Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

ditching vitamin D proves detrimental

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Bone health with Liqui-calcium

On a recent trip to my dermatologist to freeze off some unsightly pre-cancerous spots, which is always a great time, I discovered something that I’ve long suspected.  As we chatted about the weather, vacation plans, and how often I still sunbathed (rarely), the dermatologist’s thoughts turned to vitamin D.  He asked me if I was taking a calcium supplement with vitamin D and when I replied enthusiastically in the affirmative, he was genuinely surprised.  “That’s great.”  He replied.  “You’re ahead of the curve.  Most people still don’t think about taking a supplement.”

The concept of vitamin D deficiency  makes perfect sense.  For most of us, we’ve heard from our various health care professionals that baking ourselves in the sun (even if you are dark skinned) for prolonged periods of time can result in sun-damaged skin, premature wrinkles, and in many cases, skin cancer.  As a result, most of us lather on sun block or moisturizers with sunscreen daily.  This is a good practice because it can really protect our skin from that insidious fireball in the sky, except for one thing.  We need to absorb some sunlight so that our bodies can manufacture vitamin D, which is essential to calcium absorption.

There has been so much research conducted lately about the positive effects of vitamin D on our immune systems and overall health.  Conversely, vitamin D deficiencies are now being examined closely as potentially contributing to various diseases such as cancer, obesity, and heart disease.  Even though much of this information is still being researched, one thing remains clear.  Calcium and vitamin D are essential for good health.  And most of us in the modern world either avoid the sun because of the aforementioned risks involved with worshipping it, or because the majority of us are sequestered in cubicles or offices, venturing out in the sunlight only long enough to procure a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

So I’m hedging my bets and taking a highly absorbable calcium supplement with 1000 IU vitamin D every day because I want to do all I can to lead a healthy life.  And also because I don’t want to see my dermatologist or his freezing apparatus for a very, very long time.

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Take a look at more information about stronger bones and optimal calcium absorption. We offer many excellent and highly absorbable supplements that support bone, immune system, and joint health.

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Veggie Might!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

womanwithsalad

Do you love cruciferous vegetables?  Are you only truly satisfied when you have a heaping plate of broccoli or bok choy in front of you?  Do you dream of a field full of cauliflower?  Apparently you’re not alone.  It seems that vegetarians may have a leg up on the rest of us as far as overall health.

A recent study conducted on adolescents suggests that those who ate a vegetarian diet were far more likely than non-vegetarians to meet the Healthy People 2010 dietary objectives. They tended to eat less overall fat and saturated fats and, not surprisingly, consumed far more servings of vegetables and fruits compared with their carnivorous counterparts.  The adolescent vegetarians were also less likely to eat fast foods and to indulge in sodas and fruit drinks.

So what does this mean for the rest of us?  Even if you aren’t a vegetarian (or a teenager), you can still adopt some of these healthy habits.  Aim for 3 to 4 servings of vegetables a day.  It’s not as hard as it sounds.  Have a side salad with that sandwich at lunch, and at dinnertime, fill your plate three-quarters full with a variety of veggies, i.e. carrots, salad, squash, peas, asparagus, green beans, or whatever strikes your fancy.  Fill the other quarter of the plate with your protein source.  You will be surprised at how easy it is to embrace good eating patterns as long as you stick to a variety.  Aside from the health benefits, you should also discover a smaller waistline.

Grab a fistful of radishes and that sauté pan.  You are on your way to a healthier you.  And who knows? You might end up liking veggies as much as chocolate.  Okay-maybe almost as much!

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Having problems stomaching certain foods?  Take a look at our dynamic, digestive duo with probiotics.  And try our Omega-Gel® for a healthier immune system.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/30680, “Adolescent Vegetarians: How Well Do Their Dietary Patterns Meet the Healthy People 2010 Objectives?” Perry CL, McGuire MT, et al, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, May 2002;156:431-437.

