Category Archives: Healthy Sips

Daily Inspirational Sip

Daily Inspirational Sip

Healthy Eating When You’re Sick

WebMD Feature

By Peter Jaret
Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD

Eating healthy meals isn’t easy when you don’t feel well, especially if you have a serious or chronic illness. You may be too tired to prepare food for yourself. Medicines may make food taste strange or unpleasant. Mouth sores or swallowing problems can make eating difficult. Or nausea, which is a common symptom and a common side effect of some medications, may make food the last thing you want to think about. 

“Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do, even when you’re not feeling well, to get the nutrition you need,” says Veronica McLymont, PhD, RD, director of food and nutrition services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Lack of Appetite

Eat smaller meals more frequently through the day than you do when you’re healthy. “We tend to eat with our eyes,” says Sarah Rafat, RD, senior dietitian at MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Sitting down to too big a meal can seem overwhelming if you don’t have much of an appetite.” Make a list of comfort foods that you love and have one or two on hand for when you feel like eating. Also keep nutritious snacks handy, such as nuts, carrot sticks, or yogurt.

Mouth Sores, Dry Mouth, or Trouble Swallowing

Avoid foods that require a lot of chewing. Puree or grind foods like meat and vegetables to make them easier to eat. Liquid foods such as soups and smoothies are also good options. “Real foods are always the best choice,” says Kim Jordan, RD, director of nutrition at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, part of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “But if you’re having serious problems eating and swallowing, talk to your doctor about liquid meal replacements.” For dry mouth, try chewing gum or sucking on hard candies like lemon drops, which stimulates saliva production.


Choose bland foods. Eat smaller meals more often during the day than you would when you are healthy. Eat slowly. Hard candy, peppermint, and ginger may ease nausea. If nausea persists, talk to your doctor. An anti-nausea medicine may help.


When you’re sick, you may feel too tired to make a meal. Stock up on prepared foods that you can easily pop in the microwave, such as frozen lasagna or pot pies. Keep nutritious snacks on hand such as nuts, sliced vegetables, hardboiled eggs, whole grain breakfast cereal, or yogurt. Eat your biggest meal at a time when you have the most energy.


Diarrhea is a common symptom and a side effect of some medicines. Eating soft, bland foods and avoiding greasy foods can help. Drink plenty of water or other fluids, since diarrhea can quickly dehydrate you. One way to replace electrolytes is to drink a sports beverage diluted with water.


Opioid pain medicines and certain other treatments often cause constipation. To help prevent and treat constipation, eat foods high in fiber, such as apricots, prunes, applesauce, and whole grain breakfast cereals. Getting up and walking can also help get your digestive tract moving.

Unwanted Weight Loss

“If you’re losing weight when you shouldn’t, your top priority is taking in more calories,” says McLymont. Help yourself to foods you love, including high-calorie foods like milkshakes and desserts. Eat as often as you can throughout the day. Snack on high-energy foods such as nuts, seeds, cheese slices, and hardboiled eggs.

Unwanted Weight Gain

Some commonly used medicines can also make you gain unwanted weight. These include:

Alpha-blockers and Beta blockers for regulation of blood pressure
Anticonvulsants for epilepsy or other neurologic symptoms
Antidepressants, certain ones such as Elavil, Endep, (amitriptyline), Eskalith, Lithobid (lithium carbonate), and Zyprexa (olanzapine)
Steroids like prednisone for arthritis and similar conditions

Falling Short on Nutrients

If you’re having real trouble eating a balanced diet, you may benefit from taking a vitamin and mineral supplement. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian before taking dietary supplements, especially if you take medicines for a serious health condition. Some supplements can impact the effectiveness of medicines.

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Daily Inspirational Sip

Daily Inspirational Sip

Health Benefits of Sweets + Fats: Essential Fatty Acids

Health Benefits of Fats

Because oils contain the essential fatty acids linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, there is an allowance for oils in the MyPlate food guide.

Oils are the major source of fatty acids that are necessary for health—called “essential fatty acids.”

