruses, known for causing diarrhoea and thrush, thus protecting the new-born against common infections. The bacteria also seem to help prevent lactose intolerance, while increasing the absorption of minerals and B vitamins and boosting the infant’s immature immune system.

What’s more, Australian researchers recently discovered that probiotics can prevent a serious bowel condition called necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies. In the study done at Sydney’s Nepean Hospital, in which a probiotic was mixed with breast milk and given to the babies, the healthy bacteria cut the risk of infection by 50%.

Breast milk also contains immune-boosting probiotics, which means that breastfeeding is another excellent way of increasing the number of Bifidobacteria in a baby’s intestinal tract.

Beneficial bacteria in adults

Adults have much bigger populations of gut bacteria, but only a few of these groups (e.g. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) seem to be beneficial to our health and capable of boosting immunity.

Several factors – such as stress, use of antibiotics, diarrhoea, an unhealthy diet, pollution, infections such as HIV/Aids, and ageing – can decrease our natural immunity and make us vulnerable to pathogens that cause disease. In addition, many harmful bacteria and viruses are becoming resistant to antibiotics, making treatment of common infections increasingly difficult.

Research shows that probiotics compete with harmful bacteria for food in the gastrointestinal tract, preventing them from multiplying and causing disease. They also seem to boost the uptake of important minerals, thus preventing deficiencies that could lower immunity.

The solution

Even though our understanding of probiotics is a work in progress, we can all potentially benefit from ingesting probiotic cultures.

Interestingly, the Bifidobacteria are the most common probiotics in the gastrointestinal system and also the good bacteria that decreases most as we age. It’s therefore important to take probiotic supplements or eat foods that contain live Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Examples of foods rich in these strains include yoghurt, soy milk, miso soup and our Nature's Way Probiotic Choc Balls.

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This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on how probiotics support immunity, visit www.health365.com.au.

3 Recipes for Strong Bones
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3 Recipes for Strong Bones

Try these 3 recipes from our Superfoods Recipes archive to help you get more calcium and magnesium into your diet to support stronger bones and good muscle health.  

1. Banana Split Smoothie

Calcium and magnesium are both critical for maintaining strong bones as we age. And the ingredients in this recipe have magnesium and calcium in spades. The recipe also contains bananas, which can help the body better absorb calcium. Use soy milk over almond milk (soy milk has more calcium) to make this simple, tasty smoothie even better at protecting your bones. Try the Banana Split Smoothie now.  

2. Chia-Crusted Salmon

Whilst the Super Chia Seeds in this recipe are rich in calcium (which we already know is important for joint health), salmon is rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D makes your body much more efficient at absorbing calcium, and is very important for maintaining strong bones over time. Try the Chia-Crusted Salmon now.  

3. Chocolate Date Balls

Several  studies have found that the more magnesium people consume in their food, the denser their bones as they age. Dense bones are strong bones. There are a number of foods that are high in Magnesium, but our favourite is Cacao. Use our organic cacao, which is ultra-high in magnesium, to support bone and muscle health for years to come. Try the Chocolate Date Balls now.  
5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress
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5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress

Stress can be a debilitating condition. It can have serious effects ..
Kids Smart Milk Buttons with Probiotics 150s
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Kids Smart Milk Buttons with Probiotics 150s

Kids Smart Milk Buttons with Probiotics is a delicious, nutritious, crunchy bite of real milk goodness. Made with 100% Australian milk, Kids Smart Milk Buttons with Probiotics is a nutritious snack providing 16% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and wholesome nutrients naturally found in milk.
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The SuperFoods Way with Mumafit
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The SuperFoods Way with Mumafit

Share your blogging journey with us. When did it begin and why did you decide to start? 

I started my Mumafit blog about 2 years ago. I was pregnant with my third baby and my husband and I had decided to develop a pre and post natal fitness app (The Mumafit App). We both had degrees in fitness and had lots of experience either training pregnant women, or for me, having mastered the art of pre and post natal exercise through personal experience. I decided to blog to create greater exposure for the app initially, but then I realised how thirsty women were for quality information on wellbeing during and post pregnancy, and this spurred me on and eventually lead to my niche life and wellness coaching.  

Outside of creating beautiful content for your followers, what are you most passionate about in life?

  I am truly driven to live a life that is rich in experience, explores the depths of our souls, our connections with others and allows us each to live with our own style of emotional and physical freedom. As my children grow, my focus remains firmly on raising them in this manner. We love to get away as often as we can in our full size old bus converted into a motorhome so that we can leave the city behind us, connect with the ocean and spend more quality time as a family. What is your daily health, wellness and/or fitness routine Since having 3 children in 4 years, time is hard to find, so I only exercise formally 2 or 3 times a week with yoga and strength training. My life is full of incidental activity though as we love to get outside and walk the beach or the streets with the kids. I try hard to remember to hydrate properly every day and eat as healthily as we can. Food has become such an integral part of our wellbeing, keeping us from falling ill and providing us the energy to live a vital life with our kids. We are not saints though and enjoy indulging ourselves every now and then. When it comes to food and exercise, I don’t believe in extremes or allowing an obsession with wellbeing become just another stress in your life – so keeping things moderate and simple is key.

