Here is a really interesting article about the importance of iodine and breast health. Unfortunately, there are not many natural food sources of the mineral iodine. You can get it through supplements or iodized salt though.
Archive for the ‘Supplements’ Category
I have always been wary of vitamins. It’s not that I don’t think most people need help getting all the nutrition their bodies require, it’s that I think vitamins allow people to feel safe. They don’t have to consciously eat well, they can just pop a pill and get all their necessary nutrients. I prefer that my family try to eat fruits and veggies at every meal, avoid processed foods, and get our vitamins and minerals from real food sources. We do still use some supplements–everyone but the baby takes fish oil capsules for omega-3′s almost daily, and we regularly take probiotics and calcium/vitamin D. About once a week, the children take a multi-vitamin and when they’re sick, they do get extra doses of vitamin C and other antioxidants. I take vitamins even less frequently. I tell my children that we try to get our vitamins and minerals from food first, and that food offers better and safer vitamins that pills do.
A few recent TIME magazine articles highlight how vitamins may not only be a waste of money, but may actually reduce the life expectancy in certain populations. A one sentence clip in the most recent issue of TIME drew attention to a University of Minnesota 19-year study on supplements. The study began in 1986 with 39,000 women who averaged 62 years of age. Participants filled out health and supplement questionares every couple of years for 19 years. Continue reading »
A stomach bug is going around where we live. In fact, my baby already had it two weeks ago, but now I hear of kids at my son’s school having it too. So I thought I’d share my best prevention tip for stomach bugs–probiotics! If a stomach bug is going around, or you fear you may be catching one, consume a probiotic supplement. I believe crowding your gut with good bacteria doesn’t give the bad bacteria a chance to thrive. Every time someone in my family gets sick, I start popping the probiotics, and I never catch it. Once someone is sick enough to be vomiting, it’s probably best not to irritate the stomach with a supplement. But probiotics do work wonders for diarrhea.
Last night was not a fun night at our house.
The evening started off nice enough. After the baby went to bed, my husband and 3 year old son and I had a nice dinner on our porch. Grilled shrimp, corn on the cob, a spinach tomato salad, and whole wheat bread. My husband had a beer, I drank water. Dessert was watermelon and cherries. We all had the same amount of shrimp–this we know because my husband commented on how we each had 8-9, while our 3 year old had 10.
An hour after my 3 year old went to bed, he woke up crying. Then again. And again. “My tummy hurts.” At 10:30 pm, he threw up all over his bed. Think cherries. We cleaned it up and put him back down. He threw up three more times after that. Fortunately, he made it to the bathroom every time.
By now, you probably know that I am a big fan of Omega-3 fatty acids. I think they’re crucial for good health. But here’s something I didn’t know until recently–Omega-3 fatty acids may also boost immunity. So as the cold and flu season continues, consider adding a fish oil or flax seed oil supplement to your diet, in addition to probiotics and garlic.
The human body consists of about ten trillion cells, but did you know that it contains one hundred trillion microbes? These good bacteria, primarily found in our digestive tract, weigh close to three pounds1. Up until recently, we haven’t really appreciated the role these bacteria play in our health. These healthy gut bacteria compete for digestive tract real estate with potentially harmful microbes that can cause a variety of illnesses from intestinal diseases to colds and flus. Probiotics also produce antimicrobial compounds that destroy harmful microbes in the digestive tract. And they help the immune system function properly (in a variety of complicated ways that would overwhelm anyone who doesn’t have a firm grasp on immunology–suffice it to say that probiotics help multiple aspects of the immune system from T cells to antibody producing B cells). Promising research has found that a diet rich in probiotic containing foods, or supplements, can help you avoid colds and flus by increasing your white blood cell count. If you do get sick, you’re symptoms will short lived. A probiotic-rich diet may also improve digestive function, prevent and treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), treat traveler’s diarrhea, reduce allergies, help with asthma and eczema, treat yeast infections, protect against colorectal cancer, prevent cardiovascular disease (by controlling inflammation), prevent colic in infants (when a breastfeeding mom consumes them or the formula is supplemented with it), and even help with bad breath1. Continue reading »
I have been taking garlic as a supplement when I am sick for over a decade. I really truly believe in the health benefits of it. Here are some of the amazing things garlic has been found to do:
- It can reduce the number of colds you catch. A 2001 clinical trial showed that when 146 people received either a garlic supplement or a placebo, the garlic group reported only 24 colds as compared to 65 reported by the placebo group.
- Garlic powder has been shown to significantly reduce the buildup of arterial plaque. It may also lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.
- Aged garlic extract has been found to lower homocysteine levels (high levels indicate inflammation).
- Garlic juice acts as an antibiotic, even against some antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
- Garlic is antifungal too.
- A garlic rich diet may reduce the risks for colorectal and gastric cancers. Doctor and author Steven G Pratt says that eating one clove of garlic daily may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
The best way to get your garlic is to eat one medium clove each day. You can also take a supplement of 600-900 mg of powdered garlic or 4 mL of aged garlic extract. For more info on garlic, see the Whole Foods Market Jan/Feb 2008 magazine.
Is your diet deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids? Chances are, if you live in the U.S., the answer is yes. The typical American diet provides plenty of Omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid), but is lacking in Omega-3′s (linolenic acid–including ALA, DHA, and EPA). Both are essential fatty acids, meaning your body can’t synthesize them and you must get them from your diet. But the American diet is abundant in oils that provide Omega-6′s, like corn and safflower and cottonseed oils, while lacking in sources of Omega-3′s, like fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts. In fact, while the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 should be somewhere between 4:1 and 1:1, for most of us, it’s actually between 14:1 and 25:1 1.