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6 health benefits of walking  

It’s no secret that moving your body is good for your health. But while many of us think that means running or lifting weights, hard exercise isn’t actually your only option. Walking is one of the most underrated ways to keep your mind and body in shape. It’s easy, accessible and can be done almost anywhere. So grab your walking shoes, and let’s explore some of the ways that walking can improve your health! 

1. Walking can help with weight loss 

You don’t have to go running, biking or do other strenuous activities to shed extra pounds. Walking is one of the most effective ways to burn calories and promote weight loss. It may be slower and less intense than those activities, but it yields many of the same benefits. The number of calories burned depends on your weight, the distance you walk and your pace, but going on regular strolls can help reduce body fat and boost your metabolism—and it’s easier on your joints! 

2. Getting your steps promotes heart health 

Finding time to lace up your sneakers and take a stroll is a great way to get your heart pumping. Whether you do the trendy 12-3-30 on the treadmill or prefer to get your steps in outside, walking can raise your heart rate and breathing, which increases blood flow throughout your body, lowers blood pressure and improves overall heart health, according to research.1  

3. Walking improves brain function 

Building up your step count isn’t just good for your physical health, but your cognitive health too. Walking increases blood flow to your brain and stimulates the growth of new brain cells. In fact, walking regularly is linked to improved memory, better concentration and a lower risk of age-related cognitive decline. 

4. Step your way to a better mood 

If you’re feeling stressed, sad or even frustrated, taking some time to move your body can help clear your mind and boost your mood, according to studies.2 Walking releases endorphins, natural chemicals that make you feel happy or euphoric. It’s especially helpful to walk outside; getting some fresh air can reduce stress and anxiety, helping you feel more at ease. 

5. Walking can help you sleep better at night 

If you’re not getting quality shuteye, make it a priority to go for go for a walk on your lunch break. Exposure to daylight can help to adjust your circadian rhythm, the internal clock that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. That reset can make your feel more alert during the day and sleep better at night.  

The repetitive motion of walking can also help soothe and calm your nervous system—making you feel more relaxed. This is especially helpful if racing thoughts make it hard for you to wind down at the end of the day. If a busy mind is keeping you up at night, walking is a great way to bring sleep back in reach.  

6. Moving your body helps with digestion 

If you often feel bloated or gassy or have indigestion after meals, try going for a walk after you eat. It can lessen these symptoms by increasing blood flow to your intestines and promote peristalsis, the contraction of your intestinal muscles that move food through your digestive system. Avoid walking too soon or too fast after eating, which can lead to stomach upset or nausea. It’s best to start walking about 15-20 minutes after finishing your meal and to keep your pace slow and comfortable. 

How much should you walk? 

The distance and time you should walk will vary depending on your health goals, diet and other activities, but for most healthy people, about 7k-10k steps (3.5- 5 miles) a day is considered the sweet spot. If you don’t want to track your steps, aim for 30 minutes a day of brisk walking. 

How to increase your steps 

If you’re struggling to get out and stretch your legs, here are some tips to make it easier: 

  • Take a walk during your lunch break 
  • Walk with a friend 
  • Listen to music or a podcast  
  • Take the stairs 
  • Park farther away  
  • Track your progress and celebrate your achievements. Use a pedometer, an app or a journal to record your steps, distance, time, mood, etc.  

Takeaway 

Walking is one of the easiest exercises you can do to stay healthy: It’s a simple and an effective way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you’re out in nature or on a treadmill at the gym, walking is a fun and creative way to get moving and stay healthy. So, grab a friend or your favorite podcast and go hit the bricks! 

Check out how to manage stress with exercise next: 4 tips to work it out from a dietitian 

About Shirley 

Shirley is a Nutritionist with a Bachelor’s in Human Food & Nutrition with an emphasis in Sports Nutrition. To Shirley, there is nothing more gratifying than helping someone to meet their health and personal goals while making long-term connections.  

Shirley is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Shirley or another of our amazing nutritionists.  

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

References:

  1. Yuenyongchaiwat, K. (2016, June 16). Effects of 10,000 steps a day on physical and mental health in overweight participants in a community setting: A preliminary study. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy. Doi: 10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0160   
  2. Wattanapisit, A, Thanamee, S. Evidence behind 10,000 steps walking. Doi: 10.14456/jhr.2017.30 
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Nutritionist spotlight: Gina 

As a Registered Associate Nutritionist, Gina believes nutrition is all about respecting yourself and your body by making smart but enjoyable choices every day. I sat down with Gina and got to know her a little better. 

