Archive for March, 2015

Top 5 Benefits of Strawberry for Skin

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Strawberries are delicious tart fruits that are the first to ripen in spring. Strawberries are super fruits, bursting with powerful anti-oxidants and loads of vitamin C that will provide your skin with nourishing nutrients for healthy happy skin.

What makes Strawberries Good for skin?

  • Rich source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is good for your skin as it fights of free radicals that steal oxygen from healthy cells and destroy collagen, encouraging pronounced lines to appear on the skin.
  • Dietary Fibre. Strawberries are an excellent source of dietary fibre which helps in eliminating harmful toxins in our bodies. Dietary fibre is also useful in regulating bowel movement, thereby preventing constipation, which is a known factor for acne and pimples. Fibre in strawberries can help you have regular toilet visits, which can keep your skin pimple-free!
  • Folic Acid. Folic Acid aids in cell regeneration and production of new cells in our bodies.

Top 5 Benefits of Strawberries for Skin

  1. Anti-aging. Strawberries contain the anti-oxidant ellagic acid which prevents collagen destruction which is one of the major causes of wrinkle formation. Ellagic acid has a photoprotective effect that works against UV damage by stifling the production of MMP, which are enzymes that contribute in destruction of collagen. This prevents wrinkles from forming on the skin, thereby providing a healthy supple look to your face.
  2. Say goodbye to acne. Notorious acne caused by excess accumulation of sebum can be cleared off using strawberry face scrubs and masks. This is because the acidic nature of strawberries enables it to remove excess oil in the skin.
  3. UV skin protection. The powerful anti-oxidant, ellagic acid found in strawberries is very useful as it protects the skin from harmful UV rays. A research conducted by researchers at a university in Korea discovered that mice that were exposed to UV rays after being given ellagic acid treatment showed reduced wrinkle formation as compared to mice that weren’t given the treatment before exposure.
  4. No more oily skin. Rich in vitamin C, strawberries can be used to make excellent face masks to fight oily skin, as well as nourish and revitalize your skin. Strawberries are acidic in nature and this is effective to remove the excess sebum on skin.
  5. Skin lightening. Strawberry juice is very efficient in lightening blemishes and acne scars. Strawberry juice had skin lightening extracts as well as ellagic acid which reduces dark spots on skin. Simply apply strawberry juice to the dark spot on skin using a cotton ball and rinse thoroughly afterward.

The 5-Step Tooth-Plaque Prevention Plan

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste.

Brushing twice daily prevents plaque from forming in the first place and disrupts any plaque that has already started to form and mature.

Make sure you get to all the areas of your mouth with your toothbrush, including teeth, gums, tongue, and the insides of your cheeks. In general, the process should take about 2 minutes.

Step 2: Clean Between Your Teeth

There may not be much of a fun factor to flossing, but cleaning between your teeth every day can have a crucial impact on your oral health.

If you have a tough time reaching certain parts of your mouth to floss, ask your dentist about interdental brushes, floss aides, or water- or air-flossing devices.

Step 3: Use a Mouth Rinse

Know your terms: mouth rinse and mouthwash are two different things. Mouthwash is used to freshen breath.An antiseptic mouth rinse, however, actually helps reduce the bacterial load found in plaque.

Using mouth rinse prevents plaque buildup more than just brushing and flossing alone.  30-second swish twice each day as part of your tooth-cleaning routine.

Step 4: Avoid Sticky, Sugary Food

The hardest foods to remove from your teeth are the ones that cling when you chew. Think raisins, granola bars, or sticky candy. Sugary and starchy foods are some of the most harmful to teeth, too.

If sugar is not removed from your teeth shortly after you eat it, plaque uses it to help create tooth decay. The faster you can get food off your teeth, the less likely you are to get cavities.

Step 5: Go to the Dentist

It’s key to have someone who knows teeth keep tabs on yours. See your dentist and dental hygienist on a regular basis, so they can look for signs of disease.

