Common Skin Conditions That Require A Doctor’s Care

Many of us know that skin is the largest organ of the body, but did you know that in adults, its area totals up to around 20 square feet? That’s a lot of skin, and when you think of everything it’s exposed to, that also leaves a lot of room for something to go wrong! Normal skin is often rife with visible pores, bumps, bruises, and imperfections, contrary to what the photoshopped celebrity culture and advertising world perpetuate. Some of us are born with skin conditions or imperfections, and all of us will experience some type of skin abnormality in our lifetime.

skin

Taking proper care of your skin can prevent a lot of common conditions, and when they do crop up, there’s a lot of things you can do to treat them at home. But even some of the more ordinary skin conditions require a visit to the doctor at some point. A dermatologist specializes in that sort of thing, but many issues may only require quick trip to your family physician or an urgent care center like Piedmont Express Care at Sutton Road. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish the more serious skin conditions, so it’s a good idea to err on the safe side and visit a doctor if you aren’t sure.

Three Common Conditions That Require Medical Treatment

Eczema

Dry skin is a pretty universally regular skin condition, especially in the winter. Even extreme dry skin can be treated with heavy moisturizers. Eczema is an extreme variant of dry skin, resulting in chronically dry, patchy areas of of skin in places like the hands, neck, or legs. Patches often blister or break into open sores, which can easily get infected. Over-the-counter cortisone creams or antihistamines may help, but some forms of eczema require more aggressive treatment. Visit your doctor or an urgent care center for oral steroids or prescription-strength moisturizers. In extreme cases UV light therapy or immunosuppressants may be necessary.

Shingles

Shingles is a painful rash that develops from a dormant virus – the same virus that causes chickenpox. In many people the virus stays dormant for a lifetime, but in others stress or a weak immune system can allow it to resurface. The first stage of symptoms may include a headache or signs similar to the flu, but without a fever. As the virus progresses it causes tingling and itching, and later a band of blisters. Though the presence of shingles is sometimes mild, it can spread, become very painful, and even cause dizziness or problems with vision and thinking. Visit a doctor as soon as possible to get on an antiviral medication that will hopefully prevent the illness from getting too bad.

Impetigo

Impetigo is a contagious skin infection seen most commonly in children, though adults can contract it. It can occur in totally healthy skin, but is usually contracted when the health of the skin is already compromised by injury or some kind of illness like chickenpox or poison ivy. It is characterized by sores that can ooze and crust over, most often on the nose or mouth. Caused by bacteria, antibiotic ointment and/or pills are required to fight the infection.

Symptoms of a Serious Skin Problem

Though these are some of the most common skin issues that may require a doctor’s visit, there are a variety of common conditions that you can treat at home, including hives, skin allergies, poison ivy, athletes foot, and cold sores. However, even seemingly innocuous rashes can become harmful, so any condition that is not responding to home care may be worth contacting a doctor about. It’s always important to keep an eye on symptoms, and contact a doctor about any rash that causes secondary symptoms (headache, joint pain, fever, swollen tongue, etc.), if you have been exposed to an individual with a strep infection, if it is preventing you from sleeping, if it’s very painful, or if it seems infected.

Liz Frye is a mother of five, familiar with the plight of a parent who doesn’t want to make a trip to the doctor if it isn’t necessary. As a former teacher, she is familiar with the quick spread of illness. She is also a freelance writer and regularly contributes to Universal Woman.

How Remedial Massage Can Benefit You

Everybody knows that getting a massage can leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. After a hard day’s work, a whole body massage can feel extremely rewarding. Even a simple foot massage can do wonders. But have you ever heard of a massage that can do more than make you feel good?

A remedial massage is more than a relaxation massage, it can be a therapeutic one. This massage treats the entire body. The best part is, through a remedial massage you can trace a discomfort to its original cause so you can treat both the symptom and the cause of the disorder. So how can this type of massage benefit you?

 Remedial Massage

Relieves Pain

Remedial massage uses special techniques such as trigger point therapy and myofascial release that can reduce discomfort and help relieve pain. Through these techniques connective tissues and muscles can be stretched and lengthened. Because of this a sense of relaxation and more movement can be experienced by the patient. Through this type of massage patients can also quickly recover from muscular strain or musculoskeletal pain that may have been brought about by a sports injury. This is because the massage causes the tissue to be flushed of lactic acid and other types of metabolic wastes.

