PRESCRIPTION

This blog is about gut flora, good bacteria, scientific research, and anti-inflammatory food. It’s a prescription for anyone who wishes to eat their way to a healthier life. It’s impossible to overdose on this course of treatment.

Recipes

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Food Pharmacy’s Elderflower Pancakes With Raspberry Whipped Cream

Elderflower is a very common bush in Europe (yes, in Sweden too), but we’ve heard it’s not so commonly seen in the States. It has a wild fragrance and the creamy white blossoms are edible. The taste is light, floral, musky and sweet. We’ve all heard about elderflower cordial, but what about elderflower pancakes? A couple of years ago, during a particularly rainy Swedish summer, we went to Denmark in the hope of sun and warmth. We got neither of those, but we did get elderflower pancakes!

This is our own take on the recipe. With only three ingredients – banana, egg and of course, elderflower – they are childishly easy to make. And since you steal the elderflower sprigs from a nearby park (or pick them from your backyard), they’re incredibly cheap as well.

Elderflower is not only tasty, but also valued for its health benefits – mainly because of its high vitamin C content. So, put on your clogs (or Swedish hasbeens) and go for an elderflower hunt before it’s too late.

Elderflower Pancakes à la Food Pharmacy
(4 pancakes)

1 banana
2 eggs
4 elderflower sprigs

Raspberry whipped cream
3.5 oz raspberries
0.5 cup whipped coconut cream

Mash the bananas in a bowl, add the eggs and whisk using a fork. Fry pancakes on low heat in coconut oil. Pour 1/4 cup of the pancake batter in the frying pan and top with one elderflower bouquet (only the flower and not the stem). Turn halfway through cooking. Serve with raspberry whipped cream.


Do I need to boil frozen raspberries before using them?

Yup, it’s probably a good idea. Due to the risk of norovirus, Swedish consumers are advised to boil all imported frozen raspberries for at least one minute prior to consumption.


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Food Pharmacy

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Probiotics: Yay or Nay?

Definitely yay! Probiotics have been part of our everyday routine for years, and it’s just as important as brushing our teeth when we wake up in the morning. Probiotics are commonly known as friendly, good, and healthy bacteria that live in the human gut.

The gut flora has received considerable attention in recent years and scientists are constantly trying to learn more about the connection between gut bacteria and both mental and physical health. A couple of days ago, we found this very interesting study carried out by researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden. The study, recently published by the Journal of Internal Medicine, found that dietary supplements with friendly gut bacteria may affect the human skeleton and help to maintain healthy bone density among older women. Amazing!

The study involved 90 elderly women, and they were randomised to receive either a probiotic supplement or an identical-looking placebo every day for a whole year. After a year, researchers measured the women’s bone loss in their lower legs and compared it with measurements from when the study began. The women who received the probiotic powder had lost only half as much bone compared to those who received inactive powders. Yes, you heard it right. The use of probiotic supplements resulted in a 50% reduction in bone loss.

Brittleness of the bones, or osteoporosis, is a bone disease that occurs when the bones become porous and weak, which can lead to increased risk of fracture. It’s the most common reason for a broken bone among the elderly, especially among elderly women. Unfortunately, a majority of women over 80 years of age have the disease. Osteoporosis is often first diagnosed after the first fracture occurs, and since the risk of fracture increases after the first break, preventative treatment is needed. Amazingly, this study opens the door to a new way to prevent fractures among older women. What a great discovery!

And you know what? The treatment was well tolerated by the patients! The women who received the probiotic powder did not produce more side effects than those experienced by the women who received the placebo. This is such great news! Probiotics for president!

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Karolinska Institutet

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Microbiome-Friendly Food Will Keep Your Vagina In A Good Mood

Ina Schuppe Koistinen is an Associate Professor and Alliance Director at the Centre for Translational Microbiome Research (CTMR), at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Through her research, she is exploring the human microbiome and its connection to inflammatory bowel diseases and women’s health. She loves yoga and is passionate about helping others make healthy lifestyle choices. She is also an artist, specializing in watercolor painting.

