Five Foods to Boost Memory

November 28, 2011

Whether you are a student studying for finals or are simply looking to ward off memory loss, we can all use a boost in memory. Here are five foods to include in your diet to help your mind stay sharp and keep your memory clear:

  1. Egg yolk—Whole eggs are a great source of protein and nutrients, but egg yolks in particular may have memory-boosting properties. Egg yolks contain phosphatidyl choline, a nutrient that has been found to support brain function and improve memory in people with a variety of conditions causing impaired memory.
  2. Oily fish—In a study performed by Rush University Medical Center, people who eat oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel at least prednisone 100 mg once a week were found to have the memory function of people three years younger.
  3. Purple fruit—Fruit with a purple color such as blueberries, grapes, and plums, contain anthocyanin, a plant nutrient that has been found to protect against damage to brain cells.
  4. Leafy greens—Greens such as spinach and chard are rich sources of folic acid, a nutrient which has been found to increase the speed at which the brain processes information and improve the brain’s ability to remember.
  5. Cruciferous vegetables—The vegetables in this family include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and bok choy. A Harvard Medical School study followed women for 25 years and found that those who ate higher amounts of cruciferous vegetables were less likely to experience age-related memory loss.

Ask the Nutritionist Webinar Coming Soon!

August 21, 2011

On Saturday, August 27, I will be participating in an “Ask the Nutritionist” webinar hosted by Marilyn Farms. In this free one-hour session, participants can send in questions and I will answer as many as I can in the time we have. It will be a nutrition question feeding frenzy! Below are a few examples of questions that I received during our last “Ask the Nutritionist” webinar. To take advantage of this offer, please register here or through our website, www.marilynfarms.com. I look forward to talking with you!

Q: What are the top veggies/fruits that we should buy organically?

A: Each year, the Environmental Working Group sends out a list of the “Dirty Dozen”, which are the top 12 produce items that should be purchased purchase cheap levitra organically. This year, that list includes apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines (imported), grapes (imported), sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries (domestic), lettuce, and kale/collard greens.

Q: Are there nutritional supplements that a child can take after a course of antibiotics to prevent diarrhea and other side effects?

A: The most important thing for recovery is of course going to be a healthy diet that minimizes sugar and maximizes nourishing foods such as green vegetables, meat, poultry, bone broths, and fermented foods such as yogurt or kefir. As far as supplements go, the #1 most important thing to take after (and if possible, during) a course of antibiotics is probiotics (healthy bacteria). There are many different probiotic formulations for children available, just make sure that they contain a blend of bifidus and acidophilus bacteria to re-colonize all areas of the digestive tract. In addition to this, taking cod liver oil (recommended dose for most children is 1 tsp per day) can help to restore levels of nutrients that may have been depleted by antibiotics.

Q: Can diabetics use cod liver oil?

A: Cod liver oil is a wonderful supplement for diabetics because it contains omega-3 fats, natural vitamin D, and natural vitamin A—all three of which help with blood sugar control and nerve health. The one caution with any fish oil is that it can thin the blood, so a person on blood thinners such as aspirin or Coumadin should be sure to check with their doctor to make sure medications are in balance.

Protect Your Eyes from Sun Damage

July 18, 2011

When I go to the beach or the pool, it’s easy to remember to protect my skin from too much sun because if I don’t I will sunburn. My eyes are just as susceptible to damage from the sun, but I’m not as acutely aware of them because they don’t show damage as immediately as my skin. While occasional and mild sun exposure can be healthy for the eyes, the more I look into it, the more I am convinced of the importance of eye protection when you will be in intense sun for extended periods of time. Repeated sun damage to eyes can lead to formation of cataracts, macular degeneration, and scarring of eye tissue. Here are a few tips to help protect your eyes from the sun:

