November 13, 2019
unnamed-1280x720.png

While cultivated mushrooms can be found anytime in the grocery store, most wild mushrooms only appear in autumn. This makes Fall the perfect time to start incorporating mushrooms into your diet!

Fungi appear to be plant-like organisms, however mushrooms are more closely related to animals than to plants. This may come as a shock, but mushrooms have incredible health benefits. The medicinal properties of mushrooms have been used since ancient times. To learn more about how mushrooms can support the immune system, reduce cancer risk, and keep our gut and liver healthy.  Click Here

Nutrient Content:
Mushrooms are actually the only source of vitamin D you will find in the produce aisle. Vitamin D is an essential fat soluble vitamin that is formed in the body with sunlight exposure and is mainly found in foods from animal products with the best naturally occurring source from fish. Vitamin D is key for bone and teeth health, as well support for the immune, brain and nervous systems (1).  Mushrooms are also a great source of fiber and protein, as well as many important micronutrients including B vitamins, selenium, potassium, and copper.

Healthy Aging:
Mushrooms contain many antioxidants which help reduce oxidative stress and therefore help with healthy aging. A great analogy would be using citrus to prevent apples from turning brown after you cut them.  A few common mushrooms that you might see in your supermarket, including shiitake, oyster and porcini, have been proven to boost longevity through their sources of sulfur-rich antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione. A diet rich in these antioxidants protect our cells from oxidative stress and supports liver detox which might play a role in inflammation, cancer and aging (2).

 

Immune Function:
A clinical study from the University of Florida in 2015 showed that eating shiitake mushrooms regularly improved immune function and improved inflammatory markers in the blood. One of the ways mushrooms do this is by stimulating secretory immunoglobulin A, or sIgA, an antibody that is crucial to the immune function of our mucous membranes (3). Mucous membranes line our gut and respiratory system and therefore protect us from invaders that we might be exposed to from food or in the air.  sIgA is essentially the body guards for the rest of our body. With winter around the corner, this might be useful. In fact, a study published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2012 showed that eating mushrooms may help prevent respiratory infections. Common white-button mushrooms also have this anti-inflammatory power.

Cancer:
Mushrooms have been shown to help fight various types of cancers. A study done in Australia found that women who consumed at least a third ounce of mushrooms daily had a 64% less chance of developing breast cancer (4). Also, mushrooms have been found to have many powerful molecules, such as beta-glucan, that act as anti-tumor agents (5).

 

Gut Health & Chronic Disease:
In addition to their benefits on intestine mucous membranes, mushrooms are also a prebiotic which feeds our good gut bacteria, improves digestion and overall health (6). Having healthy gut bacteria can prevent many diseases including diabetes, obesity and cancer. Further, mushrooms are known for their ability to lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure and reduce the chance of getting diabetes (7).

 

Get your daily dose of mushrooms:
Eating different types of mushrooms ensures that you are getting the benefits from all varieties. Some common mushrooms that can be found in your grocery store include: shiitake, portobello, oyster, cremini, and white button. Mushrooms can be roasted in the oven with some spices or added to stir-fries and curries with other vegetables. Chop up mushrooms in your taco meat and see how they add moisture to it. They also go great on salads. Adding some mushrooms to your diet is an easy way to improve your health.


November 19, 2018
pexels-photo-545012.jpeg

As winter approaches we are all adjusting to a new internal clock. Let talk about ways to help our bodies adjust and support a healthy sleep cycle.

We know we need to sleep for energy, fresh thinking, and a good mood, but did you also know that while we are asleep our brain is detoxing? This mechanism is called the glymphatic system. While asleep your brain is working to clean out potentially neurotoxic waste products that naturally accumulate when we are awake. Not getting enough quality sleep can cause these waste products to build up. As a result, we may experience symptoms like brain fog in the short term or neurodegenerative disorders in the long term.

How to Naturally Make Melatonin

You may have already heard about melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep and wakefulness. Poor sleep may mean your body is coming up short on producing enough melatonin. Here are some ways to increase melatonin production:

1. Melotonin To make melatonin we need the amino acid tryptophan. Foods high in tryptophan include red meat, poultry, bananas, potatoes, leafy greens, spirulina, pumpkin and squash seeds, mozzarella cheese, beans, lentils, and eggs. Along with tryptophan we also need vitamins and minerals such as B6, Magnesium and vitamin C to help convert this amino acid into melatonin.

