Acid Reflux, Sleep, Resistant Starch & Supplements

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Hello, Health Investor!

Welcome back to another episode of The Health Investment Podcast!!

As you may already know, I do a “Q&A-style” episode every so often.

This is the second episode of the type. To listen to the first, you can scroll through the archives (it was episode 18) OR you can simply visit thehealthinvestment.com/qa1

I’m always overwhelmed—in a great way!—by the outpouring of questions you send in. For that reason, I’m never able to answer ALL of your questions in a single episode…but keep ‘em coming! I promise I’ll get to all of them eventually!!

To ask a question, just DM me on Instagram (@thehealthinvestment) or email me (brooke@thehealthinvestment.com). 

In today’s episode, I’m going to answer the following questions:

  • What are some foods that are good for acid reflux?
  • How much sleep do you aim for?
  • Can you explain resistant starch and, if you reheat the rice, does it take away the benefits?
  • What’s the best way to take supplements? Food/no food, pill/liquid/powder, time of day?

But first, I wanna share an Apple Podcast review with you.

tbg33 gave The Health Investment Podcast 5 stars and wrote:

Simple health tips FTW! Brooke makes it easy to understand concrete ways to invest in your health for the long-term. With all of the misleading information on social media regarding “healthy” products and fad diets, it’s refreshing to listen to a podcast that avoids the popular BS! Keep the great content coming!

Thank you sooo much for that amazing review. I’m glad I’m accomplishing my goal of cutting through all of the health and nutrition BS!

If YOU have enjoyed what you’ve heard so far, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Visit thehealthinvestment.com/review to rate the show—and thank you, in advance, for doing so!

Alright, let’s get to your questions…

Question #1: What are some foods that are good for acid reflux?

Great one!

So, I actually have a question in response to your question: WHY are you having acid reflux in the first place? 

As a society, we’ve been trained to take the “Band-Aid approach” to different ailments. Since many chronic diseases and symptoms—like acid reflux—are now “normal,” it can be easy just to accept them as a fact of life.

In episode 23, I chatted with Dr. Trevor Cates—aka “The Spa Dr”—about the different messages our skin tries to tell us.

I know your question is about acid reflux—not acne!—but stay with me…

Dr. Cates explained that she likes to think of the skin as a “magic mirror.” Rosacea, persistent acne, rashes, and more can all be external signs that something bigger—and possibly problematic—is happening internally.

So, instead of just getting a prescription—like Accutane or the birth control pill—to clear up our skin, it’s important to dig deep and find the real cause of the issue.

That brings me back to acid reflux. The same principle applies. Instead of taking Pepcid or Zantac or some over-the-counter medicine, and instead of trying to eat things to alleviate the symptoms, I think it’s always important to dig deep and figure out the cause of the symptoms in the first place.

And yes, this may mean avoiding certain foods and eating others—it will probably come down to that.

But I guess the point I’m trying to make first and foremost is that you likely DON’T have to accept things like acne and acid reflux as just “normal.” Acid reflux may not be a reality you have to live with forever.

Back to the question at hand: foods to help with acid reflux.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, GERD affects about 20% of people in the United States. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious complications.

Certain conditions can increase a person’s chance of developing GERD, including obesity and pregnancy.

There are also some lifestyle behaviors that can raise your risk of GERD, like smoking; eating large meals; lying down shortly after eating; eating certain types of foods, such as deep fried or spicy foods; drinking certain types of beverages, like soda, coffee, or alcohol; and using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Since every person is different, it’d be a great idea for you to keep a food and beverage journal. For a few weeks, track what you eat and drink and also when you experience symptoms.

If you always experience acid reflux 15-30 minutes after eating salsa, that’ll be a huge clue that salsa is a trigger food for you! (Bummer!!)

