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Blog posts tagged with 'minerals'

The Missing Part to a Balanced Diet

Fruits and VegetablesAre You Eating Enough Fruits and Veggies?

As adults, it’s time to take responsibility – and realize that our parents may have been onto something when they said to finish our greens. Unfortunately, too many have us haven’t taken that advice to heart. Recent studies have shown that only 1 in 10 Americans meet the federal fruit and vegetable recommendations. You usually need 1½ to 2 cups per day for fruit and 2 to 3 cups for vegetables. Yet only 9% of adults eat enough vegetables, and 12% even get enough fruit. If you’re one of those adults skipping past the salad bar, it’s time to take action.

The Missing Part to a Balanced Diet

There’s a reason you should care about fruits and vegetables. Many important vitamins and minerals are in these food types more than others. Potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate are just some of the more common nutrients that you can mainly get from plant-based food, and are beneficial to the body. For example, potassium can help maintain blood pressure. Folate builds up the red blood cells while helps stave off birth defects in pregnant women. Vitamin A promotes healthier eyes and skin, vitamin E protects from free-radicals, and vitamin C supports healthier gums and helps the body absorb iron. 

One other vital nutrient is fiber, and you get plenty of that from fruits and vegetables. Fiber is perfect for weight management, as it helps you feel full faster, while also lowering your blood cholesterol. It is also important for a healthy digestive system for regular bowel movements. Fruits and vegetables are also quite low in fat, sodium and calories, another great use for weight management.

But perhaps one of the most important aspects of this food group is their richness in phytonutrients – which are certain extracts that are only available in fruits and vegetables. 

Getting Your Share of PhytonutrientsFruits and Vegetables

Phytonutrients are known as the protective effects on fruits and vegetables, and many have shown their worth in helping ward off health complications in our own bodies. These phytonutrients are what gives fruits and vegetables their taste, scent and color. As many work like antioxidants, fruits and vegetables can very well protect your body from free-radicals and keep your cells healthy. Some examples of phytonutrients are:

Carotenoids: Present in carrots, broccoli and spinach, carotenoids are antioxidants that give these foods their bright colors. This phytonutrient is a boon to the immune system, while also showing positive impact for good eye health. 

Capsaicin: Peppers are rich in this nutrient and have shown benefits in reducing clotting for better heart health.

Curcumin: A phytonutrient that is rich in the turmeric spice. It is an anti-inflammatory agent, as well as antioxidant, that is commonly used in joint health.



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Changing Needs: A Focus on Age and Proper Nutrition

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Changing Needs: A Focus on Age and Proper NutritionMany people can recite the names of the most popular vitamins and prominent minerals such as vitamin A, D, calcium, and potassium. But are you getting enough each day? Many people are, in fact, missing some of the main nutrients needed to sustain healthy living—especially older adults. As diets change, the number of calories older adults absorb can drop. This can lead to a deficiency in some of the more vital nutrients that are needed for good health and increased longevity. To help you sustain ongoing health, here are some of the top nutrients you should look out for to help ensure that you’re getting the proper amounts.

Bones, Cells and Heart Health

Calcium is essential to supporting healthy bones and teeth. Bone development continues throughout adulthood, which is why your body needs a steady supply of calcium. Not getting enough calcium can lessen your bone density over time, leaving them brittle and making you more susceptible to falling and incurring injuries. Besides dairy products, broccoli and kale are also rich sources of calcium. You can also turn calcium supplementing into a treat by making a smoothie out of yogurt, fruit, and vegetables.

Along with helping maintain healthy nerve function, vitamin B12 helps in the formation of DNA, RNA, and red blood cells. B12 is especially important for older adults because they can’t absorb it as easily as younger people can. To get enough B12, eat plenty of fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and milk.

Folate, or folic acid, is another B vitamin (vitamin B9). Folic acid supplementation is recommended in pregnant women because adequate folate levels during pregnancy may help reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in babies. It has also been connected to protecting heart health and reducing risks of heart concerns later on in life. As one of the eight B-complex vitamins, folic acid helps convert the body’s food into fuel and is a crucial part of overall wellness.

Essential Nutrients for Internal Conditioning

Much has been written and debated about vitamin D. At its core it helps the body absorb calcium and is important to bone density, skin health, immune function, and many other processes in the body. While your skin is capable of producing some vitamin D when you’re exposed to the sun, many people do not spend enough time outdoors to satisfy the recommended daily value. Vitamin D amounts can vary by gender and age, but adults ages 19–70 should get, on average, at least 600 IU each day by remembering to step out in the sun or eating cereals, milk, and juices fortified with vitamin D.

Potassium is an electrolyte that helps your cells, tissues, and organs function properly. It is also connected to the electrical activity of the heart, and aids healthy blood pressure and kidney function. The daily requirement for potassium is 4,700 mg, which can be obtained from bananas, prunes, potatoes, dairy products, soy, and some fish.

While the body doesn’t need much magnesium, it still plays a crucial role in some 300 different processes in your body. Often associated with heart health, magnesium is also pertinent to a high-functioning immune system and bone health as 66% of the magnesium your body needs is stored in the bones. Although magnesium is found in many common foods such as grains and nuts, it is still estimated that people only get 66% of the necessary daily value. You can help make up for this deficit by eating more unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans, and seeds.

Keeping Well Fed and Watered

Your digestive tract has a lot of responsibilities that include nutrient absorption, waste elimination, and immune health. Fiber, which is a type of carbohydrate that can’t be digested by the body, aids the digestive system. It is also known for supporting heart health. The national recommendation for fiber is 30–38 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women ages 18–50.

