Do you take supplements? Do you need them?

3 Supplements You Should be Taking if You’re Over 55 

Yes, while I always say that it’s better to get your nutrients from food first sometimes supplements are necessary. Unfortunately there are just some all-too-common nutrients that we simply don’t get enough of.  And they’re absolutely critical to optimal health and wellness.  Especially as we age.

Here I sifted through the supplements that are available on the market and boiled them down to three that can have the best effect for us.

Supplement #1: Vitamin D

If you live in North America chances are you are low in vitamin D.  It’s the “sunshine vitamin” and we just aren’t able to hang out in shorts every day of the year.  Even if we did we’d wisely use a bit of sun protection too.

Vitamin D is very important for everyone but especially women over 45.  Want to know why? It helps to protect our bones!

Vitamin D helps our body absorb and keep the calcium we get from our food and drinks.  And we all know that calcium is one of the main things our bones are made of. Want to know something funny about vitamin D (but it’s true, I swear)? People who get enough vitamin D tend to fall less frequently.  Especially as we get older.

Seriously!

Vitamin D can help your bones stay strong and help you fall less.  Win-win!

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for over 300 reactions in your body. Yes, 300!

As with vitamin D it’s very common for us to simply not get enough.  Not even the 320 mg per day that’s recommended. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, low bone density, and even migraines.

Magnesium is found in so many healthy whole foods like beans, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.  In fact, the magnesium element is central to a plant’s chlorophyll – it’s actually what causes green plants to be green!  And most of us just don’t get enough green plants into our bodies on a regular basis.  (You know I have a recipe with green leafies for you below, right?).

Magnesium is a very common supplement and is often added to multivitamins.

Omega-3s

We’ve all heard that we need to get more omega-3 essential fatty acids, right?  They’re good for our hearts, brains, and help to reduce inflammation. These are all good things when it comes to our health and wellness. But not all of us are ready, willing, and able to eat fish three times per week. Do you?

While fish oil supplements contain the “brain healthy” fats called EPA and DHA, those two are not technically the “essential” fats.  The plant omega-3 known as ALA is essential and that is because our bodies can convert ALA into EPA and DHA when necessary.

Omega-3 supplements can be found in forms of flax oil, algae oil, fish oil, or even fish liver oil. Pro Tip:  Fish liver oil (e.g. cod liver oil) also contains vitamin D so check your labels and add the amounts together to know how much vitamin D you’re actually getting.

Conclusion:

Three supplements to consider now that you’re 55 are: vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s.

Always read the supplement labels to see if there are warnings that would make them inappropriate for you.  And, of course if you have any medical conditions or take medications or other supplements it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting anything new.

Recipe (Vitamin D, Magnesium & Omega-3s): Salmon Quinoa Buddha Bowl

Serves 2

4 cups baby spinach

1 cup quinoa (cooked)

1 can wild salmon

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

½ red onion (diced) (optional)

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

dash salt and pepper

Split spinach, quinoa, wild salmon, sesame seeds, and onion (if using) between two bowls.

Mix sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lemon juice together and pour on top of prepared Buddha bowls.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  If using canned salmon instead of fresh,try to get the ones with the most vitamin D and
make sure cans are BPA-free.  Good quality canned fish is usually in the “natural foods”
section of many large groceries.

References:
https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/
https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

The True Health Benefits of Exercise

 Exercise. It can improve your health on all levels. We’re not just talking about being fitter and stronger. We’re talking about overall health and longevity. An you usually either love it or hate it! But what does it really do for you…read on to learn more.

Regular exercise improves your heart health, brain health, muscle and bone health, diabetes, and arthritis. Beyond those, it also reduces stress, boosts moods, increases your energy, and can improve your sleep. And exercise prevents death from any cause (“all cause mortality”).

Convinced yet?

The benefits of exercise come from improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation and blood sugar levels. They come from moving your muscles (including your heart muscle) and pulling on your bones.

You don’t need to go overboard on exercise to get these amazing health results. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days/week is enough. And you don’t have to do a particular kind of exercise. All four types of exercise have health benefits. They are:

  • Endurance (brisk walking, jogging, yard work, dancing, aerobics, cycling, swimming)
  • Strength (climbing stairs, carrying groceries, lifting weights, using a resistance band or your body weight, Pilates)
  • Balance (standing on one foot, Tai Chi)
  • Flexibility (stretching, yoga)

Don’t forget, all exercise counts, even if it’s not doing a sport or in a gym. Weekend hikes, walking to the store and doing household chores also count towards your weekly exercise goal.

Let me take a minute to prove to you how healthy exercise really is. Here are a few key points.

Exercise for heart health

Exercise reduced cardiac mortality by 31% in middle aged men who previously had a heart attack.

Regular exercise reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure).

 Exercise for brain health

Exercise can improve physical function and quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease. It also reduces changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Exercise improved mental functions by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is involved in learning and memory. It also increases the size of the part of the brain for memory and learning (the “hippocampus”); this was shown mostly with aerobic exercise.

Exercise for muscle and bone health

Regular physical activity can help maintain strong muscles and bones; this is particularly true for strength exercises. As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass and bone density. So, to prevent osteoporosis, exercise regularly.

PRO TIP: And don’t forget that balance exercises and Tai Chi can help prevent falls.

Exercise for diabetes

People with diabetes who exercise have better insulin sensitivity and HbA1C values (the marker of glycemic control).Exercise does this because by contracting your muscles, you’re fueling them with sugar in your blood. This helps to manage blood sugar levels better than without exercise. 

Conclusion 

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health benefits of exercise.  By doing just 30 minutes 5 days/week, you can vastly improve your health. Since there are different benefits for different types, try mixing up what you do throughout the week. You don’t even need an “official” workout. Walking to the grocery store or doing household chores can count too.

If you’re just starting, then pick something you enjoy, get some accountability (exercise tracker or a buddy), and start.

What’s your favorite exercise and how often do you do it?

 Recipe (exercise recovery): Coconut Water Refresher 

Serves 2

1 cup coconut water

2 cups watermelon

½ tsp lime juice

1 dash salt

1 cup ice

2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

 

Instructions:

Blend the first four ingredients until well mixed. Add ice and pulse until ice is crushed.

Pour into glasses or water bottle and add chia seeds. Shake/stir before drinking.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: The chia seeds add extra fiber, protein, and omega-3s.

 

References:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFBBjynBpSw&t=3s

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-benefits-of-exercise/

https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/prevent_falls_ff.asp

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/exercise-is-good-for-diabetes

https://authoritynutrition.com/15-ways-to-lower-blood-sugar/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-movement

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/exercise-physical-activity

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