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I Want Candy!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Pick supplements and not sugar for better health

“The sugar rush.”  Sometimes nothing else will do.  When I’m face to face with a box of candy, or a malted milk, I am truly powerless to resist.  And with a certain chocolate-centric holiday just around the corner, I have to tread lightly, or else I will fall into a different category, “the sugar coma.”

All joking aside, sugar is delicious and wonderful to enjoy, especially on holidays and birthdays.  But it is also full of empty calories.  For example, the average soda these days contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.  10!  Even though I’m a sugar fanatic, I can’t bring myself to drink much soda anymore.  And that’s a great thing.  Instead I substitute milk, mineral water with a little lime, or even a small glass of wine and I save myself 100’s of calories a day.

Diabetes is on the rise.  It’s sad but true.  Some hypothesize that everything we eat nowadays is laden with sugar, and perhaps these ideas are not far off.  Be sure to check your food labels for hidden sugars, even in items like crackers, soups, and tomato sauces.  Awareness can make the difference in your health and also in your waistline.

Reward yourself properly.  As a society, we tend to reward a promotion, good grades, or any other success or special occasion with a big meal and lots of treats.  Choose wisely.  Now I love cake as much as the next person, but maybe it’s a better (and certainly healthier) idea to splurge on a massage, a night at the theater, or even a new outfit.  You will ultimately feel better, weigh less, and perhaps even spend a little quality time appreciating something you wouldn’t normally do.

Keep up the exercise, and work in lots of vegetables and fruits into your diet.  Take vitamins and supplements like Calcium, CoQ10, and Omega-3.  Get a proper night’s sleep as much as possible, and then, if all else fails, have that chocolate chip cookie with extra walnuts.  But just a couple.  Wash them down with a nice, cold glass of nonfat milk.  You’ve earned it!

Happy Valentine’s Day

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the dark (chocolate) master

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Heart healthy supplements

Dark chocolate.  It’s not just for dessert anymore.  It turns out that some of the components of dark chocolate are responsible for improved cardiovascular health.  Some recent research indicates that incorporating (some) dark chocolate into healthy eating habits can help reduce blood pressure, boost insulin sensitivity, and can also add to overall heart health.

In a study involving 20 subjects with never-before treated Essential Hypertension (EH), consumption of flavanol-rich dark chocolate (DC) for a period of 15 days was found to reduce blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve several markers of cardiovascular health, as compared with consumption of flavanol-free white chocolate (WC), for the same duration of time. The subjects (10 men, 10 women; average age: 43.7 years) were randomly divided into two groups, where one group was assigned to consume DC (100 g/day – containing 88 mg flavanols) while the other group was assigned to consume WC (90 g/day – no flavanols) for 15 days, in an isocaloric manner. A 7-day chocolate-free run-in phase preceded the first 15 days of treatment, after which subjects went through another 7-day chocolate-free phase, which was followed by another 15 days of treatment, in which patients were crossed over to receive the treatment they had not received before. Various measurements were taken and evaluated after each treatment period. After consumption of DC, 24-hour non-invasive ambulatory blood pressure decreased (systolic: -11.9 mm Hg; diastolic: -8.5 mm Hg), serum LDL cholesterol decreased (from 3.4 to 3.0 mmol/L), and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) scores improved. Results from oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) were used to calculate the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), which decreased after consumption of DC, while both the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICK1) and insulin sensitivity index (ISI) improved after consuming DC. None of these beneficial effects were seen after consumption of WC. This study suggests, if included as part of a healthy diet with a balanced caloric intake, flavanols from cocoa, such as those found in dark chocolate, may help to improve various markers of cardiovascular health in patients with essential hypertension.

With sweet news like this, it’s easy to stay on the heart healthy track!

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Explore our health archives for many other ways to improve cardiovascular health. For heart healthy supplements, try one of our powerful antioxidant supplements with both Ubiquinol and Resveratrol, Rubi Qnol®CoQ10.