While consuming some oil is needed for health, oils still contain calories. In fact, oils and solid fats both contain about 120 calories per tablespoon. Therefore, the amount of oil consumed needs to be limited to balance total calorie intake.
In addition to vegetable oils, such as olive, canola and soybean oils, a number of foods are naturally high in fats, like:

oily fish

Good News About Sweets

Health Benefits of SweetsChocolate is a favorite sweet treat that also has health benefits. It contains flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease.

While chocolate contains ingredients beneficial to health, it does not mean you should overeat chocolate. Chocolate bars and candies are often high in fat, sugar and calories. Moderation is always the key and dark chocolate conveys more benefits than milk chocolate!

Sweets and fats can contribute to optimum health due to the health promoting phytochemicals they may contain – many of which are still being identified.


1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Website. Washington DC. What are ‘oils?’ Accessed March 9, 2015.

2. Kim J, Kim J, Shim J, Lee CY, Lee KW, Lee HJ. Cocoa phytochemicals: recent advances in molecular mechanisms on health. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(11):1458-72.

3. Benzie IF, Choi SW. Antioxidants in food; content, measurement, significance, action, cautions, caveats, and research needs. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2014;71:1-53.

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Daily Inspirational Sip

Daily Inspirational Sip

Nutritious Eating Out

When eating out, try these tips to make choices that are consistent with your regular eating goals:

Before you leave home:
Eat a small portion of something so you don’t arrive at the restaurant overly hungry. Think about what you might order so you don’t rush into a decision at the restaurant.

When ordering:
Choose items that indicate “low-fat” or “heart healthy” to be consistent with a lower-fat meal plan.

Avoid dishes described as buttery, buttered, fried, pan-fried, creamy, scalloped, au gratin, extra crispy, sautéed, and à la mode; these will be high in fats from butter, oil, cheese, cream, or ice cream.

Order dishes that are grilled, broiled, steamed, stir-fried, roasted, and poached; these are generally much lower in fat and calories.

Ask to have your food prepared without butter or cream.

When selecting a side dish, choose steamed or raw vegetables, a baked potato, or plain rice.

Order potatoes baked, broiled, or roasted rather than fried. Ask for butter or sour cream on the side, or substitute salsa or chives.

Ask for steamed vegetables or a salad instead of fries, and fresh fruit instead of coleslaw.

Get a broth-based soup, such as minestrone or chicken noodle, which will have fewer calories than a cream soup.

Choose breads and pitas over croissants.

Order water — it’s free! Be careful of unlimited refills on soda and lemonade.
When ordering pizza, order half the amount of cheese and choose vegetable toppings. Eat one or two slices and take the rest home for another meal.

Choose seafood, chicken (without skin), or lean meat.

At a deli, pick turkey, ham, or lean roast beef, which are lower in fat than tuna salad, salami, and bologna.

Order a salad and split an entrée with a friend.

Order dressings and sauces on the side so you can control how much is used.
Ask if you may order a half-portion, or have half the meal boxed up ahead of time.

Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets. Almost everyone overeats when there is so much variety and unlimited portions.
While waiting for your meal:
Drink a full glass of water before your meal arrives.

Avoid ordering alcohol before your food arrives, since it increases your appetite.
Set a limit on bread and tortilla chips.

When eating:
Eat salads, vegetables, and fruit before the main entrée. This will fill you up and allow you to take more calorie-dense food home with you.

Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to realize it’s full!
If ordering dessert, split it with others at the table.

Tips for ordering at different types of restaurants:

Fast Food:
Order burgers without cheese, special sauces, and/or bacon.
Try a grilled chicken sandwich.
Don’t super-size.

Choose entrées with a lot of vegetables.
Avoid egg rolls and egg drop soup.

Avoid cheese- and meat-filled pastas.
Order tomato or marinara sauces; avoid white sauces.

Use salsa instead of sour cream, cheese, and/or guacamole.
Try chicken fajitas.
Limit deep-fried foods such as chips, taco shells, and chimichangas.

Three to six ounces of meat is a typical portion (about the size of one to two decks of cards). Take the rest home for another meal.
Ask to have your meat trimmed of all fat before cooking.
Ribs, T-bone, and Porterhouse steaks tend to be the fattier cuts; order sirloin or tenderloin steaks for a leaner cut of meat.
Choose a garden salad instead of the Caesar salad.

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What Do You Take For a Cold?

