Essential Nutrients for a Healthy and Balanced Life


Last week my radio show, Wellness for Life with Dr. Susanne Bennett, was all about essential nutrients. In the episode I gave seven very good reasons for taking vitamin and mineral supplements and I provided detailed directions on how to properly take these supplements. Well, I received so much positive feedback about the show that I decided to devote this entire week to essential nutrients!

This week we’ll be discussing some of the most vital nutrients – the ones that are truly essential for the human body to thrive, prevent cellular damage and the aging process, as well as even preventing disease. We’ll talk about the essential power house nutrients of Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Minerals, and Amino Acids.

To get you even more excited about essential nutrients, I created a special gift for you!

Click here for my FREE Essential Nutrients 101: Quick Reference Guide.

This is Dr. Susanne, dedicated to helping you feel your best, the all natural way!




The appearance of the belly never lies.


swollen-belly(“Before” photo of one of my patient- a yoga instructor who has beautiful arms and legs and is at a healthy weight.)

I have had so many people expressing their frustrations to me about their belly- they eat the right “healthy” foods- lots of vegetables and fruit; they work out every day and do 300 sit ups to tighten up the abs…. but they can’t seem to get rid of the dreaded swollen belly, the pouch, that muffin top!

They have awesome arms and legs, all tone from doing the right exercises but what they don’t know is that when it comes to getting a flat sexy belly, exercise is not the cure all!

You want to know what my secret is to getting a flat sexy belly and maintaining it? We have to look deeper- deeper into the gut and getting to the root of the inflammation that is causing the swollen belly!

Think of your intestine as a long deflated balloon, similar to the ones that magicians and clowns play with to make those fun animal figures and crowns for your kids. When there is inflammation and irritation in your gut caused by various reasons (which I will get into in my next article), the gut lining swells up like a balloon hence the swollen belly!

One of my best tools to see if you have early signs of gut inflammation or digestion issue is by measuring the belly, specifically looking at the waist to hip ratio (WHR). Although waist to hip ratio is a measurement used for abdominal obesity I have tested hundreds of GI patients and I find that it’s a great screening tool for acute to chronic gut inflammation.

Use a flexible tape measure (one that a tailor uses) and figure out the circumference of the waist, exactly at the umbilicus (belly button) and at the hip, at the top of the inseam (where the inner thigh meets the groin.)


Waist (in) / Hip (in) = ??
Women < 0.8-0.85
Men < 0.9

For women, the waist to hip ration should not be greater than 0.8-0.85 (depending on who you talk to!) and for men, the ratio should not be greater than 0.9.

What are your WHR #’s?

Please share your results and comments below!


Grilled Chicken with Avocado Sauce

from Simply Gluten Free Cookbook by Chef Varouj
(Modified by Dr. Susanne to follow the Gut Restore/Heal Your Gut Food Checklist)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


For the chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts, bone in or boneless
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander, ground
  • 3 tablespoons chili pepper, ground
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano or regular oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lime, juice, and zest
  • 1/4 cup olive oil-approximately

For the avocado sauce:

  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  •  salt and pepper to taste
  • stock or water as needed



  1. Mix all the spices in a bowl, add lime juice and zest, olive oil and salt and pepper and blend with whisk. Taste, adjust spice and salt to personal preference.
  2. Add chicken and marinade for at least 15 minutes and up to 4 days refrigerated. (the longer the better)
  3. Grill on medium heat for about 6-8 minutes per side turning once. Time will vary depending on the size and whether you have boneless or bone-in chicken.
  4. Serve sauce on the side.


For faster cooking and marinating: slice chicken breast in half horizontally, before marinating.

Avocado Sauce:

  1. Remove the avocado flesh by scooping it with a spoon into the food processor or blender.
  2. Add the next 3 ingredients and puree until smooth.
  3. While the machine is on add olive oil on a steady stream.
  4. Adjust consistency with a drop of water if desired.
  5. Add salt and pepper and serve.

Wilted Spinach with Sunflower Seeds

from Simply Gluten Free Cookbook by Chef Varouj
(Modified by Dr. Susanne to follow the Gut Restore/Heal Your Gut Food Checklist)

Yield: 2 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

This is a very quick and easy side that could be prepared in few minutes.


  • 1 pound baby organic spinach, (washed with Vitamin C Crystals)
  • 1/8 cup of fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/8 cup avocado oil
  • Pinch chili, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Choose a large sauté pan or pot to fit all the spinach at once.
  2. Heat the avocado oil on medium-high
  3. Add sunflower seeds and chili (if using) cook for a minute.
  4. Add spinach, season with salt and pepper, and constantly mix, from the bottom to the top.
  5. Cook only until the spinach leaves discolor. Time will vary depending on quantity and size of pot/sauté pan.