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/34679,

Reference: “Cocoa reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance and improves endothelium-dependent vasodilation in hypertensives,” Grassi D, Necozione S, et al, Hypertension, 2005; 46(2): 398-405. (Address: Dipartimento Internal Medicine and Public Health, University of L’Aquila, Piazzale Salvatore Tommasi 1, 67100 Coppito, L’Aquila, Italy).

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Tummy Trouble

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Stomach health and exercise for energy and health

Digestive disorders can be debilitating.  If you have problems with your stomach, it’s very difficult to enjoy life and to attend to your various work and personal responsibilities.  Taking probiotics can help.  Probiotics are those friendly little “good”  bacteria in our intestines that help to fight off infection, reduce the risk of some diseases, and can soothe digestive disorders.

Whether or not you have IBS, other health conditions, or overall tummy trouble, supplementing with quality Probiotics can be invaluable to your digestive and your overall health.  Don’t stomach tummy-trouble anymore!

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Want to stop the belly-aching?  Read more about good digestive health and probiotics in our health archives. We have a dynamic duo of supplements for better digestive health that will help the digestive process, reduce gas and bloating, and allow for better absorption of the vitamins and minerals that are consumed.

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/37371,

Reference: “An open-label randomized controlled trial of lactulose and probiotics in the treatment of minimal hepatic encephalopathy,” Sharma P, Sharma BC, et al, Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2008; 20(6): 506-11. (Address: Departments of Gastroenterology and Neurology, G.B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India).

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Bring on the (good) Fats!

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

omega_gel_spoon

Before you slather another piece of toast or a baked potato with loads of butter, think about what that added fat may do to your body and to your overall health.  Now that’s not to say that you can’t ever indulge in a dollop or two, but it has been discovered that it’s better to fill your life-and your plate-with “good fats” like olive oil, found most prevalently in heart healthy Mediterranean diets.  There has been myriad research indicating that a diet rich in good fats, vegetables, fish, fruits, and yes red wine, can be very good for you, your immune system and your heart.

In a study involving 3,042 men and women aged 18-89 years from the Attica region of Greece, adherence to a Mediterranean diet was found to be associated with increased levels of total antioxidant capacity (TAC), and decreased levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol. Participants, who had no clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease, completed validated food frequency questionnaires from which a ‘diet score’ was determined, which assessed the level of adherence to a Mediterranean diet. After adjustment for confounding factors, TAC was found to be 11% higher and oxidized LDL-cholesterol concentrations were found to be 19% lower among those in the highest tertile of diet score, compared with the lowest tertile. While consumption of red meat was found to be inversely associated with TAC, consumption of olive oil and fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, were found to be positively associated with TAC. This study suggests that adherence to a Mediterranean diet, through its positive effects on TAC and oxidized LDL levels, may be of benefit in maintaining cardiovascular health.

So fill your plate high with rich, antioxidant foods and reap the rewards of a healthier, happier lifestyle.

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Ensure that you are getting the best possible antioxidant protection.  And don’t settle for subpar Omega-3 supplements.  For better health choose highly potent and absorbable Omega-Gel®. And read more about other antioxidants like Resveratrol and Ubiquinol, that both play an important part in fortifying the immune system.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/34703, “Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with total antioxidant capacity in healthy adults: the ATTICA study,” Pitsavos C, Panagiotakos DB, et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005; 82(3): 694-9. (Address: First Cardiology Clinic, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens, Greece, and the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece).

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Health…matters!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Solanova good eating habit are healthy

I was just recently patting myself on the back because I hadn’t gotten sick at all during this flu season.  Even though I was completely surrounded by sniffling, sneezing, and hacking co-workers and/or relatives, I experienced nary a cough.  Well done, I thought.  I must really be impervious to-well-everything!  Hurray for me!

But then, inevitably, I woke up with a cold.  Normally there are warning signs; a feeling of dopiness, a vague headache, unexplained fatigue.  However this time, I simply woke up feeling stuffy, headachy, and just a little bit out of it.  This cold is annoying, and is making me just a tad crazy as I try to search for just the right-um-uh-you know-phrase to convey its unpleasantness.

