Dr. Carm Sebastian joins us to talk about what foods you should eat instead of taking supplements.
Some of the most popular supplements people take:
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D
- Coenzyme 10
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Glucosamine and chondroitin
Common vitamin deficiencies:
- Magnesium: More than half of us don't get enough, approx. 100 mg short of the recommended amount.
- Potassium: data shows that more than 90 percent of Americans don't get the recommended daily allowance.
- Vitamin D: 50% to 60% of people in the U.S. are either low or deficient.
- Vitamin B12: Of all the B vitamins B1 to B12, B12 is a commonly deficient one.
- Helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. B12 is an energy booster and strengthens the immune system. Someone with dietary restrictions to dairy or shellfish in particular or vegetarians, may want to supplement. Also people who consume a lot of alcohol.
- How much you need: 2.4 mcg
- Good sources: Clams are off the charts in B12, and rainbow trout and salmon are pretty high.
- Benefits: bone health, especially for women over 50 to prevent osteoporosis.
- Good sources: green leafy vegetables, dairy and meat. If you eat a fair amount of these foods, you're getting plenty of calcium.
- Calcium isn't enough for bone health. Vitamin D is more important because it aids in the absorption of calcium.
- Benefits: Vitamin D is good for bones and aids the absorption of calcium. Other evidence shows that adequate levels can reduce risk for many cancers, protect against heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- How much you need: 600 IU a day
- Good sources: The easiest way to get Vitamin D used to be from the sun, but that presents other dangers - skin cancer. Your best food source is from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. Smaller amounts found in beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. Milk, yogurt and orange juice are now fortified with Vitamin D.
- There is a challenge to finding foods containing vitamin D, so this may be one instance where you want to take a supplement, if you're shown to have a deficiency.
- Benefits: Assists hundreds of bodily functions from keeping muscles, nerves and heart functioning to regulating the immune system and stabilizing mood. A deficiency could contribute to heart attacks and hypertension.
- How much you need: 320 mg for women, 420 mg for men
- Studies show that more than half of us don't get enough magnesium, on average 100 mg short of the recommended amount.
- Good food sources are nuts with almonds having the highest amount at 80 mg per ounce and cashews a close second. Green vegetables like spinach and okra, as well as soybeans, legumes, seeds and unrefined whole grains.
Omega-3 fatty acid:
- Benefits: Helps everything from cardiovascular health and brain functioning to arthritis and inflammation.
- How much you need: 500 mg
- Good food sources: It's recommended to eat cold water fatty fish twice a week - salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, trout and mackerel.
- A lot of people aren't eating enough fish, so fish oil is a supplement for just about everyone to take.
- Benefits: vital mineral for the function of all cells, tissues and organs. Important for controlling blood pressure and evidence shows it reduces risk of stroke.
- How much you need: 4,700 mg a day, but 90 percent of Americans don't get the recommended daily allowance.
- Good sources: eat a variety of fruits and vegetables that have higher levels like broccoli, cantaloupe, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and bananas, of course. Eat raw, steamed or baked. Never boil them since boiling depletes potassium.
- Iron: too much iron is not good for you, so it is not recommended to take an iron supplement if you don't need to. Iron can be hard to get with specific diets, like vegetarians.
- Coenzyme 10 or CoQ10: important for people taking certain medications for high cholesterol. Statins, a medication millions around the world take to lower cholesterol, can block the formation of CoQ10, so an additional 10 mg is recommended.
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