How did you get into nutrition? 

In my sophomore year of high school, I struggled with an eating disorder. I had a fear of food and a poor body image that governed my thoughts. As I approached graduation, I started to recover—and that process taught me a lot about nutrition. I soon realized it’s what I wanted to do for my career, so I applied to a degree program in London. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Not only did it help me understand my body and how to respect it by fueling it with proper food, but it also gave me an opportunity to help people care for their health too. 

What’s your biggest nutrition pet peeve? 

That a gluten-free diet is better for you. It’s really not! There’s no reason to remove gluten (and all the deliciousness it brings!) from your diet unless you have an allergy or celiac disease or another health issue that forces you to avoid it.  

This misconception stems from the idea that most “goodies” like cakes, pastries and biscuits have wheat as a base ingredient—and that by eating gluten-free you’ll remove these processed foods. In reality, they’re fine in moderation! 

What advice would you give someone who’s struggling to make healthy changes? 

Get on the buddy system! If you have trouble sticking to your health goals—whether it’s cooking meals at home or getting to a spin class every week—it’s easier with a friend. You can hold each other accountable on the days you’re feeling less motivated, and you’ll probably find it’s a lot more fun!  

What’s your favorite supplement? 

My favorite supplement has to be Vitamin D! It’s an essential nutrient that plays a role in so many functions in your body, but almost half of us don’t get enough…including me! I get plenty of sunlight every day, but I still struggle to keep it at a healthy level, so taking a supplement is important. 

What’s your favorite snack and why? 

I love popcorn! There are so many good things about it: it’s convenient, affordable, available all around the world and high in fiber! You can also add your favorite seasonings to it; mine’s an Indian spice called Chaat Masala. Perfect for movie nights! 😊 

What does your average weekend look like? 

I like to start my Saturday with a morning yoga class. The rest of my weekend is pretty relaxed. I like playing board games with family (we’re obsessed with Sequence), catching up with friends or bingeing crime documentaries! I also enjoy reading. Right now, I’m reading Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare. 

Tell us something surprising about yourself. 

I have a HUGE family— including three nieces who are older than me!  

Check out Gina’s blogs and follow her on IG @nutritionist.gina 

Gina is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Gina or another of our amazing nutritionists. 

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7 foods to speed up your metabolism 

If you’ve ever struggled with your weight and blamed your slow metabolism, you’re not alone! For many of us, our metabolism slows naturally as we age, and that can feel challenging. You might feel like you can’t eat what you used to or wear the jeans size you did when you were younger. But just because our bodies change with time, doesn’t mean we can’t adapt. Regular exercise, healthy sleep and—importantly—a smart diet can all affect metabolism.  

How does your metabolism work? 

Put simply: Your metabolism is how your body converts food into energy. It affects how fast you burn calories, how much fat your body stores and even how hungry you feel.  

Some factors that influence your metabolism are beyond your control, like your age, sex, genetics and hormones, but there are also things you can do to help accelerate it. And the simplest is eating the right foods.  

Some foods can slightly increase your metabolism by stimulating digestion, providing nutrients that help it function, or by increasing thermogenesis, your body’s way of turning food into heat.   

7 foods that increase metabolism 

1. Chili Peppers 

If you’re someone who loves the fiery spice of chili peppers, you’re in luck! Chili peppers are a source of capsaicin, the compound that gives them that heat—and comes with some unexpected health benefits. One is the ability to increase the rate your body burns calories, according to research. It apparently works by increasing your body’s temperature and oxygen use, leading to a slight boost in your metabolic rate.  

The caveat: Overdoing it can irritate your stomach and cause negative symptoms like heartburn or diarrhea. So if you find yourself sweating through your meal or needing to gulp water after every bite, you probably want to cut back. But if you’re comfortably with the heat, try adding some chili peppers to a few dishes like soups, stews, salsas or even salads. 

2. Tea 

Whether you like black, green or oolong tea, regularly sipping a hot mug can help rev up your metabolism. How it does this is still being studied, but experts think it’s because tea’s catechins (antioxidants) and caffeine work together to increase the rate you burn calories.  

Pro tip: Don’t drink caffeinated tea past midafternoon, or it could interfere with your sleep! 

3. Coffee 

It turns out, your morning brew doesn’t just perk you up, but it can also help increase the rate you burn calories. Coffee beans have an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid that affects cAMP, an important messenger in your body that regulates blood sugar and metabolism. To reap the most benefits, drink your coffee black; adding too much sugar or cream can outweigh its benefits. 