What Do You Take For a Cold?

Cocoa Drops, I’ve been under the weather for 3 weeks now.  It started when, here in Atlanta, it was 80 degrees that morning and 30 that night.

I’m stuffy in my head and I’ve had issues with nasal drainage and minor throat discomfort.  Now, I’m a bronchitis and strep throat veteran so I know it’s not that bad.  I also know to take really deep breaths in and out to keep my lungs open and safe from pneumonia.  Plus, I had a pneumonia vaccine.

So, what I’ve been taking is Robitussin multi-symptom cold, Zyrtec, and Advil severe congestion but it’s just not going anywhere.  I can’t drink orange juice because of the acid and I know it’s not serious enough to go to the doctor.

What do you do to knock a cold out like Mike Tyson?

Help a sister girl out, please!

🙂 Phee

Pic from

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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Healthy Sips


Daily Inspirational Sip

Daily Inspirational Sip

Benefits of Drinking Water on an Empty Stomach, water, tap water, bottled water, spring water, water therapy, clean water, Detox water
PositiveMed | Stay Healthy. Live Happy

Hydration is super important for several reasons, first your body is composed of about 60% water, fluids exit our bodies every minute, from skin evaporation, breathing and urine, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health.

Good benefits of drinking water in the morning:

1. Drinking water on an empty stomach cleans the colon, making it easier to absorb nutrients.

2. Creates the production of new blood and muscle cells.

3. Essential for weight loss, drinking cold water first thing in the morning can accelerate your metabolism.

4.Healthy looking Skin, water helps to eliminate toxins from the blood making your skin glow and look clear and smooth.

5. Balances your Lymph System. These glands help you perform your daily functions, balance your body fluids, and fight infection.

There is a new trend coming from Japan these days: Japanese drink hot tea with their meals and use a treatment method that has no side effects and it consists on drinking water at certain times with certain amounts along the day starting first thing in the morning, at the start of the treatment frequent urination is normal, it had been found successful by a Japanese medical society as a 100% cure for many diseases and illnesses such as:

Headache, body ache, heart system, arthritis, fast heart beat, epilepsy, excess fatness, bronchitis asthma, TB, meningitis, kidney and urine diseases, vomiting, gastritis, diarrhea, piles, diabetes, constipation, all eye diseases, womb, cancer and menstrual disorders, ear nose and throat diseases.

Benefits of Drinking Water on an Empty Stomach

Drinking cold water:
-Side effects of drinking cold water with a meal: all the oils in the food you are consuming will solidify meaning it will not only slow the digestion process but then it will react with the acid breaking down and the intestine will absorb the food faster, turning into fat, opt for drinking hot soup or warm water after a meal instead.

1. In the morning before brushing teeth, drink 4 x 160ml glasses of water

2. Brush and clean the mouth but do not eat or drink anything for 45 minutes

3. After 45 minutes you may eat and drink as normal.

4. After 15 minutes of breakfast, lunch and dinner, do not eat or drink anything for 2 hours

5. For older and sick people taking the treatment: drink little water and gradually increase it to 4 glasses per day

6. The above method of treatment will cure diseases of the sick too

The following list gives the number of days of you should follow the process to treat this diseases:

1. High Blood Pressure (30 days)

2. Gastric (10 days)

3. Diabetes (30 days)

4. Constipation (10 days)

5. TB (90 days)

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What helps your shape

What helps your shape

HangTight with MarC

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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Healthy Sips



Daily Inspirational Sip

Daily Inspirational Sip

4 Reasons You Should Consider Turning Pescatarian / Nutrition / Healthy Eating

If a vegetarian diet seems to limit your protein choices, but you want to avoid the fat content of red meat and poultry, you might consider turning pescatarian. A pescatarian diet eliminates all meats except fish, allowing you to enjoy the nutritional and culinary rewards of seafood. Although mercury, PCB and dioxin contamination have been a concern with fish-based diets, the American Heart Association states that the benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks of toxins. Becoming a pescatarian may help you achieve a variety of health-promoting goals.