You are not cooking the spinach; it will barely change color and begin to wilt.


Photo courtesy of Chef Varouj –

“Quick” Breakfast

from Simply Gluten Free Cookbook by Chef Varouj
(Modified by Dr. Susanne to follow the Gut Restore/Heal Your Gut Food Checklist)

Yield: 1 serving
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

This is my “convenience” breakfast, best of all, I always use leftovers meats, herbs and vegetables, and I add other ingredients to it as I wish.

If you don’t have leftovers, just follow the 1/8 of a cup of each ingredient for every 3 eggs as a guideline


  • 3 whole eggs (or 1-2 yolks and 3 egg whites)
  • 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil or ghee (use more if you need it)
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach or arugula
  • 1/8 cup red pepper or tomato, diced
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, sliced


1. In a sauté pan, on medium, heat the oil, add arugula/spinach and red pepper and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Season with salt and pepper, add basil, cook for a minute longer

3. Add eggs, and stir till a creamy texture is achieved…

4. Add slices of avocado

NOTE: Always remember, when it comes to cooking eggs, regardless of how it is being prepared, they contain a high amount of proteins. Overcooking will uncoil the protein bonds and force the moisture out and therefore drying it.

Tip 2: Other possible combinations: Add leftover beef or chicken to the above recipe. Olives, with zucchini, diced fresh ripe tomatoes, basil and/or oregano.

A 27-year old woman presented to my office last week with symptoms of vomiting and nausea. She revealed that she vomits after every meal for the past 3 weeks and is feeling weaker and weaker as each day goes by.

She went to many doctors and even at times visited the local emergency room where she had a slew of tests including an endoscopic exam, blood exams, x-rays, ultrasound studies, MRI, cat scans and more. The doctors even ordered a brain scan to rule out a possible brain tumor.

The doctors were all stumped by her peculiar case and were not able to give her an explanation of why this was happening to her, and didn’t know what to do except give her anti-nausea drugs that only made her feel worse. The doctors could not come up with a diagnosis and asked her to see a therapist.

This patient was desperate and was about to fly to the Mayo Clinic, because she was deteriorating quickly. Her performance coach recommended that she consult with me before spending more time and money with another specialist that might lead to another dead end.

As I do with all my new patients, I spend most of our first visit talking about the entire health history in detail. As a clinician for over twenty-five years who have logged in over 120,000 patient visits, by the time I have finished asking the patient the right questions, 95% of the time I usually know the root cause of the patients’ issue.

Her symptoms and her history of the several months prior to her vomiting fits gave me all the clues that were leading up to:

Mercury Poisoning!

I asked her all of the details of her life before this all started and she revealed that she was traveling in Europe for weeks in June with her husband. Prior to her trip she was not a fish eater, usually just once or twice a month. But in Europe, she loved the delicious ways the fish was prepared so she at it every day, sometimes twice a day!

After she came back to the U.S. from her trip, she realized she loved fish so much that she decided to become a pescatarian, a person who ate mainly fish as a protein source!

When I explained to her that the number one cause of human mercury poisoning in the United States is the consumption of fish and shellfish, and that I believed she was suffering from mercury toxicity from eating an excessive amount of fish in such a short period of time, she was totally shocked but also thought it totally made sense!

I prescribed my DeStress-Drain-Detox™ 3D Cleanse™ immediately, which included some of the following steps:

1. My Anti-inflammatory/Detox diet that was completely free of fish, seafood and non-organic food to calm the liver, stomach and gut down. Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides can contain mercury and other toxic metals, which can contribute to the chronic vomiting.

2. DeStress with my holistic meditation audios to release unwanted tension and to relax and calm the nervous system. You can get a deeper cleanse with a calm and relaxed body!

3. Desensitization treatments to the mercury antigen to up-regulate her detoxification organs and eliminate the toxic metal out of the body safely and more readily.

4. Natural supplements to support the emunctories (cleansing organs) including the lymphatic system, kidney, skin/lung, liver and gut- to open up the purging pathways with out burdening the rest of the major organs.

5. Uber Greens and Acai berry powder will keep the body more alkaline, which also helps with the mercury cleanse.


Vomiting completely stopped after our first visit and treatment! Saw her yesterday- six days later and she still free of nausea or vomiting! She is following my 3D Cleanse exactly as prescribed.