Even in pregnant women, remedial massage can also help ease headaches, back pains and leg pains usually experienced during the later part of pregnancy. It is good to note though that pregnant women who have not had this type of massage before need to wait after the first trimester to get one.

Treats Injuries and Ailments

Aside from relieving pain, remedial massage can also help treat injuries and ailments. Getting a complete massage that deals with all of the body’s muscles, does all these for you:

  • Relaxes muscle tension
  • Stimulates flow of blood in the muscles
  • Breaks down and eliminates toxins
  • Enhances oxygenation of the brain
  • Relaxes nervous system and mind

Among the ailments that can be treated are tension headaches, anxiety, insomnia, depression, constipation, and high blood pressure. Remedial massage is also suggested for the management of stress and for the treatment of stress-related conditions.

General Wellbeing

With all the positive effects- both physical and emotional- that remedial massage can bring, it largely contributes to the general wellbeing of a person. This is because as the muscle fibres flush out toxins, it opens up the muscles for oxygenated blood to enter. Through this the immune system is strengthened and a person’s energy levels are increased. The massage also prompts the release of endorphins and it reduces the levels of stress hormones. Because of all these there is an increased calmness and vitality in a person and a boost in general wellbeing is experienced.

Some people may think getting a massage is more of a luxury and is not really something that is absolutely necessary for the body. A therapeutic remedial massage though is definitely more than this, and is in fact needed by the body to treat certain injuries and ailments, to relieve pains and strains experienced by the body and to experience a general sense of wellbeing.

Marketing specialist Debra Wright enjoys learning new things both online and offline. Her love for discovery encompasses varied subjects from the mundane to the riveting, including topics like fitness & health. When she is not in front of her computer or behind the wheel for a road trip, she is busy with her oven trying to master her baking skills.

Vinegar for Your Spa: Three Ways to Use Vinegar

Cleaning your spa can feel like an ordeal. It is, nonetheless important. Moreover, it’s not just the shell of the vessel that you need to clean thoroughly but its various parts like the filter, the heater and more. Spa or hot tub filters are responsible for keeping the dirt and debris from collecting on the surface of the water. The filters sieve the dirt as well as bacteria in the water, thereby helping in adding to the hygiene of the hot tub or spa. Because the filter of the spa is such an important part for the functioning of the spa, you need to keep it in a sound condition. Cleaning the filters of the spa is something that should be done every once in a year. There are various chemicals available in the market that can help you clean the filters of your portable hot tubs from Wisconsin, thoroughly.

Bath tub

Using Vinegar in the Maintenance of Hot Tubs

For Sore Muscles

If you thought that apple cider vinegar is solely a cooking medium, you would be surprised to know that it is also used in hot tubs as well as spas. Just a few cups of this vinegar variety can help as a magic potion for relieving sore muscles. If you are adding vinegar to hot tub for the purpose of its health related benefits, understand that the spa filters will take some time in filtering the vinegar out. The rule to using vinegar as a pain reliever is to not use it for at least 24 hours post the injury. Thereafter, you can add some vinegar to the hot water and use it to treat sore muscles. It is also used in spas to control itching as well as other skin allergies.

Lowering the pH levels of Water

At times, vinegar is also used as an agent to lower the pH levels of the water. The pH level in the water of your spa should be maintained between 7.2 and 7.6. For high pH you will need to add pH decreases and for low levels you will be required to add pH increasers. A disturbance in the pH levels in spa water can cause corrosion of the spa’s shell. High pH levels can be controlled using four cups of white vinegar to the water in your hot tub or spa.

Cleaning the Jets of the Spa

The jets inside the hot tub or spa are made out metal. Often, the metal of the jets starts losing its sheen. Vinegar can help clean the jets up and give them a nice new like look. The residue that builds up on the jets as well as some other parts of the vessel can be cleaned only by using vinegar. You will need to pour one gallon apple cider vinegar in the tub and turn the jets on in case you wish to rid the jets of residue buildup. The vinegar seeps inside the jets and begins eating the mater that has sprouted on the jets.