2. Healthy Gut Bacteria In addition to getting enough of the melatonin “building blocks,” we need healthy gut bacteria to begin the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, and then into melatonin. Once again we see that a healthy gut microbiome is important for our overall health.

3. Exercise and sun exposure These are additional ways to improve a good nights rest. These both support the conversion pathway of tryptophan into serotonin, and then into melatonin. (Not to mention the uptick in mood from the extra serotonin.) If you have ever had a day full of either exercise and/or sun I am sure you slept great that night!

What Keeps Us Up?

1. Blue Light First, let’s talk about things that can interfere with melatonin production. Blue light at night tells the body it is daytime, interfering with our body’s production of melatonin. Avoiding blue light from screens and bright lights before sleep is ideal to help support melatonin production. Even a small amount of light coming through your window or a digital clock can prevent a full night rest by impeding melatonin production.

2. Stress Sleep can also be impacted by the amount of stress we have in our lives. Do you often wake up between 2 and 4 am and can’t get back to bed? This is a sign your adrenal glands are overworked. In today’s world, if our adrenal glands are constantly at work, releasing cortisol to keep us at a fast pace each day, they can often release that built up cortisol around 2-4am. This jolt of cortisol wakes us up and keeps us up. For this reason, slowing down each day and taking time to mindfully destress can improve your sleep at night.

3. Cortisol When we ignore your body’s cue that it is time to head to bed (usually around 9 or 10pm) our adrenals kick in and release cortisol to keep us up. This is why at 9 pm you could pass out in a minute but if you ignore that signal and head to bed at midnight, you can end up lying awake in bed for hours.

4. Blood Sugar Poor blood sugar control can also wake up at night. Around 2:00 am our body starts to produce its own sugar for energy. This is called gluconeogenesis. This jolt of energy into our bloodstream can wake us up. Balancing meals and foods to regulate blood sugar can improve sleep.

Note: Often times blood sugar dysregulation or adrenal imbalance wake us up and we then realize have to pee, while we are left thinking it was only a full bladder that disrupted our sleep.


June 19, 2018

By now we have all heard the term eating “local” but what does that really mean. The definition is pretty open depending on who you are talking to. While there is no clear definition the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 defines local to mean food shipped within 400 miles or food produced in the same state. Other local food enthusiasts may have even tighter mileage plan for what they consider local. Either way you slice it, local food means a shorter supply chain. In doing so, this provides a number of economic, environmental, social and health benefits including:

Benefits of Buying Local

  • Decreased carbon footprint of food travel
  • Keeping dollars within the local economy instead of sending your money to large corporation elsewhere in the world
  • A greater sense of community by allowing us to communicate with the people growing our food
  • More nutritionally dense as the nutrient value of produce begins to deplete as soon as food is picked. Local means a quicker farm to fork time and therefore fresher food.
  • Ability to ask Farmer’s for recipes and try new produce not in the grocery store.
  • The ability to ask how food was grown and farming practices – keep in mind local does not mean organic but you can ask Farmers if they use organic practices (actually being certified organic is expensive) or only spot spray when needed.

Looking for a local farmers market? Check out this national registry of farmers markets here. If you are in Denver, CO some of my favorite farmers markets include: Old South Pearl, Cherry Creek, Union Station, City Park, Stapleton, the Highlands Farmers Markets.


mental-health-and-nutrition.jpg

  1. FATTY ACID BALANCE: Omega-3 to omega-6 fat balance is essential for mental health and addiction treatment. Up to 60% of our brain is made of w-3 fats. A majority of Americans consume a 1:26 ratio, not the recommended 1:4 ratio. It is likely rebalancing these fats will improve mental health.  (3)(4) (5)

 

  1. FIBER AND GUT HEALTH: Healthy foods, high in fiber, are food for the good bacteria in our gut. These good bugs keep our gut healthy and working properly. So what does this have to do with mental health? The majority of our neurotransmitters, especially serotonin (as high as 90%), are made in the gut. When gut health is compromised with poor bacterial diversity, harmful bacteria, and/or nutritional imbalances the production of neurotransmitters in compromised. It is possible that a person living with mental health concerns has altered gut function regardless of gut symptoms. (1) (2)

 

  1. NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES: Deficiencies of amino acids as well as vitamins and minerals like B12, folate, B6, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin C are common in those impacted by mental health concerns. These nutrients are necessary to make neurotransmitters as well as DNA. Deficiencies are related to poor food intake, food grown in nutrient-poor soil, or our body’s inability to use nutrients properly. The latter can be due to genomic “kinks” or SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) prevents our DNA from expressing correctly. With these genomic misspellings, our body can’t function optimally causing a build-up of inflammation. These SNPs can also impair the body’s detoxification of self-made cellular waste and environmental toxins (heavy metals, pollution, harsh cleaning chemicals) leading to further damage to our physical and mental health. Nutritional deficiencies and SNPs can be linked to OCD, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions.(10) (11) (12) (13) (14)