What Are the Treatments for Thyroid Problems?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

For  thyroid disorders  stemming from the over- or under-production of thyroid hormones, both conventional and alternative treatments offer varied methods to try to restore hormone levels to their proper balance. Conventional treatments rely mainly on drugs and surgery. Alternative treatments attempt to relieve some of the discomfort associated with thyroid problems, or to improve the function of the thyroid gland through approaches ranging from  diet supplements  and herbal remedies to lifestyle changes and special exercises.

You should always receive a medical evaluation from your doctor for any thyroid disorder; most of these conditions require treatment beyond the scope of home care alone.

Treating hyperthyroidism requires suppressing the manufacture of thyroid hormone, while hypothyroidism demands  hormone replacement . Conventional medicine offers extremely effective techniques for lowering, eliminating, or supplementing hormone production. Before deciding which treatment is best for you, your doctor will make an evaluation based on your particular thyroid condition, as well as your age, general health, and medical history.

Treatments for Hyperthyroidism

Thyroid hormone production can be suppressed or halted completely in these ways:

  • Radioactive iodide treatment
  • Anti-thyroid medication
  • Surgery

If your doctor decides that radioactive treatment is best, you will be asked to swallow a tablet or liquid containing radioactive iodide in amounts large enough to damage the cells of your thyroid gland and limit or destroy their ability to produce hormones. Occasionally, more than one treatment is needed to restore normal hormone production, and many patients actually develop hypothyroidism as a result of this procedure.

Foods and Drinks That Make Your Breath Smell Good

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

A combination of diet and dental hygiene is the best defense against bad breath.

Certain foods can taint your breath for hours and contribute to dragon breath in other ways. Here are some of the culprits:

Garlic and onions. Garlic and onions top the list when it comes to halitosis.

That’s because the smelly sulfur compounds in garlic and onions linger in your mouth and are absorbed in the bloodstream and expelled when you exhale.

Coffee and alcohol. Coffee and alcoholic drinks create a favorable environment for oral bacterial growth.  They also have a drying effect, which reduces saliva flow and allows foul-smelling bacteria to linger longer.

Several other foods – including dairy products, a diet heavy in meat, orange juice, and soda – sometimes get talked about as bad breath triggers.

Foods and Drinks That Make Your Breath Smell Good

Water.  This odor-free fluid helps flush from the mouth the bits of food bacteria feed upon. Drinking water promotes the production of saliva, which acts as a constant cleansing agent and dissolves stinky substances in food and drink.

Sugarless gum. Chewing gum loosens food and dead cells from the teeth, gums, and tongue and fosters saliva production.

Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol is particularly effective for fighting bad breath because xylitol inhibits mouth bacteria.

To get the full effect of chewing xylitol-sweetened gum, munch it for at least five minutes after meals.

Tips for coping with Achalasia

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Tips for coping

1 Eat smaller meals more frequently.

2 Eat slowly and chew well

3 Don’t eat too late

4 Beware of eating when feeling stressed

5 Eat fairly moist food

6 Lifting the chest and taking a deep breath also helps.

7 Keep a small bottle of water handy in case one’s oesophageal muscles go into spasm when out and about

8 Don’t have drinks too cold

9 Eat early in the evening

10 Don’t drink before bedtime

11 Don’t eat too many nibbles such as crisps and nuts or drink too many glasses of wine before a meal in the evening.

12 A good start to the day is a fruit smoothie using a wide variety of fruit liquidised with a live yoghurt and probiotic (actimel) and a good teaspoon of manuka honey.

13 Multigrain toast with Somerset brie is also a favourite, helped down with hot water.

14 With a good variety of nutrients early in the day.

15 Always have a drink with the meals: sparkling types can be beneficial, and gulps between every few mouthfuls help

16 Most important factor in managing eating has been drinking hot water (temperature is important – half cold and half boiling).  The technique involves judging how much food I can eat before I have to gulp down some water.

17 Soups are a good way of eating a variety of nutrients as they can be liquidised.Include all vegetables and pulses and experiment to get something I really like, sometimes topped with cheddar cheese.

