by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
In our modern times of high stress, insufficient sleep, and unbalanced diets, it can be very difficult to maintain balance and achieve optimal wellness. Men are no different than women as far as having hectic schedules, which can put quite a burden on our bodies. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top four leading causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. No matter where we are in our lives: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond, there are basic supplements all men need for overall general health. These include a men’s multi, omega-3s, additional D3 and K2, and probiotics.
Choose a multivitamin made specifically for men, which typically provides specific nutrients targeted to men’s needs. A good quality multivitamin and mineral formula can help ensure we receive the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of important vitamins and minerals.
It should contain enough B vitamins to help combat stress and promote energy production. Look for a formula that provides vitamin D3 and K2 as MK-7, which are both important for heart and bone health. Nutrients that support prostate health include vitamin E, zinc, and selenium. Nutrients that help maintain normal blood glucose levels include chromium, vanadium, and alpha lipoic acid. It would be excellent if the formula also provided the beneficial omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) too.
Beyond the omega-3s we receive in our multi, additional omega-3s are beneficial for many reasons. A substantial amount of researching shows omega-3s support mood, memory, brain, nerve, vision, joint, and cardiovascular health. The AHA (American Heart Association) and GOED (Global Organization of EPA and DHA) recommend we receive 500 mg of the omega-3s EPA and DHA per day for the general healthy adult population. Some research shows we should receive more like 1,000 to 2,000 mg of EPA and DHA daily.
Multis usually contain about 25 mcg (1,000 IU) of vitamin D3, but recent research is showing we need even more. Vitamin D3 is incredibly important for promoting healthy growth and development; supporting teeth, bone, and muscle health; assisting with healthy immune and cardiovascular systems; and aiding with a healthier mood. It’s difficult to synthesize adequate amounts of vitamin D3 from sunlight due to restricting time out in the sun, sunscreen, latitude, time of year, and color of skin, so a supplement can be a great option.
Vitamin D3 is important for calcium transport and absorption, and vitamin K2 is critical for the formation of a strong bone matrix and cardiovascular health. Many multivitamin and mineral formulas don’t provide any or enough vitamin K2, so search for one that does, or take an additional vitamin K2 supplement. Most adult recommendations for vitamin K2 are around 45 to 180 mcg per day.
Anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of our immune system is located in our GI (gastrointestinal tract). Probiotics are beneficial bacteria located throughout our body, but mainly housed in our intestines. They help support GI health and immune function. If our body depletes these healthy bacteria, it can’t maintain homeostasis, which is essential for good health. Look for a formula that provides a variety of strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Whether we start in our 20s or 60s, we can maintain or work to regain our health with a variety of lifestyle, nutritional, and supplemental changes. Be sure to keep up on the core basic supplements mentioned above in order to keep up with the pace and demands of life.
by Karen Roth, MSNC
As a parent, we want our children to be healthy and happy. However, many of the foods targeted to children lead to obesity and mood swings. When your child is transitioning from milk to learning to eat whole food, it’s important to train their taste buds to enjoy healthier options such as fresh soft fruits and vegetables and clean protein sources. As they begin to grow, they may be introduced to junk food at a friend’s house or at school. This can lead to feelings of deprivation. Having foods at home that resemble junk food, but are actually healthy alternatives, are good options for parents. Here are some of my favorites.
Snow Monkey Super Food Ice Treats, are “ice cream reinvented.” The difference between Snow Monkey and regular ice cream is that it has added protein from hemp seed protein powder and fiber from sunflower seeds. In addition to that super foods are added like Goji berries, which are low in fat and high in fiber and contain antioxidants and other phytonutrients that promote skin and eye health. Other super foods used are ceylon cinnamon, matcha green tea, cocoa powder, and turmeric. It’s also dairy- and nut-free. They come in five flavors and range from 0-5 mg of added sugar. Now that is a feat in itself. Another brand that I like is Halo Top, with much lower sugar and higher protein than regular ice cream.
Healthy grab-and-go snacks are key to any home filled with kids. Nuts and raisins are a perfect match. Salty, crunchy, and sweet. You can purchase individually wrapped combos like the ones I get at Trader Joe’s called Go Raw Trek Mix, but you can easily make your own. Using snack size zip locks, fill with a variety of nuts like pecans, walnuts, and almonds then add unsweetened raisins. You can prepare several bags and store them in your pantry.
