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Our Experts

Daily Activity is Exercise

04.09.2014

everyday-activities-count-as-exercise-too

Ask people the #1 reason why they don’t work out—and the answer is pretty much always: “I don’t have time.” But what most people don’t realize is that just the physical act of moving—daily activity—counts as exercise, too.

One woman I know was lamenting to me about this very same thing: she worked long hours in an office and just couldn’t find the energy or time to make it to the gym. But what I found out was she walked her dog every morning before work and every evening when she got home—but in her mind, because she wasn’t at the gym, those walks didn’t count as exercise. But they absolutely do. The universal recommendation is 30 minutes of activity every day: doing a 10-minute walk with your dog in the morning and a 10-minute walk at night counts…and the best part: you’re already more than halfway at your daily goal!

With that said, here’s a rundown of daily activities that people do on a regular basis that count as exercise; the more you do them, the more of a workout you’re getting. (This is the theory, by the way, behind all the new “smart” watches and straps that are coming onto the market now; they track your daily activity so you can see just how much you’ve really done.)

cleaning

Cleaning—indoors or out: Cleaning typically burns anywhere from 100 to 300 calories1 an hour, depending on what you’re doing and how strenuous it is. Dusting and light cleaning burns fewer calories (about 100 an hour) than, say, vacuuming, washing your car, and/or scrubbing floors/windows (which burn anywhere from 200 to 300 calories an hour). But many people—me included—find cleaning mentally therapeutic and helps us feel in control of our lives…so even if you’re not burning a lot of calories, you are moving and reducing stress at the same time.

Try to plan your cleaning, though, so you have to constantly keep moving: For example, clean one window on the inside then run outdoors to do the outside of that window. Then run back inside to clean another window—and so on. Another tip: see if you can switch arms frequently while you’re cleaning; that way, both sides of your body are getting a workout.

gardering

Gardening/yard work: Raking those leaves leftover from last fall can burn about 235 calories an hour, while getting out and mowing the lawn can blast up to 325 calories an hour. But just gardening—weeding, digging, and planting—are repetitive tasks that help build, and stretch, muscles. They can also burn calories (about 280 calories an hour). But just the sights, smells, and sounds of an outdoor garden can help relieve stress and boost your mood, too. (Not to mention, you’re able to reap your harvest.) All around, gardening is a win-win activity.

going-up

Going up and down stairs: So many of us are quick to go to the gym to use the Stair climber when we’ve often got our own “Stair climbers” right in our homes or apartment buildings. Going up and down stairs, at a moderate pace, can burn up to 500 calories an hour. Now, no one that I know is going to be walking up and down their stairs for a whole hour straight…but, think about how many times you go up and down the stairs throughout an entire day, and it might just total up to an hour.

One tip I learned—and have put into practice—recently: Don’t leave things to pile up at the bottom of the stairs; take individual items upstairs as soon as you need to and you’ll find yourself adding in more exercise. And if you want to try challenging yourself: make it a point to do a few lunges off the bottom step each time you reach it.

kids

Playing with your kids/grandkids: Head to the nearest park, jungle gym or playground with your kids—or just get active in the backyard. Kick a soccer ball, play Frisbee, jump rope, set up a backyard net for badminton, or go for a walk or bike ride. You’ll burn calories (anywhere from 100 to 500 calories an hour), have fun, and be spending quality time with your kids/grandkids. (Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be an organized gym activity.)

Walking to/from your car: Park your car further from the entrance to the mall or grocery store—and you’ll burn some extra calories walking to and from the entrance. (Some people even like to walk around their office parking lot on their lunch hour if there are no walking trails or sidewalks nearby.) And keep in mind that mall walking is a good workout, too (walking at a moderate pace burns about 287 calories per hour); most malls open their doors early, before the stores open, to allow for just this activity. Something else to keep in mind: rather than parking your grocery cart next to your car after unloading it, return it to the store. Every little bit of movement counts!

Walking your dog: As I mentioned earlier about my friend, dog walking is a super effective aerobic activity (you can burn about 287 calories an hour). In fact, one study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine2, found that dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes per week—nearly double the 168 minutes of walking that people without dogs typically do!

Remember: the goal is to just move as often as you can. If you find yourself sitting at a computer all day, then set the alarm on your computer so you have to get up and walk around for at least 5 minutes every hour. Not only will it get you moving, it will clear your mind, too.

Be well, and stay fit!

1The amount of calories you burn depends on how much you weigh—and how strenuous your workout.

2“Relationships Among Dog Ownership and Leisure-Time Walking in Western Canadian Adults”; Shane G. Brown, BEd, Ryan E. Rhodes, PhD; American Journal of Preventive Medicine; February 2006, Volume 30, Issue 2; 131-136.

