Allison Webster's blog

What is Lutein?

The Basics of Lutein

Lutein (pronounced loo-teen) is an antioxidant belonging to a group called carotenoids, which make the bright yellow, red and orange colors in fruits, vegetables and other plants. Antioxidants neutralize the activity of reactive compounds called free radicals, which can cause damage to our organs – and therefore, our health –  if their presence isn’t controlled.

Turkey, Tryptophan and Thanksgiving Naptime: A Holiday Hoax?

Ah, holiday traditions. Every November, you and your family head to Grandma’s house and after strategically finding a seat as far away from your opinionated uncle as possible, everyone settles in for one of the most anticipated eating occasions of the year: Thanksgiving. After everyone has had seconds (or thirds) and somehow made room for pie, more often than not the post-meal activity is…a solid nap.

Gut Check: Prebiotics and the Microbiome

We might like to think of our gut microbiome as an immobile, somewhat mysterious presence in our gastrointestinal tract. But in reality, these organisms are active, living things—and all living things need food to function.

We’ve talked about the beneficial gut bacteria we call probiotics in another Gut Check article, and now it’s time to focus on a very important question: What feeds these organisms? The answer is prebiotics.

What Makes Something Prebiotic?

Gut Check: Probiotics and the Microbiome

When you think of the word “probiotics”, what comes to mind? A cup of yogurt or a bottle of dietary supplement capsules probably rises to the top, but over the last few years the presence of probiotics has expanded. Take a walk through the grocery store and you’ll see everything from fermented foods to fruit juices to baking mixes broadcasting their probiotic content.

So Long, Seafood? Debunking Myths About Eating Fish During Pregnancy

With pregnancy comes many changes, often including a renewed focus on eating healthfully. In a recent article from The Bump, IFIC’s associate director of nutrition communications Ali Webster, PhD, RD, shares that fish can be part of a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Newsbite: Is Aloe Vera Juice a “Superjuice”?

Most people are familiar with aloe vera in its topical form, where it’s used to soothe sunburn, eczema or acne. But recently, it’s ventured outside of the “vacation necessities” drugstore aisle: Aloe vera juices and waters have been filling the shelves of health food and grocery stores with claims that go way beyond relieving skin problems. A quick internet search will claim that aloe vera drinks alleviate heartburn, improve digestion and boost nutrients. But does it live up to the hype?

Gut Check: Sugars and the Gut Microbiome

Welcome to Gut Check, our running series where we explore how the food we eat is connected to our gut microbiome. We recently took a look at how low-calorie sweeteners impact the microbes living in our gut (I’ll summarize here: we still don’t know if, or how, they do).

Gut Check: Low-Calorie Sweeteners and the Gut Microbiome

We’re back again with another edition of Gut Check, our series on the relationship between food and the gut microbiome. So far, we’ve taken a closer look at how whole grains, fiber, and fermented foods affect our gut microbes.

Unscrambling the Science Behind Eggs and Heart Health

Sworn off eggs because you heard they were bad for your heart? Turns out, eggs have a complicated history with heart health. Because cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, and diet plays an important role in the development of CVD, there is a good deal of research interest in examining the relationship between diet and CVD.