Saturday, March 3, 2018

Inspirational Quote – March 03, 2018

“Do not shrink your beautiful light to make someone else feel more comfortable. BE WHO YOU ARE without hesitation and you will inspire others to shine too.”

I guess we’ve all been guilty of this at one time or another although it’s kind of human nature not to want to overshadow other people. None of us want to be thought of as a “show off” do we? However, there’s not being a show off and there’s not being true to ourselves. Not being true to ourselves can prevent us from being up front about our skills or gifts and, by concealing these, others in turn won’t learn or be inspired to reach their own goals. It’s not in any way showing off to be proud of what you have achieved and consequently inspire and encourage others to believe they can do the same.

Finding Right Livelihood

In this thoughtful piece, author E.F. Schumacher argues for a set of economic principles that aligns economic progress and growth with the Buddhist ideals of nonviolence and peace. He proposes intriguing perspectives on labor, leisure, consumption, and the use of natural resources that flips modern economics on its head. Read on for fascinating food for thought. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

11 Morning Mood Boosters

woman waking up
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Start Small

Good news for night owls, and anyone else who doesn’t bound out of bed when the sun comes up: You can learn to love your mornings. Even small changes to your routines can boost your mood and energy. Little tweaks can help you get the shut-eye you need, too. When you’re well-rested, it’s not a struggle to get up.
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hand reaching for alarm clock
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Put Your Alarm Out of Reach

Let’s face it: Unless you have another hour or 2 to sleep, hitting the snooze button won’t really help you feel less tired. But there’s another reason to get up when you first hear that annoying beep. When you get up and go to bed at the same time every day, you’ll keep your body’s internal clock in sync. That makes you more alert in the morning, and sleepy when it’s time to call it a night.
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man sitting by light box
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Let in the Light

As soon as you wake, open the curtains or blinds. Or step outside. Natural light gets your brain going and keeps your body clock on track. If it’s gloomy out, turn on the lights. A light-up alarm clock can help. And it may be less jarring than a noisy alarm. If you struggle with a.m. brain fog or have seasonal affective disorder or depression, try a light box (or sunlamp). It can lift your mood and help you feel more awake.
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woman doing sudoku
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Enjoy a Morning Splurge

To curb your urge to stay under the covers, plan something to look forward to each morning. You could read your favorite web site over a tasty breakfast, or go for a walk in a scenic park. Anything that excites you or brings you pleasure helps to rouse your brain and makes you less sleepy.
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woman holding coffee
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Sip a Cup of Joe

Just make sure your java’s the caffeinated kind. Caffeine pumps up brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. They boost your mood, spike your energy levels, and help you focus. (Regular coffee drinkers are also less likely to get the blues than those who rarely or never sip the strong stuff.) Not a fan? Opt for a cup of black or green tea. They have caffeine plus other healthy compounds.
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woman weight lifting
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Schedule a Morning Sweat Session

Jumping jacks or a brisk walk can get your blood pumping and rev up your nervous system. You'll feel more alert in the moment -- and hours later, too. If you work out first thing, you’ll fall asleep more easily than if you do it later on. At least try for several hours before bedtime. Any later and you may find it hard to nod off. Or do yoga -- it’s proven to ease insomnia.
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egg on toast
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Fuel Up

No appetite? Try to have a small morning meal anyway. Even a light bite, like an egg with a piece of whole-grain toast or a cup of yogurt with berries, gives your body the energy it needs to get going. Breakfast helps you focus, too. It may even keep your body clock on track. That’ll make your morning feel more like morning and less like the middle of the night.
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hand turning off lamp
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Power Down Before Bedtime

Bright lights at night can reduce your melatonin levels (that’s a hormone that helps you feel sleepy). And it isn't just overhead bulbs that can have you counting sheep. The glow of cell phones, computers, and TVs also slows melatonin production. The fix: Dim the lights in your home, and turn off all screens and tech tools at least an hour before you plan to hit the hay.
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Skip the Nightcap

Yes, alcohol makes you feel sleepy. But it makes it harder to stay asleep and can make you feel groggy in the morning, too. If you do hit the hooch, stick to one drink and have it with dinner, or at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
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man taking pill
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Try Melatonin

