January Nutrition Nuggets


Once again I have saved articles of interest in the health news to share with you. They range in topics: is weight-gain contagious? 🙂 ; the benefits of honey; non-dairy milk vs cows milk; dietary sugar & bacterial infections; a new study with coconut oil; curcumin & memory; & an interesting slide show from WebMD.

Most of the health news this past month has centered around this years flu. I want to remind you that you can still get a flu shot & should discuss it with your healthcare team. I realize that this years vaccine is said to be only 30% effective, but even so, it may lessen the time with the flu & its severity. Something to consider. 

 This idea could be applied to most any lifestyle choices. Who do you hang with? Newsweek: WEIGHT GAIN IS CONTAGIOUS AND YOU COULD ‘CATCH’ OBESITY FROM YOUR NEIGHBORS, STUDY FINDS, BY MELISSA MATTHEWS

This article points out a similar study’s results that showed that people who do not smoke, eat a healthy diet & exercise don’t generally keep company with those who don’t follow the same lifestyle. In a Weight Watchers group I went to decades ago, the speaker said to take a look at who your eating partners are & where you tend to meet them. Good advice. If you want to change your lifestyle you may have to meet new people who are doing the same thing.

 I remember using honey as a poultice for bedsores when I was a student nurse. It healed & soothed the wound faster than the pharmaceuticals of the day. Honey is also soothing & healing for mouth & throat sores. Check out this article. CNN: The proven health benefits of honeyBy Sandee LaMotte, January 15, 2018  Honey is also a good cough suppressant. Note the reminder that you should not give honey to children under 1 year of age. I would extend that to under 2 years of age to be safe.

I chose this article because so many of us do not use dairy, especially cows milk. I take issue with the idea that cows milk is the best source of protein & B vitamins. I also take issue with them encouraging cows milk for children because the use of non-dairy milks may make them shorter. We could say that cows milk makes them taller & they enter puberty earlier because of the growth hormones in it. 

The takeaway from this article is that if we deviate from a healthy balanced diet we need to make sure that we fill the nutritional gaps that happen with that change. For example vegans must look for other sources of protein & B12. This is why I cringe when I see fad diets that don’t fill the gaps. Is It OK to Substitute Non-Dairy Milks in Kids’ Diets?By Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD, CSSD, 

I saw several articles about dietary sugar & its link to bacterial outbreaks in hospitals. Most of them were sensational. This article is more technical but easily understood. It is where the original study comes from. It discusses clostridium difficile, a hospital acquired infection in developed countries & its link to a sugar additive, trehalose. Baylor College of Medicine: Dietary sugar linked to bacterial epidemics, By Dipali Pathak, January 3, 2018  

This is another well written article about this problem from CDC Radio: This food additive is hard to avoid and could make hospital superbugs more deadly, Saturday January 06, 2018 According to the researcher who led the study, Robert Britton, a professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, this problem could become worse as the FDA continues to okay new additives being introduced into our foods. Another reason to limit packaged/processed foods & to read the labels.

NutrientsReview.com: Trehalose If your interested in this food additive, this is very informative.

The BBC2 series, Trust Me I’m a Doctor, conducted their own study to see if coconut oil is heart healthy or not. They used 94 volunteers, aged 50-75. Blood work was done to establish their baseline for cholesterol, LDL & HDL. There were 3 groups. Group one was given coconut oil, the second group extra virgin olive oil & the third group unsalted butter. Interesting results! BBC News: Is coconut oil a superfood?  By Dr Michael Mosley, 9 January 2018  

This was a small study but the results are consistent with other studies. Looks like the American Heart Association needs to take another look at coconut oil 🙂 I still recommend using it in moderation like any other oil.

UCLA Newsroom: Curcumin improves memory and mood, new UCLA study says, By Leigh Hopper | In case you have forgotten 🙂 curcumin is found in turmeric. We know that it is an anti-oxidant & an anti-inflammatory. This study shows that it is also good for improving your mood & memory. In the article the author quotes Dr. Small: “Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” said Dr. Gary Small, director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA’s Longevity Center and of the geriatric psychiatry division at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and the study’s first author.”

I know this article doesn’t address “chemo brain” or my “lupus brain fog” but it might help due to its anti-inflammatory affect. Break out the turmeric from your spice cabinet & start using it! I put it in everything. It is really good on rice & in scrambled tofu “eggs” because it gives the dish that yellow color; a “poor man’s saffron”. 

Golden Turmeric Milk: This is a simple recipe that I put together from many sources.


  • 1 cup milk or milk alternative such as Almond or Cashew milk
  • ¼ – 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut, almond, or olive oil
  • Dash of ground black pepper
  • Honey to taste (optional)
  • Simply blend together in your blender until frothy.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon, cardamom or ginger on top of prepared milk

In addition, I thought you might be interested in this wonderful recipe by herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar.

Medicinal Curry Blend

  • 1 ounce Corriander seeds
  • 1 ounce Cummin seeds
  • 1 ounce Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 ounce black Mustard seed
  • 1/2 ounce Chili pepper (Cayenne)
  • 1/2 ounce Fennel seeds
  • 1/2 ounce Ginger powder

Combine by grinding together into a powder & use in curry dishes.

Rosemary Gladstar combines 2-3 teaspoons of the powder with 1/4 of oil, I use Olive oil, in a saucepan and warms it until the herbs are fragrant ~a few minutes~then stores it in the refrigerator. It will keep for a couple of weeks.

Couldn’t resist adding this last article:

WebMD: Drinks With as Many Calories as Soda  Liquid Calories: A 12-ounce can of soda has between about 125 and 180 calories. All of those come from sugar — between 8 and 11 teaspoons in your glass. Those numbers give this drink a reputation as a nutritional bad guy. Still, there are lots of other beverages that have as many or more calories as a soda.” Did you see your favorite drink in there? Makes you question what you thought you knew or what you were ignoring. 🙂

I am adding this article at the last minute because I realized that this same “cure” is being directed at cancer patients on the Internet. Another potentially fatal & surely harmful scam. Newsweek: PARENTS ARE MAKING THEIR CHILDREN DRINK BLEACH TO ‘CURE’ THEM OF AUTISM, BY  

Be sure to check our Topics page for updates on Medical Marijuana!

Until next week…Mary 🙂