4. Ginger 

This super root is best known for helping with nausea and digestion, but ginger may also help speed up your metabolism. Though more research is needed, regularly drinking ginger tea with your food might increase your body’s thermogenesis while reducing feelings of hunger, according to one study. Not only that, but ginger is also rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals, compounds that can impair your metabolic health when they build up in your cells.  

Heads up: Too much ginger can lead to heartburn, diarrhea or irritation in your gut and mouth, so make sure you’re not eating too much! 

5. High-protein foods 

If you’re hoping to shed a few pounds with a faster metabolism, getting enough protein in your diet is essential. Protein-rich foods have a high thermic effect, meaning your body uses more energy when digesting and absorbing than it does with carbs and fat. So the simple act of digesting protein helps increase your metabolism. Another benefit? Protein also helps maintain and increase your lean body mass—also important for your metabolic rate.  

6. Dark, leafy greens 

Leafy greens are loaded with good, essential nutrients, so it’s not surprising that regular intake can promote a healthy metabolic rate. One key is magnesium, a mineral that’s vital for your metabolism to work well. Without it, your body can’t effectively turn food into energy. In general, aiming for about 2 cups daily of dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens or arugula should be enough. 

7. Water 

While water isn’t exactly food, it’s incredibly important. Your cells have to be well-hydrated to function properly. Drinking enough fluids can increase your metabolic rate, according to research. The amount of water you need varies with age, activity level, lifestyle and diet, but most people should drink an amount equal to half their body weight flipped to fluid ounces (eg: a 140-pound person should drink 70 fluid ounces daily).  

Read next: 5 snacks to keep you feeling fuller longer 

About Agnes  

Agnes is an accredited nutritionist by SNDA (Singapore Nutrition & Dietetics Association). Prior to Persona, she worked in community settings, providing training and managing events. She loves working with people and is passionate about changing people’s lives through nutrition.  

Agnes is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Agnes or another of our amazing nutritionists. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

References:

  1. Giuriato G, Venturelli M, Matias A, et al. Capsaicin and Its Effect on Exercise Performance, Fatigue and Inflammation after Exercise. Nutrients. 2022;14(2):232. Published 2022 Jan 6. doi:10.3390/nu14020232 
  2. Awwad S, Issa R, Alnsour L, Albals D, Al-Momani I. Quantification of Caffeine and Chlorogenic Acid in Green and Roasted Coffee Samples Using HPLC-DAD and Evaluation of the Effect of Degree of Roasting on Their Levels. Molecules. 2021;26(24):7502. Published 2021 Dec 11. doi:10.3390/molecules26247502 
  3. Serezani CH, Ballinger MN, Aronoff DM, Peters-Golden M. Cyclic AMP: master regulator of innate immune cell function. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2008;39(2):127-132. doi:10.1165/rcmb.2008-0091TR 
  4. Mansour MS, Ni YM, Roberts AL, Kelleman M, Roychoudhury A, St-Onge MP. Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: a pilot study. Metabolism. 2012;61(10):1347-1352. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2012.03.016 
  5. Thornton SN. Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss. Front Nutr. 2016;3:18. Published 2016 Jun 10. doi:10.3389/fnut.2016.00018 
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Nutritionist spotlight: Natalie 

Natalie gained her expertise at the University of North Florida. Her goal is to teach others that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. She’s especially passionate about intuitive eating. I had the chance to sit down and get to know her a bit better.  

How did you get into nutrition? 

I wanted to learn how to better my own health and encourage others to as well! I love that nutrition isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula. Everyone’s needs and goals are different.  

What’s your biggest nutrition pet peeve? 

My biggest pet peeve is placing morality on food. Food isn’t good or bad and eating something that’s seen as unhealthy doesn’t make you bad! You can enjoy all foods in moderation, even your favorite treats and desserts.  

What advice would you give someone who’s struggling to make healthy changes? 

Remember: There are no quick fixes when it comes to your health! Making changes to your diet is all about balance. You should think of it as a lifestyle shift that takes time. So focus on small steps and achievable goals. Once you reach one goal, make another! 

What’s your favorite supplement? 

My favorite supplement is CBD. I like that it helps calm my nerves and even helps with sleep.* 

What’s your favorite snack and why? 

A favorite snack of mine is peanut butter with apple slices! Not only is it delicious and sweet (I have a major sweet tooth 😊!), but both foods are full of nutrients like fiber. And peanut butter has protein and healthy fats to help keep you feeling full for longer. 