This hormone helps your system get ready for sleep. It plays a role in keeping your body clock in check, too. If you have trouble dozing off or you’re off-schedule because of travel or a new routine, a melatonin supplement may help. Stick to a small dose (0.3-1 milligrams) taken an hour before bed. And always talk to your doctor before taking any new medication.
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woman in bathtub
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Find a Good Wind-Down Routine

A relaxing evening helps you fall asleep. Avoid stressors like email and tough talks with family members at least an hour before bed. To get in the mood for slumber, you can meditate, stretch, take a warm shower or bath, or read a book in a low-lit room. If you get at least 7 hours a night but you're still worn out, see the doctor. A health problem or a sleep disorder like sleep apnea may be to blame.
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What Causes Chronic Hives?

mosquito on hand
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Bug Bites

Most insect stings and bites cause some kind of redness, swelling, or itching. Sometimes, they bring more than a small bump. Hives happen when your whole body has an allergic reaction.
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woman sick in bed
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Watch out for hives when you have bacterial or viral problems, such as:
  • Hepatitis
  • HIV
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
Even the common cold can sometimes set off a hive reaction.
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arm with welts that spell dermatographia
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Take your nail and firmly (but not too firmly) scratch a line into your skin. If the raised mark it makes sticks around for half an hour, you’ve got something your doctor may call dermatographism. It's hives that pop up from rubbing or scratching your skin.
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sweaty man
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Working Out

When you exercise, your temperature goes up. Warm, flushed skin is the perfect host for a hive party.
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woman stressed at work
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When you’re under pressure, your hormones surge. That puts your body into something called fight-or-flight mode. It can set off a host of reactions, including hives.
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alcohol variety
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Did you know you could be allergic to alcohol? Alcohol intolerance can cause a flushed face, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea -- and hives.
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foods that cause allergies
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What you eat can bring hives. Things like shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, certain fruits, and milk are all common culprits.
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medication bottles
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Just about any drug can cause hives. You could see red, itchy welts after doses of:
  • Penicillin
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Blood pressure meds
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man with tight backpack strap
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A Tight Squeeze

Squeezed skin can bring welts called pressure hives. Any kind of force can cause them, including:
  • A heavy backpack on your shoulder
  • A waistband with no give
  • Sitting in a hard chair for too long
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woman under umbrella
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It’s rare, but you can be allergic to sunlight. When this reaction happens, you get hives only on the parts of your skin the sun has touched.
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woman in jaccuzi
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Hives thrive on warmth. Anything that makes you hot can be a trigger, like:
  • Hot baths
  • Blushing
  • Sunburn
If your temperature’s up, the welts can come out.
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woman in parka
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Any contact with lower temperatures -- from a blast of winter air to a dip in a pool -- can bring on your rash.
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scientist with blood test
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Autoimmune Disease

Often, hives happen because your immune system is too active. Your body’s defenses attack normal tissue, and boom -- breakouts.
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woman holding bandage
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Disposable gloves, bandages, condoms, pacifiers, balloons, shoes -- the list of things made of latex is long. Everything on it can cause hives, if you’re allergic. Usually, it’s the protein in natural-rubber latex that riles things up.
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cat and brush with dander
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Dander can drum up hives quickly. So can saliva from cats and dogs. If you notice red welts after petting or playing with a furry friend, your playmate is probably the cause of your blotches.

What Self-Compassion Feels Like in Your Body

At a recent GGSC workshop with Kristin Neff and Shauna Shapiro, our managing editor discovered the visceral power of compassion.

I am in an auditorium with 200 other people, staring into a stranger’s eyes, and I am crying.
As part of our Science of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion workshop, clinical psychologist Shauna Shapiro had asked participants to turn to the person next to them and imagine all her pain—her struggles and losses, her sorrows and setbacks.
I’d done mindfulness and compassion practices before, of course, but this was different. This was visceral.