Other foods that are good to have in your pantry when your child starts raiding the cabinets are low sodium popcorn and low sodium jerky which you can find in a variety of protein sources ranging from beef to pork to even wild game.
Keep a bowl of easy-to-eat fruits on the kitchen counter like organic apples, organic pears, and bananas, and keep washed and ready-to-grab fruits in the refrigerator like organic grapes, strawberries, and blueberries. I recommend organic on most of these fruits because they are highly sprayed with pesticides.
The most important thing to remember when teaching kids how to eat healthy is to not label foods as “good” or “bad.” This can have a negative effect on a child that can last a lifetime. I’ve seen this time and time again with my adult clients. Another thing to remember is to never force a child to eat something with which they have an adverse reaction. That doesn’t mean you have to never serve that food at dinner, just don’t force it to be eaten. If the rest of the family is eating the asparagus you put on the table, the child might actually try it one night.
For more healthy food ideas to fill your refrigerator and pantry visit our YouTube Channel and watch our Healthy Living playlist.
by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
Vitamin D3 has been a “hot” topic of discussion for the past few years, and the scientific research continues increasing regarding the crucial role it plays in our health and wellbeing. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) are the two vitamin Ds referred to in research and are found in both food and supplements. Vitamin D3 is known as nature’s sunshine vitamin, and is a vitamin we can actually make in our body under proper conditions. Because of this, many believe we receive enough D3, but large-scale studies find deficiency is widespread in adults and children.
Vitamin D3 Benefits
Vitamin D is important for our entire body. Vitamin D receptors are found everywhere from immune cells to the brain. Vitamin D3 promotes healthy growth and development; teeth, bone, and muscle health; healthy immune and cardiovascular systems; and mood health.
Making Vitamin D from the Sun
Our skin contains a precursor to D3, called 7-dehydrocholesterol. When the sun’s UV rays shine on our skin, 7-dehydrocholesterol synthesizes D3, though conditions need to be perfect. Many of us don’t get enough time in the sun to make and maintain adequate 25(OH)D levels (the form made after D3 is converted in the liver and the best indicator of vitamin D status). And if we are in the sun, our body often doesn’t synthesize adequate amounts of vitamin D due to sunscreen, latitude, time of year, color of skin, etc.
Getting Vitamin D through our Diet
There aren’t many naturally occurring dietary sources of vitamin D, which is why many turn to vitamin D supplements to keep their levels up. It can be found in the flesh of fatty fish like salmon (approximately 500 IU (12.5 mcg) in 3 ounces), mackerel, and tuna and in fish liver oil. Some mushrooms provide vitamin D2, which our body still needs to convert to the bioavailable D3 form. Most of the dietary vitamin D comes from fortified foods such as orange juice, non-dairy beverages, egg yolks (from D3 supplemented hens), and some dairy (milk, yogurt, and cheese).
Supplementing with Vitamin D3
The recommended daily intake of vitamin D3 varies widely across organizations. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board RDA’s are the official recommendations for the US. Their latest recommendations are 400 IU (10 mcg) per day of vitamin D3 for infants, 600 IU (15 mcg) per day for children over 1 years old, and 600 to 800 IU (15 to 20 mcg) per day for adults.
The Vitamin D Council, Endocrine Society, and many physicians feel these recommendations are too low and are requesting they be increased. The IOM states adult sufficiency of vitamin D3 levels is 20 ng/ml, the Endocrine Society says 30 to 100 ng/ml and the Vitamin D Council says 40 to 80 ng/ml.
The amount necessary to increase and maintain our D levels is different from everyone and varies throughout the seasons. Make sure to get your levels tested regularly and adjust supplementation accordingly. Research has found that vitamin D3 is the preferred form to supplement with in order to increase levels effectively.
by Jolie Root, LPN, LNC
I visit dozens of natural food stores and pharmacies every year and attend a number of conferences and trade shows. I’m always asked, which is best: cod liver oil or fish oil. It’s a great question. Here are my thoughts…
Cod liver oil and fish oil are both great sources of omega-3s. Here’s the difference – cod liver oil also provides vitamins A and D3. This is the main distinction between the two. So what’s best for your family? I ask three questions.
The Daily Dose blog features health and wellness articles from Senior Nutritionist & Educator Jolie Root, LPN,LNC; Nutritionist & Educator Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN; and Featured Guest Blogger Karen Roth, MSNC. Other guest bloggers will also join us.