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Ask Martha

Feel-good things to do this November

Consider adding vitamins to your daily routine.

Tony Cenicola

Consider adding vitamins to your daily routine.

From fitness and diet to your makeup routine, three tips for a feel-good month:

No. 1

RALLY FEET: Kneading your feet with a tennis ball can help alleviate stiffness in the lower legs and prevent plantar fasciitis, a common cause of foot pain, says Dr. Frank Lipman, founder and director of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. With the ball on the ground in front of you, place one foot on top, and gently roll it from toe to heel. Repeat with the other foot.

No. 2

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LOOK INTO A DOCTOR’S PILLBOX: There has long been debate about whether supplements are necessary. Some experts say they’re not if you eat a balanced diet. But interestingly enough, a survey of 900 healthcare professionals (funded by a dietary-supplement trade group), found that 57 percent of cardiologists, 73 percent of dermatologists, and 75 percent of orthopedic specialists take vitamins, such as vitamin C and calcium. The findings were published in Nutrition Journal. We asked three doctors which supplements they take and why.

The cardiologist: Lynne Perry-Bottinger, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Columbia and Cornell universities. “Multivitamins are great because they offer something for everyone. For me, as a premenopausal woman, that’s iron, which improves my energy levels. A multi is easier for your body to absorb when taken with food, so I pop mine right after breakfast.”

The dermatologist: Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, a dermatologist in New York City. “I love flax for its omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which trigger skin-cell production. It’s also rich in antiaging antioxidants called lignans. They’re available as oil capsules, but since the whole seeds have more nutrients, I sprinkle a teaspoon on my cereal.”

The orthopedic surgeon: Rachel Rohde, spokeswoman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “It’s vitamin D3 for me every day. Our bodies need it to absorb calcium, so it helps keep our bones strong and protects us from fractures. Everyone should be taking some D, but check with your doctor to determine the right dose.”

No. 3

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON WITH YOUR MAKEUP ROUTINE: Ragweed pollen abounds during the windy autumn months, making allergy-prone skin even more sensitive, especially to makeup. “If skin is inflamed for any reason, the allergens and irritants that would normally be blocked out can dig deeper into the epidermis,” says Peter Schalock, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. This means that anything from the chromium in green eye shadow to the carmine in your favorite lollipop-red lipstick may cause rashes, redness and other reactions. Sticking to gentle cosmetics free of known irritants can help prevent problems.

Eyes: Look for mineral-based eye shadow pigments, and avoid green and blue dyes, which may be made with metals that can trigger an allergic reaction. Beeswax-free mascara is best, since natural beeswax can contain propolis, a derivative of tree pollen.

Face: Opt for powder formulations that rely on neutral-hued, mineral-based pigments such as zinc, titanium, and iron oxides in lieu of bright synthetic dyes or creamy concoctions.

Lips: Reach for beeswax-free glosses with nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, or jojoba oil. And since UV exposure can aggravate sensitive lips, use a sun-protective balm containing a physical blocker such as zinc or titanium dioxide.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living.
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