And that’s exactly the point, explained Shapiro and her co-presenter, psychologist Kristin Neff. Self-compassion isn’t an intellectual exercise, where we fight the self-critical thoughts in our heads with logical arguments for self-acceptance. Rather, it’s a warm, loving, connected attitude and feeling—one that exists in our bodies as well as our minds.
In imagining my partner’s pain, I was practicing compassion, and Neff doesn’t see much difference between compassion and self-compassion. She defines self-compassion as treating ourselves the way we would treat a friend who is suffering. In her framework, this involves three steps:
  • Mindfulness: Being aware of our suffering, without becoming overwhelmed by it.
  • Common humanity: Recognizing that our suffering is part of the human experience, connecting us to others.
  • Self-kindness: Caring for ourselves when we suffer, by soothing our pain and offering ourselves understanding.
“Ultimately, what we’re practicing with self-compassion is what do I need in this moment, and can we give ourselves what we need?” said Neff.
We can pause and take a self-compassion break whenever we encounter difficulty. But we can’t do so mechanically. As Neff explained, we have to search for the words that elicit a softening in our bodies—the ones that feel right. Those can be different for different people:
  • Mindfulness: You might say to yourself, “This is a moment of suffering” or “This is hard.”
  • Common humanity: You might say to yourself, “Suffering is part of life” or “I’m not alone” or “Everyone has their own struggles.”
  • Self-kindness: You might say to yourself, “May I be kind to myself” or even “I’m sorry, darling.”
In those moments of self-pity or self-judgment, Neff also recommends using a loving gesture toward yourself, like putting both hands on your heart, holding your stomach, or giving yourself a hug. Again, the feeling is more important than any specific step—to you, some of these gestures may feel awkward or downright uncomfortable, others just right. The key is to experiment and figure out which one brings you a sense of comfort and warmth.
Although more research has been done on the effects of compassion on the body and brain, some studies are beginning to show the impact of self-compassion. For example, a brand-new study found that practicing self-compassion dampens our stress response in the face of an overwhelming task, as measured by higher heart rate variability (the variation in time between heartbeats, with higher levels associated with better health and emotional regulation).
So, what does self-compassion actually feel like?
Neff recalled giving in to self-pity one day as she watched her autistic son on the playground, banging repeatedly on a slide rather than playing nicely like the other (seemingly perfect) kids. When she remembered to treat herself with compassion, she felt this warm wave of connection and community—the realization that all parents struggle in different ways with their children. This helped her to feel closer to them, rather than separated.
By calming our bodies, Neff believes, self-compassion can serve the people around us. Because we’re social creatures, we pick up on the emotions of others—the subtle body language and facial cues that slip through even when we’re trying to hide them. Someone who exudes calm and warmth rather than harshness and distress can spread that calm to others.
Not all self-compassion feels warm and fuzzy, though. Neff believes that self-compassion has a yin and a yang. The yin is its comforting, soothing form, where we validate our pain and acknowledge our difficulties. The yang is the more motivating form of self-compassion, where we protect ourselves or provide for others—generating feelings of fierceness and strength.
At the conference, I began to feel a little silly crying in public—at a work event, no less. But my partner had started crying, too. And based on the sniffles I heard around me, we weren’t alone.

Inspirational Quote – March 02, 2018

“When people walk away, let them. Your future is not about people who walk away….it’s about the people who stay in it for the ride.”

Sometimes when people want to walk out of our lives we try to prevent them. Perhaps we believe they still have a part to play therefore we’re reluctant to let them go. However, what if they have already played their part and it is time for them to go? Often it’s not as black and white as this for many of us at the time. Later, on looking back, we will probably only then be able to acknowledge that they actually did us a favor by leaving although we couldn’t see this at the time. Look around you and appreciate the people who are still walking through life with you because that’s where they’re meant to be and where you’re meant to be for them.

The Town that Fought Big Ag and Won

When the advancing threat of Big Apple, a monoculture heavily sprayed with pesticides, came to Mals, Italy the women took action. In a display of direct democracy, this tiny village in the south Tyrol province of northern Italy has inspired a movement now coursing its way through Europe, the United States, and beyond. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Diverticulitis Warning Signs

Colon Image Showing Diverticula
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What Is Diverticulitis?

Sometimes tiny, bulging pouches (called diverticula) form in the colon. This condition is called diverticulosis. If the pouches become inflamed or infected, this is diverticulitis.
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Women Holding Her Stomach
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Symptoms of Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

People with diverticulosis usually don't have outward symptoms. Symptoms of diverticulitis are more noticeable. There may be abdominal bloating, pain, and tenderness, typically in the left lower abdomen, plus diarrhea, chills, and a low-grade fever.
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Roll of Toilet Paper
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What Causes Diverticula to Form?

