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Nutritional Deficiencies (Malnutrition)
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Rating system arrows represent: Please read the previous section, Treats vs. Health Hazards, as it has a direct bearing on this one. In the wild, their food choices are not loaded with fat, sugar or excessive amounts of protein but in captivity they are offered these things in the form of dietary extras, or treats , and this can lead to very serious health problems. Small chins should receive a smaller portion or get treats less frequently and kits in the week weaning period should not be fed treats at all.

NO TREATS for chins that are ill or that have diarrhea or squashy fecal droppings , they need all the dietary staples fresh pellets, hay they are able to consume and treats can exacerbate their condition. Honey can cause gas and lead to bloat , which can be fatal. Many cereals that are not coated in sugar nonetheless contain too much sugar and this can cause bloodsugar-related seizures. Uncooked pasta adds unnecessary starch and carbohydrates to the chin's diet but can be given in very SMALL pieces a couple times a week.

Read the warning that goes with feeding grains! Feeding pellet mixes with "treat" bits in them as a daily diet is very ill-advised. Pieces of corn should be removed if present in a pellet mix given as an occasional treat. FRUIT Note that although the wood of some trees may be toxic , that warning doesn't necessarily transfer to the fruit of the tree. Fresh banana, apple, grape, strawberry, etc.

Fruit, either fresh or dried, is not recommended for daily consumption due to its high sugar content. A diet high in sugar can cause diabetes, tooth decay and other problems, including bloodsugar-related seizures when sugary treats are fed around playtime an hour before or after.

Pretreating food with citrus juice can help increase the vitamin C content of the dried food. Never give a chin dried fruit that has been sweetened, that contains ADDED sugar, cranberries for instance often do. See these sited for dried fruit nutritional analyses: That missing water would normally make the fresh fruit larger than the dried fruit, so there would be more pieces of dried fruit in the same serving size. For example, one grape has seven calories and one raisin has seven calories, however one cup of grapes has about 60 calories, and a cup of raisins has over calories.

This doesn't happen because the raisin company added sugar, it happened because without the water, the raisins take up a lot less space.

More raisins fit into one cup so that means one cup of raisins has more sugar and calories than grapes. The sugar listed on the nutrient facts label on dried fruit packages is not table sugar, unless it is listed as an added sugar. The sugar in dried fruit is fructose and glucose, the sugars that are naturally found in the fruit.

Make sure to read labels before you buy the dried fruits, the ingredient list on the package will state whether sugar is added or not. Be cautious about some grains mixes, they may contain ingredients nuts, seeds that should be fed very sparingly, if at all.

When serving soft grains oats, wheat germ, wheat or barley flakes, etc. Be advised when serving grains that they are very high in phosphorus and a diet that is too high in phosphorus or too low in calcium will lead to calcium deficiency ; this is a scientifically established fact for both animals and man. Because calcium deficiency is a cause of environmental malocclusion, grains grain hays , supplemental grain mixes, grain treats, cereal or uncooked pasta , etc.

Read more about calcium deficiency and the relationship between calcium and phosphorus. Also note that chins are not predisposed to bladder stones from calcium, that is a problem with rabbits and guinea pigs because those particular species have an atypical calcium metabolism. To avoid malocclusion caused by calcium deficiency , chins that are fed ANY grains, especially in significant quantity e. The reason that ranchers and pet breeders have used supplemental grain mixes for years without noticing a problem is that they ALSO typically give their breeding stock a calcium supplement or feed alfalfa as their primary hay.

Since the trend in recent years has been to steer pet owners away from alfalfa and toward feeding only grass hays which may have less protein but which don't have alfalfa's high calcium content , those pet chins are more vulnerable to calcium deficiency because not only are they getting less calcium in their diet, they're getting raised phosphorus levels by being fed grains, further predisposing them to calcium deficiency and malocclusion! Rose hips, in particular, are a good treat to offer because they are high in vitamin C and that helps prevent dental disease by strengthening the connective tissue which holds the chin's open-rooted teeth in place.

Herb suppliers for the pet market typically base their product's conditions of use on knowledge of the herbs' warnings and side effects in animals and man. Some suggested suppliers, search for more: Nuts and seeds are also high in phosphorus.