Hot tubs and Master spas Milwaukee offer great respite from stress, whether physical or mental. Using vinegar to maintain the health of your spa or hot tub is simple way of increasing the shelf life of the vessel.

How To Identify An Eating Disorder

Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are serious illnesses that many women suffer from. Yes, there are some men who also suffer from eating disorders, but the majority of victims are women. There is a lot of pressure from our society today to look a certain way or to be a certain size and it can take a toll on a person. Unfortunately, some women want so much to fit an unrealistic standard that they starve themselves.

Many women actually die from eating disorders or become very sick. If you are concerned for a loved one whom you expect might be suffering from an eating disorder, then you need to find out for sure and offer help. It isn’t always easy to know if someone is struggling with an eating disorder so here are some warning signs to look out for.

eating-disorder

Personality Change

If you notice a change in personality then you should start paying close attention. When a person is struggling with an eating disorder the tendency is for their personality to change in such a way that they are usually more irritable and less patient. Notice if they tend to have mood swings or become angry when the topic of food comes up and notice how they react when someone offers them food.

Women struggling with eating disorders also tend to become obsessed with working out or going to the gym. It is good and healthy to exercise but it can also be dangerous if one overdoes it. Notice how often they frequent the gym and if it is more than once a day, then this could be a clue.

Eating Habits

Pay close attention to what they eat, how they eat and how often they eat. If you can’t remember the last time was you had a meal with that person or when you last saw them eat, then this could be a sign.

If you notice that they don’t eat for long periods of time and then gorge themselves on junk food later, then they could be suffering from bulimia.

bulimia

Physical Appearance

One obvious hint would be that the person is much skinnier. But if they are anorexic or bulimic then they might also have the appearance of being sick. They could look pale and tired.

If you believe someone to have an eating disorder then you should never make jokes about that person being overweight. Even if it is in sarcasm, someone dealing with one of these illnesses will take it to heart and make the condition worse.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder then don’t hesitate to get help. The longer an illness like this goes on the more difficult it becomes to treat. If you believe that a friend or family member may be anorexic or bulimic then only ask if you are serious about helping that person. It is a very difficult thing for a person to admit to and they may become defensive if asked.

 

Exercise Etiquette: Top 5 Mistakes Gym Newbies Might Make

You finally joined a gym, signed on the line, and you’re officially a member of the fitness club. Good for you! You’ve probably been given a tour of the machines by an employee, and now you’re on your own. Excited. Nervous. Alone.

It’s normal at this point to feel a bit self-conscious about being the new kid in the gym, but if you know some basic mistakes to avoid, you won’t stand out. (Or at least you won’t annoy the grumpier gym veterans.)

exercise

Plus, there is certain workout protocol that everyone should know, and sometimes these flubs are exhibited by folks who should really know better.

Read below about 5 common gym beginner mistakes… and how you can avoid making them.

1. Cardio Coma—

You’ve probably seen them: the person who monopolizes the recumbent bike for an hour, leisurely reading a book and pedaling, or the person on the treadmill spending more energy on their fascinating cell phone conversation than the workout.

These cardio zombies might as well be napping on cots in the back of the gym, because they aren’t accomplishing anything that has to do with fitness. Worse, they’re monopolizing the equipment and wasting the time of people who came to exercise.

Proper Gym Etiquette Tip: If you’re not pushing yourself, move on and let someone else use the machine. And stick to a 30 minute limit if all cardio machines are full.

2. Form Malfunction—

It’s better to do 10 repetitions of an exercise the proper way than 25 the wrong way. Learn how to do all exercises correctly by asking an employee, a friend, reading the instructions on the machine, or doing prior research.

Improper form not only makes you look like a novice, it also makes you more prone to injury. Whipping through your reps and using the force of momentum and gravity rather than muscles is another quick way to look like a rookie.

Proper Gym Etiquette Tip: Don’t slam or drop the weights at the end of each rep or set. Controlling the weight on the way down is how professionals build muscles more efficiently, and nobody likes sudden clanking noises while they’re trying to concentrate.

3. Wrong Weight—

Women in particular often have a fear of bulking up by using too much weight when they strength train. This fear is completely unfounded, however, as most women lack the hormones and genetics for this.

For building lean muscle, it’s generally recommended to lift as much as you can still handle while maintaining proper form for 2 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps each. If you stop breaking a sweat, it’s time to move your weight up.