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Our Experts

Top 5 Nutrients for Men 50+

04.23.2014

Top 5 Nutrients for Men Over 50

You may have celebrated your 50th birthday, but you haven’t slowed down one bit, and you’d like to keep it that way. Now’s the time to maximize nutrition so that you get the nutrients you need to play golf, work in the garden, and take long walks on beach. Here are the top five nutrients for men over 50, and how to include them every day.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is necessary to help harness energy from the protein and fat in food, and to make red blood cells that carry oxygen to cells and working muscles. The suggested intake for vitamin B12 doesn’t change after age 50, but age alters the way your body processes it. Naturally-occurring vitamin B12 requires adequate stomach acid for absorption, but stomach acid production declines with age, putting many older adults at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to nerve damage that could slow you down. After age 50, you should get most of your vitamin B12 from dietary supplements and fortified foods, which both use a synthetic form of the vitamin that doesn’t require stomach acid for absorption.

Calcium

Calcium: When you think of calcium, osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones more fracture-prone may come to mind. And when you think of osteoporosis, you may think of it as a woman’s disease. That’s not entirely true. While women rapidly lose bone mass in their 50’s, by 65 or 70, men and women are losing bone mass at the same rate, and the absorption of calcium, decreases in both sexes. To prevent being sidelined by a broken bone, include the suggested 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, about the amount found in three servings of dairy foods. If you don’t consume adequate amounts of calcium-rich foods, consider taking a supplement to meet the suggested daily intake.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D assists the body’s absorption of calcium and oversees calcium’s movement into, and out of, your bones. The body can make vitamin D, when skin is exposed to strong summer sunlight. However, many people avoid the sun because of concerns about skin cancer and premature wrinkling of the skin. In addition, the older you get, the less efficient skin becomes in helping to produce vitamin D. You need 600 International Units of vitamin D daily, the equivalent of six, eight-ounce glasses of fortified milk. Other foods with vitamin D include salmon, tuna, and fortified eggs. Many people don’t get enough vitamin D from food and rely on dietary supplements to make up for the remainder.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6. Your body needs vitamin B6 to keep going. It helps to keep your heart in working order, and it helps facilitate the release of glucose – fuel for your cells – from the liver and muscles, so that you can stay active. Vitamin B6 needs increase slightly after age 50. Salmon is rich in vitamin B6, and other sources of vitamin B6 include fortified breakfast cereal, potatoes, bananas, and pork.

Fiber

Fiber: Fiber does more than keep your digestive system running smoothly so that you feel your best. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), the fiber that occurs naturally in foods may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber also provides feelings of fullness, which may help with weight control. Men over 50 should aim for 30 grams of dietary fiber every day. To meet the suggested fiber intake, include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables and at least three servings of whole grains in your eating plan. Foods that are naturally rich in fiber also supply many other nutrients, including carbohydrate for energy, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, protective plant compounds.

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The Experts

Training for Your First Race: ANYONE Can Do It!

07.22.2012

Training for Your First Race: ANYONE Can Do It!

I still remember the feeling: I stood, waist deep, in a lake—wetsuit, swim cap, and goggles on—refusing to go any further. This would be my first open water swim. My husband, kids, and mom were in kayaks nearby waiting to cheer me on (and, grab me, should I go under and start to drown…was my thinking!). Truth be told, I was scared, really scared. I had signed up for my first triathlon and needed the practice in the open water. I had splashed around in the lake before, but never ventured beyond the buoys. This was my first time.

I stood there, talking to myself, encouraging myself to go in. And finally I did. I started swimming, the family started kayaking, and before I knew it, I was out in the open lake. I kept swimming—and before I knew it, I had finished my 1.5-mile loop and was back on the beach, exhilarated.

The feeling of accomplishment was incredible. And when I finally ended up crossing the finish line of the Philadelphia Women’s Triathlon, I felt amazing. (I think I placed somewhere around 400 out of 1,000 women.)

If you want to feel this incredible sense of accomplishment, sign up for a race in your area. It doesn’t need to be a triathlon. You’ll feel healthy, strong, and pretty darn confident…which carries over into all other areas of your life: your work, your family, your friends, your health…everything!

Here’s how to get started:

1. Try a 5K first. This is only 3.1 miles; you can run it or walk it. No pressure. Look for an upcoming race in your area on active.com (there are plenty of races during the summer and early fall)—or check out flyers in your local hometown (I know mine always has some sort of local race going on). Then sign up for it. And tell people you’re going to do it. Then you’re pretty much committed. No backing out!