Coconuts are seeds, not fruit ref and coconut meat, the white insides that lay beneath the brown outer husk, is very high in saturated fat nutritiondata. Note that although the wood of some trees may be toxic , that warning doesn't necessarily transfer to the nuts of the tree. Offering nuts and seeds is not a way to offer a more "natural" diet, the nuts and seeds found in the supermarket are not equatable with what chinchillas eat in the wild. Although alfalfa hay is high in protein, it plays an important part in a chin's diet because it is very nutrient rich and high in calcium, which can help prevent malocclusion caused by calcium deficiency.

Read the details that put things into proper perspective. Chinchillas are not like rabbits and guinea pigs in this way, they do not need fresh vegetables in their diet, pellets and hay are the only dietary staples they need.

It is important to bear in mind that what chinchillas eat in the wild is not equatable with the fresh vegetables you find in the supermarket, they differ significantly by factors such as fibrous consistency and nutritional and water content. Feeding chins fresh vegetables in captivity is not a way of approximating the native diet. It would be wise to avoid the major bloat-inducing veggies think green veggies in particular whether they are in fresh or dried form: However, it is true that when vegetables are dried or processed that their bloat-causing potential does diminish.

Other dried vegetables, such as pumpkin, potato, squash and sweet potato are acceptable if offered in SMALL pieces times a week. If you live in the UK, pellets there are often high in protein and lower in fiber, the reverse of what chinchilla pellets should be according to vets. If a chin isn't consuming large amounts of hay to compensate for that lack of fiber and to provide roughage for sufficient tooth wear, then dental disease, including tooth overgrowth, can result. Ideally, as long as a chin is able to consume hay, then finding the right quality of hay that he will eat regularly should be regarded as the better alternative.

Our exotics specialist vet advises only occasional access times a week to mineral wheels , stones or blocks attach to cage with wire, not plastic , see Quick Links for vitamin and mineral suppliers.

In fact, the chin's cage should be positioned out of direct sunlight, anyway, see Heat and Humidity Can Be Life-Threatening. The water bottle must be thoroughly cleaned at least once weekly, and it should be refilled daily with cold, distilled or filtered water. Position the bottle on the bottom level of the cage but not in a pee corner so that any drips will go straight into the litter pan.

Cleaning the water bottle by dishwasher is highly recommended as this tends to do the most thorough sanitizing job. However, it is important that any other items that will go through the dishwasher cycle with the water bottle are clear of food particles, otherwise these particles can get trapped in the water bottle spout and cause an obstruction.

Check the water level daily during water bottle refill time and if the water level has not changed from the day before, then check the spout to see if it is working correctly. If not, give your chin his backup water bottle immediately while you put the malfunctioning bottle through a dishwasher cycle. Test it afterward, if the problem hasn't cleared the chin will need another water bottle to replace that one.

If you have two chins in a cage and the water bottle had failed and left them without water, they'll compete for water when they get it and this can cause cagemate conflicts. It's best to have two backup water bottles in this case so that they can quench their thirst without problem until their regular water bottle or a replacement has been returned. If a water bottle empties too quickly the spout may be leaking or the chin may have chewed at the bottle and made a hole.

It is not "typical" for a chin to chew at his water bottle! If he is, this could be a sign that the water bottle is not working reliably, that it is out of water, or that the chin is stressed and anxious or simply bored out of his mind. Chinchillas are highly intelligent animals, they need distractions to keep them occupied such as: If you start adding liquid vitamins see international suppliers to your chin's distilled or filtered water, or when you initially switch to distilled or filtered water, it may take him a bit of time to adjust because he can tell there's "something different" and it's very typical for chins to be initially suspicious of change or the unfamiliar.

He should start drinking within 24 hours of the change but if he doesn't, give him a bottle of what he's accustomed to and see if he uses that. If not, then there's something else wrong and he should be taken to your exotics specialist vet as soon as possible. A chin that hiccups, and perhaps paws at his face a bit while in the process of drinking has just taken in too much and, as with people, will be ok if allowed a moment to regain his composure.

The nutrients which have been removed are important in maintaining a healthy animal. If trace minerals are what was intended by that quote, this does have some relevance, "the mineral content of water reflects the nature of the geologic formation with which the water has been in contact.