Men often do the opposite of this and try to lift more weight than they can handle without maintaining proper form, often leading to injury or loud dropping of the weights—officially making them That Annoying Guy Who’s Doing It Wrong in the gym.

Proper Gym Etiquette Tip: Speaking of weight, you may see a sign at your gym that says “Please rack all weights.” This means that if you put weights onto a machine, please take them off afterward. This bad gym habit is perplexing because it makes no sense that people who pay to exercise in a gym are then too lazy to do so.

4. Skipping Stretching—

It’s important to warm up by stretching and/or doing cardio before starting the strenuous part of a workout. This will limber up the muscles, preventing injury, cramping, and enhancing performance.

Doing 20-30 minutes of cardio after intense exercise such as strength training has also been shown to better eliminate lactic acid from the muscles, for a quicker recovery and less painful next day.

Proper Gym Etiquette Tip: Always wipe down machines when you’re finished to remove wetness for the next user. It’s really unpleasant to sit down into the sweat of a stranger.

5. Adoring Experts—

There are a lot of know-it-alls in the world who want to sell you the latest workout equipment, recovery drink, or weight loss pill, and promise they have the answers to all your fitness needs. But you will learn what works best for you through trial and error, and not through the exercise world equivalent of magic beans. Ignore them.

Proper Gym Etiquette Tip: Some of these “experts” may be walking around your gym in the form of people with “pro-tips” to help you work out better. Because they don’t know your medical history, fitness level or physical limitations, this behavior is not only egotistical, it’s completely irresponsible. Ignore them, too.

Remember to adjust the machines to your size, mix up your routine to work different muscle groups, and most importantly, listen to your body. If you experience sharp pain, stop immediately, and be sure to take days off to let your body rest and heal. If you follow the 5 tips above, you’ll blend in quickly at you gym and look like you’ve been there for years.

Natalie Parker is a professional blogger that shares tips and advice on health, training and nutrition. He writes for Fitness19.com, a leading fitness facility with affordable month to month memberships.

Healthy Habits: 5 Ways To Live A Healthier Life

Living a healthy life is not always easy and getting into a new, healthy routine can take a lot of energy. However, you can alter your lifestyle with small changes to improve not only your health but also help you to feel better about yourself.

We found 5 simple ways to live a healthier life.

vegetables

1. Exercise more often

By now everyone knows that exercise is vital for living a healthy life. But in the busy world that we live in, hitting the gym isn’t always an option. In your daily routine, try to incorporate some form of exercise. Instead of taking the elevator or escalator, use the stairs and try to walk instead of catching a cab. In the office, try walk around instead of sitting down the whole time (this is also good for blood circulation and might help you think clearer!). Of course if you have the time you can join a gym, fitness class or sports team but aim to participate regularly. Joining fitness activities will not only keep you in shape, it will also keep you social.

2. Eat more good things

Fresh fruit and vegetables are always essential for a healthy body. Try incorporating your greens into your diet everyday—even if you blend them into a juice or smoothie and have them on the go. Likewsie, remember to drink a lot of water and avoid drinking too much alcohol and caffeine. It is important to have a lot of protein in your diet so if you are a vegetarian, ensure that you eat plenty of high protein foods or even consider a protein supplement. Eating healthily will not only help you stay in shape, it will also keep your hair, nails, bones and teeth healthy. If you your diet is balanced, you will have more energy and less cravings.

3. Supplement where necessary

It is difficult to always get the right nutrition, the necessary vitamins and essential minerals so you might want to look into high quality supplements. The most important ones to think about are daily multi-vitamins and then perhaps other basic supplements such as calcium, fish oil or iron boosters. Luckily supplements are quite affordable these days and very easy to get hold of. Remember to shop around and look for good quality products. Your GP or local pharmacist should be able to advise you on the best products for you.

4. Quit bad habits

Old habits die hard, but it might be in your best interest to give up some of your dirty pleasures. If you are a smoker, try quitting or at least reducing the number of cigarettes that you smoke. Also think about switching over to a healthier nicotine fix like electric cigarettes. If your guilty-pleasure is eating fast food, try to reduce the amount that you consume or choose healthier options. Not only will you be healthier by ditching junk food, you might also save money! Binge drinking is also harmful to your body so try to moderate your alcohol consumption.