The reason diverticula form in the colon is not completely understood. Doctors think diverticula form when high-pressure areas inside the colon push against weak spots in the colon wall. These diverticula are most common in the lower part of the large intestine (called the sigmoid colon).
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Diverticulosis vs. Diverticulitis
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Diverticulosis vs. Diverticulitis

Having diverticulosis is very common and most people never know they have it. Half of all people older than 60 have it. But only 10%-25% of people go on to develop diverticulitis. Diverticulitis typically develops when the pouches that are blocked with waste become inflamed, leading to tears in the bowel wall and infection.
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Colonic Bleeding
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Diverticular Bleeding

When a hole develops between a pouch and a blood vessel, bleeding can happen. This can cause a large amount of blood to suddenly appear in your stool. This condition is usually painless and the bleeding usually stops on its own. But in rare cases, bleeding can be severe enough to require a transfusion or surgery. If you have bleeding, contact your doctor right away.
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Fried Chicken with Mac-N-Cheese
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What's Fiber Got to Do With It?

A diet low in fiber is linked to diverticulosis. Researchers aren't sure why. Adding more fiber to the diet can help prevent constipation and may decrease the risk for painful diverticula in the colon.
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Chili Rellno with Black Beans and Rice
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Your High-Fiber Choices

Luckily, you don't have to look hard to find an abundance of high-fiber foods. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (dried beans, peas, and lentils). Make smart food choices, including brown rice and whole wheat pasta in place of the regular version. And add extra veggies to your favorite dishes -- pizza, stews, and spaghetti sauce. The American Dietetic Association recommends getting 20-35 grams of fiber every day.
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X-Ray of the Colon
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Diagnosing Diverticular Disease

Since diverticulosis doesn't always cause symptoms, it is sometimes only diagnosed when the patient is being seen for another reason. The diverticula (pictured here in yellow) can be seen via X-ray or a colonoscopy. When diverticulitis leads to a painful abscess, an ultrasound and CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis can show collections of pus.
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Woman Cooking With Fiber Supplement
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Treatment for Diverticulosis

Many patients with diverticulosis have minimal or no symptoms and do not require specific treatment. A high-fiber diet and fiber supplements are recommended to prevent constipation and the formation of more diverticula.
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Man Holding Stomach
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When Diverticulitis Causes Mild Pain

Patients with mild belly pain may get help from anti-spasmodic drugs such as atropine, chlordiazepoxide (Librax), dicyclomine (Bentyl), diphenoxylate and atropine (Lomotil), hyoscyamine (Levsin), phenobarbital, and scopolamine.
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Woman In Bed Taking Pills
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Treating Diverticulitis

When diverticulitis symptoms -- abdominal pain, cramps, and fever -- are mild, antibiotics taken by mouth are usually enough. When pain is worse, a clear liquid diet to allow the colon and bowel to recover may also be prescribed. When pain is increasingly severe, or when there is high fever or the inability to drink liquids, a hospital stay may be necessary, along with intravenous antibiotics and not eating or drinking for a few days.
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Colon Showing Perforated Diverticulum
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Complications of Diverticulitis

When inflammation of the diverticula leads to a tear in the intestinal wall, as pictured here, pus can leak into the abdominal area, causing peritonitis (a painful infection of the abdominal cavity), abscesses, intestinal obstruction, and an opening (called a fistula) between the bowel and the urinary tract.
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Surgical Scalpel
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When Surgery Is Necessary

Diverticulitis that does not respond to medical treatment requires surgery. Surgery usually involves draining pus and removing the segment of the colon containing the diverticula. Removal of bleeding diverticula is necessary for patients with persistent bleeding. Surgery may also be necessary for any diverticula that erode into the bladder, causing severe, recurrent urine infections and passage of gas during urination, and to treat intestinal obstruction.
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Healthy Fresh Vegetables
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Preventing Diverticulitis?

Once formed, diverticula are permanent. And no treatment has been found to prevent complications of diverticular disease. But diets high in fiber increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, which may help symptoms. What about seeds and nuts? There's no evidence these foods cause diverticulitis flares. But if you feel they trigger your symptoms, eat other high-fiber foods instead. Drinking plenty of water and getting regular exercise may also help.
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Signs You Need More (or Less) Zinc

zinc chart
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What Is Zinc?

