Allison Webster's blog

What is Choline?


Going Low-Carb? Here’s What Your Diet Will Be Missing

Whether it was cookies or candy, frozen or fried, or chocolate or crackers, I’m willing to bet that there was no shortage of carbohydrates in most of our holiday-season diets. The start of the new year often coincides with the end of the overindulgence and the start of…dieting season.

What is Lycopene?


Lycopene (pronounced LIE-co-peen) is a nutrient in the carotenoid family (where you can find lutein, zeaxanthin and many others) that’s naturally found in some plants. Lycopene provides the pigment that gives red and pink fruits their color and is known to have antioxidant properties. It’s most commonly associated with tomatoes and tomato products, which are particularly rich sources of lycopene.

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?