Multivitamins: What You Should Know

vitaminsMany people turn to vitamin supplements to ensure that they get the appropriate daily dose of substances like iron, vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty acids or probiotics.

Before you get swept away in this convenient trend, there are a few things you should know, however. Woman’s Day Magazine offers the following 10 facts about multivitamins:

  • Consider temperature and storage requirements. Supplements that contain oils or probiotics should be refrigerated to prevent them from becoming exposed to too much heat, light and oxygen.
  • Different medications may interfere with your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Aspirin or birth control effect the body’s vitamin C levels, for example, and a boost in intake may be necessary.
  • Folate, or folic acid, is a B vitamin which the body often struggles to absorb. Contrary to popular belief, a synthetic type is better than naturally-derived folate in this case.
  • If you are a vegetarian, or don’t eat much meat during the week, you may want to consider a vitamin B12 supplement. This is a crucial substance that supports the body’s blood supply and nervous system, and is found mainly in animal products. Though some dark green vegetables, such as spinach, have B12, the plant form is not well-absorbed by the human body.
  • Be careful not to get too extreme. Vitamins are good for you, but large doses can effect digestion, moods and even the liver. Do your research, and maybe even consult with an expert.
  • Iron can be dangerous in large doses- if your multivitamin contains iron, make sure to take only the recommended amount each day. If you are pregnant or anemic, a doctor can recommend the appropriate dose for your needs.
  • Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, so take them with a bit of fatty food to maximize their benefits. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, include B and C.
  • Prescription medications may interact with certain vitamins, or deplete your body’s stores. Discuss the possibility with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Do your research when you buy your vitamins, as labels can be misleading. The FDA regulates vitamin supplements like food, and not like medications.
  • Vitamin supplements cannot replace a healthy diet. Your daily routine and dietary habits will have a much stronger impact on your health than your multivitamin can.

The Widespread Health Benefits of Yogurt

Despite it’s incomparable health benefits, yogurt is often overlooked by today’s dieters and health fanatics.

First and foremost, yogurt is rich in easy-to-absorb calcium. One cup of yogurt can provide the body with the nutrients needed to build, strengthen maintain the bones each day. The fact that low-fat dairy products minimize the risk of bone disease and fractures has been recognized for many years.

Yogurt is also loaded with complete proteins, providing the body with all the different amino acids it needs to function. In addition, yogurt contains numerous vitamins and minerals, as well as low fat content.

Lactose intolerance is a common issue, one that leads many people to believe that they must live without milk products. Not so for yogurt, since the bacteria it contains breaks down the lactose into more tolerable components.

The bacteria in the food have other advantages as well. They are capable of restoring the proper balance of ‘good’ bacteria within the body, especially in the case of antibiotics. Healthy bacteria populations strengthen the immune system, and also improve digestion and the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body.


Eating Healthy Not All About Calorie Counting, Knowing Fat Content

Scientists from the Université Laval in Canada, Cornell University in New York and Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Paul Bocuse in Écully, France have found some fascinating information. While American appear to be obsessed with diet and calorie counting, the French are far less aware of nutritional labels. However, French obesity rates are around 12%, while American obesity rates have reached three times that amount.

Scientists interviewed more than 300 French, Quebec and American consumers with a questionnaire that was designed to see what they knew about dietary fats. French respondents said that they didn’t know the answer to 43% of the questions about dietary fats, as compared to just 4% of American respondents.

As Professor Maurice Doyon from Université Laval said when analyzing the data, “The difference among respondents’ knowledge essentially indicates that the French don’t take much of an interest in the nutrients contained in the foods they eat. The information is on the package, but they don’t read it.”

Reporting their findings in a recent edition of The British Food Journal, they found that the correlation between extensive nutritional knowledge and high obesity shows that just by focusing on nutrition does not guarantee healthy eating.

As Dr. Doyon said, “This may lead them to think of food in terms of its fat, carbohydrate, and caloric content and lose sight of the whole picture. It might be better to focus on what constitutes a healthy, complete, and balanced meal.”

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

We’ve all grown up hearing that phrase, but how often do we stop to consider the real implications? Apples, in fact, are incredibly healthy. Here are a few things that regular apple-eating can do for your body:

  • Boron and phloridzin, a type of flavanoid, are both found in apples. These substances strengthen bones and increase their density. Studies have shown that phloridzin, which is found only in this fruit, may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis.
  • Various studies have shown that the regular consumption of apples may lower the risk of or impact of asthma in children.
  • Quercetin, which is found in apples, is believed to protect brain cells from the type of damage that causes Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The pectin in apples lowers the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels in the body. Eating two apples per day can lower the level by up to sixteen percent.
  • The risks of developing lung, breast, colon and liver cancer are all lowered with regular apple consumption.
  • The pectin in apples may help manage diabetes, because it provides galacturonic acids which lowers the need for insulin.
  • Apples help with weight loss. Studies have shown that women who ate apples while dieting lost more weight than those who did not.