18 Avoid eating skins on fruit and veg, but do churn them up in smoothies and soups

19 Avoid fatty meat and eat mostly chicken, fish or vegetarian dishes.

20 Also avoid spicy food and drinking alcohol with food is very difficult.

21 Salads are best eaten with lots of dressing and in small quantities.

22 Be aware of the types of food you personally need to avoid, and what can be digested easily.

23 Avoid the following:-

a) Large lumps of meat.

b) Dry chicken can be a problem. Meat in a sauce or casserole is usually better than anything else.

c) Pasta of any sort.

d) Too much bread.

e) Potatoes can be a problem if boiled but thin french fries are not too bad.

f) Rice. Fried rice is better than fluffy stuff.

g) Spotted dick or similar dry sponge puddings are avoided.

24 Food that gives little trouble:-

i) Soup

ii) Fish – salmon or battered cod seem good.

iii) Salads

iv) Stir-fry food is usually fine

v) Funnily enough quiche or similar is usually not a problem

vi) Cheese with crackers

vii) For dessert ice cream is best.

25 Basically it seems it is the consistency of the food which has more influence than anything.

26 Don’t eat too much bread in one sitting and eat good quality bread rather than soft white bread which is particularly bad for blocking the oesophagus

27 Avoid very dry food like falafels, raw cauliflower, raw carrot

28 Best foods were weetabix, readybrek, custard, sponge puddings and mashed potato.

Fortisip milkshakes which were a lifesaver as they are full of vitamins and nutrients.

29 Probiotic pills/Acidophilus powder as a major part of immune system is in one’s gut

30 Echinacea and Manuka honey to boost immune system

31 Sleep propped up with lots of pillows (before the operation) to help stop food and drink coming back up at night

32 A bed wedge is a useful alternative to lots of pillows to keep you propped up at night.

33 Finish the day with a good teaspoon of manuka honey and lemon juice in hot water.

34 Relaxation helps to avoid spasms and pain with the sphincter.

35 Yoga helps as does drinking hot water to relieve the pain.

36 Pain from the sphincter can be avoided by warming up cold food and drink in the mouth first before allowing it to go down. Avoid letting the chest get cold. Cold wind can set up pain.

37 Talk to other Achalasia sufferers. It helps so much to know you’re not alone!!

 

 

True Vitamin A Foods

Saturday, March 21st, 2015
  1. Carrots
  2. Sweet potatoes
  3. Dark leafy greens
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Bell peppers

Although taken for granted as ideal vitamin A foods, these plants provide only the precursor to vitamin A, carotenoids. Interestingly, we need to be consuming true vitamin A foods, foods containing retinol, to meet our vitamin A requirements.

True Vitamin A Foods

Liver from any animal, enjoy pasture-raised liver 2-3 times per week or take desiccated liver capsules daily
Fermented Cod Liver Oil, which is higher in vitamins (I recommend the Cinnamon Tingle flavor).

Regular Cod Liver Oil,  if the fermented option cannot be purchased. (However, there is some controversy that this cod liver oil is now stripped of the naturally-occurring vitamins during processing.)

Egg yolks from hens foraging in pasture, ideally enjoy 2-4 egg yolks per day .

Butter from grassfed cows.

Heavy cream from grassfed cows.

Without a doubt, regular consumption of pasture-rasied liver is the most effective way to consume optimal levels of this vitamin. Men, women, children, and infants should consume liver on a bi-weekly basis. If you don’t enjoy eating liver or liver pate,  desiccated liver capsules are a nonnegotiable supplement for overall health and hormone balance.

Only certain vitamin A foods provide the body with useable vitamin A. And it’s not carrots!

Vitamin A Foods for Vegetarians and Vegans

As you can see, true vitamin A foods come from animal sources. A vegan diet simply does not provide the body with adequate vitamin A for optimal health. A vegan diet also reduces thyroid function and bile release, which drastically compromises the already poor carotene-to-cartenoid conversion.

A vegetarian may be able to meet daily vitamin A requirements by emphasizing pastured egg yolks and grassfed dairy products.Liver is the best source of vitamin A and, gram-for-gram, the most nutrient-dense food.

Retinoids vs. Carotenoids

Friday, March 20th, 2015

The most important fact about vitamin A is the difference between retinoids and cartenoids. The vitamin A from animal sources is retinoids, also called retinol, while plant source vitamin A is carotenoids, such as beta carotene.