What does your average weekend look like? 

My fiancée and I travel nearly every weekend to nearby cities, where we walk around, try new restaurants and explore museums. We also like to visit our families, who live about 3 hours away.  

When we do stay home, we like to get take-out from a favorite restaurant, catch up on cleaning, watch movies and go on hikes when it’s warm outside. 

Tell us something surprising about yourself. 

I have 6 siblings. And I actually started out as a nursing major before I switched to nutrition! 

Check out Natalie’s blogs and follow her on IG @nutritionist.natalie 

Natalie is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Natalie or another of our amazing nutritionists. 

 
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

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Pharmacist spotlight: Ruby

Nutritionist, Pharmacist and Personal Chef, Ruby is a strong advocate for integrative wellness. At Persona, she helps manage our drug-nutrient database to ensure our customers’ prescription medications and supplements don’t collide. 

I sat down with Ruby and got to know her a little better. 

How did you get into nutrition?  

Given my background in pharmacy and culinary, it made sense to work in nutrition as well. Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle not only play a vital role in preventative health, but they can really help you feel more fulfilled in your daily life. 

What’s your biggest nutrition pet peeve?  

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say weight loss is just about the calories you’re eating versus the calories you’re burning. Even though research has shown it’s so much more than that—it involves your hormones, your metabolic rate and other factors—I still hear a lot of people in the health and wellness space say this. And not all calories are equal, so it’s best to focus on eating a diet that includes nutritious, whole foods. 

What advice would you give someone who’s struggling to make healthy changes? 

Change can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to make multiple changes at once. Start with something small and create a win there. The satisfaction and motivation you get from that small change will help fuel your bigger goals. Also, surround yourself with people who support and encourage you—and even some who might be on the same health journey.  

What’s your favorite supplement? 

Ubiquinol! I’m working out a lot right now and prepping for a race this Fall, so I like that ubiquinol can help with recovery and the oxidative stress that exercise can cause.*  

What’s your favorite snack and why?  

I love making mini charcuterie boards with a side of chilled cucumbers. It’s healthy, but also fun to eat!  

What does your average weekend look like?  

I like to get a few workouts in throughout the weekend, but also Saturdays I’ll do something fun. I typically don’t cook on Saturday unless it’s a very special occasion, so everyone has to fend for themselves! But I will cook Sunday afternoons; I like putting a movie on in the background and making it relaxed. It’s also a great time to catch up with my daughter, Taylor. 

Tell us something surprising about yourself.  

As a teenager I had synesthesia, but I didn’t know or understand what it was and started to feel strange about it, so I mentally blocked it. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a condition in which information that is supposed to stimulate one of your senses actually stimulates several of them.   

I also love trying new things. Right now, it’s dancing and I’m planning to start learning archery soon! 

Check out Ruby’s blogs and follow her on IG @pharmacist.ruby 

Ruby is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out to Ruby or one of our other nutritionists, or book a free appointment at a time that works for you.  

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

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3 healthy recipes when you’re short on time 

With busy schedules and a towering to-do list, setting aside time to make a home-cooked meal is often the last thing you want to do. But cooking doesn’t always have to be time-consuming or hard. Here are 3 easy dinners you can make in under an hour—but taste like they’ve had all day for the flavors to mingle.  

1. Pollo Guisado 

This one-pot chicken stew is not only delicious when it’s fresh, but it also makes amazing leftovers! Serve it over piping hot grains with a side of tomato and cucumber salad. 

Ingredients 

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes  
  • 1 small onion  
  • 1 stalk celery  
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeds removed  
  • 4 garlic cloves  
  • 6 stalks parsley (stems & leaves)  
  • 1 sprig of thyme  
  • Juice from ½ a lemon  
  • Olive oil  
  • Salt 
  • Freshly ground pepper  
  • ½ cup chicken stock, plus extra if needed 
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes  
  • 1 large waxy potato, peeled and diced into medium-sized cubes  
  • ¼ cup capers (optional) 

Preparation 

  1. Finely chop the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, parsley, and thyme by hand or with a food processor. Use half the seasoning to marinate the chicken and reserve half to add to the stew later on.  
  1. Marinate the chicken pieces in the seasonings, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper for at least 15 minutes. 
  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides. 
  1. Add the stock, tomatoes, potatoes, capers, and the remaining seasoning. Stir well to release any flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add additional stock, if needed, to cover the chicken. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. 
  1. Cook until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.  
Pollo Guisado

2. Pork stir fry  

A secret to great stir fry is to cut the vegetables and protein into uniform, bite-size pieces. The marinade will penetrate better and the vegetables will cook faster while staying crisp! Also, use an oil that can tolerate high heat like avocado oil and keep your pan hot throughout the cooking process. 