2. Get the proper gear. If you haven’t shopped for a new pair of sneakers in awhile, this is the time. Get fitted at a running store; they’ll analyze your gait (the way you walk or run) and recommend a pair of sneakers that will support your feet. Then, as soon as you get home, mark the date on the inner part of the tongue (the part that runs under the laces). Then, keep an eye on that date and replace your sneakers every 6 to 8 months. And if you need a pair of running/walking shorts, this is the time to invest in a pair. Having the right gear will only motivate you more!

3. Look for a training partner. It’s motivating to have someone else practice with you; they’re waiting for you to do workouts and lacing up with you before the race. If you don’t know anyone, don’t back out…do it yourself. (I had “partners” who were so excited to do the triathlon with me, but slowly each of them backed out—one by one until I ended up doing it myself…so partners aren’t always reliable.) Set a realistic schedule for yourself—and follow it. Give yourself at least 6 weeks to practice.

4. Train at the same time every day. This builds consistency, and establishes your training as a healthy habit. Mark it on your schedule and treat it like a business meeting that can’t be cancelled. (My favorite time of the day for training is the morning: it’s quiet, never too hot, and there are never any conflicts—unless one of my three kids gets sick!)

5. Eat right. You can’t expect your body to perform if you’re putting the wrong kind of fuel into it. You need the proper nutrients to have enough energy to make it through your training—and the race. What this means? Fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein—and your daily multivitamin (to ensure you have enough of the proper vitamins and minerals). And don’t forget to stay hydrated! You don’t need a fancy sports drink; studies have shown that water and even low-fat chocolate milk can keep you hydrated properly.

6. Get enough sleep. You need at least 8 hours of shut-eye a night while you’re in training. This ensures that your body stays strong and your mind stays focused. And it helps your immune system stay strong, too. The last thing you want is to get sick!

Race day! Your body is strong and healthy—and you’re determined, although a little nervous. If you think you can’t do it, just think back to me standing in that lake. Remember: you can do anything you set your mind to. Just focus on getting to that finish line. I tell you: the feeling is incredible! (You ever wonder why marathoners just keep running more races…the post-race euphoria—whether you’ve just finished 26.2 miles or 3.5—is addictive!)

 

 

The Experts

Sugar Shock

07.30.2012

Sugar Shock

It’s summer, and most of us are reaching for sweetened ice tea, frozen treats, and other sugary summer fare.

You may want to give sugar a second thought, however. A recent article in the journal Nature called “Public health: The toxic truth about sugar” (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7383/full/
482027a.html
) argued that all forms of added sugar, including table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, are as harmful to health as alcohol and tobacco, and should be regulated to decrease the risk of chronic illness.

I’m a dietitian, and my passion is helping people to eat better. I’d love to see soda disappear, and for people to choose fruit instead of candy, but it’s important to keep sugar in perspective.

Yes, we eat a lot of added sugar – an average of 297 cups every year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests a limit of 68 cups yearly as part of a daily 2200-calorie eating pattern. Sugar that occurs naturally in foods such as milk, 100% juice, and fresh and dried fruits like dates, figs and raisins, is not considered a health risk, and is not part of the AHA’s suggested limits.

Here’s why experts want you to eat less sugar. Foods rich in added sugar, like soft drinks, cookies, cake, and candy, crowd out more nutritious choices, such as fruit, whole grains, and vegetables. Excess sugar calories may also make it difficult to control your weight. Being overweight is linked to a greater chance for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and other conditions.

Yet, sugar is not the root of all dietary evil. For example, you can just as easily become overweight by eating too many calories from starch, protein and fat.

While most of us, including me, could do more to reduce the added sugar in our diets, taxing added sugar like we do cigarettes and alcohol and regulating sugar levels by limiting portion sizes of sweet foods is a slippery slope. After sugar, what’s next? In the future, the amount of fat we eat, how much sodium we’re allowed, or portion sizes of starchy foods, such as bread, could become an issue. When it comes down to it, a balanced diet with limited added sugar is fine for most people.

 

 

HEALTH ARTICLES

Calcium: Building better bones

12.17.2010

Calcium is a mineral important for developing and maintaining strong bones. If you don't get enough calcium, you increase your risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Food sources include dairy products, fish with soft bones that you can eat, and calcium-fortified foods. Calcium supplements can help fill any gaps left by your diet. Just don't overdo the calcium. Too much calcium can do more harm than good.



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HEALTH ARTICLES

Easy bruising: Common as you age

05.26.2011

Yet another bruise. What caused that dark, unsightly mark on your leg? You don't recall bumping into anything. Lately, however, you seem to be bruising frequently. Is this cause for concern?

Easy bruising is common with age. Although most bruises are harmless and go away without treatment, easy bruising can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem.

Why is easy bruising so common in older adults?


Most bruises form when small blood vessels (capillaries) near the skin's surface are broken by the impact of a blow or injury — often on the arms or legs. When this happens, blood leaks out of the vessels and initially appears as a bright or dark red, purple or black mark. Eventually your body reabsorbs the blood, and the mark disappears.