Animal sources of retinol is bio-available, which means the body can utilize it. The vitamin A from plant sources, in contrast, must first be converted to retinol to be useful in the body. This poses two big problems.

First, when we are in pristine health, it requires at least six units of carotenes to convert into 1 unit of retinol (source). To put this in perspective, that means one must eat 4 1/2 pounds of carrots to potentially get the amount of useable A as in 3 oz. of beef liver (source). What happens if we have digestive issues, hormone imbalances, or other health problems? It requires even more units of carotene in the ratio.

Second, the carotene-to-retinol conversion is HIGHLY compromised. As a matter of fact, this conversion is negligible for many individuals. This conversion is virtually insignificant:

In infants
In those with poor thyroid function (hypothyroidism)
In those with diabetes
In those who are on a low fat diet or have a history of low fat dieting
In those who have compromised bile production

As with other orange veggies, sweet potatoes provide carotenes. Although beta carotene is an antioxidant, it is not true vitamin A. We must eat true vitamin A foods on a daily basis to meet our requirements for this essential nutritient.

8 Foods High in Magnesium

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Dark Leafy Greens

In the nutrition world, dark leafy greens play the role of the ultimate superfood, offering up crucial vitamins and minerals as well as a host of health benefits. Choose raw or cooked baby spinach, collard greens, kale, or Swiss chard and you’ll be stocking your body with magnesium for very few calories.

Nuts and Seeds

Just a half cup of pumpkin seeds provides nearly 100 percent of the daily requirement for magnesium. Other nuts and seeds high in magnesium include almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, flaxseed, and pecans. Include your favorite nuts in a healthy homemade trail mix; it makes the perfect afternoon snack to keep your energy up and hunger levels down.

Fish

In addition to being great sources of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, fish like mackerel, wild salmon, halibut, and tuna will add more magnesium to your menu. Make it a goal to have fish for dinner at least once a week; this tangy Salmon Salad is delicious, easy, and perfect for spring.

Soybeans

Soybeans are a nutrient-rich legume carrying a high amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Snack on a half-cup serving of dry roasted soybeans, which provides nearly half the necessary magnesium for the day, or add shelled soybeans (edamame) to your shopping list. Other legumes rich in magnesium include black beans, kidney beans, white beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lentils.

Avocado

Loaded with multivitamins, heart-healthy nutrients, and disease-thwarting chemical compounds, avocados are one of the most nutritious and versatile produce picks around. Add one sliced avocado to your salad or sandwich at lunch, and you’ll easily consume 15 percent of the recommended daily amount of magnesium.

Bananas

Bananas may be better known for being rich in heart-healthy and bone-strengthening potassium, but a medium-sized banana also provides 32 milligrams of magnesium, along with vitamin C and fiber. At only about 100 calories, this is a foolproof fruit to pop in your bag for a portable breakfast or an easy-on-the-go snack. Of course, many other fruits can add magnesium to your diet, including strawberries, blackberries, grapefruit, and figs.

Dark Chocolate

As if you needed another reason to indulge in rich dark chocolate, it’s also a magnesium-booster. One square of the sweet stuff provides 24 percent of the daily value of magnesium for only 145 calories, in addition to antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and boost overall heart health. Paired with fresh fruit, dark chocolate makes a decadent and healthy after-dinner dessert.

Low-Fat Yogurt

Magnesium and calcium make a wonderful health duo, because when you’re getting enough magnesium, this makes it easier for your body to absorb calcium and put it to good use. That’s why almost all milk products are recommended for getting more magnesium; roughly 19 milligrams of the mineral are found in one container of low- or nonfat yogurt, which, along with a fiber-rich fruit, makes an easy breakfast choice.

List of Iron-Rich Foods for Vegetarians

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

 

The human body absorbs heme iron–found only in meat and eggs–more easily than it absorbs the non-heme iron provided by vegetables. When non-heme iron is consumed with vitamin C, however, the body absorbs it at least as easily as iron from animal sources. Fortunately, most vegetarian sources of iron also contain vitamin C or are easily paired with foods rich in this vitamin. This may be why vegetarians do not suffer from iron deficiency at a greater rate than omnivores.