Note: Don’t eat pork? Substitute with another protein like tofu. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips  
  • 1 20-ounce bag of frozen stir fry vegetables. Alternatively, slice up your favorite fresh veggies. 
  • Avocado or canola oil 
  • ½ cup teriyaki sauce 

Pork marinade 

  • 1 ½ tablespoons regular or dark soy sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic  
  • 2 teaspoons mirin or rice wine 
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon oil 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 

Preparation 

  1. Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the tenderloin strips, coat well, and marinate for at least 15 minutes. 
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the pork and cook until completely cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove the pork from the work and set aside. 
  1. Wipe the pan then increase the heat to high. When it’s very hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir fry the vegetables for 5 – 7 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender. Turn off the heat. 
  1. Add the pork and the teriyaki sauce and stir well. 

3. Pasta with creamy red pepper sauce

Reminiscent of an alla Vodka sauce but with a red pepper flavor! Delicious, creamy and a great way to sneak in vegetables! Pair it with your favorite pasta. In my opinion, one that’s tubular (like penne) or is flat (like farfalle) works best! 

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. farfalle, cooked  
  • Olive oil 
  • 1 large red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced 
  • 1 small onion, sliced 
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce 
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock or water, plus extra if needed 
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves 
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • ¼ cup light cream or a plant-based milk (cashew or soy milk works great) 
  • 2 tablespoons butter  
  • Salt 
  • Freshly ground pepper 

Preparation 

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sauté the bell pepper, onion and mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Set aside ⅓ of the sautéed mixture. 
  1. To the skillet, add the tomato sauce, stock or water, oregano and basil and 1 tablespoon parsley. Bring to a simmer and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cool for a few minutes then transfer to a blender. 
  1. Blend with the red pepper flakes, milk and butter until smooth. Pour into the skillet and add the cooked farfalle and reserved sautéed mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

About Ruby 

Ruby is a Registered Pharmacist, Board Certified-medication Management Specialist, and Personal Chef. She believes that whole health creates more vibrant living and is a strong advocate for integrative wellness.   

Do you have questions about supplements? Reach out to one of our experts, or take Persona’s free nutrition assessment, and learn exactly what you need to take your wellness to the next level.     

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

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5 important nutrients for healthy hair 

When it comes to healthy hair, store shelves and social feeds are full of promises: hair masks, oils, conditioners and treatments of all kinds guarantee strength and shine. But in reality, one of the best routes to more lustrous locks is through your diet. Let’s look at some important nutrients and how they can benefit your hair. 

1. Biotin for shinier locks*

One of the most celebrated nutrients for hair support, biotin is an essential B-vitamin that helps convert food into energy for your body. It plays an important role in making keratin, the protein that makes up most of your hair, so ensuring you have enough is vital. It can help with a shinier mane and even curb nutrient-related hair loss.*   

Food sources for biotin:

Eggs, nuts and seeds. When cooking up eggs for hair health, be sure not to nix the yolk as this is the richest source of biotin. Fun fact: Avidin is a protein in egg whites that inhibits the absorption of biotin, BUT when fully cooked, this inhibition is significantly reduced. In other words, cook your eggs not only for food safety but also for the sake of your hair! 

2. Vitamin D for healthy hair growth*

One of vitamin D’s lesser-known benefits is hair health. What’s interesting is that your hair follicles actually have receptors to absorb vitamin D. But if you’re one of the 42% of U.S. adults with low levels of the sunshine vitamin, your hair growth can be disrupted, causing weak, thin and dull hair.1 Keeping up your vitamin D levels through food or supplements helps can help keep your hair growth on track.*  

Food sources for Vitamin D:  

Salmon, sardines, mushrooms and foods fortified in vitamin D. 

3. Antioxidants: to keep your scalp healthy

Antioxidants help mop up harmful free radicals that damage cells in high concentrations, including your scalp cells. These pesky substances result naturally from UV exposure, pollution and even stress. Eating antioxidant-rich foods and maintaining proper hygiene can help counteract their effects by increasing blood circulation to your scalp and promoting normal hair growth.*  

Food sources for antioxidants:

Colorful fruits and vegetables like kale, spinach, berries, beets and garlic. 

