by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin group that includes vitamins K1 and K2. Recent research shows how important vitamin K is for people of all ages. What was once a vitamin recognized mainly for promoting healthy blood clotting is now understood to also promote bone and cardiovascular system health.
Vitamins K1 and K2 have slight variations in their chemical molecular structures and work slightly different in our body. K1, known as phylloquinone, is found primarily in green, leafy vegetables and is the most abundant form of vitamin K in our diet. It works to promote healthy blood coagulation, and supports strong bones. Our body converts the majority of K1 into K2.
Vitamin K2 is typically less abundant in our diet, as it's found in animal products and fermented soybeans. Vitamin K2 occurs in several forms; however, the two that appear to have the most biological activity are MK-4 (menatetrenon-4) and MK-7 (menaquinone-7).
MK-4 is more widely distributed in our body's tissues compared to other forms of K2. The MK-7 form is found to be better absorbed and to stay in the body longer. Most of the population, including adults and kids, can benefit from a vitamin K supplement, and especially those who eat little green, leafy vegetables or who have had their gallbladder or sections of their colon removed.
Vitamin K is valuable for the entire family. To help ensure you and your family get the nutrients needed for optimal cardiovascular, teeth, and bone health, consider adding vitamin K to your daily routine.
by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
Maintaining an active lifestyle plays a key role in optimizing our health and outlook on life. Activity keeps our joints lubricated, muscles strengthened, and tendons and ligaments flexible. Athletes of all types and levels of ability want to be able to maximize their workouts, enhance performance, and reduce recovery time as much as possible. Beyond balanced nutrition, many supplements offer support before, during, and after a workout. Many nutrients are used up through exercise and must be replenished, while others assist with joint support, muscle health, energy production, and muscle recovery.
START WITH CORE NUTRIENTS
No matter where you are in your workout routine or skill level, a few basic supplements support overall health: a multivitamin, vitamin D3, and omega-3s. A quality multivitamin can restore important vitamins and minerals after the body is subjected to stress, such as from a tough workout. Ample B vitamins, which are water soluble and lost through sweat, are necessary for energy repletion. Antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E combat the free radicals produced during a workout. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium support nerves and muscles.
Vitamin D is needed by virtually everyone, and when we're using our heart and skeletal muscles more, we need extra support. Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphorus metabolism. It supports the heart, other muscles, and bones. Omega-3 essential fatty acids promote heart, brain, and joint health.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a relatively new kid on the block that form a great tag team with omega-3s. They're an important fat for anyone with increased energy needs. The body uses MCTs differently than other fats - they're an instant energy source. This is important for athletes, as it increases energy levels and endurance, boosting overall performance.
ADD AMINO ACIDS
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, the structural component of body tissues such as muscles, collagen, enzymes, and more. L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, which assists in blood vessel dilation, circulation, and proper blood flow. This is great before a workout to help deliver nutrients to the muscles. L-taurine is an amino acid that supports healthy tissue and muscle development, and is also an excellent preworkout supplement.
L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It's beneficial before and after a workout for building and repairing muscle tissue. With extreme exercise, the body depletes levels of glutamine quicker than they can be replaced. Acetyl-L-carnitine is also useful before and after a workout. It assists fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy production and can reduce recovery time after intense workouts.
L-lysine plays an important role in building and maintaining healthy muscle tissue. It's quite unique because when combined with other vitamins and minerals, it forms other aminos. For example, when lysine is combined with vitamin C, the body converts lysine to carnitine.
Whether you're a weekend warrior or intense athlete, make sure you get the support you need for optimal health and increased activity levels. A few basic supplements along with targeted amino acids will improve energy, boost performance, and help you recover quicker so you can maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
by Karen Roth, MSNC
We usually think of bone-supporting nutrients as we age, but we should be thinking about them during early development. Childhood through our teenage years set the foundation for healthy bones as we age. Key ingredients that can contribute to strong, healthy bones are calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2.
Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, collard greens, spinach, and turnip greens. It may be challenging to take in enough of these foods to allow a sufficient amount of calcium to be absorbed. Additionally, greens are not typically a food loved by children. A children's calcium supplement can help ensure your child is getting enough of this important bone-building mineral.
Vitamin D3 helps maintain normal calcium levels and is essential for the healthy absorption and utilization of calcium. It also helps with healthy calcification of bones and teeth in children. Vitamin D3 is found in few foods except in cases where a processed food has been fortified with it, and those foods are usually fortified with vitamin D2.
Vitamin D3 is the active form that's more absorbable. Getting vitamin D can be difficult because of sunscreen use and the amount of time kids spend outdoors. That's where supplementation comes in. Children's vitamin D3 supplements are commonly found as convenient, great-tasting gummies and drops.
Vitamin K is also vital for strong bones and healthy heart function. It's essential that children get enough calcium through diet and supplements, but too much calcium without vitamin K is not ideal. Vitamin K2 plays an important role in directing calcium into our bones and teeth. Foods such as kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamin K.
Just one cup of kale delivers 1,327 percent of the daily requirement. However, if your kid does like greens, add a bit of olive oil to them to make the vitamin K more absorbable, or opt for a vitamin K nutritional supplement.
by Karen Roth, MSNC
Warmer weather means picnics, barbeques, beach days, and get-togethers. The one thing in common with all of these gatherings is a lot of food. Often times, it includes store-bought chips, packaged potato salad, and coleslaw. But what I really appreciate are those homemade dishes that people take time to prepare themselves. These items are not only fresher but often add a healthy and delicious alternative to traditional picnic food.
Consider making one of these refreshing side dishes for your next gathering. Using fresh vegetables and Olive Your Heart® omega-3 olive oil will bring delicious, healthy flavors to any gathering.
5 medium beets, pre-cooked
¼ cup of Olive Your Heart®, natural flavor
½ tsp. of Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. of white wine vinegar
½ tsp. of honey
½ tsp. of salt
1 large shallot, finely chopped
½ cup of jicama, chopped
Ground pepper, to taste
CHERRY TOMATO MOZZARELLA BALL SALAD
¼ cup of Olive Your Heart®, basil flavor
¼ cup of fresh basil, chopped
1 lb. of cherry size mozzarella balls
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
TOMATO AVOCADO SALAD
3 cups of Persian cucumbers, sliced
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced into wedges
¾ pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 avocados, sliced in thin wedges
½ cup of Olive Your Heart® natural flavor
¼ cup of Tamari sauce
¼ cup of rice vinegar
¼ cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp. of sesame seeds
Salt, to taste
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.
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