5. Relax

Being stressed is a big contributing factor to an unhealthy body. It is always easier said than done, but reducing stress in your life will make you a healthier and happier person. Take time to consider what things in your life causes you to stress and try to reduce it. Effective time management could help ease stress levels and make you fell more in control of your life. It might be in your best interest to take a few minutes every day to meditate or set aside the necessary you-time. Furthermore, listening to calming music, watching your favourite television show or spending time with friends could reduce stress.

How To Get Rid of Cavities

Cavities are often the result of poor oral hygiene due from not properly brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis and can damage the look and feel of our teeth. Over time, the cavities will begin to decay your tooth and can even start to cause problems with your gums and nerves. You will be able to notice that there is a problem with trouble with your gums, sensitive teeth, bad breath, and even a toothache. Here are some of the methods that your dentist and you can discuss in order to get rid of the cavities that you have.

cavity

Fluoride Treatment

In some cases, you may be able to get rid of your cavities by doing a fluoride treatment. This kind of treatment is great because it helps the tooth enamel get stronger and will therefor prevent against more cavities in the future. If the cavity is in the early parts of forming, then you can talk to your dentist about which kinds of fluoride treatments and foams will work the best for your needs.

Crowns

While a filling is the most common method that will be used by your dentist in order to deal with the cavities that you have, a crown may be necessary if your tooth has become really decayed and won’t be able to deal with a feeling. In this process, your dentist will remove the weakened and decayed part of your tooth before replacing that part with a cap. The cap consists of porcelain and will look just like your natural tooth.

Root Canal

When the cavity has gotten really bad, usually to the point of damaging the root or the pulp of your tooth, then your dentist will want to discuss putting in a root canal to help you out. When you get a root canal, the dentist will get rid of any part of the tooth that is decayed along with the tissues and nerves that have been affected in the process. All of the parts that have been removed will then be replaced with a filling made of porcelain and sometimes the final product will have a cap also placed over it all for extra protection.

Tooth Extraction

There are some extreme cases where your dentist may discuss the option of completely getting rid of the decayed tooth. This option is usually saved as the very last resort and will only be chosen if the tooth is so decayed that the other options will not really do any good or if the tooth is really causing you a lot of pain. In addition to getting your decayed tooth taken out, your dentist will give you all of the options necessary for deciding how to replace the decayed tooth. It is often not recommended that you leave the gap in your teeth there because it can cause the remaining teeth to move away from each other and will cause even more dental problems down the road.

Have any of you readers ever had a cavity? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

Jenifer is a writer for Greenspoint Dental, a dental practice in Houston, Texas.  She hopes to never have a cavity.

Treating 4 Chronic Illnesses with Hydrotherapy

To begin with, let’s understand what hydrotherapy is. In simplest of words, hydrotherapy means treatment of ailments using only water. Different aspects of water, for example, pressure, buoyancy, stream, speed, force, weight etc., are deployed to treat different physical conditions.

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy has been a part of alternative medicine since quite a long time. Even today, hydrotherapy and innovative techniques that make use of hydrotherapy are used for curing various medical issues. In fact, hydrotherapy is extremely effective in curing the following three chronic illnesses:

Migraines: The terrible symptoms of migraine can be fairly simply being treated using hydrotherapeutic techniques at home. Now, one should definitely not give up on the medicines; however, side by side, incorporating these techniques in daily lifestyle can help in curing migraine. Cold compresses and hot tub baths are two age old remedies for migraines.

Osteoarthritis: To treat Osteoarthritis, hydrotherapy is deployed in a manner different in comparison to how it is used in treating migraines. Water exercises and aerobics are the focus of this treatment. The buoyancy of the water makes sure that too much weight does not cause pain in already weak bones and joints.  A physically compatible environment means more effective treatment. Spas and hot tubs are therefore the best hydrotherapy that one can schedule for curing osteoarthritis.

Fibromyalgia: An illness like fibromyalgia is one condition that is more effectively treated with hydrotherapy than with medicines. Because hot tub or Master Spa remedy ensures that the toxins from your body are removed, there are lesser chances of inflammation and allergies. Once your body becomes toxin free, the body stays Fibromyalgia free.