What’s your favourite way to utilise Super Foods to help you get through a busy day?

Mmm tough question as I’ve learnt to sneak them in at any opportunity. My breakfast is always loaded with superfoods, so that if the day gets away from me, I’ve already had a good start. Then it’s a toss up between smoothies and bliss balls. I’ll take either! For more info or to follow Muma Fit - click here. See her amazing SuperFood Bliss Balls Recipe:   Recipe for Bliss Balls via Mumafit
Key Nutrients For Pregnancy
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Key Nutrients For Pregnancy

Good nutrition can help ensure your child's development and well-being well before your child is conceived, believe it or not. If you are trying for a baby or are already pregnant, there are a handful of key nutrients for pregnancy to support both your health and the health of your child.

Key Nutrients For Pregnancy

It is important to eat a wide variety of foods during pregnancy, and the amount of food you need to eat will increase. Your baby will be the first one to tell you this - you can expect to have an increase appetite  as the pregnancy. Gaining some 'baby weight' (that is, additional body weight, not the weight of the baby) is also normal. You can expect to gain between 11 to 18 kg of baby weight during pregnancy. If you feel like weight gain during your pregnancy has become extreme or is a problem, talk to your doctor... dieting during pregnancy can be harmful to both you and your baby, so a professional's advice is important. For an in-depth look at diet during pregnancy, visit the Victorian Government's Better Health Channel's article on the topic. Let's take a closer look at the key nutrients you should be aware of during pregnancy.  

 1. Folate / Folic Acid

Folate (also 'folic acid') is one of the B vitamins. It is important during pregnancy as it can help with neural development and protect your unborn child against neural tube defects. 400mcg. a day is the recommended amount. Brocoli, asparagus, lentils, spinach and citrus fruits are all high in folate / folic acid.  

2. Iron

Your iron requirements increase during pregnancy, because your baby is also drawing on your intake of food sources of iron. During pregnancy, your recommended daily intake of iron rises from 18mg a day pre-pregnancy to 27mg a day during pregnancy (source : NRV.gov.au). Iron deficiency is common during pregnancy and iron supplements may be necessary. However, consult a doctor before starting an iron supplement, as too much iron can be harmful to mum and bub. Note: the iron content of some foods is reduced by cooking. Steaming vegetables for the minimum amount of time possible helps it retain it's iron content. Lean beef, chicken, eggs, berries and lentils are all good sources of dietary iron during pregnancy.  

3. Iodine

Iodine deficiency is increasing in Australia. In adults, iodine deficiency can lead to thyroid problems. In infants, the effects of iodine deficiency is much more severe, causing moderate to severe developmental problems in unborn children and infants. Iodine can be found in 'iodised' table salts. Fish is a good food source of iodine, yet eating fish during pregnancy should be approached with caution. Many fish types contain higher trace levels of heavy metals like mercury than others. Mercury can be harmful to a baby. Furthermore, eating raw fish or semi-raw fish should be avoided during pregnancy.... cooked fish only. Increase consumption of dairy products, which are typically rich in iodine. Talk to your doctor about whether an iodine supplement is required.  

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The huge number of benefits from adequate omega-3 consumption are well documented. One type of omega-3 in particular called 'DHA' (docosahexaenoic acid) is important for mental development of unborn babies. Studies show that babies born of mothers who had high blood levels of DHA during birth had accelerated mental development compared to babies born from mothers with low DHA blood levels. Best food sources of DHA include seafood and marine algae. Vegetable sources of omega-3 such as chia seeds and flaxseeds are often recommended to increase omega-3 intake for pregnant women, but these contain a different type of omega-3 (ALA) that does not appear to have the same link to brain development. An omega-3 DHA supplement may also be a good idea.  

Final Tip

Your doctor should become like your best friend during pregnancy. Whilst you will receive advice from nearly everyone you know, the best person to turn to for advise on nutrition and/or supplements during pregnancy is your doctor. ----- This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. For more information on women's health, visit www.health365.com.au.  
3 Tasty Superfood Recipes for Stress Support
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3 Tasty Superfood Recipes for Stress Support

A critical element of dealing with stress is living a healthy, active ..
Kids Smart Drops Vitamin D3
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Kids Smart Drops Vitamin D3

Kids Smart Vitamin D3 Drops are the ideal way to top up your child’s vitamin D3 intake and help support good health in infants and children who may not be getting enough sun or who have darker skin.