1. Avoid Saturated Fats

Red meats and some forms of poultry contain saturated fats. These fats, which are usually solid at room temperature, contribute to the accumulation of fat in the arteries and the development of fatty plaques on the arterial walls–conditions that lead to heart disease and stroke. Avoiding meat for the sake of cardiac health can be a powerful motivation for turning vegetarian. Becoming a pescatarian allows you to retain the nutrients, flavors and textures of seafood in your diet while cutting down on the health risks caused by land animal fats.

2. Reduce Cholesterol Levels

Species of fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring are rich in omega-3 fats, a form of fat that lowers triglycerides. Triglycerides are a form of cholesterol produced by the body and found in high-fat foods. The liver synthesizes triglycerides as a source of energy. When produced or eaten in excess, triglycerides circulate in the bloodstream and are deposited as fat, mostly around the abdominal organs. Clinical studies have shown that the omega-3 fats in fish oil markedly reduce triglyceride levels, which can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and metabolic disorders. Omega-3 fatty acids may also lower blood pressure, improve brain and nerve function, and enhance short-term memory.

3. Increase Intake of Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Whole fish contains B complex vitamins, including B6, B12, riboflavin and niacin, while fish liver oils are a good source of vitamins A and D. Fish are rich in essential minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorous and selenium. To reap the full array of minerals that are available in seafood, include a variety of saltwater and freshwater fish, mollusks and crustaceans in your diet.

4. Enjoy a Versatile Source of Lean Protein

Fish is high in protein but low in fat and calories, making it an attractive option for dieters and for people who want to build lean muscle mass without increasing body fat. Although you can fulfill your daily protein requirements with a vegetarian or vegan diet, a pescatarian diet offers a broader range of options for meeting your protein needs.

If the thought of giving up the flaky texture of halibut or the rich flavor of salmon has discouraged you from turning vegetarian, becoming a pescatarian might be an appealing dietary alternative. Fish comes in a wide array of tastes and textures and can be prepared in a variety of healthy ways, from baking and grilling to steaming or poaching.

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Daily Inspirational Sip

Daily Inspirational Sip

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With Healthy Green Foods – ABC News                                                                             By DIANE HENDERIKS, R.D.

I remember when I was little staring at the peas or broccoli that were sitting on my dinner plate long after everyone left the table because my mother insisted that we “eat our greens.”  Back then I didn’t realize how important green foods were but now I certainly do and love just about all of them (peas, not so much.)

Green foods can help fight disease, provide vitamins and minerals (calcium, folate, vitamin C, and beta-carotene), are high in fiber, support a healthy digestive system and offer a boatload of health benefits.   The stuff that gives plant foods their natural, vibrant colors are called phytochemicals or phytonutrients which help to protect the plant from disease and when we eat these plants they help protect us, too.  What gives green food in particular its color is chlorophyll.  Just saying that word brings you back to grade school science and photosynthesis right?  Can’t you just visualize the blackboard with a picture of the sun with an arrow to the plant, CO2 in, O2 out…oh, the memories.

Step up to your home plate and make grand slam meals with these green foods.


Avocados are a fruit, not a veggie, and provide close to 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, B vitamins, and folic acid. They contain a lot of fat but it’s monounsaturated fat or “the good fat” that can help lower cholesterol.  Avocados also boost absorption of fat-soluble nutrients in foods that are eaten with it. Try adding avocados to salads, salsa, dressings and sauces.   I use avocados in place of fat in baking and as a spread for sandwiches.


Eda-huh? Edamame are soybeans and have been used for thousands of years in East Asia as a main source of protein.  Because they are a complete protein, edamame is an excellent staple for vegetarian diets.  They are also a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and iron. Try adding shelled edamame to salads, any veggie dish, soups, stews or munch on their own.  Edamame in the pods (like you find at Asian restaurants) are readily available and make a great snack.  I throw shelled, frozen edamame into smoothies and the kids don’t even realize it.


Kale is a member of the cruciferous veggie family that includes cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and bok choy.  Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and is packed with Vitamins A, K and C, as well as, calcium, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and a hit of Omega-3 fatty acids. Kale sits on the shelves next to mustard greens, collard greens and Swiss chard at the supermarket but unfortunately many people walk right past this area.  Next time you are at the market stop and grab a bunch or two of this deliciously healthy leafy green.  Kale is simple to prepare and cooking it for a short period of time will preserve its nutrients, color and texture.  Toss into salads and pasta, top pizza or add to stews and soups.  Kale chips are all the rage now and I just love them!  Simply rinse kale, dry thoroughly, tear into bite sized pieces and place on even layer in baking sheet.  Drizzle a little olive oil on top, sprinkle with salt, pepper and any of your favorite dried herbs and spices.  Bake 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees and voila….so good.


