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By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD (Proactive Health Labs)   



Sweet potatoes, not to be confused with yams, have been cultivated for thousands of years. These root vegetables are believed to have originated in Central and South America. North Carolina, which is now the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the United States, claims the sweet potato as their state vegetable.

There are more than 400 varieties of sweet potatoes around the world! You are probably most familiar with the delicious, orange-fleshed sweet potato, but there is also a beautiful purple sweet potato that is worth trying.

Don’t limit eating sweet potatoes to Thanksgiving season. They are available all year and pack a lot of health benefits.

According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), “[b]ioactive compounds contained in this vegetable play a role in health promotion by improving immune function, reducing oxidative stress and free radical damage, reducing cardiovascular disease risk, and suppressing cancer cell growth.”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of this vegetable.

Sweet Potatoes May Help Fight Inflammation.

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight inflammation by diminishing free radical damage. If we can reduce our amount of free radical damage, we may also be able to lower our risk of life-threatening diseases, like cancer. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes have more than 400 percent of your daily vitamin A needs!

Make sure to eat them with a little bit of good fat, like olive oil. The fat helps your body better absorb the vitamin A.

Sweet Potatoes May Help Protect You From Dangerous Heavy Metals.

Purple sweet potatoes may be able to lower the potential health risks posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals. They are rich in compounds called anthocyanins, which provide a lot of antioxidant activity and may bind to heavy metals, like mercury, and help remove them from the body.

Sweet Potatoes May Help with Liver Damage from Excessive Alcohol Consumption.

Anthocyanins in purple sweet potatoes are also associated with improving liver damage from alcohol abuse, according to a study with mice conducted by the NIH.

Sweet Potatoes May Help Regulate Your Blood Sugar.

Sweet potatoes contain adiponectin, a protein made by fat cells that circulates in the bloodstream. Low levels of this protein have been found in people who have trouble metabolizing insulin.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) examined 14,598 people and found that “[h]igher adiponectin levels were monotonically associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.” Furthermore, “[t]his inverse association was consistently observed in whites, East Asians, Asian Indians, African Americans, and Native Americans and did not differ by adiponectin assay, method of diabetes ascertainment, duration of follow-up, or proportion of women.”

Sweet potatoes are also rich in fiber. Fiber helps pace digestion, which is good for regulating blood sugar levels.

Let’s take a look at other essential nutrients in just one cup of orange sweet potatoes:

Calcium, 40 mg. Of course, calcium is important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. This mineral is also important for maintaining hair and nail health in perimenopausal and menopausal women. Adequate calcium intake may also decrease your risk for colorectal cancer.

Magnesium, 33 mg. Magnesium helps with blood pressure regulation and also has antioxidant properties. Several studies have also shown an improvement in the severity of symptoms of depression when study participants were given 125-300 mg of magnesium with each meal and at bedtime.

Phosphorus, 63 mg. This mineral works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. It is also needed to help balance and use other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iodine, magnesium and zinc.

Potassium, 448 mg. This mineral works with sodium to balance the fluid and electrolytes in the body. Potassium also helps keep blood pressure under control and may help reduce kidney stones and bone loss as you age. It may even reduce your risk of stroke. Most adults need about 4,700 mg of potassium per day. So, sweet potatoes are a great place to start.

Sodium, 73 mg. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor has probably told you to cut back on salty foods. Reducing your sodium intake can help lower high blood pressure. What your doctor may not have told you is that a good balance of sodium and potassium can also help to reduce blood pressure. Studies show that the sodium/potassium ratio intake should be less than 1. Unfortunately, only 12 percent of the U.S. population has this adequate ratio. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum daily intake of 1,500 mg of sodium, but in reality 99.8 percent of the population consumes much more. Avoid processed foods, which tend to have alarming amounts of sodium per serving. Sweet potatoes are a great source of natural sodium.

Folate, 15 mcg. Folate (also called vitamin B9) is a very important nutrient, especially for pregnant women. Folate may help prevent cancer and heart disease and improve mental health. 

Choline, 16.4 mg. Choline is a nutrient that was recognized as an essential nutrient by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1998. “The importance of choline in the diet extends into adulthood and old age. In a study of healthy adult subjects deprived of dietary choline, 77% of the men and 80% of the postmenopausal women developed signs of subclinical organ dysfunction (fatty liver or muscle damage),” reports the NIH.

Oven-baked sweet potato fries make a great, healthy snack or side to go along with your dinner. If you are looking to be a bit more innovative with these root vegetables, check out this recipe for sweet potato brownies. They are just as delicious as a traditional brownie, maybe even more!