I mentioned deep fried and spicy foods, soda, coffee, and alcohol already, but other foods and beverages also cause issues for people. Sometimes GERD can be triggered by:

  • chocolate
  • citrus fruit
  • pineapple
  • tomato
  • onion
  • garlic
  • mint
  • tea

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: It’s alllllways a good idea to talk to your doctor before making any diet and lifestyle modifications; your doctor may have other suggestions for you.

But, keep in mind the fact that most doctors haven’t received formal nutrition training. From the doctors I’ve interviewed on my podcast and from my doctor friends, I’ve learned that there are only a few hours of nutrition education in medical school.

So, if your doctor is quick to recommend medication as the first course of action for your acid reflux but you’d like to try diet modifications instead, consider visiting another doctor to get a second opinion.

Possibly, you’ll need to go the medication route, but you never know. Cutting out certain trigger foods may do the trick!

Question #2: How much sleep do you aim for?

I aim for 8-9 hours of sleep each night.

I’ve always been a huuuuge fan of sleeping—since birth! Ask my mom. She says that I used to put myself down for naps as a toddler. 

I obviously didn’t know the research on sleep when I was very young, but now that I do, I know that I was on to something!

Now, you may be thinking: I get 6 hours of sleep each night, and I do just fine!

Wellllll, research suggests otherwise.

I’m gonna read to you—story time!—some excerpts from an article in Fast Company

[a] sleep deprivation study, published in the journal Sleep, took 48 adults and restricted their sleep to a maximum of four, six, or eight hours a night for two weeks; one unlucky subset was deprived of sleep for three days straight.

As you can imagine, the subjects who were allowed to sleep eight hours per night had the highest performance on average. Subjects who got only four hours a night did worse each day. The group who got six hours of sleep seemed to be holding their own, until around day 10 of the study.

In the last few days of the experiment, the subjects who were restricted to a maximum of six hours of sleep per night showed cognitive performance that was as bad as the people who weren’t allowed to sleep at all. Getting only six hours of shut-eye was as bad as not sleeping for two days straight. The group who got only four hours of sleep each night performed just as poorly, but they hit their low sooner.

One of the most alarming results from the sleep study is that the six-hour sleep group didn’t rate their sleepiness as being all that bad, even as their cognitive performance was going downhill. The no-sleep group progressively rated their sleepiness level higher and higher. By the end of the experiment, their sleepiness had jumped by two levels. But the six-hour group only jumped one level. Those findings raise the question about how people cope when they get insufficient sleep, perhaps suggesting that they’re in denial (willful or otherwise) about their present state.

Pretty crazy findings, right?

Another study found that sleep restriction was associated with an increase in caloric consumption; in fact, caloric intake in the sleep-restricted group increased by a whopping 550 calories/day! Over a week’s time, that could add up to a pound of weight gain.

Aside from weight gain, insufficient sleep can lead to low energy, brain fog, higher risk for chronic illnesses, depressed mood, suppressed immune function, inflammation…and more!

So…sleep is SUPER IMPORTANT! Again, I aim for 8 hours minimum each night—but I feel even better when I get 9. 

Ask yourself, “Should I be making sleep more of a priority in my life?” If the answer is YES, feel free to message me on Instagram (@thehealthinvestment) if you want to chat about ways to boost the quantity and quality of your sleep!

Question #3: Can you explain resistant starch and, if you reheat the rice, does it take away the benefits?

Love this question!

If you’ve never heard of it before, get excited. Resistant starch is super cool!

In simple terms, resistant starch is a type of start that resists digestion. It can have powerful health benefits—like improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

The importance of insulin sensitivity cannot be stressed enough.

Having low insulin sensitivity (aka insulin resistance) is believed to be a major risk factor for several serious diseases, including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

To explain how resistant starches work, I’ll turn to excerpts from a Healthline.com article:

The main reason why resistant starch works, is that it functions like soluble, fermentable fiber. It goes through your stomach and small intestine undigested, eventually reaching your colon where it feeds your friendly gut bacteria. The bacteria in your intestine (the gut flora) outnumber the body’s cells 10 to 1 — in that respect, you’re only 10% human. Whereas most foods feed only 10% of your cells, fermentable fibers and resistant starches feed the other 90%. There are hundreds of different species of bacteria in your intestine. In the past few decades, scientists have discovered that the number and type of bacteria can have a profound impact on your health. Resistant starch feeds the friendly bacteria in your intestine, having a positive effect on the type of bacteria as well as their number.