Kiwi is a bright source of potassium, Vitamin E, folate and fiber and just one of these furry little buggers far exceeds your daily need for vitamin C! Research has shown kiwi to protect the DNA in  our cells, assist with eye health and support a healthy cardiovascular system.   Enjoy them on their own peeled or not (skin is edible and packed with fiber).  Kiwi gives a tropical twist to smoothies, salads, cold soups, chutneys, oatmeal, dips and desserts.


Broccoli is also a member of the cruciferous veggie family and stocked with Vitamins A, K and C, calcium, folate, iron, fiber and potassium.  Toss into salads, pastas and stir-fries, blend into sauces and soups, munch on it raw with or without dip or roast in the oven.  Don’t throw out the stems, they are delicious.  Just peel the tough skin, slice and eat.

Fresh herbs

I’ve got these little guys sprouting on my kitchen windowsill right now.  In addition to kicking up the flavor of dishes, fresh herbs get an A+ for nutrition.  Just like any leafy green, fresh herbs contain lots of vitamins and minerals including A, K & C, iron, B vitamins, calcium and a nutritional bonus of essential oils and antioxidants. The star players of this powerhouse group are oregano, sage, basil, parsley, rosemary, mint and thyme.  Each type of herb offers something a little different to good health so use a variety to reap the most benefit. Add them to salads, pastas, sauces, desserts or any dish.


Spring is the season for asparagus so be sure to get it while it’s hot.  Go to your local farmers market and grab some because it’s gone before you know it and there is nothing like it freshly picked.  Asparagus is one of the top sources of the B vitamin and folate, which is essential for heart and cellular health.  It’s also a great source of fiber, vitamins A, C and K and is a natural diuretic.  You may come across asparagus in 3 different colors; green, white and purple and they are all delicious and nutritious.  Toss in to pasta, eggs, soups, stir-fries, rice, salads or simply drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper then place in even layer on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Green tea

Stick that pinkie up and sip on some green tea! These leaves are rich in polyphenols which are antioxidant compounds that help to protect your cells and have been reported to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol and protect against cancer.  Recent research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “Green tea consumption is significantly associated with a lower risk of incident functional disability” (Functional disability refers to problems with daily chores and activities, such as bathing or dressing).  It’s pretty cool that a tea can be studied and have these results, makes you want to add green tea to your shopping list, right?  Steep a cup in the morning to start your day off with a jolt of nutrition, use as liquid in cooking and baking and my personal favorite indulgence, green tea ice cream.


Limes contain a bountiful amount of the vitamin C which helps the immune system, builds collagen and keeps your cells healthy.  Sixteenth century sailors, pirates and explorers certainly appreciated this since a lime a day kept the scurvy away!  Limes also contain fiber, calcium, iron and copper.   The tartness and refreshing flavor of limes can lift up any recipe and add flavor to foods in place of extra salt.  Add fresh lime juice and grated zest to dressings, sauces, soups, marinades and desserts.  Squeeze a wedge of lime in your water for a special treat.


Finally, in spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, cabbage.  Cancer prevention is the top contender in health research for this veggie with results attributing it to lowering the risk of various forms of cancer.  Like broccoli and kale, cabbage is also a cruciferous vegetable and rich in vitamins A, K and C, calcium, fiber and B vitamins.   There are numerous different types of cabbage grown around the world but the ones we see most are green, red, savoy, bok choy and Napa.  Cabbage can be eaten raw, tossed in salads, stirred in soups and stews and I like to use it in place of bread for sandwiches.

Henderiks is a registered dietitian, founder of and a “Good Morning America” health contributor.