After a couple of months of supporting and detoxing my patient’s body to restore vibrant health, I strongly believe that she will be able to eat and enjoy fish again but only once a week!

Love success stories, don’t you!

To Your Vibrant Health,



Ask a hundred random people about deadly things we encounter in modern life and they might respond with answers such as violent crime, accidents involving guns, automobile crashes and heart attacks (among many other possible answers.) Most people probably would never think about the deadly killer that is all around us in virtually every part of the United States and every other developed nation. Toxic metals are found in the food we consume, pesticides and herbicides, kitchenware and accessories, building materials and even paint. We have been filling our environment and our bodies with deadly toxins for centuries yet little attention has been paid to these dangerous substances.

The biggest threats come from a relatively small number of toxic metals. There are six, in fact. These metals are

  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Nickel
  • Aluminum

As you probably know, many of these metals have been used in common items such as batteries to cooking pots and household appliances. Now for the scary part- many people all over the world are exposed to these toxic metals from seemingly innocent places like the air we breathe and the food we eat.

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Numbness in the mouth, tongue and throat
  • Vomiting or severe nausea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Difficulty breathing and/or irregular heart beat
  • Impaired motor, language or cognitive skills
  • Migraine type headaches

These symptoms indicate an acute exposure to toxic metals and should be addressed by your health care provider immediately.  Many of my patients find relief by using products such as Uber Greens, which you can find more information about here.

Chronic illness due to toxic metals is more difficult to diagnose because everyday millions of people deal with the exact same symptoms such as fatigue, foggy brain, joint pain, acid reflux, bloating, constipation insomnia, anxiety and depression. Ask your doctor to order blood, urine and/or hair analysis tests to further evaluate your body for possible exposure to toxic metals.

In my book The 7-Day Allergy Makeover, I go into detail about the dangers of toxic metals and how to avoid these poisons to prevent allergies and disease.

Here are some of the needle movers I recommend you to implement today:

  • Replace aluminum and stainless steel pots and pans with glass, enamel or ceramic cookware. Stainless steel pots and pans are made with nickel, which can cause a great deal of digestive and skin issues.
  • Use glass water bottles instead of steel canteens
  • Use porcelain, bamboo, or wooden utensils
  • Always use the recirculating air button while driving to prevent breathing in exhaust fumes and toxic metals such as mercury and lead.
  • Avoid aluminum based cosmetics and antiperspirants (increase risk of Alzheimer’s.)
  • Avoid flu shots and thimersol (mercury) based vaccines.
  • Check for lead based paint in your home and office.
  • Avoid and remove all silver dental fillings made of mercury
  • Use natural pesticides and insecticides such as rosemary and mint oil, instead of conventional chemical based pesticides, which are formulated with heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury.
  • Stop smoking and avoid second hand cigarette smoke- you are sucking down cadmium bombs!
  • Avoid eating “wide-mouthed” fish such as tuna, swordfish, bass, mahi mahi and shark and instead eat small wild caught fish such as sardines, anchovies, sable fish, sockeye salmon.
  • Organic is the best policy! Avoid conventionally grown produce, poultry and food. Chicken fed non-organic feed is contaminated with arsenic.
  • Drink purified water instead of tap water and avoid natural-spring water coming from granite rich land such as the Rocky and Sierra Mountains. Arsenic levels are high in granite rock.

We all need to be concerned about the toxic substances that are building up in our environment and potentially harming our children and our health. The toxic metals described above such as arsenic and mercury disrupt our energy output and nervous system, impair our senses, affect our children’s development and can even lead to cancer. We all need to work together to eliminate the use of these toxic materials but in the meantime we must make a strong effort to reduce our exposure to arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxic metals. We owe it to our children and ourselves!


A study conducted recently and published in The Journal of Neuroscience has revealed a possible relationship between cortisol- a hormone that your body produces in large quantities when experiencing stress- and lapses in memory among older folks.

The researchers who conducted the study noted that older rats aged 21 months (roughly the biological equivalent to a 65 year old human) with high cortisol levels had difficulty navigating a maze which required the use of short-term memory.

When the researchers examined tissue samples taken from the pre-frontal cortexes of the rats’ brains they noted that the older rats with high levels of cortisol had significantly fewer synapses than the rats from other groups and the synapses that were present were noticeable smaller. Just to be clear, increased levels of cortisol are not necessarily a bad thing. The hormone helps us to be more alert during tense situations.

However, as is usually the case, having heightened levels of cortisol over a long period of time can lead to a lot of issues including increased body weight, high blood pressure, indigestion, irritability and according to this study: short term memory loss.