4. Collagen: Your hair’s building blocks 

The most abundant protein in your body, collagen plays a vital role in keeping your scalp healthy and providing the building blocks for keratin, the protein that gives your hair substance. With age, your body makes less collagen, so replenishing your stores through diet and supplements is vital to promoting healthy, nourished locks.2,3*  

Food sources for collagen:

Animal protein and powders. 

5. Zinc for stronger, fuller hair*

This might be surprising since zinc is most often linked to its benefits to your immune system, but this trace mineral is also a powerful antioxidant that can help strengthen and promote a healthy scalp.* Keeping up your zinc levels can help reduce nutrient-related shedding and promote stronger, fuller hair.*  

Food sources:

Oysters, shellfish, beef and dairy. 

Takeaway 

Whether you want strong, voluminous hair or just want to reduce shedding, adding hair-friendly nutrients to your diet can help nourish your mane from within.  

Meal ideas to help with hair health 

  • Breakfast: Eggs with leafy vegetables like spinach and a side of berries 
  • Lunch: Salad full of vegetables like peppers, carrots, cucumbers, a nut or seed like almonds or sunflower seeds and a protein such as beef! 
  • Dinner: Shrimp with mushrooms, sweet potatoes and a side salad 
  • Snacks: Greek yogurt parfaits with berries and granola 

Check out: How your gut affects your skin & hair health next.

About Hayley 

Hayley is a Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Florida State University and a Master of Science in Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island. Hayley is dedicated to empowering individuals to achieve their nutritional goals through evidence-based practices.  

Do you have questions about supplements? Reach out to one of our experts, or take Persona’s free nutrition assessment, and learn exactly what you need to take your wellness to the next level.     

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.       

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.     

References:

  1. Aksu Cerman, A., Sarikaya Solak, S. and Kivanc Altunay, I. (2014), Vitamin D. Br J Dermatol, 170: 1299-1304. https://doi-org.uri.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/bjd.12980 
  2. Bolke L, Schlippe G, Gerß J, Voss W. A Collagen Supplementation for Skin Health Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2494. Published 2019 Oct 17. doi:10.3390/nu11102494 
  3. Vollmer DL, West VA, Lephart ED. Enhancing Skin Health: By Oral Administration. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(10):3059. Published 2018 Oct 7. doi:10.3390/ijms19103059 
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Nutritionist spotlight: Holly

Holly is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who works with Persona customers daily to help them get the most from their programs. She earned her degree from Michigan State University before completing a supervised practice program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Holly uses her expertise to teach others about nutrition—with a special emphasis on gut health. Her mission: to help others understand that a healthy lifestyle really can be easy and enjoyable. 

I sat down with Holly and got to know her a little better. 

How did you get into nutrition? 

Everyone who knows me knows I’m all about gut health! I think it stems from my own struggles and all the time I spent researching this topic for myself! There was a period when I was experiencing a lot of GI issues—severe pain, bloating and weight loss—so I was in and out of doctors’ offices a lot, until I finally connected with a clinical dietitian. That experience really opened my eyes to the impact food can have on our health and how complex our bodies are! From there my interest grew and I knew nutrition was the path for me. 

What’s your biggest nutrition pet peeve? 

One of my biggest pet peeves is the idea you shouldn’t eat after 7 or 8 pm! So many people promote this and follow this mindset, thinking that if you eat late, you’ll instantly gain weight. It isn’t true!  

The time you eat doesn’t matter; it’s what you eat and how much. At night, it’s common to reach for snacks that are processed or high in sugar out of boredom or habit. Rather than cut that evening snack, change it: Instead of candy or chips, try more nutrient-dense foods like nuts or fruit. 

What advice would you give to someone who’s struggling to make healthy changes? 

My advice is to keep it simple and easy! Don’t be so strict about following a specific diet or counting every calorie. These aren’t healthy or sustainable habits. Instead, focus on nutrient-dense whole foods (like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans and lean meats) for about 80% of your diet. This way you’re not restricting yourself from the treats you crave.  When you mindfully choose nutritious foods for most of your meals—and consciously allow yourself to enjoy fun foods occasionally—you’re setting yourself up for long-term success.  

What’s your favorite supplement? 

My favorite supplement is definitely ashwagandha! I’ve had it in my daily pack for about 3-4 months now, and let me just say it has been a game changer when it comes to supporting my mood and attention! Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that has so many benefits, but has really helped bring an overall sense of calm and clarity to my life*. 

What’s your favorite snack and why?  