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Daily Inspirational Sip

Daily Inspirational Sip

Nutrition for Healthy Skin: Vitamin A, Zinc, Vitamin C

One of the biggest motivations to adopt a more nutritious diet is the desire to improve skin health. Many people of all ages struggle with skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, dry skin, wrinkles, and sun damage, among others. This can be very upsetting for those who have yet to find a solution to their problematic skin. While conventional medical professionals often discount the connection between skin health and nutrition, there is strong evidence to support the influence of our food choices on the health and vibrancy of our skin.

The consumption of certain vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds in the diet is one of the most effective ways to treat skin conditions and improve the look and feel of one’s skin. There are several nutrients that are known to play a role in the proper growth and immunity of the skin, and many people have found that their skin health has dramatically improved after making purposeful changes to their daily diet. For example, Liz from the blog CaveGirlEats has a great post about how eating a traditional diet has improved her skin health. As her story suggests, making simple changes to your diet can have a significant impact on skin appearance in a short amount of time.

In this series, I will discuss how vitamins and minerals from a nutritious whole foods diet can treat acne, wrinkles, and other problem skin conditions.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A, or retinol, is one of the most widely acknowledged nutrients for healthy skin. Synthetic retinoids have been used as effective treatments for severe acne and psoriasis since the 1980s, demonstrating how useful vitamin A can be in treating problem skin. Vitamin A influences the physiology of the skin by promoting epidermal differentiation, modulating dermal growth factors, inhibiting sebaceous gland activity, and suppressing androgen formation. (1) As it promotes cell turnover in the skin, vitamin A is effective in preventing the formation of comedones that cause the most common forms of acne.

Lack of vitamin A causes the skin to become keratinized and scaly, and mucus secretion is suppressed. (2) Rough, dry skin is a common sign of vitamin A deficiency, which often first appears as rough, raised bumps on the back of the arms. (3) This condition is called hyperkeratosis pillaris, and is found in approximately 40% of adults. (4) Though dermatologists believe this is an inherited condition with no cure, I have successfully treated this condition in several patients by significantly increasing their consumption of vitamin A rich foods. While physicians prescribe synthetic retinoids to treat skin conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis, cold sores, wounds, burns, sunburn, and ichthyosis, it is possible to obtain similar effects from consuming natural sources of pre-formed vitamin A. (5)

Preformed vitamin A, which is well absorbed by the body, can be found in a variety of traditional foods. The most vitamin A-rich foods are liver and cod liver oil, but other sources include kidney, cream and butter from pastured cows, and egg yolks from pastured chickens. I recommend using cod liver oil if you wish to supplement, as this provides a balance of vitamin A and vitamin D that will reduce the risk of overdosing on vitamin A. Eating liver once or twice per week is a great dietary strategy for those looking to reduce and even eliminate stubborn acne.

Zinc is an essential mineral that is an imperative part of many physiological functions, including structure in certain proteins and enzymes, and regulation of gene expression. It plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. (6) In skin, zinc assists in the proper structure of proteins and cell membranes, improves wound healing,  has anti-inflammatory effects, and protects against UV radiation. (7)

Several studies indicate that dietary zinc may reduce acne, even as effectively as antibiotics such as tetracyclines. (8) This may be because it interacts with vitamin A as a component of retinol-binding protein, which is necessary for transporting vitamin A in the blood. (9) Zinc supplementation has been shown to significantly increase the level of vitamin A in the blood, indicating an interaction between the two nutrients that may explain its positive effect on acne. (10) In fact, men and women with serious acne are found to have lower levels of serum zinc than healthy controls. (11)

Dietary sources of zinc are best absorbed from animal sources, where it is not bound to phytates as in plant sources. Organs such as kidney and liver, red meat such as beef and lamb, and seafood such as oysters, scallops, and other shellfish are the highest animal sources of zinc. Plant foods such as pumpkin seeds and other nuts can also be high in zinc as well, but are less bioavailable, as the zinc is bound to phytates if not properly prepared by soaking. To get the most zinc from your diet, include shellfish, organ meats, and red meat on a regular basis.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C has been known for decades to play a crucial role in the regulation of the structural protein collagen, which is necessary for the extracellular stability of the skin. A vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, which is first manifested as rough dry skin and corkscrew hair growth. Inadequate vitamin C is also known to contribute to the development of the common problem of hyperkeratosis pillaris, as the follicles become damaged when collagen formation is impaired.