Researchers have concluded that elevated cortisol levels slowly eat away synapses located within the brain’s prefrontal cortex. This is the area of the brain that manages short-term memory. Put another way, synapses in our brain are literally the connections that help us process and store information. As we age the cortisol works to erode those synapses and eventually they are destroyed.

A good analogy might be a spider’s web. The delicate threads create a beautiful and exotic web but a sand storm, hail or strong winds could destroy the connective threads and the web is ruined.

Now imagine the web represents short-term memories and synapses are the connective threads and you’ll see the potential effects of too much cortisol on your system as the hormone tears the “web” apart.

While this is just one study, we should consider the possibility that people with unusually high levels of cortisol- such as soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or even somebody suffering from depression for an extended length of time are at risk of damaging their brain’s ability to retain short-term memories. It is not always easy to reduce stress in our lives but it is advisable to be proactive and take steps to reduce cortisol levels in our bodies.

The good news is that there are many legitimate and safe ways to relieve ourselves of mild to major depression. A quick search online will provide you a variety of suggestions for dealing with depression such as breathing techniques, vigorous exercises, meditation, light therapy and simply talking about problems and concerns with a friend or loved one. Natural remediesfor depression include omega 3 oils, Vitamin B complex, 5-HTP/tryptophan, magnesium, psychobiotics (probiotics for psychological conditions) and more.

To improve memory, best to find a treatment method that works for you to reduce chronic stress and depression. You will be happier, healthier and ultimately improve your quality of life during your later years.

Over the last few years we have seen a small group of foods become outrageously popular among health-conscious Americans and for good reason! The ancient Mayans used these foods for their superior nutritional value and other benefits such as warding off diseases and now these ingredients are being rediscovered.

As of this writing you can buy each of these foods from most grocery stores and you can even find prepared dishes and salads in delis and cafes. Don’t let the price tags scare you. A big bag of ancient tribal foods will last a long time because you only need a small amount. A spoonful mixed with non-dairy yogurt or hot gluten-free oatmeal is plenty and you’ll still get that nutrient rich goodness.

Today, we are going to briefly look at five different types of ancient tribal foods along with serving suggestions so everybody can see how easy it is to include these superfoods in our diets.

Acai Berry Powder-     The Shuar people have lived in the Amazonian rainforest for centuries and their healers were among the first to discover the benefits of Acai berries. These berries are packed with antioxidants, protein and omega fats. They are also loaded with fiber to help curb your appetite. Try a spoonful of Acai berry powder in your next smoothie or glass of green juice! Yum!

Sprouted Chia Seeds-      Did you know that chia is the Mayan word for strength? It is no surprise that chia seeds have been a major source of nutrition for people living in South America for millennia. Not only do they contain protein and omega fats, chia seeds are also a brain food and can even help to reduce inflammation in your joints. A true miracle food! Try some sprinkled on your salad. Look for sprouted chia seeds, sprouting naturally reduces phytic acid that can hinder mineral absorption.

Nopal (Prickly Pear Cactus)-     Nopal is a natural treatment for diabetes in Mexico because it is known to lower blood sugar without any side effects. The plant is also said to lower LDL cholesterol levels and can even be used to treat asthma. It also happens to be a tasty form of medicine because it can be made into jelly and consumed on a piece of a endive leaf. Nopal salad is one of my favorite Mexican dishes!

Hemp Hearts-   While hemp hearts are only about as big as sesame seeds they pack quite a nutritional wallop! These tiny seeds are among the highest density plant sources for protein. They also contain Vitamin E, omega fats, iron and GLA. Many vegetarians prefer hemp seeds as their daily source of protein. With their nutty flavor, hemp seeds are great over organic fruit salad, non-dairy protein smoothies or coconut yogurt. For a healthy snack try baking them into seed bars and gluten-free seed granola.

Black Rice-     If black rice was good enough for the ancient emperors of China then it is good enough for us, right? It is true that at one time in China’s history only the emperors were allowed to eat this extremely healthy food. It contains lots of Vitamin E to help boost your immune system. Black rice is also packed with antioxidants to remove free radicals and may even help your body to resist cancer. Try steaming some black rice and serve it to next to grilled chicken. You can also use black rice in place of pasta in a cold salad. It is one of the main ingredients in my Jing Jing!

There we have it. Five different types of ancient tribal foods and they are all readily available in most health food stores. Even the fussiest eater is bound to like at least one of these miracle foods. If you have any tasty serving suggestions for the powerhouse ingredients then please feel free to share them in the comments section. Remember that the food you eat today will impact your quality of life in the future!