Colds really do make me feel hazy and tired.  But here’s what I realized.  The colds I used to get oftentimes turned into something much worse (like Bronchitis) and tended to be of longer, agonizing duration.  Now when I am unlucky enough to get sick, the cold or flu isn’t that bad and is over in a few days tops.

What is the difference between then and now, you may ask?  Eating right, exercising, and yes, faithfully taking my vitamins and supplements.

I hate to be so darn elementary about it, but in my case it seems to be absolutely true.  I was once a person who, when faced with an illness, would try to consume fistfuls of vitamin C and other vitamins on the off chance it would stop my misery mid-cold.  It didn’t.  I was also the kind of person who would only wander near a gym, a produce market, or a vitamin store sporadically, and usually just to peek in the window.

A few years ago I decided to make a change.  I started eating things like broccoli, Swiss chard, carrots, and salads at least once every single day.  I joined a gym and I went to it, usually three times a week.  And finally, I did a little research and started taking some vitamins and supplements on a regular basis.  Now none of these things is rash by any means, but I changed what I felt I could really commit to and it worked.  I feel healthier, stronger, more well rested, and better overall than I did just a few years ago.

I decided to make a series of small changes that over time made a big impact on my life and my health.  You can do it too.  Good luck.

Happy New Year!

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Out with the bad, in with the healthy!

Monday, December 28th, 2009

new-years-calendar

As the year comes to a close, you may find you are promising yourself all kinds of ambitious results in the name of New Year’s resolutions.  For example, you decided you’ll get up at 5am every day and take a jog around your neighborhood for at least 45 minutes-even if it’s raining-and cold.  And you’re not a jogger.  You’ve also promised yourself you’d cut up all of your credit cards except one, and then commit to paying it off in full every month.  Another resolution might be to not eat too much at one sitting and to be sure you consume at least three or four servings of vegetables and fruits a day.  Now all that doesn’t sound too hard, does it?

All of these New Year’s resolutions are very commendable, but the problem is that it can be very difficult and discouraging to try to live up to these types of ideals.  It’s great to think big and aim high but sometimes what we really need is a realistic goal that is actually attainable.  And once we’ve stuck to an easy and manageable plan, it gives us the confidence to perhaps add another healthy commitment to our plate.

Start with something simple.  If you’re trying to lose weight and consume a lot of sugary soda, try swapping the soda for water and watch as the pounds drop off.  Little adjustments like this can help over time, and it won’t make you feel hungry or too deprived.  Making plans to walk with a friend or family member after work a few times a week can help to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and also gives you time to catch up with the people you’d like to see more often-which is maybe another good New Year’s resolution to pursue.

Start with something fundamental.  If you smoke, by all means quit!  Sometimes, we skirt around the real health issue, such as making plans to exercise more and eat healthier when the first step should be to quit smoking.  But smoking cessation can be extremely challenging, and therefore committing to eating more broccoli instead sounds better.  But broccoli can only do so much if you are polluting your body with carcinogens.  Get into a program, find some support, and follow through on the one really important resolution for the year; kicking a bad health habit like smoking. And the bonus is that you not only make yourself healthier, but also help those around you.  Second hand smoke can cause a myriad of illnesses including asthma, so do your family and friends a favor and kick the habit for good.

Whatever resolutions you pick, make sure they mean something to you and are something you can work toward with confidence during the year.  May this season bring health and happiness to you and your loved ones.

Happy holidays!

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Read more about new years resolutions and what kind of healthy choices to make here. Commit to better health by taking powerful antioxidants and ensure a great 2010!

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To be or not to be…an ice cream sundae.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

woman with salad and antioxidants

You are what you eat.  Yes, a hackneyed expression, but nevertheless true.  I always feel better if I eat in a healthy way, and usually feel vaguely guilty if I’ve indulged in too much fat, sugar, or alcohol-and usually it’s a combination of all three-especially around the holidays.