Obesity: Another chronic illness to which a number of people today are exposed to the risk of is obesity. Hydrotherapy, specially hot tub therapy has quickly gained a popular place in the heart of weight watchers. Even obese people love this one form of exercise. Hot tub therapy helps in shedding weight as well as inches. The best thing is that burning calories in a Master Spa does not require you to exercise rigorously.

There are a number of big and small medical problems that can be treated with hydrotherapy. Many people also vouch by the beauty benefits of hydrotherapy. A good mix of hydrotherapy techniques can help you live a happy and stress-free life. Yes, you read that right. Hydrotherapy also helps in brings down stress levels drastically.

Apart from that, hot tub or spa sessions can help you maintain blood pressure. Hot tub or spas are also the best alternative medicine for increasing metabolism. All in all, Hydrotherapy is a multipurpose therapy that aids in treat many critical physical as well as mental conditions. The various aspects of hydrotherapy if properly utilized can bring incredible improvements in the health of those who suffer from a chronic illness. This is the reason why hydrotherapy has become an important part of alternative medicine.

Meggie Haneckow is a writer and blogger who loves to write about hot and trending topics. She is currently writing for Master spa.

The Symptoms Of Work-Related Stress And Your Right To Claim Compensation

Almost everyone experience a certain degree of stress at some point in their working years. In fact, 31% of women suffer from continued and long-term work-related stress while it affects 24% of men. Although occasional stress can be considered as a natural part of living, chronic and intense stress can become a substantial health problem. If you or you know someone who suffers from chronic work-related stress, you might be entitled to claim compensation for it.

Work-Related-Stress

Is Work-Related Stress A Serious Problem?

Based on the Labour Force Survey conducted by the Government’s Health And Safety Executive back in 2010, there were about 400,000 reported cases of work-related stress in the country. Stress accounts for over a third of all work-related illnesses.
Stress in the workplace arises where work demands of different types exceed the individual’s capacity and capability to cope. This problem can be caused by different events. Say, for example, a person might feel stressed out if the demands for their job are greater than what they could manage. Other sources of stress in the workplace include constant changes in management, conflict with the boss or colleagues, and threats to job security.

This problem is very serious. In fact, more than $133.9 million served as payment for compensation to workers who filed claims related to workplace stress, says the worker’s compensation attorney at Pulgini & Norton. In addition, the National Health and Safety Commission states that stress in the workplace is the number cause of absenteeism at work.

Symptoms Of Work-Related Stress

Physical Symptoms

Psychological Symptoms

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to cope
  • Irritability and mood swings

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Aggression
  • Increase absenteeism
  • Isolation
  • Family and co-worker relationship problems
  • Frustration and impatience
  • Lower work performance

What Causes Work-Related Stress?

There are various stimulants that can trigger stress in the workplace. Here are a few of the biggest catalysts:

  • Work demands need unreasonable and unrealistic time schedule
  • Working for more than one supervisor and expected to please everyone’s demands
  • Sexual harassment
  • Skipping breaks to meet deadlines
  • Personal family relationships
  • Personality conflicts among colleague

Can I Claim Compensation?

Although work-related stress lawsuits are on the rise, it doesn’t mean that you can file a lawsuit if you’ve just had a busy day at work trying to meet deadlines. In addition, if the reason why you are so stressed at work is because of family problems or because your child is keeping you up all night, you can’t claim work-related stress. However, if you are suffering from chronic stress which is directly related to your work, then you may have a valid claim for worker’s compensation.

However, proving that your stress is work-related can be very challenging to prove. Here’s what you need to do when claiming compensation:

  • You need to talk to your co-workers and supervisors since they have been working alongside you. These people may have witnessed the symptoms of your chronic stress.
  • You should also try to get them to sign an affidavit of witnessing how you were affected by your claims.
  • Finally, you should employ a credible and experienced compensation attorney who can work on your behalf. Let the lawyer take the case from there.

Kris Bennette is a professional writer who writes about work-relates stress topics. In this article, she discusses the symptoms of work-related stress and how to claim compensation.