The last area of nutrition that is often overlooked is hydration. Fluids are an important part of your diet; water being the most crucial. As you get older your sense of thirst can decline, but no matter what age you are, hydration is important for every process mentioned in the above paragraphs. It is often said that if food is your body’s fuel, then fluid is the coolant. Nutritionists recommend drinking 3–5 large glasses of water each day, or 8 glasses if you’re physically active.

Covering Your Bases of Nutrients

Sometimes keeping track of what your body needs can seem overwhelming. However, if you’ve already made the decision to eat healthier by managing your food groups and portions, you can easily figure out what vitamins and minerals you are getting enough of, and what areas you may need to focus on. Supplementation for many vitamins and minerals is always a viable option due to the various nature of different diets. Getting a wide variety of what you need, at each point in the aging process, however, is crucial to continued healthy living, and it starts with what you know.

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Regularly Forgotten, the Thyroid Is Essential to Healthy Daily Living

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Regularly Forgotten, the Thyroid Is Essential to Healthy Daily LivingDoes your body feel out of whack? Are you constantly feeling jittery, or do you continually feel a lack of energy? These are very general symptoms, but the root causes and how they can affect your everyday health may surprise you. Your thyroid, the butterfly shaped gland that resides in your neck, regulates the speed you produce energy and hormones that controls metabolism, moods, and weight. If your thyroid is over- or underactive it could disrupt other bodily processes.

Too Much or Too Little for Too Long

The key to a healthy thyroid, like many things in the health and nutrition world, is achieving balance. A balanced thyroid keeps the many processes it's connected to running smoothly. Too much on either side of the scale can cause noticeable changes in how you feel each day.

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) happens when the thyroid produces too much of the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). This can bring on feelings of nervousness, elevated heart rate, shaking, and fluctuating weight with no change in diet or activity. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), by contrast, is when your thyroid doesn't produce enough T3 and T4 hormones. The body's production of energy requires a certain amount of thyroid hormones and an underactive thyroid can cause many of the body's processes to slow down, causing noticeable symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and fluid retention.

Proactively Balancing Thyroid Function

Unlike your muscles, you can't single out your thyroid gland to give it workout. However, you'll be happy to learn that regular exercise can help balance thyroid function whether it's under- or overactive. In cases where the thyroid is underactive, exercise stimulates the production and circulation of thyroid hormones to help raise energy levels and your metabolism. When there is an excess of thyroid hormones, exercise provides a healthy outlet for the increased energy these hormones provide. A good workout also helps naturally elevate your mood, which can help counter feelings of nervousness and anxiety that are associated with thyroid imbalances. Proper nutrition is also paramount to healthy thyroid function. The thyroid requires iodine in order to manufacture T3 and T4 hormones, so it can't function without this basic mineral. Fish and other seafood, as well as iodized salt, can help provide the vital trace amounts you need. Other thyroid-supporting nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin A can be obtained from nuts, wheat, spinach, and kale. For convenience, you can also take a multivitamin or supplement for thyroid health—just make sure that it contains essential minerals such as iodine as well as regular vitamins. The thyroid is not usually the first thing thought of when you're not feeling well, but it's one of the most important glands connected to multiple aspects of your health. Taking the necessary steps to protect your thyroid can help keep your body balanced and allow you to enjoy the healthy lifestyle you deserve.


ThyroSlend
 

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Scientist Reveal Gene Discovery and the Importance of a Healthy Diet

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Scientist Reveal Gene Discovery and the Importance of a Healthy Diet"Eat your green vegetables, they are good for you." This is a phrase that is echoed constantly throughout the health and nutrition world. We tout their value to our children while at the same time many of us neglect our own green vegetable intake. Now, as scientists revealed in recent research findings, leafy greens may have a deeper impact on our health - specifically digestive health - than was already thought.

The Heart of Healthy Digestion

When we are digesting food, there is a lot that takes place in our stomach. Among the cells, enzymes, and their many functions are a certain type of newly discovered immune cells, called innate lymphoid cells (ILC's) that can be found within the lining of our digestive system. Their job is to protect the body from 'bad' bacteria that enters the intestine. It is also believed that they play an important role in controlling food allergies, inflammatory problems, and supporting healthy weight management. In a recent discovery, Dr. Gabrielle Belz, Ms. Lucie Rankin, and Dr. Joanna Groom from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, Molecular Immunology division, revealed that the gene T-bet is essential in helping to produce these critical, newly discovered immune cells (ILC's) in the stomach and digestive system. And furthermore, the healthy connection relates to the fact that it is apparent this gene responds to signals in the food we eat.

The Green Connection

In the study, Dr. Beltz and her team of scientists discovered that the T-bet gene acts as a signal, which tells precursor cells to develop these important ILC's, which have been revealed to protect the body against infections entering through the digestive system. The leafy green connection is said to be the proteins contained within leafy green vegetables. By interacting with cell surface receptors, proteins contained in cruciferous vegetables switch on the T-bet gene, thereby influencing the production of these vital ILC's, helping to protect our immune system from bacteria and potential digestive complications. Dr Belz noted that her team will also continue to further investigate how influential these greens can be with the T-bet gene, what other foods may act as a signaling pathway, and how they influence the production of these newly discovered innate lymphoid cells. However the list of important health benefits that green vegetables provide us with keeps growing year after year. Consistently choosing to ‘eat green' and also supplementing our bodies to receive the daily vitamins and minerals we need for optimal production have wondrous positive influence to our overall health. Taking individual vitamins on a daily basis to focus on a particular need, or supplementing a multivitamin into our diet everyday can help catapult our lifestyles towards balanced nutrition.

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