 

  1. FOOD SENSITIVITIES: Food sensitivities can cause inflammation in the GI tract. This can cause hyperpermeability aka “leaky gut” that left untreated can cause further inflammation in the brain, compromising mental health.  Studies have even shown that gluten sensitivity can be linked to the development of psychosis and schizophrenia. (6) (7) (8) (9)

 

  1. THYROID SUPPORT: Impaired thyroid activity or autoimmune thyroid disease is often present with anxiety and/or depression while thyroid disease goes undiagnosed. Nutritional interventions that include iodine and selenium, along with gluten and dairy free diets for autoimmunity can support the thyroid and often reduce or eliminate associated mental health illness. (15) (16) (17)

April 3, 2018
portfolio_02-1-1024x683.jpg

All too often people hear the words registered dietitian or nutritionist and think “diet” or “weight loss”. While yes, weight management can be one aspect of health, our job is not only to work with those looking to lose weight. In honor of National Nutrition Month, I would like to clarify and dispel a few myths about what it means to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Myth 1: Only people who are struggling with their weight should see a dietitian.Fact: Health and weight loss don’t necessarily mean the same thing. Everyone should have at least one annual check-up with a dietitian as you would with your dentist or primary care physician. Even the healthiest of eaters may be deficient in their own unique body’s needs. If left unaddressed, these nutritional deficiencies and imbalances can contribute to health issues like depression, anxiety, stomach pain, migraines, infertility, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s and more. At Nourished Roots we focus on overall health, sometimes that includes weight loss but not always.

Myth 2: A dietitian just tells you what not to eat.

Fact: Food and nutrients are at the cornerstone of how I support my clients, but my priority is not to deprive you of the foods you love. Instead, I help you find ways to incorporate MORE foods that nourish your body and mind. We talk about foods you should ADD and why, ways to stay motivated, and how to knock down lifelong barriers in order to make lifestyle changes. I will coach you in areas beyond food including sleep, exercise, stress, mood, purpose, and fun! All of these important lifestyle elements fall in the dietitian’s wheelhouse because they affect nutrient levels, body composition, and disease prevention.

Myth 3: I will have to give up the foods I love forever.

Fact: Life is about balance. I don’t expect anyone to eat healthy 100% of the time, in fact, that would be unhealthy. While temporary food elimination diets can be helpful during the healing process, my goal is to help reincorporate all the foods you like to eat. There are very few instances such as celiac disease or autoimmune disease that foods may need to be removed permanently.  In these rare instances, my job is to support and guide you along the way so the journey is less overwhelming.


April 2, 2018
jicama-slaw.jpeg

Did you know that your body contains more bacteria cells than human cells, 100 trillion to 10 trillion respectively.  This diverse ecosystem of bacteria and other microorganisms is known as our microbiome. Our microbiome is unique to each of us like a fingerprint, with no two people carrying the same exact composition of “bugs”. For a great visual, think of your body as home to a large rainforest of microscopic activity. It wouldn’t be too far out there to say we are walking bacteria vessels.

Our close relationship with bacteria doesn’t end there; our mitochondria, the energy powerhouse in every cell of our bodies, is actually an ancient bacteria that saw the potential of living inside another prokaryote, or a single cell, to form the beginnings of a eukaryote, the more complex cell that humans are made of. Since we evolved with bacteria, you can see the importance of supporting these little guys to keep us healthy. In turn, beneficial bacteria prevent us from getting sick, produce essential vitamins for our bodies, influence our weight, and impact our mental health with neurotransmitter balance.

Unfortunately, a poor diet, medications, lifestyle habits, and an overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial products, can take a toll on our healthy bugs. While fermented foods and probiotics can be helpful, they don’t necessarily recolonize your body’s own unique bacterial diversity. So how do we keep our microbiome healthy? Here are five quick tips to keep your microbiome flourishing along with an action step for you can make right away.

FIVE WAYS TO KEEP YOUR MICROBIOME FLOURISHING

5. Make time every day to be outside and get a little dirty. There are healthy, life-supporting bacteria in nature that can make our microbiome stronger. Gardening, hiking, or having a picnic are all good ways to get a healthy dose of bacteria. It can also help to add a quality spore-based probiotic, like Megaspore, to make sure you are getting healthy soil bacteria into your gut every day. Action Step: Take a break in the park or go for a hike in nature.