Pumpkin Seeds

Raw pumpkin seeds provide 30 percent of the Recommended Daily Value for iron. When roasted, they supply about 15 percent, approximately the same as other seeds. Nuts such as almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts provide 8 to 10 percent of your daily iron needs. Grab a handful of nuts for a quick snack, or blend them into savory sandwich spreads and pates. Experiment with recipes that combine nuts or seeds with garlic, spices, sun-dried tomatoes or olives. Serve with crackers and raw vegetables or toss with pasta.

Beans

A half-cup serving of beans provides about 10 percent of your daily iron needs. Soybean products such as tofu and tempeh are also rich in iron, supplying about 10 to 15 percent iron per 4-oz. serving. You can help your body absorb most of this iron by preparing dishes that combine beans with foods rich in vitamin C. Examples include tomato and bean salad, vegetarian chili, tomato-based soup, tempeh sloppy Joes and tofu-vegetable stir fry. You may also want to add fresh bean sprouts to your diet, as they contain both iron and vitamin C. Toss bean sprouts into salad, soup, scrambled eggs and stir fry, or use in place of lettuce on sandwiches.

Vegetables

Eating a wide variety of vegetables will help you meet your iron needs. Spinach, collard greens, kale, broccoli, peas, brussels sprouts, bok choy and tomatoes contribute both iron and vitamin C to your diet. Spinach is particularly iron-rich, providing 36 percent of your daily need per cooked cup.These vegetables also go well with other iron-rich foods, such as tofu, tempeh and beans.

Grains

Many cereals and pastas are fortified with iron; read nutritional labels for the best choices. For a whole grain naturally high in iron, try quinoa or amaranth in place of brown rice and serve with vegetables or beans. For an iron-rich whole-grain breakfast, make hot cereal out of oats or buckwheat. To get your day started with even more iron, add nuts or seeds and some vitamin C-rich fruit, such as blueberries or strawberries, to your cereal.

Eggs

Two eggs contain about 8 percent of the daily value for iron. Most of the iron found in eggs is heme iron that will be easily absorbed, and will also help your body better absorb non-heme iron from vegetable sources. To get the most out of your eggs, combine with iron-rich vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, beans, bean sprouts or potatoes. Tomatoes, which provide some iron and a lot of vitamin C, also go particularly well with eggs.

Molasses

One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses provides 15 percent of the Recommended Daily Value for iron. Try mixing molasses with warm milk for a relaxing treat. If you like the flavor, consider adding it to your morning cereal.

 

 

Side Effects of Probiotic Drinks

Monday, March 16th, 2015

 

Probiotic drinks are marketed as helping to improve immunity. Some people who drink them experience side effects which can be life threatening–these people should avoid probiotic drinks. For other people, the side effects they feel can be mild. Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that repopulates the intestines. These bacteria can do more harm to people with certain kinds of health conditions or those who take certain medications.

Bloating and Gas

Some people using probiotic drinks may experience bloating and/or gas. This side effect is usually mild. Probiotics are intended to act as a therapy to get rid of bloating and gas, but the drinks could have a paradoxical effect in those who develop this side effect.

Additional or Intestinal Infections

For people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems, the bacteria in probiotic drinks can cause them to develop intestinal infections or other kinds of infections requiring antibiotic treatment.

Symptoms can include a skin rash, bloody stools and fever.

If the patient is taking an immunosuppressive medication, the probiotic drinks can interact with the medication and potentially cause a life-threatening condition. For this reason, people taking these medications should avoid probiotics.

Diarrhea and Abdominal Pain

Probiotic drinks can cause some people to develop abdominal pain and diarrhea. These people need to decide if these side effects are worth the benefits of drinking a probiotic.

Unhealthy Metabolic Activity

Probiotic drinks can trigger what is called “unhealthy metabolic activity.” This side effect can include an overstimulated immune system or gene transfer, which means transfer of genetic material into a cell.