It’s a mineral your cells need to fight off bacteria and viruses and make the genetic material, called DNA, that tells your body how to work the way it should. It helps you heal wounds, aids your senses of smell and taste, and is important for infants and children as they grow.
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family dinnertime
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How Much Do You Need?

An adult man needs 11 milligrams a day, and an adult woman, 8 milligrams. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you’ll need more -- around 12 milligrams. Children need 2 to 11 milligrams depending on their age and gender. Talk to your pediatrician about how much is right for your child.
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zinc-rich foods
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Do I Get Enough?

Probably, yes -- most Americans do. But some things can make it hard for your body to use it, including surgery on your stomach or intestines, alcohol abuse, and digestive diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. And people who don’t eat meat or animal products can have a harder time getting enough zinc from food.
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school dance
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What Happens If I Don’t Get Enough?

It can make children grow more slowly and delay puberty in teens. Adults who are low on zinc can have hair loss, diarrhea, sores on their eyes and skin, and loss of appetite. It also can affect a man’s sexual desire. Talk to your doctor before taking a supplement, though. These issues can be caused by something other than a lack of zinc.
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face cream
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Healthy Skin

Zinc helps your skin do what it’s supposed to: protect you from heat and cold, bacteria, and viruses. Your doctor might prescribe a zinc supplement or ointment to treat certain skin problems, like acne.
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cough syrup
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Can It Cure the Common Cold?

Some studies suggest that if you take zinc lozenges or syrup -- but not pill supplements -- within 24 hours of feeling a cold coming on, your symptoms won’t be as bad or last as long. (Nasal sprays and gels that have it are linked to the loss of sense of smell.) More research is needed to figure out if it really works and, if so, how you should take it.
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AMD microscopic view
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May Help Prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

This is an eye disease that causes vision loss over time. A large study of people at higher risk of getting AMD showed that taking a daily multivitamin with zinc -- along with vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and copper -- may help avoid it. But other studies haven’t had the same results. If you’re at higher risk, talk to your doctor to see if a vitamin would be a good idea for you.
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Source: Oysters

Nothing beats oysters for zinc. A 3-ounce serving has 74 milligrams. That’s five times more than you need per day. Eat them raw with a lemon or bake them Rockefeller-style with spinach, onions, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese.
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roasted chicken
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Source: Chuck Roast

Too much red meat -- especially fatty meat -- has been linked to health problems, but it can deliver some essential nutrients, including zinc. Just keep your portions small and eat plenty of green vegetables on the side. A 3-ounce serving has about 7 milligrams of zinc.
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crab legs
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Source: Alaska King Crab

Slice a lemon and melt a little butter, and you’ll have a feast fit for a king. A 3-ounce serving has 6.5 milligrams of zinc. It takes a bit of practice to get the meat out of the shell, but that’s half the fun. Plus, it makes you eat more slowly, which is healthier because you’re less likely to overeat.
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roasted chicken
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Source: Dark Meat Chicken

It has 2.4 milligrams of zinc per 3-ounce serving, compared with less than 1 milligram in a skinless chicken breast. Try some pan-roasted chicken thighs with sautéed kale for a healthy, tasty meal.
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Source: Cashews

How about a zinc-rich snack? Cashews have 1.6 milligrams of zinc per 1-ounce serving. Keep them at your desk for a healthy treat instead of candy or chips. Just watch your portions. While they’re healthy, cashews are also full of calories and fat.
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zinc supplements
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Zinc Supplements

Even though most Americans get enough zinc from their meat-rich diet, some people take more -- as a supplement by itself or as part of a multivitamin. This can be helpful if you don’t get enough in your diet or you have certain medical conditions, but it’s not always safe. Check with your doctor first.
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restroom sign
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Too Much Can Be Bad for You

It can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache, and nausea. And if you take too much for too long, you may have lower levels of copper (another essential nutrient), a weaker immune system, and less HDL -- or “good” -- cholesterol. You shouldn’t get more than 40 milligrams a day unless your doctor has told you otherwise. Talk to your pediatrician before giving a zinc supplement to your child.
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doctor and patient
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Interactions With Other Medication

Zinc supplements can weaken the effects of antibiotics, and antibiotics can make it harder for your body to use zinc. The supplements also can make it harder for your body to absorb some drugs, like the arthritis drug penicillamine. Talk to your doctor before taking a zinc supplement.