If you’re anything like me, it can be very difficult to stay motivated.  For example, I like the gym, but I like sleeping more.  I enjoy sautéed Swiss chard, but I’d much rather have an oversized ice cream sundae dripping with chocolate sauce.  It’s very easy and tempting to stray off the healthy, antioxidant path.  There are cookie-laden forests and lakes of freshly whipped cream to explore instead!  But these empty calorie treats-as good as they may be-are nutrition traps.  What’s more, they aren’t doing anything to fortify my immune system.  I want to feel strong, healthy, and in control of my health destiny as much as possible.

So I recommit.  Every day to a healthy way of life.  For me, putting my continued good health at the top of my “to do” list empowers me to carry on with my eating-right-and-exercising-routine.  The fact that I will look better in my clothes is a nice byproduct, but not the main reason that I try very hard to take care of myself.  I cram as many antioxidant-enriched foods as I can possibly stand into my daily routine.  My body then has the tools it needs to fortify my immune system and defend against free radical damage and hopefully against various diseases and health conditions too.

In fact, there was a recent study conducted tracking midlife eating habits of Swedish twins.  It was hypothesized that those who fortified their diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables mid life seemed to lessen their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, compared with twins who did not eat as many antioxidant enriched foods.

I decided long ago to hedge my bets and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet replete with plenty of antioxidants.  I am also sure to take Omega-3 fatty acids and highly absorbable multivitamins and vitamin D supplements every day for better health.  By committing to good health habits on a regular basis, I can still have my sundae and eat it too-and that makes me very, very happy.

Be healthy and enjoy all of the holiday festivities!

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To read more about powerful antioxidant support, check out our health archives. Happy holidays from all of us at Solanova!

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38666“Midlife Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Dementia in Later Life in Swedish Twins,” Hughes TF, Andel R, et al, Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 2009 Nov 10; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Pittsburgh, PA, USA).

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In vitamin D we trust

Friday, December 18th, 2009

couple happy with Solanova supplements

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the positive effects of getting enough vitamin D, and equally much lamenting that most Americans aren’t getting as much as they need of the important vitamin to live an optimally healthy life.  Through numerous research, it has been shown that people with low levels of vitamin D seem to have a higher risk of disease overall.  Vitamin D is traditionally known for its supporting role, helping calcium build up strong bones.  But it also can help to regulate and fortify the immune system.  In a very recent study, vitamin D deficiency was linked to a greater risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer disease, and stroke.

In a cross-sectional study involving 318 elders (mean age = 73.5 years) receiving home care, results indicate that vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency may be associated with increased risks for all-cause dementia, Alzheimer disease and stroke. 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations were deficient (<10 ng/mL) in 14.5% and insufficient (10-20 ng/mL) in 44.3% of the participants. Mean 25(OH)D concentrations were found to be lower in subjects with dementia. Additionally, a significantly higher prevalence of dementia was observed in vitamin D insufficient subjects. After adjusting for confounding factors, vitamin D insufficiency was associated with more than a two-fold increased risk of dementia, Alzheimer disease and stroke (with and without dementia symptoms). Lastly, vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased white matter hyperintensity volume, grade, and prevalence of large vessel infarcts. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency was associated with all-cause dementia, Alzheimer disease, stroke (with and without dementia symptoms), and MRI indicators of cerebrovascular disease. These findings suggest a potential vasculoprotective role of vitamin D.”

Vitamin D is turning out to be an incredibly important element for overall health.  Spending (a little) time in the sun, eating a balanced diet replete with calcium rich foods, and taking a quality vitamin D supplement can all contribute to continued good health and vitality.

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There is more information about enhancing the immune system and vitamin deficiency in our health concerns archives. And for superb antioxidant protection try our powerful Omega-Gel® supplements and our Liqui-Calcium for superior vitamin D support.

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38665


Reference: “25-Hydroxyvitamin D, dementia, and cerebrovascular pathology in elders receiving home services,” Buell JS, Tucker KL, et al, Neurology, 2009 Nov 25; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA).

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