Fungal Infection

Some people with compromised or impaired immune systems should consult with their doctors before beginning a diet heavy in probiotics. These drinks, if consumed by a patient with an impaired immune system, can cause severe fungal infection. For these patients, the probiotic drinks do more harm than good.

 

 

How to Avoid Pollen

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

 

Pollen is there to help plants reproduce, not to bug you. But it does. If you inhale it, it can cause allergy symptoms such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy throat
  • Cough

It’s a lot like a cold, plus a sore throat and hoarseness, and you usually get it like clockwork when the plants that make the bothersome pollen are blooming.

5 Ways to Keep Pollen Out of Your Home

  1. Close your windows and outside doors.
  2. Avoid using window and attic fans during pollen season. Use air-conditioning to cool your home.
  3. Roll up your car windows when driving. Use the air-conditioning if you need it.
  4. Dry clothing and bedding in the dryer. Don’t hang them outside.
  5. Remember that pets can bring in pollen on their fur, too. Don’t allow pets that spend time outdoors in your bedroom.

If you have to be outside, follow these guidelines to minimize your exposure to pollen:

  • Check pollen counts before planning outdoor activities.
  • Avoid being outdoors in the early morning, when pollen is most widespread.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen.
  • Have someone else mow your grass. Don’t rake leaves during pollen season. If you must do yard work, wear a mask.
  • Going on vacation? Look for a place where pollen is low, such as the beach, or take your medications with you.
  • Change your clothing when you come indoors. Shower and wash your hair first.

Calcium and Milk: The pros and cons

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

There is some debate in the nutrition world over the benefits of dairy products. Many nutritionists believe that consuming milk and dairy products will help prevent osteoporosis. On the other hand, some believe that eating a lot of dairy will do little to prevent bone loss and fractures and may actually contribute to other health problems.

One thing, however, is certain: milk and other dairy products contain a lot of calcium in a highly absorbable form. Dairy products are a quick and easy way to get calcium in your diet, one you may already be enjoying on a regular basis. But you should also be aware of the potential downsides.

  • Dairy products are often high in saturated fat. A diet high in saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. To limit your saturated fat intake, choose low-fat or non-fat versions of your favorite dairy foods. Switch out your 2% milk for 1%, and once you adjust to that, try skim milk. You can also find many reduced-fat cheeses, low-fat ice cream and frozen yogurt, and healthy butter substitutes. Some taste better than others, so shop around.
  • Most milk contains high levels of estrogen. Some studies show a possible link between the natural estrogens found in milk and breast, prostate, and testicular cancer, which rely on sex hormones to grow. Part of the problem is modern dairy practices, where the cows are continuously pregnant and milked over 300 days per year. The more pregnant the cow, the higher the hormones in the milk. Despite being labeled “hormone-free” organic milk can still be high in natural hormones. To reduce your exposure, stick to skim milk. Because the hormones are found in the milk fat, skim milk has a much lower level.
  • Many people are lactose intolerant, meaning they are unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and include cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Beyond the discomfort it causes, lactose intolerance can also interfere with calcium absorption from dairy. Certain groups are much more likely to have lactose intolerance: 90 percent of Asians, 70 percent of blacks and Native Americans, and 50 percent of Hispanics are lactose intolerant, compared to about 15 percent of Caucasians.

Calcium rich foods

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Calcium is a key nutrient for your body to stay strong and healthy. Almost every cell in the body uses calcium in some way, including the nervous system, muscles, and heart. It is also an essential building block for lifelong bone health in both men and women. While the amount you need depends on various factors, everyone can benefit from eating calcium-rich foods, limiting foods that deplete calcium, and getting enough magnesium and vitamins D and K-nutrients that help calcium do its job.

Good food sources of calcium

  • Dairy: Dairy products are rich in calcium in a form that is easily digested and absorbed by the body. Sources include milk, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Vegetables and greens: Many vegetables, especially leafy green ones, are rich sources of calcium. Try turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and crimini mushrooms.
  • Beans: For another rich source of calcium, try black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans.
  • Herbs and spices: For a small but tasty calcium boost, flavor your food with basil, thyme, dill weed, cinnamon, peppermint leaves, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and parsley.
  • Other foods: More good sources of calcium include salmon, tofu, oranges, almonds, sesame seeds, blackstrap molasses, and sea vegetables. And don’t forget about calcium-fortified foods such as cereals and orange juice.