Foods high in resistant starch are:

  • Cooked oats (but cooked and cooled likely higher)
  • Cooked and cooled rice
  • Cooked and cooled potatoes
  • Beans and legumes
  • Raw potatoes
  • Green bananas

Okay, that was the resistant starch crash course. Now back to your question…

If you cook, cool, then REHEAT the starch, does the reheating take away the benefits?

Fortunately, researchers studied this! They measured the resistant starch in cooked rice, cooked/cooled rice, and cooked/cooled/reheated rice.

The cooked rice was lowest in resistant starch, but both the cooked/cooled and the cooked/cooled/reheated rice had about the same levels of resistant starch. In fact, the cooked/cooled/reheated rice had slightly more resistant starch than the rice that wasn’t reheated.

So, if resistant starch is what you’re after, feel free to reheat cooked rice and potatoes after they’ve been refrigerated!

Question #4: What’s the best way to take supplements? Food/no food, pill/liquid/powder, time of day?

This is a tough one! Really, it depends.

Some vitamins are fat-soluble, which means they’re best taken with a meal that contains saturated fats or oils to help you absorb them.

Common fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, K, CoQ10, curcumin (from turmeric), and fish oil.

Water-soluble vitamins absorb best on an empty stomach. That means they’re best taken first thing in the morning, 30 minutes prior to eating, or two hours after a meal. 

Vitamin C, all B vitamins, and folic acid are water soluble.

Where it gets tricky is with a prenatal or multivitamin since both are composed of fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.

Check the packaging to see what’s recommended. Different brands have different recommendations.

If the packaging advises that you take the vitamin on an empty stomach, you’ll probably want to take those right when you wake up. If you’re supposed to take them with a meal, you’ll probably want to wait until lunch or dinner.

When it comes to taking vitamins in pill, liquid, or powder form, from what I understand, it’s kind of up to you. Liquid vitamins may be easier for children to take; adults usually prefer tablets.

One thing I like to be cognizant of is buying vitamins that don’t contain any unnecessary additives. As with everything, not all vitamins are created equal. Some are filled with a lot of crappy ingredients!

So, in the same way you read the ingredients labels on packaged foods, you’ve gotta read the ingredients on your vitamins!

Which crappy ingredients should you be on the lookout for when buying vitamins? 

The answer to that question lies in episodes 10 and 11!

In those episodes, I chatted with the co-founder of my favorite supplement company: Pure Vitamin Club.

Pure Vitamin Club’s mission is to make the cleanest vitamins at affordable prices.

To learn more about the company, scroll through my episode archives to listen to my discussion with its co-founder Andy Schreiber; he shared SO much valuable information that I ended up splitting our conversation into two episodes!

As I said, you can hear what he has to say in episodes 10 and 11. OR you can visit thehealthinvestment.com/purevitaminclub1 and thehealthinvestment.com/purevitaminclub2

A final note on this question: Always keep in mind that the BEST way to get vitamins is from whole foods.

The more whole foods you incorporate into your diet, the better chance you have at getting all of the nutrients your body needs!

Supplementation may be necessary at times (like in the case of a prenatal vitamin), but you should always think of supplements as boosters to your already healthy diet. You shouldn’t think of them as miracle pills that can give you every nutrient you need because, again—the way your body absorbs vitamins from supplements is very nuanced!

Alright! That wraps up the second Q&A ep!!

Remember: You can alllllways reach out to me with your nutrition and health questions via email (brooke@thehealthinvestment.com) or on Instagram (@thehealthinvestment).

I look forward to answering YOUR questions in a future episode!


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