  • Wear UV-blocking sunglasses (most professionals recommend at least UV400 sunglasses) and/or a wide brimmed hat when you will be in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
  • Drink a glass of green tea (iced or hot) before you go out into intense sun. Green tea contains compounds called catechins which have been found to protect the retina from UV damage. I like to take unsweetened iced green tea with me in a cooler when I go to the beach!
  • Eat a diet rich in antioxidants from fruits and vegetables to protect your eyes from the inside out. Fresh produce that is dark green, orange, yellow, or red tends to have higher levels of phytonutrients that are specifically protective to the eyes. If this is a challenge, include a whole foods supplement such as PureNutrition Red in your daily routine.
  • Regularly eat fatty, cold-water fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, or cod. These types of fish are richest in DHA, a fatty acid that protects and restores eye tissue. If deemed appropriate by your healthcare practitioner, you may also want to take a DHA-rich supplement such as cod liver oil or a fish oil blend that is protective for the eyes such as Ultimate DHA Eye.

Natural Sun Protection for Children

July 11, 2011

As the mother of a fair-skinned child who loves to go to the beach, I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on the topic of sun protection for children. I personally am not comfortable slathering my son with most sunscreens, since the skin absorbs what is put on it and most sunscreens (even those designed for children) contain questionable ingredients. Here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful:

  • The single most important factor regarding sun exposure for long-term skin health is to prevent the incidence of sunburn, so make this a priority.
  • Regular, moderate sun exposure (around 15 minutes for most children) is important for producing Vitamin D, which is protective to the skin and important for overall health. For this reason, you will occasionally see a naked toddler streaking through my backyard in the morning while I’m working on the computer on the patio.
  • When playing outdoors, try to have your child play in an area where there is shade available from trees, playground structures, or a beach umbrella rather than in direct sunlight.
  • If possible, try to plan beach and pool trips or other sunny outings outside of peak hours of sun (12 to 2 p.m. tend to be the sunniest times in most areas).
  • When your child has to be in direct sunlight, cover sunburn-prone areas with loose-fitting cotton clothing. When they’re swimming, use a rash guard or sun shirt to cover their trunk.  Hats are also great (especially for younger children who don’t have much hair yet) and I feel lucky that my son thinks hats are an exciting accessory to wear—the bigger the brim the better!
  • Occasionally you will need to use sunscreen when the above measures aren’t enough, so look for a natural sunscreen containing zinc oxide as its active ingredient. Conveniently, zinc oxide is also the active ingredient in most diaper rash creams! In my beach bag I actually keep a tube of diaper rash cream which I slather on my son’s face cialis professional and shoulders when we’re on a longer beach trip. Other parents might think you’ve confused tubes of cream, but when you explain to them that zinc oxide is the same skin protecting ingredient in both sunscreen and diaper cream they are usually appreciative to know they can pack fewer items in the diaper bag!
  • Last but certainly not least, it’s important for parents to know that they can protect their child from the inside out by feeding them a diet rich in antioxidants from fruits and vegetables. Phytonutrients (plant nutrients) have been found to protect skin from sun damage and also keep eye tissues safe from UV damage. Green vegetables, orange vegetables such as yams or carrots, and berries tend to be the richest in these types of phytonutrients. If your child has an aversion to these foods or is going through a phase when they are more picky (don’t worry, they usually grow out of it if you keep offering them a variety of foods and don’t make a big deal of it), try adding a whole foods supplement such as PureNutrition to their food or drink. It works well mixed into foods such as oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies. If they are put off by the green color, try using PureNutrition Red

Pesticides and Eye Health

June 20, 2011

Last week, the Environmental Working Group released this year’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” list to highlight which fruits and vegetables had the most and least amount of pesticide residue when tested. I thought this was good timing for this month’s blog focus on eye health during the month of June since pesticides have an incredibly detrimental effect on eye tissue. They should be especially avoided by pregnant women, since pesticides have been found to affect the development of fetal eye tissue. This is a really amazing guide, and the EWG website has a lot more information as well as a full list of all produce tested available at http://www.ewg.org/foodnews.