The most abundant minerals dissolved in water are salts of calcium, magnesium, strontium, ferrous iron, and manganese. All of our minerals are derived from our food: The minerals in water are so scant that in Boston, MA for example, one would have to drink 8-ounce glasses of tap water to obtain the Recommended Daily Allowance RDA of calcium. That person would have to drink 1, 8-ounce glasses to get RDA of magnesium, 8-ounce glasses to get RDA of iron, and , 8-ounce glasses to obtain the RDA of phosphorus.

You would practically have to drown yourself by drinking it to get the RDA of any beneficial minerals. Chlorination "Chlorine has been the most widely used disinfectant in the U.

Well water may not have flouridation but it does have a greater risk of parasites, read below. We need to provide our chins with the purest AND safest water, and if mineral supplementation is desired in addition to what chinchilla pellets already provide, it can be obtained from suppliers who offer clean, safe sources, see vitamins and minerals section under Quick Links.

Although city drinking water is adequate for chinchillas, excessive chlorine can be very dangerous. If tap water has a strong disinfectant smell Water from natural sources is preferable to chlorinated drinking water.

Tap water in most large cities should probably be boiled because of the chlorine content. The more your shopping basket looks like a rainbow of color, the better off your diet will be.

Should my diet be adjusted for my individual needs? One of the possible modifications is the amount of food that will be required to meet your calorie needs. Because both individual metabolism—the rate at which your body is using energy at the cellular level—and lifestyle can significantly affect calorie requirements, it is always difficult to make generic recommendations on how many calories someone needs every day. You may have an innately higher than normal rate of metabolism, an energy-demanding job as a construction worker, or an intensive daily exercise schedule, all of which serve to increase your calorie needs.

Here are some examples of why you should adjust your diet: The need for additional calories: Regardless of these individual variants, the total intake of food that you need daily is somewhat increased by a chronic viral infection like HIV since the energy demanded by an ongoing immune response to the virus is constantly burning up calories.

In addition, any other infections—including not only opportunistic infections, but any others that you might develop—will further increase this need for additional calories.

Weighing yourself regularly and keeping a weight diary can be very useful for ensuring that your daily food intake is sufficient to maintain your body.

Asking your physician to do a bioelectrical impedance analysis BIA regularly will also help keep track of your body status. This simple test provides information on your body percentages of fat, muscle, and water. Tracked over time, it can give clear indications of unhealthy changes Dealing with lactose intolerance: It is quite common for HIV-positive people, especially those with more advanced disease, to develop lactose intolerance—an inability to properly digest the milk sugar lactose that results in gas or diarrhea when dairy products are consumed.

The severity of this problem is highly variable, with some people unable to tolerate even small amounts of dairy products, while others would react badly to large amounts but could easily consume moderate amounts every day without any problems. When the problem does occur, reduction or elimination of milk and the many products made from it cheese, ice cream, yogurt, etc. Fat malabsorption, a possible cause of diarrhea and gas, is also common in HIV disease. Researchers have reported that around one-quarter of people in early disease stages have already developed fat malabsorption, and that by later disease stages, this problem may occur in more than half of all HIV-positive people.

Thus, many people may find it necessary to keep the fat content of their diet moderately low. HIV drugs and dietary requirements: Some of the HIV drug regimens require certain dietary adjustments.

Certain dietary changes may be needed in those with any significant level of liver damage. For example, for some people with advanced liver disease, most commonly due to coinfection with hepatitis virus es , the protein content of the diet may need to be reduced.

Since, for all the reasons discussed below, adequate protein is so important, some people jump to the conclusion that more is better. Unfortunately, with serious liver disease, a too-high level of protein may be dangerous. When protein is broken down in the body, one of the byproducts is ammonia. A damaged liver cannot process ammonia as well as a healthy liver can.

The result can be an overload that results in encephalopathy, a brain condition that can result in a state of mental confusion and, in advanced stages, a coma. Another diet change that may be very important for some people with liver disease is salt reduction. In people who have developed ascites, a complication of cirrhosis damage to the liver that results in an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, too much salt intake can worsen the problem.

It may also be important to limit iron intake, since diets higher in iron have been tied to liver damage in those with hepatitis C. Drinking plenty of good liquids is just as critical as eating well. Your diet must include plenty of water.

