by Kristy Erickson
When it comes to staying well and feeling your best, there’s no substitute for regular exercise and a wholesome, nutrient-dense diet. But few diets provide adequate amounts of every vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, healthy fat, and other vital nutrient necessary for maintaining good health. That’s why nutritional supplements are an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Everybody is different, but a few key supplements will benefit virtually everyone.
Start with a Multivitamin
Taking a daily multi ensures you’re getting a wide range of vitamins and minerals. And most experts agree that certain groups will benefit from a multi, including people over 60, women of childbearing age, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and strict vegetarians. A multivitamin is also customizable. You may opt to choose a formula with omega-3s if you’re looking for additional heart health benefits. If you want to support your eyes, choose a multi with lutein. You’ll also find multivitamins specially formulated for seniors, children, men, women, and more.
Take Additional Vitamin D
You’re probably familiar with vitamin D’s role in maintaining healthy bones, but research continues to show that this vitamin is critical for nearly every aspect of health. Look for a supplement containing vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is the most bioavailable form and the same form of vitamin D that the body produces in response to sunlight. Vitamin D3 is significantly more potent in raising and maintaining vitamin D concentrations in the blood than vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is also converted into its active form 500 percent faster than D2.
Consume the Right Fats: Omega-3s
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon and tuna enhance health in a variety of ways. Known as polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3s play a critical role in promoting heart, brain, vision, and joint health. It’s important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in the diet. While omega-6s are also essential for good health, the typical American diet contains 14 to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. Most of us need an omega-3 supplement to balance these fats. Look for a high-quality omega-3 product that has been third-party tested for freshness, potency, and purity.
Encourage Good Bacteria with Probiotics
Speaking of the importance of balance, this also holds true for the bacteria in the gut. The large intestine is home to a complex and diverse community of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics—the good bacteria—aid nutrient absorption and support digestion. Ideally, the beneficial bacteria should outnumber the bad bacteria. But a poor diet, stress, and other factors can upset this balance. Probiotics also support a healthy immune system. Look for a product that contains a variety of different bacteria strains, including L. acidophilus, B. longum, B. bifidum, and more.
Combined with a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity, these four basic supplements will provide a solid foundation for good health.
by Jolie Root, LPN, LNC
Some days I forget how old I am. I feel great and have a lot of energy, and everything seems to come easy. Other days… not so much. One thing that can really put me off my game is occasional digestive upset. You know the feeling – heartburn, bloating, or worse.
If you have occasional digestive issues, gas, bloating, reflux, or feeling uncomfortably full after meals, you’re not alone. One in three adults experience occasional digestive discomfort. And I suspect this number may be even higher around the holidays.
Fortunately, there may be an easy answer. Relief can be as simple as supporting your digestion with a high-quality digestive enzyme supplement. Digestion is hard work, and once we hit our 30s and beyond, our body may not be able to produce enough of the digestive enzymes we need to break down the meals we enjoy.
Digestive enzymes are produced and secreted by our gastrointestinal system to degrade fats, proteins, and carbohydrates – helping us to digest and absorb important nutrients. When you feel stuffed or sluggish following a meal, supplementing with digestive enzymes may help you feel right again. Carlson Natural Digestive Enzymes are my secret weapon for feeling like a kid again – even after that big meal.
If your digestive system occasionally tells you it needs help, begin approaching your meals with intention. Relax while you eat. Sit down. Turn off the TV. As you eat, take your time, and chew your food well. The saliva from chewing plus supplementation will allow the food that enters the stomach to be laced with digestive enzymes.
Digestive enzymes turn our meal into an amino-acid-rich concentrate, perfect for rebuilding and repairing cells. Once the meal leaves the stomach and moves to the small intestine, stomach acid is neutralized and protease, lipase, and amylase are needed to finish the digestive process (all found in Carlson Natural Digestive Enzymes). As digestion is completed, nutrients are passed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
Before any of the food we eat reaches our body’s cells, the protein should be broken down into amino acids, the fat into fatty acids, and the carbohydrates into glucose. Using Natural Digestive Enzymes provides helps boost the entire process of unlocking the power of food and feeding our body the nutrients it needs for an energy boost. I love them, and I bet you will too.
by Karen Roth, MSNC
I don’t know what it is about this time of year but once Halloween hits, we get the feeling it’s open season to eat whatever we want. It’s like we have a free pass to go hog wild… at the office, holiday parties, social gatherings, and especially on that big day – Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is the one time of the year when we surprise ourselves with how much we can eat. We begin snacking as we prepare the turkey and fixings. An appetizer here. A little beverage there. And before we know it, we're looking at the clock saying, “Uh-oh.” Dinner is in two hours and I’m already kinda-sorta full. It happens to the best of us.
Then, after we have our big meal (and loosen our belts), here comes pumpkin pie – and we have to have ice cream with pie! For those hardy souls who settle into the couch for an evening of football, snacking might roll right into falling asleep (with possible snoring).
People often ask me, “You’re a nutritionist. How do you handle eating on Thanksgiving?” My answer is: very strategically. I try to incorporate some healthy options to the maybe not-so-healthy dishes.
One way to make your Thanksgiving dinner healthier is by adding heart-smart omega-3s into some of your favorite dishes. And Carlson Olive Your Heart® makes this easy.
Instead of using milk and butter in your mashed potatoes, try using Olive Your Heart® garlic flavored omega-3 olive oil for a nice creamy, garlicky side dish.
Vegetables or Salad
Use Olive Your Heart® in lemon flavor over sautéed greens for a tart and tangy addition. It's also very nice as a salad dressing.
Bread Sticks or Dinner Rolls
Brush Olive Your Heart® basil flavor on bread sticks or dinner rolls after they’ve been heated to maintain the nutritional content of the oil.
The omega-3s in Olive Your Heart® come from deep, cold-water fish (although there is no trace of fishy flavor). Just one tablespoon provides 1,480 mg of omega-3s – so you can see how this can add up when using it on multiple dishes.
This Thanksgiving, when you’re changing into your sweatpants after that wonderful meal to “make room” for dessert, you can feel good knowing you used Carlson heart-healthy oils in the preparation of your dishes. Learn more at www.oliveyourheart.com.
by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
The holidays can be a difficult time of year to keep our weight and eating habits in check. Some of us look forward ALL year to that calorie-laden meal of turkey, stuffing, gravy, and grandma’s pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream. Then there are some of us that just want to enjoy the day, but not overdo it. I’ll be sharing some great tips to help avoid weight gain during Thanksgiving.
Before the Meal
During the Meal
Last, but not least, remember you don’t need to be a member of the “Clean Your Plate” club. Your body will thank you, you will feel better, and you'll keep the weight off. And don't forget about exercise. It's beneficial to increase our activity level a few days before a big meal and a few days after to work off some of the extra calories we'll be taking in.
These tips can be used throughout the holiday season. Everybody is different, so do what works best for you and, most importantly, follow through. Enjoy your holidays in good health!
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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