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The holiday season can present a bit of a challenge for our gut health. More sugar, less sleep and more alcohol are all key factors that are all guaranteed to upset the delicate balance of the microbes that live in our gut.

If you are feeling a little off or find you are lacking energy, then your gut health may need some attention.

Luckily small imbalances in the gut can be easily and fairly quickly remedied. One study showed that within five days of changing your diet, fairly significant positive change was observed.

So, how do you do you improve your gut health?

Let’s start with one of the most effective ways. One of the biggest enemies of gut health is sugar. The problem with eating sugar is that you can cause an overgrowth of the microbes that prefer to live on sugar. This causes a major imbalance in the variety of microbes that live in our gut.

We know that the microbes can influence our feelings. They do this in two ways. Firstly they can hack into our nervous system and secondly, they are responsible for the production of neurotransmitters. So this means that the balance of microbes we have in our gut can change the way we feel about things.

One interesting theory is that if enough sugar-loving microbes take hold of your gut, they can drive our cravings for sugar and then reward us with a flood of feel-good hormones when we satisfy their demands. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen but I do know if I eat more sugar on one day, the next day I have cravings for more sugar. What helps me is to envisage a gang of sugar-loving microbes mounting a takeover of my gut and trying to influence my choices. That image helps my determination to starve them out. I don’t like being told what to do by a bunch of bugs. Maybe this image will help you resist the temptation for that chocolate bar! 

 

You have two options when trying to reign in your sugar intake. Slowly reduce it over time or go cold turkey eliminating all processed and natural sugars. This means avoiding fresh and dried fruit as well. Once you are sugar-craving free, you can reintroduce a few pieces of fruit each day as it is great for your health but at first it helps to have none, natural or otherwise.

Both approaches require some dedication and you will know what is most likely to be the most successful approach for you. But one of the best things you can do for your gut health is to address the sugar issue.

Good luck with your efforts to reduce sugar and don’t forget that you can use the bestow cleanses as a guide or for inspiration. Just go to bestowcleanse.com and sign up for our free programmes.

Alternatively, if you feel your gut needs more attention than simply reducing sugar, I would recommend our book, The Gut-Skin Connection. It contains a comprehensive programme and many recipes that support gut health.

  • February 21, 2021

In our last few blogs we have been discussing the benefit Bestow Collagen Boost offers our skin.

The main advantage is the increased production of collagen in our skin and the protection it offers our existing collagen and elastin.

Just as a reminder, collagen is the fibre in our skin that gives it strength whereas elastin provides the stretchability and snap-back. Having good levels of both fibres is important for healthy, strong skin. 

But I feel this series of blogs wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t look at some of the lifestyle and dietary things we can do to look after our existing collagen and elastin fibres.

So let’s look at their enemies.

Both collagen and elastin are degraded by smoking and sun exposure. In the case of sun protection, using a good sunscreen is vital. But remember sunscreens aren’t anywhere near 100% effective and can often give us a false sense of security. Many protect our skin from burning but not from ageing. It is important to boost your sun protection by wearing good, wide brimmed hats and choosing to sit in the shade where possible.

Elastin is affected by dehydration so it is crucial to keep your water intake up. A lack of sleep is also a key factor in the breakdown of elastin, as is stress. Getting enough sleep often helps us cope with stress, so my advice would be to start by prioritising sleep. Here’s a link to a handout on tips for getting a good night’s sleep to get you started. 

Collagen is degraded by sugar. Sugar oxidises and latches on to our collagen fibres then attaches to another collagen fibre causing them to become entangled and inflexible. Try to cut down on sugar where you can. This can be difficult at first as you have to overcome the cravings. But as time goes on, it does get easier so I it is worth the effort. The Bestow Treats from our cookbooks are a great way to start replacing refined sugar with natural sugars. We still don’t want to eat a lot of them but at least you are getting other nutrients with your sweet treat.

So those are my tips on protecting your skin. This time of year is a great time for putting some more supportive rituals in place and kicking out some of those bad habits.

  • February 7, 2021
Cheese-free Pesto
Pesto is a super multifunctional dip/sauce, but for those of us with congesting skin, the cheese in pesto can cause problems. This cheese-free option is a great recipe to keep up your sleeve.
 
You’ll need:
1 ½ cups basil
½ cup Italian parsley
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 cloves of garlic 
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup hemp seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
1 tablespoon Bestow Beauty Oil/Bestow Beauty Plus Oil
2/3 cup Olive oil 
Juice of 2 lemons 
½ teaspoon sea salt


To make:
Places all ingredients in the blender and blend well. If you need more liquid to get it moving use a touch more olive oil.
  • February 1, 2021

One benefit I wasn’t expecting to learn about collagen powder was its ability to act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect our body from the damage caused by free radicals by donating an electron or hydrogen to stabilize them.

Researchers found that he antioxidant properties of collagen powder were mostly due to the presence of hydrophobic amino acids it contains. However, more research is needed in order to investigate the exact way in which these amino acid acts as antioxidants. What is known is the antioxidant properties of collagen powder are directly linked to the size of the molecules it contains. The lower the molecular weight of the peptides in the collagen powder, the greater their antioxidant effect.

Bestow Collagen Boost contains the lowest molecular weight peptides available on the market with a size of only 1000 to 2000 Daltons.

Fish-derived collagen, like the type found in Bestow Collagen Boost can also counteract the effect of sun exposure on our collagen and elastin fibres. Typically collagen and elastin, when exposed to UV become abnormal or degraded. Taking these types of collagen powders, help their recovery.

Another added benefit is the affect collagen powder has on hyperpigmentation. A study carried out by dermatologists found that not only did their subjects notice an improvement in the texture and hydration of their skin within 60 days but a reduction in the intensity of any irregular pigmentation they were experiencing.

With all of these benefits, it seems very likely taking collagen powder is an excellent addition to our skin care regimes. All of this research is encouraging, but the final proof will be the improvements we see in not only our skin, but the growth of our hair and nails as well.

We would love to hear about your experiences.

  • January 31, 2021

This is the second blog in a series explaining exactly how collagen powders work and how they benefit our skin.

So far, we have discussed the fact that taking collagen powder can provide the nutritional building blocks required by our body to increase collagen production. In this blog, we will look at an additional benefit that involves protecting the collagen fibres we already have.

One of the things that destroy our existing collagen fibres are enzymes called Matrix Metalloproteinases, or for simplicity MMPs. Our body naturally makes MMP enzymes, and one in particular, collagenase, has the job of removing old matted fibres that are no longer doing their job. But certain things like dehydration, sun exposure, pollution or even just getting older, increase the production of these destructive enzymes too much and consequently, they breakdown healthy, well-functioning fibres and contribute to the rapid ageing of our skin.

It has been shown in several studies that taking collagen powder can help decrease the levels of the enzymes responsible for breaking down our collagen fibres. This helps us maintain the collagen we do have for longer and helps reduce the formation of wrinkles.

The exciting thing is that it is not only our collagen fibres that benefit from this property but our elastin fibres as well. Elastin is another type of fibre found in our skin. It is responsible for the elasticity of our skin, hence the name.  Whereas collagen fibres are responsible for our skin’s strength, elastin fibres give it its ‘snapback’ when pulled or stretched. Taking collagen powder also helps reduce the levels of elastase, an MMP enzyme responsible for breaking down our elastin fibres.

So taking collagen powder every day not only boosts the levels of collagen in your skin, it protects your collagen and elastin fibres as well.

In the next blog, I will share with you a very unexpected benefit of taking collagen powder. In the meantime, keep up with your daily collagen dose, your skin will thank you for it.

  • January 28, 2021