The old adage about drinking eight large glasses of water per day approximately two quarts is actually a good beginning. However, because your size affects how much water you need, a better and simpler rule is to divide your body weight in pounds in half, and then drink at least that number of ounces every day.

For example, if you weigh pounds, divide that in half and drink 70 ounces of water almost nine cups per day. Many people drink far too little water, thinking that they can substitute drinks like colas or other soft drinks or coffee that are made with water.

Here are a few tips to consider: Drink lots of water: You need lots of fresh, pure water put into your body every single day. And remember that your water should be safe. The risk of water-borne infections is too high to ignore this. This is important for anyone since there are organisms like cryptosporidia that can cause infections even in the HIV-negative, but it is particularly crucial for those who have lower T4 counts especially under , since they are at the highest risk of developing serious waterborne infections.

Herbal teas and fresh juices: Many people find herb teas to be a nice addition to their good liquid list. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are other healthful liquids.

Just remember that much of the nutrient content in vegetable and fruit juices is in the pulp. Bottled fruit and vegetable juices: These are another source of good liquids, which are widely available. Just make sure you pick the juices with little or no sugar. There are also canned or bottled juice spritzers, which are a good alternative to a cola or other soft drinks.

They have no added sugar but great flavor and are just as fizzy. These include soups, herb teas, and roasted-grain coffee substitutes. Not only are they nutritious, but also less demanding on the body than icy cold drinks. Your body does not make powerful vitamin C on its own naturally and relies on foods high in vitamin C. The body also does not store vitamin C, so it is important that you get this essential vitamin frequently from whole food sources including leafy greens like romaine lettuce.

Studies have shown that the chlorophyll pigment in dark leafy greens, such as Romaine lettuce, may reduce the risk of developing certain cancers including colon and liver cancers. Antioxidants vitamin A and vitamin C are also known to help treat several forms of cancer thanks to their ability to control malignant cells in the body and protect against DNA damage.

A diet high in antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin C found in romaine lettuce has been correlated with a decreased risk for lung, prostate, breast, ovarian, bladder, oral, and skin cancers. Consuming enough folate, like the type found in romaine lettuce, has been shown to help prevent several birth defects and promote a safe and vibrant pregnancy.

For pregnant women a deficiency in folate also called vitamin B9 can lead to neural tube defects such as spina bifida. There is actually a difference between folate, the natural form of multiple B vitamins, and folic acid in terms of health benefits.

While many people think that they are interchangeable and both are important for a healthy pregnancy , folate is the preferred source naturally found in foods. When people consume large amounts of folic acid through vitamins and synthetically fortified foods, the body cannot break it down then elevated levels of un-metabolized folic acid remain.

This is problematic for all people, especially pregnant women, and has been linked with an increased risk for developing cancer and other illnesses. A folate deficiency can also contribute to the formation of anemia poorly formed red blood cells , poor immune function, and poor digestion in those who are not pregnant. To combat these illnesses, get folate naturally from whole food sources including leafy greens like romaine lettuce.

Romaine lettuce is extremely low in calories, carbs, sugar and fat, yet high in nutrients and water content. Because of its low calorie density but high nutrient content, you can eat as much romaine as you want even when trying to lose weight.

The water and fiber found in romaine lettuces makes it filling and helps the body to shed itself of bloat and excess water weight while you begin practicing a healthier diet in order to reach your desired healthy weight.

Romaine lettuce is one of the bitter herbs that is talked about in the Bible. Romaine lettuce nutrition has long been known to not only ease digestion but also used as a wonderful fiber source. Romaine lettuce grows in a tall head of sturdy leaves and has signature firm ribs down the center. Many sources trace the emergence of romaine lettuce back to Greek island hundreds of years ago, where it first got its name from the island of Cos where the lettuce was first introduced.

Romaine lettuce has long been used in traditional Passover Seders as a type of bitter herb. Romaine lettuce is also popular in parts of the Middle East and across North America. S, the vast majority of harvested romaine lettuce and other salad greens comes from California. There are a variety of romaine lettuces in existence, all with deep green, long leaves and a crisp texture.

When purchasing romaine, look for leaves that are sturdy and not yet browning. Avoid buying leaves that have slimy spots or brown and yellow patches. The leaves should also have a milky fluid which gives the romaine the typically fine-bitter herb taste.

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