4. Hand sanitizer and other antibacterial soaps and cleaners can kill off your body’s good bacteria that keep bad bacteria at bay. This creates an open environment for not-so-healthy bacteria to grow back unchecked and uncontrolled. These products can also contain harsh chemicals that can be difficult to eliminate from the body. Switch to regular soap and warm water as well as homemade cleaners for a more balanced and gentle cleansing. Baking soda, white vinegar, lemon, and/or plain old water are great for making your own cleaners at home. Action step: Choose soap and water over hand sanitizer.

3. Make time to de-stress and exercise. Chronic stress and a lack of exercise are both associated with poor microbial diversity.Action Step: Take three deep breaths and go for a walk every day.

2. Take antibiotics only when necessary. While we are fortunate to live in a time were antibiotics help save lives from harmful bacteria, keep in mind they should not be used just because you have a stuffy nose or feel a little tickle. Talk with your doctor about the best option for you and your gut bacteria. It can take our microbiome up to a year to recover from a single course of antibiotics. If it’s not a serious infection, you may be able to use natural antimicrobials like oregano oil and berberine. Action Step: Work on the above steps to prevent you from getting sick in the first place. If you do use antibiotics, work on building your bacteria ecosystem back up. Just like cutting down a rainforest, it will take time to grow back with the same diversity but the above steps will help.

1.  A healthy balanced diet is key to help support the growth of your gut bacteria. Fiber, found in vegetables, beans, and fruit is food for these bugs. A variety of these fibers is essential for feeding different types of good bacteria. In addition, highly processed foods and refined oils can actually cause damage to our gut bacteria. The good news is diet is one of the most powerful ways to transform our gut bacteria. Try slowly adding new types of fibers into your routine like jicama, pronounced HICK-ah-mah or HEE-kah-mah, the root vegetable in the above slaw recipe.  Keep in mind its best to add new fiber-rich foods slowly; dumping a ton of new fibers in a short time can actually overwhelm bacteria and your gut.
Action Step: Try this Jicama Slaw Recipe


December 7, 2017

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs (pronounced “snips”), are slight variations in our genetic code that can occur during DNA replication. These variations may have no effect on our bodies or they may impact how we utilize nutrients and medications.

Nutrigenomics is the study of how the food we eat and supplements we take interact with our specific gene expression. It’s a major reason why there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all way of eating. With genomic testing, Sally can provide specific nutrition recommendations based off of your individual genomics. While you can’t get rid of a SNP, proper nutrition support can often help mitigate the negative effects of some gene SNPs like fatigue, brain fog, depression, poor digestion, and inflammation. 


December 7, 2017

Gluten is a protein that is found in the grains wheat, rye, and barley. People living with celiac disease cannot eat gluten at all, even in the tiniest amounts, as it destroys their intestinal wall. This damage can prevent people from absorbing nutrients into their bodies. Other people may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity in which the body responds poorly to gluten. This can lead to gaps in the intestinal lining that allow larger food molecules and organisms like bacteria to leak into the bloodstream. Keep in mind a gluten-free diet is not necessarily a “weight loss” or “healthy” diet but can be therapeutic if indicated. There are many ways to test for celiac and gluten sensitivities; talk with Sally today for more information.


December 7, 2017

Even the healthiest of cooking oils can inflame our bodies after they have been oxidized by air and light. Keep cooking oil bottles closed when not in use, buy in small quantities (even if that means you pay a bit more for each ounce), store oil away from light, buy delicate oils (like olive and flax) sold in dark containers, and choose omega-3 supplements from reputable suppliers (if they taste or smell “fishy” they are oxidized).


Contact Sally

Nourished Roots Nutrition, LLC
P: (303) 209-8640
F: (303) 209-8482
sally@nourishedrootsrd.com

On-The-Go Nutrition

Need a dietitian on the go? Get expert nutrition advice from the comfort of your own home! We use HIPAA-approved tools to make sure your nutrition plans and health history are 100% secure. Learn more.

Tip of the Day

Does it seem like you are sensitive to countless foods? Every time you eliminate a food does another sensitivity pop up? These chronic situations often point to an underlying condition different from sentatives, because it is not “normal” to be sensitive to food. Work with Sally to identify what imbalances may be causing your food sensitivities so you can eliminate them once and for all.