Ever since high school, my go-to snack since has been hummus, crackers and veggies! I love the combination of the creamy, crunchy and saltiness, especially mid-afternoon when I hit that slump. Hummus—usually made from chickpeas—provides a great source of protein. Paired with complex carbs from whole grain crackers and veggies, it helps keep me energized and satisfied until dinner. 

What does your average weekend look like? 

I usually start Fridays by finishing any errands, working out, grocery shopping and meal prepping. On Saturdays, I love being active, so I’ll go outdoors if the weather is nice! I like climbing, hiking, kayaking, biking or hanging out with friends. I also really enjoy baking or reading in my hammock—lately, I’ve been loving all the Colleen Hoover books! 

Tell us something surprising about yourself. 

One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that before I learned the importance of gut health and nutrition, I actually started college with the intention of studying engineering! Another fun fact: I’ve been to 46 states so far and my goal is to visit all 50 before I turn 30! 

Check out Holly’s blogs and follow her on IG @hollys_bestlife 

Holly is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out to Holly or one of our other nutritionists, or book a free appointment at a time that works for you. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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A dietitian’s favorite spring superfoods  

As we shift from the cold, gloomy days of winter to the warm, brighter days ahead, there’s a lot to be excited about. One of my favorite things is the produce that pops up at my local farmer’s market. These seasonal treats are some of the best superfoods you can get: rich in flavor, bright in color and packed with healthy nutrients.  

With brighter days on their way, here are some spring superfoods to look for next time you go grocery shopping! 

1. Asparagus 

Roasted, steamed, sauteed or grilled, asparagus makes the perfect side to any main dish. Famous for its long, pointy spears, it’s a favorite spring vegetable that shows up around mid-March to early April. Asparagus is loaded with antioxidants like vitamins C and E that help protect cells from age-related damage from free radicals. And it’s an excellent source of fiber to promote regularity, lower cholesterol and promote the growth of the good gut bacteria in your GI system! 

How to eat it: Cut the spears into thirds and sauté them with garlic and butter—or keep them whole and roast them in the oven with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. 

2. Arugula  

While spinach and kale might be hailed as the leafy greens of winter, spring is all about arugula. Its slightly spicy and peppery flavor is perfect for any spring dish. But it’s not just its unique flavor that makes it so popular at this time of year, it’s also rich in nutrients like calcium and vitamin K to promote bone health.1 And it’s a great source of vitamins A, C, folate and magnesium to help with metabolism, eye health, immunity and nerve function.  

How to eat it: Toss it in a salad, add it to a sandwich, pasta, pizza or make arugula pesto! 

3. Sugar Snap Peas 

Sugar snap peas are like a mix between your classic green pea and the snow peas you find in stir-fry. These small but mighty veggies are full of vitamin C ,which helps prevent cell damage caused by toxins in the environment. It also plays an important role in collagen production, helping your skin, bones, joints and hair health.2 Sugar snap peas also contain plenty of fiber to promote digestive health and keep you feeling full longer.3  

How to eat it: Eat sugar snap peas fresh with hummus or sauté them with salt and pepper. 

4. Radishes 

Radishes are a root vegetable most commonly found in salads—but they’re also delicious in stir-fry, soups and even pickled. They’re great for adding a pop of color and a crunchy texture to your dish, but they’re also full of important nutrients. Radishes contain a sulfur-rich phytochemical called sulforaphane, which plays an important role in your body to help promote healthy blood sugar levels. And they’re a good source of natural nitrates that improve blood flow and promote heart health.4  

How to eat it: Roast radishes in the oven with salt, garlic, pepper and olive oil. 

5. Strawberries 

These bright red berries are the perfect snack when you’re craving something sweet; they’re easy to eat, delicious and incredibly good for you. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants like anthocyanins, that’s been linked to improving heart health in some studies. Other key nutrients are vitamin C, fiber and folate—which plays a role in tissue growth, repair and cell function.  

How to eat it: Eat radishes fresh by themselves, add them to yogurt or toss them in a spring salad with arugula! 

6. Carrots 

Does anyone else think about carrot cake when spring rolls around? The bright, orange root vegetable complements any recipe (even dessert!). Carrots are rich in potassium, which plays a key role in regulating blood pressure and heart health by helping to remove excess sodium and fluid from your body.  

And we can’t forget what they’re best known for: vitamin A! Carrots contain beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A to help with eye health, immunity and children’s growth and development.5 

How to eat it: Toss carrots in a salad, eat them fresh with hummus or make a carrot cake! It’s all about balance, right? 