This list can be very helpful in helping to re-prioritize how you’re spending your money for organic produce at the market. The Environmental Working Group even offers a handy PDF version of the shopping guide at the link above that you can print and take with you to the store. When using this list it’s important to keep in mind that the cialis daily benefits of eating fruits and vegetables (even if they aren’t organic) are more important than avoiding produce altogether in the name of avoiding pesticides! To minimize pesticide intake on produce that you are unable to purchase organically, be sure to wash produce well. A produce brush, natural produce wash, and/or a soak in diluted white vinegar or food-grade hydrogen peroxide can be helpful.

Here are the lists!

Dirty Dozen

Buy these organic! Listed with the dirtiest first.

Apples, Celery, Strawberries, Peaches, Spinach, Nectarines (imported), Grapes (imported), Sweet bell peppers, Potatoes, Blueberries (domestic), Lettuce, and Kale/Collard greens

Clean 15

Least likely to contain pesticide residue. Listed with the cleanest first.

Onions, Sweet corn, Pineapples, Avocado, Asparagus, Sweet peas, Mangoes, Eggplant, Cantaloupe (domestic), Kiwi, Cabbage, Watermelon, Sweet potatoes, Grapefruit, and Mushrooms

Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Eye Health

June 13, 2011

We are pleased to announce the arrival of a new product: Ultimate DHA Eye! This formula contains concentrated DHA from deep-sea fish oil as well as Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two phytonutrients that are vital to eye health. Here are a few more facts on Lutein and Zeaxanthin:

  • They both play an important role in eye health by filtering out UV rays that can damage eye tissue. In fact, their UV filtering ability is so great that increased intake of these nutrients has been found to help prevent sun damage to skin.
  • They protect the retina from damage and help to preserve function despite age.
  • Regular intake of these two soft cialis nutrients is associated with decreased risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
  • Supplementation with Lutein and Zeaxanthin has been found to improve night vision.
  • The human body cannot produce Lutein and Zeaxanthin, so intake has to be through food or supplements.
  • The average intake of Lutein and Zeaxanthin is 2 mg per day, but most studies find that at least 6 mg per day is needed to reduce the risk of cataracts. Eating six servings a day of brightly colored vegetables and leafy greens is enough to supply this amount.
  • Spinach, kale, and collard greens are particularly rich sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Outsourcing Calcium: Non-Dairy Calcium Sources

May 23, 2011

BasilCalcium supplements and dairy products tend to be the largest sources of calcium for many people, but there are many other healthy foods that contain calcium. Here are five of the lesser known high calcium foods and some of their benefits on bone health. Consider eating them more frequently:

  • Sesame Seeds
    Sesame seeds contains approximately 1,404 mg of calcium! While it is important to note that very few people can eat 1 cup of sesame seeds daily, eating ¼ of a cup on a frequent basis is not difficult. Sprinkle sesame seeds on cereal, include them in sautéed vegetables and stir fries, and use tahini (ground sesame seed butter) when making hummus. Sesame seeds also have an optimal 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium and healthy fats to promote Vitamin D absorption.
  • Cinnamon
    Along with its sugar stabilizing ability this tasty herb decreases inflammation and provides calcium for increased bone building. Containing 78 mg of calcium per tablespoon, cinnamon is a spice to use frequently.
  • Basil, dried
    Basil contains 47 mg of calcium per tablespoon along with Vitamin K, an essential nutrient for creating the bone matrix. What a great reason to eat Italian food!
  • Spinach
    Spinach is a true bone superfood. It contains all the minerals needed to make bone, including 254 mg of calcium per cup cooked spinach. Spinach is one of the many foods that alkalize the body. 

    Alkalizing the body helps to turn on the bone rebuilding cells (osteoblasts) and slow down the bone breakdown and remodeling cells (osteoclasts).

  • Blackstrap Molasses
    Usually known for its iron content, blackstrap molasses also contains 175 mg of calcium per tablespoon. Mix molasses with almond butter—the protein in the almonds will help calcium to be absorbed more effectively into bone.

