Emma Nutrition

Simplifying the science through cooking and education. When I'm not on Mummy duties…

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Expert Interviews – Digestive Wellness Series

Did you know that IBS is one of the most common digestive problems experienced by 10-15% of the population at some point in their lives. IBS sufferers are thought to account for: woman holding belly

  • 3.5 million Physician visits each year
  • $8 US billion in medical costs[1].
  • 40% of all referrals to hospital Gastroenterologists in the UK[2]

….and yet

90% of patients are still symptomatic 5 years later!

These stats and my own personal and professional experience with Digestive Wellness have prompted me to get in touch with some of the top experts on Digestive health and run some interviews. I’m so excited to be doing this and hope that as many people as possible will listen to the series, learn cutting edge info and get the help they deserve.

To get on the earlybird list for the series register here!

To hear my Intro (and first foray into podcast-ing!) listen here by clicking on the play button:

[1] (Viera AJ, 2002)

[2] (Murga M, 1998)


Image courtesy of: James Island Chiropractic


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Recipe: DIY Coconut Yoghurt

What is it about coconut that tastes so amazing? I could eat it all day long; whether its in a soup, an oil, a yoghurt or a pina colada! As far as recipe experiments go this one was alot of fun to eat afterward. Next on the list is almond yoghurt – it’s currently in the Easiyo but I am having difficulty making it thick enough. Any tips welcome!


Coconut milk or Coconut cream tins x 3

Greek yoghurt x 3 tbsp

Vanilla essence x 1 tsp

Coconut sugar (optional sweetness) x 1 tbsp  Continue reading


Kombucha Tea – health benefits and how to make it

Kombucha tea is a probiotic drink that is made just as tea is made, then steeped in its own little bacterial powerhouse to give it literally life-giving properties. Bacteria is live after all… Tea is mixed with sugar and then left to sit in what is known as a Scoby, or simply a mushroom. This Scoby is the key to what gives tea Kombucha tea its health benefits. It even grows and can sprout little ‘daughters’ that can be used to make more tea, or discarded with vegetable waste – especially good in compost.

Health benefits of Kombucha Tea Continue reading

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Stress, inflammation and IBS

Most patients report that anxiety and stress aggravate their IBS symptoms. Chronic stress can activate low grade inflammation in the gut thereby inducing symptoms experienced by IBS sufferers. Anti-inflammatory drugs have long been used to treat the inflammatory digestive conditions of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Research is ongoing into the benefits of anti-inflammatory treatment for IBS however some results so far are positive. 

To get involved in further research you can contact:

Dr Ching Lam at Nottingham University


01159249924 ext 70616 

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REVIEW: Optibac probiotics

“For a flat stomach!”…….Intriguing huh? Is it possible to take a supplement that will give you a flat stomach? If your non-flat stomach is due to bloating, it certainly is.

I’ve known Jalal from Wren Laboratories for around 6 years now. He runs the family company who make OptiBac products. They are seriously passionate about probiotics and gut health. It’s all they do and they are a reputable ‘go to’ resource for me. I was proud to be asked to give my opinion on their bloating product.

What is it?
A packet containing 7 sachets, one for each day of the week. It’s a one week course or perhaps a little longer dependent on the severity of your symptoms. They’ve now (as of Nov 2013) added larger pack sizes which is fantastic and should last a month or longer.

How much is it?
£8.69 per 7 sachets or £21.99 per 80 capsules

Who should take it?
If you suffer from bloating you would probably benefit from taking a probiotic. Most bloating is caused by dysbiosis, an imbalance of probiotic (good) bacteria and pathogenic (bad) bacteria. The bad outweighs the good or the good outweighs the bad. We are aiming for the latter. If the pathogenic outweighs the probiotic we tend to suffer from bloating, a build up of gas, where the organs of the digestive system stretch. This can be extremely uncomfortable and painful.

What are probiotics?
Most of us have probably heard of Acidophilus but it is only one of many probiotics. Probiotics are actual bacteria, prebiotics are foods that feed the probiotics. Fermented foods and vegetables are very good prebiotics so increasing these in our diets will be beneficial for bloating or digestive upsets.

What is the science?
Lactococcus lactis – lactis helps to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria and fungi in the small and large intestines

Lactobacillus casei – resisting stomach acids and bile casei supports the small and large intestine to grow bifidobacterium

Lactobacillus acidophilus – adheres to the gut wall, pushing out space for the pathogenic bacteria and increasing immune function. It survives stomach acid and bile.

Bifidobacterium bifidum – this is the large intestine bacteria of choice. It helps immunity by increasing antibodies and supports detoxification by pushing out pathogenic bacteria in the colon

Fructo oligo saccharides (FOS) – FOS is a prebiotic that stimulates the growth of probiotics.

Using a combination of bacteria enables the body to utilise the necessary ones and work synergistically to combat its own needs.

If you have a bloating problem I would highly recommend checking out this product. It would be useful to consult a practitioner to rule out food intolerances, gut wall damage, IBS, abnormal stool, Crohn’s Disease etc. Probiotics are very well researched though and have not been known to cause any damage or ‘overdose’. The body will simply and easily excrete unnecessary bacteria. Where there is damage caused by antibiotics and aspirin intake probiotics can be very helpful if you are trying to heal the gut wall.

I’ve found these useful for my patients who suffer from PMS related bloating, post running bloating as well as IBS related bloating.

Have you ever taken probiotics for anything? Let me know your thoughts!