Bacteria and other microorganisms are found everywhere within and on the surface of our bodies, such as in our intestines, on our skin and in our mouths. Most of them are good for our health. Earlier scientists thought that babies are born sterile but that may not be true. At delivery, the mover passes microbes onto the baby as the newborn passes through the birth canal. Babies born by C-section pick up microbes from the mother’s skin and the hospital environment. There are also bacteria in breast milk that will influence the newborn baby’s health and gut flora. Another type of bacteria that have significant implications for a women’s overall health is the vaginal flora. Despite its importance, surprisingly little is known about the composition of a healthy vaginal flora. Our researcher group is trying to get to the bottom of this.

Most women have a large amount of Lactobacillus bacteria in their vaginal tract. They help maintain a low vaginal pH, which creates an unfriendly environment for “bad” bacteria like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Gardnerella (that is associated with a smelly vaginal discharge and Bacterial Vaginosis). The fungus Candida can survive in a wide range of pH levels, but in a more alkaline environment that lacks Lactobacilli, Candida is more likely to overgrow and cause symptoms.

A healthy vaginal flora is made up of many different types of bacteria, the predominant bacteria being Lactobacillus. They are superheroes and play a key role in defending against infection. But how can you encourage lactobacilli to thrive in your vaginal microbiome? The answer is simple: lead a healthy lifestyle, eat a varied diet, exercise and practice safe sex. Another good tip is to combat vaginal dryness by avoiding soap that can affect the pH levels in the vagina and cause irritation.

Studies suggest that probiotic Lactobacillus has a beneficial effect on the vaginal microbiome. It’s a fascinating thought that these little bugs travel all the way from the intestines to the vaginal tract. Isn’t it incredible how these things work?

To define the composition of the vaginal microbiome in adult women, our group of scientists has initiated a number of large clinical studies, in collaboration with Uppsala University Hospital and Professor Matts Olovsson. The study is called VaMiGyn (Vaginal microbiome and gynecological health) and we investigate the relationship between changes in the vaginal flora and the development of cervical cancer.

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Food Pharmacy

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Greetings From Almedalen!

You’ve probably heard us talking about our Swedish food revolution #sjukmat, and our wish to contribute to better food in hospitals, preschools, schools and elderly care. In order to focus on the solution and not the problem, we have recently changed the hashtag to #friskmat, which translates as “healthy food” in English.

In our part of the world, lifestyle-related diseases are quickly becoming a major public health concern. There’s been an alarming increase in cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and preventing these diseases will require changes in behaviors related to physical activity and diet.

Luckily, people are starting to pay more and more attention to the relationship between food and health. And the availability of healthy foods is one of several factors that can contribute to better eating habits and positive health outcomes. We’re very lucky to live in a country like Sweden, however, the food served in our hospitals, preschools, schools and elderly care is loaded with sugars and empty calories. We believe that the Swedish Government should lead by example and ensure that the food we serve to patients, kids and elderly is both healthy and nutritious.

If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen us talking about taking our food revolution to Almedalen, also known as Politician’s Week in Sweden. The event, which kicked off three days ago in the medieval city of Visby on the island of Gotland, is an annual event with speeches, seminars and other political activities. Almedalen translates as “elm valley” in English, and it’s the name of the park in Visby where Sweden’s party leaders hold their speeches each night.

The Almedalen Week is one of the most important forums in Swedish politics. It’s a great opportunity to share ideas, discuss politics, socialize, and meet representatives from Swedish and international organizations, as well as the major political parties in Sweden.

This year, Almedalen Week celebrates its 50th anniversary. It started in 1968, when former Swedish Social Democratic Prime Minister Olof Palme spoke from the back of a lorry. He and his family used to spend their summers on Gotland. Now, 50 years later, the event has grown much larger and during Almedalen, Visby is packed with hordes of journalists, lobbyists, politicians and organizations.

Thanks to contributions from private individuals as well as large corporations, Food Pharmacy is able to visit Almedalen this year to spread the word about #friskmat. If you’re here, come visit us tomorrow: Mellangatan 15, Visby.

Thank you for supporting #friskmat. Thank you for your generous donations, and for helping us spread the word. Together we can make a change for the better. Let’s build a healthy and sustainable future for us and our future generations.

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