Increasing the amount of vitamin C in the diet can contribute to improved skin health and faster healing. Observational studies have shown that diets high in vitamin C are associated with better skin appearance and less skin wrinkling. (12, 13) Vitamin C may also help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage by acting as an antioxidant. (14) Higher intakes of dietary vitamin C have been correlated with a decreased level of dry skin, and ascorbic acid may have effects on trans-epidermal water loss. (15) Vitamin C has an important role in wound healing and can improve the proper formation of strong scar tissue. (16)

While true deficiency in the United States is uncommon, it is possible to be consuming sub-optimal levels, particularly in a diet with limited fruits and vegetables. The highest sources of vitamin C include bell peppers, guava, dark leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kiwi, citrus fruits, and strawberries. Certain fresh herbs such as cilantro, chives, thyme, basil and parsley are also high in vitamin C. Consuming a wide variety of colorful plant foods on a regular basis is the best way to get adequate vitamin C in your diet. It’s important to remember that vitamin C is sensitive to heat, so lightly cooking these plant foods or eating them raw (if possible) is ideal to maximize your intake of this vitamin.

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Daily Inspirational Sip

Daily Inspirational Sip

10 Nutritional Deficiencies That May Cause Depression
By Therese Borchard
Published Nov 14, 2014

I’m not sure why more psychiatrists don’t first test for nutritional deficiencies before dispensing Zoloft or Prozac, and especially antipsychotics like Seroquel and Zyprexa. The good ones will send you to get lab work done before upping your meds or adjusting anything. Sometimes we do need antidepressants. But other times we need spinach — think of Popeye.

In addition to seeing a psychiatrist regularly, I now work with an integrative health physician who tests my nutrition levels every year. If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. The supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back two- or threefold by not having to see your psychiatrist as often. You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish — salmon, tuna, halibut — or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the supplements I take every day for depression.

2. Vitamin D

According to Mark Hyman, MD, bestselling author of The Ultramind Solution, vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to recognize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source. Dr. Hyman believes that we should ideally be getting 5,000 to 10,000 IU (international units) a day.However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most healthy adults get only about 600 IUs daily.

3. Magnesium

Chances are good that you are magnesium-deficient because up to half of Americans are. Our lifestyles decrease our levels: excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, phosphoric acid (in soda), chronic stress, antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills). Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. It is found in seaweed, greens, and beans. The NIH recommends a daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women.

4. Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 can provide some incredible health benefits, including reduced stroke risk and healthy skin and nails. On the other hand, a vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. More than a quarter of severely depressed older women were deficient in B-12, according to one 2009 study.

The best sources of vitamin B-6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. For vitamin B-6, the NIH recommends a daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk) and shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab. Most adults should need to consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 daily, according to the NIH.

5. Folate

People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with high folate levels have a response of 44 percent, according to Hyman. That is why many psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. I tried it and it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference; however, I have several friends who have had very positive responses to Deplin. You need not try the prescription form of Deplin. You could just start taking a folate supplement and see if you get any results. Your daily recommended folate intake depends on your gender, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and age. However, most adults need at least 400 mcg daily. You can also get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.

6. Amino Acids

Amino acids — the building blocks of protein — help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beef, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, and nuts.

7. Iron

Iron deficiency is pretty common in women. About 20 percent of women, and 50 percent of pregnant women, are in the club. Only three percent of men are iron deficient. The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Most adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet, according to the NIH. Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, and poultry. If you really want to get more red blood cells, eat liver. Yuck. 

8. Zinc

Zinc is used by more enzymes (and we have over 300) than any other mineral. It is crucial to many of our systems. It activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies (which, in turn, averts depression in some people, since some of our mood disruptions are triggered by food allergies). It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. The NIH recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.

9. Iodine

Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. You can get iodine by using an iodine-enriched salt, or by eating dried seaweed, shrimp, or cod. I take a kelp supplement every morning because I have hypothyroidism. The daily recommend amount of iodine for most adults is about 150 mcg.

10. Selenium

Like iodine, selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase) keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized (rancid). Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily. The best food source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contains about 544 mcg of selenium per ounce.

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