Good Food is the Best Medicine!

 

Spotlight on Vitamin D!

  • Found in cells throughout the entire body
  • Needed for health and to maintain strong bones (combined with calcium, it protects older adults from osteoporosis)
  • Helps the body absorb calcium (main building block of bones)
  • Deficiency could cause soft, thin, and brittle bones (known as Rickets in children and Osteomalacia in adults)
  • Muscles need it for movement, which is triggered by nerve impulses between brain and every body part
  • Immune system needs it to fight off invading bacteria and viruses
  • Few foods are natural sources, so the major source in food is typically fortified
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best natural sources
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts, naturally
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D, but more are available due to growers exposing mushrooms to UV light to boost this nutrient
  • Dairy milk, soy milks, almond milk, and oat milk are often fortified with Vitamin D, though products made from these milks typically are not
  • The skin can make Vitamin D from direct exposure to the sun’s UV rays – windows and sunscreen interfere
  • Supplements (high dose prescription or over-the-counter daily pills) are also available to increase body stores

Why is Vitamin D of concern? It is an essential nutrient needed to sustain human health. It is a steroid hormone with an important role in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus.  That is why deficiency can contribute to bone-related disorders.  Recent studies have also found that Vitamin D is closely associated with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Neuropsychiatric disorders include a wide variety of conditions affecting the nervous system:

  • Seizures
  • Attention deficit disorders
  • Cognitive deficit disorders
  • Migraine headaches
  • Addictions
  • Eating disorders
  • Anger control issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

For overall wellness, or to help manage a chronic condition, it is a good idea to have your physician check your Vitamin D levels and treat any deficiency.  Having adequate levels of Vitamin D within your diet, safely exposing yourself to sun, and supplementation could help you feel your best.

 


 

Spotlight on Zinc!  

  • It is a micronutrient (mineral) that people need to stay healthy.
  • It is found in cells throughout the entire body.
  • It helps our immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
  • It is necessary for the body to make proteins and DNA.
  • It is needed during pregnancy, infancy and childhood to ensure growth and development.
  • It helps to heal wounds.
  • It affects proper senses of taste and smell.
  • A wide variety of foods contain zinc, so eating a varied diet is important.
  •     Contains SOME:    Beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products
  •    GOOD Source:    Red meat, poultry, seafood (esp. crab and lobster), and fortified breakfast cereals  
  •    BEST Source:    Oysters   
  • Avoid nasal sprays with zinc as it could permanently affect senses of taste and smell if overused.
  • Throat lozenges with zinc are ok to use, as are multivitamins and supplements.
  • Signs of too much zinc include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea and headaches.If too much zinc is taken for a long time, it can lead to problems such as low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL "good" cholesterol.

 

 Spotlight on Vitamin A! 

  • It is a fat-soluble vitamin (meaning it needs fat to help the body absorb it) stored in the liver.
  • It is an essential micronutrient which the body cannot make, so we need to get it from our diet.
  • It has an essential role in eye/vision health, body growth, immune function, and reproductive health.
  • It is a key part of our immune system, stimulating production and activity of white blood cells.
  • Deficiency causes increased chance of infections, hair loss, skin problems, and night blindness.
  • There are 2 forms of Vitamin A we can get in our diet:
  •      Preformed (retinol)
  •      Pro-vitamin A carotenoids (alpha-carotene & beta-carotene which body turns into retinol).
  • Retinol is found in:
    • Animal-sourced foods (e.g. fish, liver, eggs, cheese, and butter)
    • Fortified foods (e.g. cereals and milk)
    • Supplements (NOTE: Upper limit to avoid toxicity is 3,000 iu)
  • Carotenoids are found naturally in plant foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains).  Naturally RED and ORANGE foods are sources of beta-carotene!

Spotlight on Vitamin C!

  • It is a water-soluble vitamin (so it will be absorbed without the need for fat, unlike Vitamin A) so there is no concern about toxicity.
  • It is another essential micronutrient which the body cannot make and must be in our diet.
  • It is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals (both formed when the body converts food to energy and found in the environment).
  • It also helps make collagen, which is needed for wound healing.
  • It improves body’s ability to absorb iron from plant-sourced foods.
  • It helps the immune system work to protect the body from disease.
  • Deficiency can lead to bruising easily, gingivitis and bleeding gums, dry/splitting hair, dry/rough skin, lower wound-healing rate, and a decreased ability to prevent infection.
  • Vitamin C can be lost with cooking, so steaming or microwaving are best methods.
  • Vitamin C is found in:
    • Citrus fruits and their juices
    • Red and green pepper and kiwifruit
    • Other fruits and vegetables (such as broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes)
    • Foods and beverages fortified vitamin C (check product labels to see if Vitamin C was added)
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