Calcium content in food

Food Serving

Calcium (mg)

Skim, 1 or 2% milk

1 cup

285-306

Low-fat fruit yogurt

8 oz.

345

Swiss cheese

1 oz.

224

Canned sardines

4 oz.

325

Collards (boiled)

1 cup

358

Figs (medium, dried)

10

269

Orange juice (calcium-fortified)

1 cup

270

Tofu

1/2 cup

258

Soybeans

1 cup

175

Oatmeal (instant)

1 packet

163

White beans

1 cup

161

Canned salmon

3 oz.

181

Firm tofu

¼ block

163

Cooked spinach

1 cup

245

3 Ways to Treat Diarrhea

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

 

If you do have diarrhea, here are three ways you can ease your discomfort.

1. Be Sure to Stay Hydrated 

Your body can lose a lot of fluids and salts when you have diarrhea, making dehydration a major concern. Frequent loose and watery stools can quickly lead to fluid loss. Here are some easy ways to stay hydrated:

  • Select sports drinks. “Sports drinks make sense and are available in a wide variety of flavors,” Dr. Bickston says. Sports drink work because of their sugar and salt content, both allow water to be more easily absorbed, and even more so when taken together. People can make their own sports drinks by adding a teaspoon of salt to a quart of apple juice, Bickston says. “That little amount of salt will help the body absorb fluids but isn’t enough to make the apple juice taste bad.” Bickston recommends keeping your drinks at room temperature because a warm drink will sit better with you than a cold one.
  • Stick to clear liquids. Some other good choices for treating diarrhea include clear broth and water (unless you are traveling out of the country).
  • Avoid drinks that can worsen symptoms. Caffeinated, alcoholic, and sugary drinks can worsen dehydration. Milk and other dairy products can make your symptoms feel worse because diarrhea can cause temporary lactose-intolerance .

2. Try Eating a Bland Diet

When dealing with a brief bout of diarrhea, you want to keep your diet bland. You may find it best to only have clear liquids for the first 24 hours. Then, you can slowly add bland foods to your diet. Some bland foods include bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast — otherwise known as the BRAT diet. Crackers and mashed potatoes (minus the butter) are also safe.

If your diarrhea lasts more than a few days, you might want to investigate the foods you are eating, as some can irritate your bowel and make diarrhea worse. These include foods high in fiber (bran, whole grains, brown rice) as well as greasy or excessively sweet foods. Foods that are sweetened with sorbitol may also aggravate diarrhea, Bickston says. If loose stools are a problem, then you may want to avoid these foods.

If you suspect your diarrhea is caused by a certain food, try an elimination diet. Cut the suspected food from your diet until you can determine whether or not it is a problem. If it’s not the problem, feel free to keep eating that food.

3. Try Some Over-the-Counter Medications

In most cases, over-the-counter medications can be helpful in stopping an occasional bout of diarrhea — especially  traveler’s diarrhea  (ingesting contaminated food or water while abroad). Over-the-counter medications include loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate).

One thing to keep in mind is that if you take pharmaceutical remedies for traveler’s diarrhea, they may make you feel better sooner, but they could keep any bacteria, parasites, or viruses in your system longer. In most cases, diarrhea will go away on its own within in a few days. If your diarrhea persists, talk to your doctor.

Treatment & Prevention of Vitamin A deficiency

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Prevention

The diet should include dark green leafy vegetables, deep- or bright-colored fruits (eg, papayas, oranges), carrots, and yellow vegetables (eg, squash, pumpkin). Vitamin A–fortified milk and cereals, liver, egg yolks, and fish liver oils are helpful. Carotenoids are absorbed better when consumed with some dietary fat. If milk allergy is suspected in infants, they should be given adequate vitamin A in formula feedings.