Magnesium and Fatigue

March 19, 2011

In honor of Chronic Fatigue awareness month, I wanted to share a few fun facts about magnesium and fatigue with you. Enjoy!

  • Magnesium acts as a spark plug for mitochondria, the energy producing parts of cells.
  • Magnesium is a key ingredient in over 300 enzyme systems in the body, including production of energy. This is especially important for people who are under significant amounts of stress, since magnesium is involved in adrenal hormone production.
  • Chocolate craving (especially if it is associated with PMS for women) may signify a need for magnesium, since chocolate contains magnesium.
  • The recommended daily dosage for the average person who is experiencing fatigue is about 400 mg. One heaping scoop of Essential Calm supplies approximately this amount.
  • Magnesium is best absorbed at night, and may help to create a restful night’s sleep.
  • Foods rich in magnesium include leafy green vegetables, kelp, almonds, sesame seeds, peas, beans, brown rice, and oats.

NOTE: This blog is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner. If you are on prescription medication or are under the care of a physician for a specific medical problem, please consult with them prior to adding magnesium or any other nutritional supplement to your routine.

Five Diet Tips to Be Heart Healthy

February 13, 2011

It’s February—happy American Heart Month! Here are five important (yet simple) dietary ways to love your heart. Enjoy!

1.     Eat six to eight servings of colorful vegetables each day (a serving of vegetables is half a cup). Choose fresh, frozen, or home canned (in glass jars) over canned vegetables in metal cans. Eat a variety of colors to be sure you’re getting an assortment of nutrients—the compounds that make vegetables colorful actually have different health benefits! Vegetables can be easily and healthfully enjoyed raw, lightly steamed with olive oil or grassfed butter, or stir-fried with your favorite protein source.

2.    Eat two to three cloves of garlic daily, or if you’re not a fan of garlic take a daily garlic supplement in pill form. Garlic contains compounds which have been shown to reduce the formation of unwanted blood clots—an important benefit cialis cheap in preventing heart attack and stroke.

3.    Eat two tablespoons of raw walnuts each day. Walnuts are significantly higher than other nuts in omega 3 fats, the type of fat that has been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. They taste great on their own as a snack, or can be chopped up and served over oatmeal or salads.

4.    Eat one tablespoon of cold pressed olive oil daily. Olive oil is a rich source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fat, two key ingredients that have been found to keep cholesterol levels in balance and prevent heart disease.

5.     Eat small, clean fish twice per week. Fish contains protein and heart-healthy fats that fight inflammation. Smaller varieties of fish contain less mercury than larger fish. See www.gotmercury.org for a list of healthy fish choices.

Probiotics and Immunity

January 22, 2011

Probiotics (also known as “friendly bacteria”) are an integral part of immunity and may be a key to prevention during cold and flu season.  There are a variety of strains of friendly bacteria, all of which work in concert to help to maintain a healthy intestinal tract and provide a barrier to invading organisms while encouraging your immune system to fight off illness and disease.  The amount of probiotics in your body is constantly fluctuating so it is important to replenish the levels of friendly bacteria in order to keep harmful bacteria and other pathogenic organisms from growing out of control.  Stress, poor diet, and antibiotic use may all lead to loss of probiotics which in turn may cause gastrointestinal problems, digestive problems, and many other health issues.

To restore lost probiotics and keep the balance of bacteria in the body healthy, include plenty of naturally cultured or fermented foods in your diet and use a probiotic supplement during times when you need an extra boost such as flu season or times of stress.  A few examples of naturally cultured or fermented foods include kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut or other cultured vegetables, and kombucha.  For information on how to make your own cultured and fermented foods see the “Cultured Dairy Products” and “Fermented Vegetables & Fruits” section of the cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  There are also several probiotic-rich fermented food recipes available at the Body Ecology Diet website’s recipe section.

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