Takeaway 

Spring brings so many wonderful fruits and vegetables full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants! When you eat seasonally, you’re more likely to get fresh, nutrient-dense foods that are coming from local farms, so travel times are much shorter. Not only do they taste fresher, but certain nutrients like Vitamin C, folate and carotenes can decrease with travel times and long stretches in storage. Try to eat seasonally when possible; your body with thank you! 

Check out 5 benefits of eating seasonally next!

About Holly 

Holly is a Licensed Registered Dietitian with her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Michigan State University and completed her supervised practice program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Holly’s goal is to help others understand that living a healthy life is not only easy and enjoyable but attainable for anyone!   

Do you have questions about supplements? Reach out to one of our experts, or take Persona’s free nutrition assessment, and learn exactly what you need to take your wellness to the next level. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

References:

  1. Maresz K. Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015;14(1):34-39. 
  2. Boyera N, Galey I, Bernard BA. Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 1998;20(3):151-158. doi:10.1046/j.1467-2494.1998.171747.x 
  3. Lattimer J., Haub D. Effects of dietary fiber and its components on Metabolic Health. Nutrients. 2010;2(12):1266-1289. doi:10.3390/nu2121266 
  4. Ivy JL. Inorganic nitrate supplementation for Cardiovascular Health. Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal. 2019;15(3):200. doi:10.14797/mdcj-15-3-200 
  5. Tanumihardjo SA. Vitamin A: Biomarkers of nutrition for development. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;94(2). doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.005777 
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Nutritionist spotlight: Yaquelin 

As leader of Persona’s nutrition outreach program, Yaquelin lives her passion, by helping others to live healthier, happier lives. She developed her expertise at the University of Nevada Reno, where she earned her degree before moving to Seattle and completing an internship at Sea Mar Community Health Center. When she joined Persona, she found a new way to put that knowledge into action, teaching others about nutrition—with a special focus on using cultural foods to enrich a healthy diet. 

I sat down with Yaquelin to get to know her a little better.  

How did you get into nutrition? 

If I’m being completely honest, I actually started out as a nursing major! I took a nutrition class as a requirement, and after my first day, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I changed my major that week and never looked back! 😊 I think it just made sense to me. Growing up, I was always active with martial arts and wrestling, and to support that, my dad really prioritized the importance of a healthy, nutritious diet.  

What’s your biggest nutrition pet peeve? 

My biggest pet peeve is the idea that lemon water will make you lose weight! Adding lemons to your water helps with flavor—and gives you some antioxidants—but it won’t make you lose weight if you don’t change anything else. Healthy diet and exercise are the real secret. Whether you’re trying to shed a few pounds or maintain your weight, you should focus on eating nutrient-dense foods and adding regular exercise to your routine.  

What advice would you give to someone who’s struggling to make healthy changes? 

Rather than being restrictive and focusing on what to remove from your diet, think about what you can add to it. Can you add more fruits, veggies, fiber, protein or healthy fats? Choosing healthy options will get you a lot farther than dieting. And don’t compare yourself to other people! Everyone is different. Make changes that make sense for your lifestyle and you’re more likely to stick with it long-term.  

What’s your favorite supplement? 

I love Omega 3! It’s just so important and has so many incredible benefits: promoting heart health and a sharp mind*, just to name two. And it’s an essential nutrient, meaning you need to make sure you’re getting enough through your diet or supplements.  

What’s your favorite snack and why? 

Dates stuffed with peanut butter and dark chocolate! If you have a sweet tooth—and even if you don’t— you have to try it! It’s not just tasty; it also gives you antioxidants in the dark chocolate (make sure to choose at least 70% cacao), fiber in the dates and protein in the peanut butter. It’s the perfect combo of sweet and savory! 

What does your average weekend look like? 

Friday nights, I like to do something fun like watching a movie! I usually work out Saturday mornings—lately, I’ve been loving cycling/spin classes at my local studio. Then I’ll finish all my chores so I can enjoy the rest of the day with friends or my partner. Sundays are pretty chill; I mostly spend time with my two Goldendoodles and focus on recharging for the week. 😊 

Tell us something surprising about yourself 

I was born in GTO, Mexico and I have 4 sisters—no brothers. I’m also scared of birds…including chickens!

Check out Yaquelin’s Yaquelin’s blogs and follow her on IG @dietitianyaqui 

Yaquelin is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out to Yaquelin or one of our other nutritionists, or book a free appointment at a time that works for you. 

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