Treatment

  • Vitamin A palmitate

Dietary deficiency is traditionally treated with vitamin A palmitate in oil 60,000 IU po once/day for 2 days, followed by 4500 IU po once/day. If vomiting or malabsorption is present or xerophthalmia is probable, a dose of 50,000 IU for infants < 6 mo, 100,000 IU for infants 6 to 12 mo, or 200,000 IU for children > 12 mo and adults should be given for 2 days, with a third dose at least 2 wk later. The same doses are recommended for infants and children with complicated measles. Infants born of HIV-positive mothers should receive 50,000 IU (15,000 RAE) within 48 h of birth. Prolonged daily administration of large doses, especially to infants, must be avoided because toxicity may result.

For pregnant or breastfeeding women, prophylactic or therapeutic doses should not exceed 10,000 IU (3000 RAE)/day to avoid possible damage to the fetus or infant.

Key Points

  • Vitamin A deficiency usually results from dietary deficiency, as occurs in areas where rice, devoid of ?-carotene, is the staple food, but it may result from disorders that interfere with the absorption, storage, or transport of vitamin A.
  • Ocular findings include impaired night vision (early), conjunctival deposits, and keratomalacia.
  • In children with severe deficiency, growth is slowed and risk of infection is increased.
  • Diagnose based on ocular findings and serum retinol levels.
  • Treat with vitamin A palmitate.

Vitamin A Deficiency – Causes & Symptoms

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

 

Vitamin A (retinol) is required for the formation of rhodopsin, a photoreceptor pigment in the retina. Vitamin A helps maintain epithelial tissues. Normally, the liver stores 80 to 90% of the body’s vitamin A. To use vitamin A, the body releases it into the circulation bound to prealbumin (transthyretin) and retinol-binding protein. ?-Carotene and other provitamin carotenoids, contained in green leafy and yellow vegetables and deep- or bright-colored fruits, are converted to vitamin A. Carotenoids are absorbed better from vegetables when they are cooked or homogenized and served with some fat (eg, oils).

VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY

Vitamin A deficiency can result from inadequate intake, fat malabsorption, or liver disorders. Deficiency impairs immunity and hematopoiesis and causes rashes and typical ocular effects (eg, xerophthalmia, night blindness). Diagnosis is based on typical ocular findings and low vitamin A levels. Treatment consists of vitamin A given orally or, if symptoms are severe or malabsorption is the cause, parenterally.

Causes

Primary vitamin A deficiency is usually caused by

  • Prolonged dietary deprivation

It is endemic in areas such as southern and eastern Asia, where rice, devoid of ?-carotene, is the staple food. Xerophthalmia due to primary deficiency is a common cause of blindness among young children in developing countries.

Secondary vitamin A deficiency may be due to

  • Decreased bioavailability of provitamin A carotenoids
  • Interference with absorption, storage, or transport of vitamin A

Interference with absorption or storage is likely in celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic insufficiency, duodenal bypass, chronic diarrhea, bile duct obstruction, giardiasis, and cirrhosis. Vitamin A deficiency is common in prolonged protein-energy undernutrition not only because the diet is deficient but also because vitamin A storage and transport is defective.

In children with complicated measles, vitamin A can shorten the duration of the disorder and reduce the severity of symptoms and risk of death.

Symptoms and Signs

Impaired dark adaptation of the eyes, which can lead to night blindness, is an early symptom. Xerophthalmia (which is nearly pathognomonic) results from keratinization of the eyes. It involves drying (xerosis) and thickening of the conjunctivae and corneas. Superficial foamy patches composed of epithelial debris and secretions on the exposed bulbar conjunctiva (Bitot spots) develop. In advanced deficiency, the cornea becomes hazy and can develop erosions, which can lead to its destruction (keratomalacia).

Keratinization of the skin and of the mucous membranes in the respiratory, GI, and urinary tracts can occur. Drying, scaling, and follicular thickening of the skin and respiratory infections can result. Immunity is generally impaired.

The younger the patient, the more severe are the effects of vitamin A deficiency. Growth retardation and infections are common among children. Mortality rate can exceed 50% in children with severe vitamin A deficiency.