The A-Z’s Of Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency is common in the developing world today. Even in the United States, about 12 percent of the population, and perhaps as many as 40 percent of the elderly, are probably at risk for zinc deficiency. Other affected regions include South Asia (Bangladesh and India in particular), Africa, and the Western Pacific.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, clinical zinc deficiency in humans was first described in 1961, when the consumption of diets with low zinc bioavailability due to high phytic acid content was connected with “adolescent nutritional dwarfism” in the Middle East. Since then, zinc insufficiency has been recognized by a number of experts as a significant public health issue.

There are many causes and many high-risk groups for zinc deficiency, including:

  • Pregnant and lactating mothers – Since a developing fetus requires higher amount of nutrition, the mother’s supply of zinc and other minerals become depleted. Similarly, there is also a generous amount of zinc lost through breastfeeding after giving birth.
  • Infants older than six months – Babies older than six months who are still exclusively breastfed are most likely deficient in zinc. This is because the zinc they get from breast milk is no longer sufficient to meet their nutritional needs. In this case, age-appropriate solid foods should be slowly introduced into their diet.

How Much Zinc Does Your Child Need?

It is important to understand that RDA refers to the daily average intake that is enough to meet the nutrient requirements of most healthy individuals.

The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) of zinc for children is 11 milligrams for adult men and eight milligrams for adult women. Lactating or pregnant women need about three milligrams more. Children need about five milligrams, while nine- to 13-year-olds need eight milligrams. Infants need only about three milligrams.

Nutrition – The Best Form of Zinc Supplement

Although there are many commercially available zinc supplements that you can conveniently give your child, you need to understand that this conventional approach to nutrients is oftentimes not the best to take. Taking zinc supplements indiscriminately is not advisable, especially for children due to risks of toxicity.

The thing to do is to simply increase foods rich in zinc and other beneficial minerals in your child’s diet.  Fortunately, improving your child’s zinc levels through food is not difficult, since there are many dietary sources. These include veal liver, grass-fed beef, crimini mushrooms, roasted pumpkin and squash seeds, chickpeas (garbanzos beans), and morel mushrooms.

How to Keep Zinc in Your Greens

Broccoli, spinach, and asparagus are among the many vegetables that are high not only in zinc, but other essential nutrients as well.  However, according to experts, zinc is better absorbed from animal sources than plant sources. This is because the way you cook, store, process, or prepare food plays an important role in maintaining vegetables’ nutritional value.

To keep your vegetables in their best shape, follow these techniques:

  • Steaming – When steaming vegetables, use a steamer and do not use a lot of water. A half cup of water is all you need. It would be best to bring the water to a boil before putting your greens in. This way, nutrient or mineral loss is minimized. Steam your vegetables for about five to 10 minutes. Do not overcook. You can also save the water used in steaming for future soups and stocks.
  • Blanching – In blanching you have to boil your greens briefly, chill them in ice-cold water, and then drain. This easy cooking technique stops the cooking process to prevent sogginess. It’s also a good way to keep your vegetables’ color, texture, flavor, and nutritional value.
  • Juicing – Studies suggest that nutrients are more bioavailable and easily consumed in beneficial quantities when vegetables are juiced. Juice vegetables with your kids and turn it into a fun bonding activity. Since kids are attracted to colors, carrots, broccoli, and spinach will surely make good starters. You can use honey or yogurt to make the taste more appealing to them, too.
  • Eating veggies raw – Teach your kids to eat their vegetables raw. Pair these raw vegetables with delicious but nutritious dips made with creamy kefir and yogurt that your kids will surely love. Serve carrots, cucumbers, and zucchini slices during snack time.

Note: Frying, grilling, or roasting vegetables are the worst ways to cook vegetables, because they involve high heat, which destroys most of the nutrients.

Additional tips:

  • Keep vegetables refrigerated until use to slow down nutrient degradation.
  • Put chopped or juiced vegetables in secured airtight containers to prevent oxygen exposure from destroying vitamins.
  • Choose only organic and pesticide-free vegetables from trusted sources.

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=115

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/zinc/#food_source

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/vitamins-minerals/keeping-the-vitamins-nutrients-in-cooked-veggies.html#b

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

Arrianne Nellaine Hernandez is a writer for Mercola.com. She has written health and fitness content and has also transcribed many in-depth interviews with several natural health experts.  Arrianne is currently writing and researching about the most common nutritional and mineral deficiencies in kids today like zinc deficiency.