Learning about healthy food is so empowering. Feel free to share with us some of your favorite healthy recipes. Are there any fruits or veggies you would like to know more about? Let’s explore together.

Healthy food is medicine.

Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

Joy Stephenson-Laws is the founder of Proactive Health Labs (www.phlabs.org), a national non-profit health information company that provides education and tools needed to achieve optimal health. Her most recent book is Minerals – The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy, available through Amazon, iTunes and bookstores.

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The season has come again for the hustle and bustle of finding the perfect gift for loved ones. We want to help you out with a few of our picks for the 2017 holiday season. This year we’re listing the best gifts under $300. Giving an awesome gift shouldn’t bust your bank roll right! We hope you enjoy and have a great holiday. 

Note: We will be adding to this list so check back often.

Gifts for Her

 Molton Brown ‘Scents of the Season’ Candle Set- $130


Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones – Gold – $220


Google Home’ Voice Activated Speaker- $129


The All New Fire TV Stick- $40


Coco Chanel Mademoiselle Perfume- $100


Gifts for Him

The New Amazon Echo Show- $229

Swell ‘Blonde’ Wood Stainless Steel Water Bottle- $25


The R2-D2 Coffee Press- $40


KitchenAid At-Home Cold Brew Coffee Maker- $90

The All New Fire TV Stick- $40


Stocking Stuffers 


For Her

Sephora Dark Rainbow Ready in Five Minutes Brush Set – $28.00


Sephora Winter Magic Palette – $10.00


Hammond’s Candles Christmas Mixed Art Candy Gift Bag – $7.50

Sephora Pro Palette Warm) – $68.00

Amazon Echo Spot – $129.99


For Him

Chromecast – $35


Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker – $125

Hammond’s Candies Christmas Candy Coal – $6.95


Amazon Echo Spot – $129.99

The Review Chic received this product for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

Great food storage is a very important part of maintaining my healthy lifestyle. Whether I am prepping ingredients ahead of time or putting away leftovers for my family, having airtight and non-toxic storage containers is an absolute must. The Ozeri INSTAVAC Food Storage Container 8 Piece Nesting Set, with its instant vacuum seal technology, is simple to use and works wonders for keeping my food at it’s freshest point.


I really like this container set. It comes with 4 size containers – 3 cups, 6.3 cups, 12.7 cups, and 21cups – that nest inside one another when not in use. The patented valve in the lids remove excess air to reduce naturally occurring bacteria; It also releases pressure to prevent spills and splatters in microwaves. You just press down on the lid and the air is forced out through a one-way valve.

Another feature the lids have, is a handy date dial so you can keep track of when you put the food away for storage and each container has a wave pattern on the bottom to keep cut fruits and vegetables elevated from water and juices. The storage containers are completely BPA-free, so I feel safe about using them in my kitchen. I also like that they are stain-resistant, shatter-proof and transparent. The Ozeri INSTAVAC food storage containers are freezer and dishwasher safe. Your satisfaction is guaranteed and backed by Ozeri’s industry-praised, no-hassle warranty and customer service too.

Overall, I was very pleased at how well these storage containers worked. No more money going in the garage from food waste. They pay for themselves with every use. If you’re looking for a good set of storage containers, the Ozeri INSTVAC Food Storage Containers are an excellent choice you can feel great about.

Do you like to cook, meal prep, and portion control your meals and snacks?  There are many tools on the market to aid in this process. I have tried many of them from cups to plates. Now, I have come across another gadget that has been working well for me. Let me just say, my excited was through the roof when I was asked to review and given a complementary Ozeri Touch II Digital Kitchen Scale to review for you. All opinions are 100% my own and I strive to only bring you high quality products to review and endorse.


The Ozeri Touch II Professional Kitchen Digital Scale has been awesome in my kitchen. There so many bells and whistles on this scale. It is light-weight, runs by battery and has a large LCD display light to make it easy to read from a distance. I especially like the sleek design. The feature that allows you to subtract the weight of the container to get the weight of just the ingredients is my absolute favorite. I like to pre-measure out powders and ingredients for smoothies in the morning. This scale has made life much easier in the mornings. It has taken all the headache out of ingredient amounts. 

The scale measures from .1 ounce up to 18 pounds. This is awesome, as I can measure pretty much anything. I haven’t portioned out meat yet, but the microban antimicrobial protection adds a layer of safety to help keep contamination and germs in check regardless of the substance measured. The scale comes in a few color options you can choose from, which are teal, white or red. (I picked teal as you can see from the photos.) You can find these priced at  $19.95 on Amazon to $29.95 on some other sites. The price point is not bad considering the nice quality of this product. It’s super sturdy and not cheap feeling like some other scales I have owned in the past. My only con for this unit, is you have to keep buying batteries!

