The doctors claim that thanks to its antioxidant properties, retinyl palmitate used in SPF actually helps fight against the formation of free radicals when used on skin exposed to the sun. It's a much different opinion than the Environmental Working Group, who earlier this year claimed that vitamin A derivatives added to sunscreens could actually speed the development of tumors when used on skin exposed to the sun, based on studies from the National Toxicology Program and National Center for Toxicological Research. A month later, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer urged the FDA to make a definitive ruling on the issue. While the FDA has yet to chime in, we're hoping the issue is soon resolved for good.
"With the recent reports suggesting a possible link between skin cancer and a common chemical found in sunscreens, the FDA must act now to protect consumers in New York and across the nation... Summer is here, people are soaking up the sun, and the FDA needs to immediately provide guidance and reassurance to consumers."
The studies have been completed for a year, but the FDA has yet to issue its ruling. Do you agree with Sen. Schumer that the FDA ought to move faster, or do you think more information might be needed?
After a workout, it's a good idea to have a little snack. It helps refuel your body and gives you energy after exerting so much. As I've said before, try to eat something rich in protein to help rebuild your damaged muscle tissue. The snack should also be high in vitamin A because just like the amino acids in protein, this nutrient also helps repair microtears that occur in muscles. Not only that but vitamin A helps produce white blood cells so you can fight off infection, which is perfect if you work out in a public facility, especially during cold and flu season. Some great snack ideas include carrots, carrot juice, mango, dried apricots, red pepper, sweet potato, spinach, and eggs.
I crave greens, no matter the season. When it is cold outside, I often choose a cooked green over salads. I just want to eat warm food. One of my favorites greens to cook is Swiss chard, and it comes in colors too. The leaves are green, but the stems and veins can be white, yellow or red. The red is my favorite since the color combination is quite dramatic.
Not only is it tasty, and similar to spinach and beet greens, but chard is also loaded with nutrients. It is a great source of vitamin K and vitamin A. One cup of cooked chard contains half of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and 3.5 grams of fiber. It also provides 30 percent of your RDI for magnesium and 25 percent of the valuable mineral potassium.
Are you convinced yet? This is a super food. Don't know what to do to the chard? Just rip the leaves from the stems. Chop up the stems and sauté the leaves and stems with olive oil and garlic. Or you could try out this recipe: Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken, Chard and Peppers. It is truly delish!
Are you a fan of Swiss chard? Tell me your favorite way to prepare it in the comments section below.
Take the Quiz
How's your nutritional life going? Most of us read food labels, but do we really know how much we need of certain minerals. The recommended daily intake of all those beneficial vitamins can be hard to remember.
So here's a little quiz to challenge your knowledge of the basics. Hopefully it will jog your memory and help you the next time you sit down to eat!
We all want to have gorgeous, full, shiny locks of hair. Since we aren't all genetically blessed with strong and lustrous looking hair, here are some things you should know about hair, and some tips to making yours healthier.
- Shedding hair is totally normal. Everyone loses between 40 and 120 strands of hair a day.
- If you're worried that you're losing more than this, make sure that you are getting enough iron in your diet. The RDI of iron is 18 mg a day.
- Also make sure to eat foods rich in Vitamin A (cheese, eggs, carrots, and spinach), Vitamin C (citrus fruits, potatoes, and tomatoes), Vitamin E (soy and leafy greens), and Vitamin B12 (chicken, fish, eggs, and milk) to promote healthy hair.
- Brush your hair before you step into the shower to shampoo it. A few strokes of a brush will loosen up product buildup and gently detangle your hair. It also stimulates the scalp and promotes blood flow which helps to deliver nutrients to your hair follicles.
- When hair becomes dry or damaged, the hair shaft splits at the end, causing what's called a split end (as I am sure you know from experience). If you notice one, cut it at least 1 inch above the split (resist splitting apart the hair with your fingers). A split end can split the hair all the way up to the scalp, so snip it as soon as you spot one. Getting regular haircuts to trim away dead ends will also keep your hair healthy.
I know I'm supposed to be getting a certain amount of Vitamins and Minerals each day - That's what RDI is (formerly known as RDA). It stands for Reference Daily Intake and it represents the suggested daily intake levels for nutrients.
That being said, when it comes to Vitamin A, women should get 700 mcg (micrograms) or 2,310 IU (International Units) a day. This vitamin helps with vision, bone growth, cell growth and repair, and cell division. It aids in regulating the immune system, and makes white blood cells, which help to fight off infections. Vitamin A also helps the skin and mucous membranes function as a barrier to bacteria and viruses. It also speeds up healing when you get cut, and prevents your skin from aging. What a busy little vitamin!
Sounds great, but how can I make sure I'm getting enough? I mean, what does that much Vitamin A look like when it comes to food?
Want to see a chart to help you figure it out? Then read more
It seems that every recipe I make these days calls for chopped fresh Italian parsley to be sprinkled over the finished product. I will be the first to admit I have become a lazy cook and lately I've been skipping that final step. I've been going un-garnished. I was curious, by omitting this finishing touch, was I missing out on adding extra nutrients to my meals. It looks like the answer is yes; I have been short changing myself a bit.
This gem of an herb is chock full of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, like most green, leafy veggies. Italian parsley is also full of flavanoids containing antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties. Most importantly, parsley of all varieties is high in volatile oils that inhibit tumor formation in the lungs, at least in animals. The activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens.
With that knowledge I will take the extra minute or two needed to chop my parsley and toss it on my dish. How about you?
Is it me or are you confused about how much of each vitamin and mineral you are supposed to get each day?
Some of my friends take daily vitamins, and some eat fortified foods like calcium-enriched orange juice. It that necessary, or do we get enough in the foods we eat?
The first step in answering that question is to know how much we need to get each day. Here's a chart to make it a little more simple for you. These numbers are the RDI (reference daily intake) for women.
Want to see? Then read more
I think sweet potatoes have gotten a bad rap because of their high carb content. They shouldn't be overlooked because they are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Not only that, they are a great option if you're craving something sweet.
Want to know why they're so good for you?
- They're bursting with healing antioxidants due to their high levels of vitamins A and C. Antioxidants work in your body to help eliminate free radicals which are the chemicals that damage cells and are associated with the development of conditions like colon cancer. These vitamins are also anti-inflammatory, so they can help reduce the severity of certain conditions like asthma and arthritis.
- They're low in calories and have no fat.
- They are labeled as a low-glycemic index food, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health.
- They are also high in vitamin B6, manganese, copper, potassium, and iron.
- Eating sweet potatoes with their high vitamin A content may help save your life if you or someone you love is a smoker. A common carcinogen in second-hand smoke known as benzopyrene induces vitamin A deficiency. If you aren't getting enough of this vitamin, you could increase your chances of developing emphysema. A diet rich in vitamin A can help prevent it.
Fit's Tips: When you go to a restaurant, choosing sweet potato fries is a healthier choice than regular French fries, but they're still deep-fried. To get your fill of the nutritious goodness in sweet potatoes, bake them whole (don't cut or poke them) in the oven at 400 for 40 minutes to an hour. If you love the fry idea, but don't want all the fat, just cut them up (leave the skins on), drizzle a little olive oil over them, and bake in a pan. Mmmmmm.