November 13, 2019
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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.


January 2, 2019
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In the beginning of any new year it is common to set goals around weight loss and health. How are you going to achieve your goals?  Eating less and exercising more may work for some, but this formula does not hold all the answers.  Read below to learn why  “calories in vs calories out” is not the full story. Here are the TOP 5 things that could be preventing you from reaching your 2019 health goals.  

5. Altered Gut Bacteria: Studies now show that an imbalance in gut bacteria has a huge effect on the amount of inflammation going on inside our digestive system. More inflammation stimulates the body to gain weight. In fact, there is research that shows fecal transplants in mice can drastically change a mouses weight. In humans, fecal transplants have also been shown to reduce or reverse irritable bowel diseases.

4. Food allergies/sensitivities: Another component of gut inflammation is food that our body’s immune system reacts to. If we have a bunch of food sensitivities it may point to “leaky gut” or high gut permeability. A leaky gut allows food particles, bacteria, and other pathogens to move from the intestines into the body, causing inflammation. By doing an elimination diet or specific blood work, we can see certain foods that cause inflammatory reactions like stomach aches, constipation/diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, or even a stuffy nose. While eliminating these foods can be a good first step, it is also important to work on healing the underlying gut inflammation causing the foods sensitivity in the first place. Left untreated, leaky gut can lead to other health concerns like autoimmune disease and cognitive decline.

3. Hormone balance: I am not just talking about our sex hormones, like estrogen, but also adrenal and thyroid hormones. If the body’s hormones are imbalanced or stressed, losing weight can be an uphill battle. If you already eat healthy and exercise regularly but still have issues with weight, sleep, or energy this is the next area to look with a functional medicine nutritionist.

2. Sleep: If sleep is off, you can bet the rest of the body’s systems will be off as well. In fact, your quality of sleep is a huge indicator into blood sugar regulation, adrenal and thyroid health, as well as neurotransmitter balance.

1. Stress: Stress is the number one factor that will impact your weight and health. Stress impacts each of the previous four factors and can be the spark the lights the match for failing health. Stress also stimulates the release of cortisol, a hormone that stimulates fat accumulation in our abdomen. Stress can come from a fast-paced lifestyle, nutrient deficiencies, and/or a history of trauma. No matter where your stress is coming from, working to reduce stress can be one of the best ways to support your health and weight loss goals.

For each of these top five factors, working with Sally can be a great way to evaluate your body’s unique needs. Make 2019 the year you get serious about feeling your best! 


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.


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  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
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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
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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


Reach Out

Nourished Roots Nutrition, LLC
Office/Schedule Appt: (303) 529-9258
Direct: (303) 209-8640
Fax: (303) 209-8482
sally@nourishedrootsrd.com

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Tip of the Day

An optimal number of bowel movements is about three times a day. Sound like a lot? Many of us couldn’t even imagine going to the bathroom that often. If you’re going less than that, you may be suffering from constipation.

Constipation can come from a number of causes including dehydration, nutrient deficiencies, imbalances in your gut, or medications. A laxative may help temporarily, but it will not address the underlying issue that is causing the constipation in the first place. Left unaddressed, the root cause of your constipation may lead to more problems down the road. Work with a functional dietitian to end chronic constipation and gain better overall health.