With the holidays approaching, a good digital scale would be helpful. The Ozeri Touch II is a great choice! This scale would also make a perfect Christmas gift for someone on your gift list too! 

It’s October and Halloween is just around the corner. I’m sure you don’t want to miss out on the fun from all the parties that will be going on. Below I have listed some of my picks for the best plus size costumes for 2017, so you can creep the night away in style. Plus, these costumes won’t break your bank, they’re under $100! Winner… Winner… Butterfingers!! 

Witchy Witch Costume 

Put guests under your spell in this Adult Witchy Witch Costume! 

Where to Purchase: Party City Price: $24.99 (You can order online and pickup in store)

Classic Supergirl Costume 

Your super human powers will be known in this Adult Classic Supergirl Costume.

Where to Purchase: Party City Price: $49.99 (You can order online and pickup in store)

Lady Cheshire Kitty Cat Costume 

Make them say “Me-OW!” 

Where to Purchase: Party City Price: $49.99 (You can order online and pickup in store)

Treasure Vixen Pirate Costume 

Make them walk the plank! 

Where to Purchase: Party City Price: $49.99 (You can only purchase online)

Goddess Isis Costume

Let them adore you! 

Where to Purchase: Yandy.com Price: $59.95 

                                               

Deadly Warrior Babe Costume

Lead the war on goons!

Where to Purchase: Yandy.com Price: $43.95

                                              
Jersey Pumpkin Dress

Be the light of the party in this cute jackal lantern jersey dress.

Where to Purchase: Yandy.com Price: $29.95

Ghostbuster Costume 

Trap those ghosts in this sexy Ghostbuster number.

Where to Purchase: Yandy.com Price: $44.99 
For more costumes visit a Party City near you or check out Yandy.com. 

Disclaimer: I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Par.

Taking care of your hands and nails is a must for many women like myself. Often times, a chance to go get a salon Manicure just never comes with the busy life we may lead. Plus, the visits can get pricey trying to keep up with that lux nail life. So, I Opt for doing my nails at home. Also, doing my nails at home is a destresser and allows for needed me time.

Recently, I have come across the best nude nail polishes for women of color. I have been on the hunt for beautiful nude shades to compliment my chocolate skin tone for many years. Now, the hunt has come to an end with Sally Hansen. I was sent shades from their Color Therapy line called “Make My Clay” and “Chai on Life” to test out. I was so surprised that they ended up being outstanding nude tones. I really liked how the polish applied too. It was not streaky at all, two coats will do you here. Drying time is within seconds also! 

In addition to the polishes, I was also sent the top coat. I am so in love with the top coat! Not only does it add that high gloss salon finishing touch to your home mani! but it aids in keeping it chip free. Awesome right!

Over all, I truly enjoy wearing the two colors on my nails. They really give a polished look to your nails in my opinion. Do you like nude nail colors? Want to check out the polish shades that were mentioned? You can find them and other colors in the Sally Hansen Color Therapy line at your local drugstore or wherever Sally Hansen products are sold.


Yes, you read the title right! MAC Cosmetics has announced that they will be releasing a limited edition collection for the R&B singer Aaliyah Haughton per her fans request. Which I think is fantastic! I was and still am a huge fan of Aaliyah. I’m sure other fans are happy to have the chance to get some signature Aaliyah beauty products in their makeup stash just as I am.

Aaliyah passed away on August 25th, 2001 in a tragic accident after finishing the shooting for her then up and coming debut “Rock the Boat”. This song still gets me on the dance floor. My mother even loves the song also! 


It has been stated that MAC says the new tribute collection for Aaliyah is set to release in the Summer of 2018. Aaliyah’s fans requested that the line include eyeshadows, lipsticks, lipliners, lipglosses, contour & highlighting products, beauty powders, false lashes, and eyebrow pencils that represent and are inspired by Aaliyah. I’m super excited for this collaboration to hit the store shelves. Oh, I know this Aaliyah for MAC Limited Edition collection will be amazing and I’ll definitely have my coins ready for purchase. 

I’m so pumped about the Aaliyah for MAC collection. It’s a great tribute to her legacy as we all know Aaliyah kept her makeup looks absolutely flawless. She was edgy but sweet. Plus, Aaliyah touched so many and she will always hold a dear place in their hearts. 

I will keep you updated on the in-store dates for this collection. You can also follow the line on Aaliyah’s website or on twitter.