Generally, harder blows cause larger bruises. However, if you bruise easily, a minor bump — one you might not even notice — can result in substantial discoloration.

Some people — especially women — are more prone to bruising than are others. As you get older, several factors can contribute to easy bruising, including:

  • Aging capillaries. Over time, the tissues supporting these vessels weaken, and capillary walls become more fragile and prone to rupture.
  • Thinning skin. With age, your skin becomes thinner and loses some of the protective fatty layer that helps cushion your blood vessels from injury. Excessive exposure to the sun accelerates this process.

Can medications and supplements contribute to easy bruising?


Blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin and warfarin (Coumadin) or medications such as clopidogrel (Plavix) reduce your blood's ability to clot. As a result, bleeding from capillary damage might take longer than usual to stop — which allows enough blood to leak out and cause a bruise.

Topical and systemic corticosteroids — which can be used to treat various conditions, including allergies, asthma and eczema — cause your skin to thin, making it easier to bruise. Certain dietary supplements, such as fish oil and ginkgo, also can increase your bruising risk due to a blood-thinning effect.

Don't stop taking your medications if you experience increased bruising. Consult your doctor about your concerns. In addition, make sure your doctor is aware of any supplements you're taking — especially if you're taking them while on a blood-thinning drug. Your doctor might recommend avoiding certain over-the-counter medications or supplements.

When does easy bruising indicate a more serious problem?


Easy bruising sometimes indicates a serious underlying condition, such as a blood-clotting problem or a blood disease. Consult your doctor if you:

  • Have unusually large or painful bruises, especially if your bruises seem to develop for no known reason
  • Have easy bruising and abnormal bleeding elsewhere, such as from your nose, gums or intestinal tract
  • Suddenly begin bruising, especially if you recently started a new medication
  • Develop bruising during an illness in addition to fever or confusion

These signs and symptoms can indicate low levels of or abnormally functioning platelets — components of blood that help it clot after an injury — or problems with proteins that help the blood clot. To diagnose the cause of your bruising, your doctor might check your blood platelet levels or do tests that measure the ability of your blood to clot.

Other serious causes of bruising include domestic violence or abuse. If a loved one has an unexplainable bruise, particularly in an unusual location such as around the eye or face, ask about the possibility of abuse.

How can I prevent or treat bruises?


To prevent minor bruising, eliminate household clutter that could cause bumps or falls. Long-sleeved shirts and pants can provide an extra layer of protection for your skin. Limit prolonged exposure to the sun to help you avoid its aging effects and a resulting increased risk of bruising.

Once a bruise has formed, however, not much can be done to treat it. Most bruises eventually disappear as your body reabsorbs the blood — although healing may take longer as you age. If the bruise is swollen, it might help to apply a cold compress and elevate the affected area. After the swelling decreases, a warm compress might speed removal of the blood. If the sight of a bruise bothers you, cover it with clothing or makeup.

You might not be able to eliminate easy bruising. However, taking simple steps to protect your skin and avoid injury can go a long way toward keeping you bruise-free.

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Our Experts

What Your Diet May Be Missing

12.29.2014

missing

Research suggests many of us come up short for six important nutrients—vitamins A, C, D, and E, calcium and magnesium—in our diets. Along with a balanced eating plan, a complete multivitamin helps to fulfill vitamin and mineral needs. Here’s why you should make these six, and others, part of your healthy lifestyle.







missing_1

Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a role in helping the body to absorb and use calcium to support bone health, and for other functions. It also plays a role in cell function, as well as your nervous and immune systems.

Your body makes vitamin D, starting when skin is exposed to strong Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun. However, it’s virtually impossible for many people to make enough vitamin D for a variety of reasons, ranging from necessary sun exposure and overall aging.

Over 90% of us don’t get enough vitamin D from food alone. That’s really no surprise when you consider how difficult it is to get adequate vitamin D from food. Choices such as salmon, tuna, and milk supply vitamin D, but few people consume enough of these foods on a regular basis, or would need to consume large quantities to meet their vitamin D needs. For example, it takes six 8oz glasses of vitamin D-added milk to satisfy most adults’ daily requirement. It’s more reasonable to get the vitamin D you need with a combination of food and a complete dietary supplement that includes vitamin D.

missing_2

Calcium
Calcium supports skeletal strength by serving as the major structural component of bones, yet over 40% of adults in the U.S. fall short on their calcium intake. While nearly all of the body’s calcium resides in bones, the small amount found in the bloodstream and in soft tissues is extremely important because it helps to maintain normal heart rhythm, normal muscle contraction, and efficient communication among nerve cells. If there isn’t enough calcium available, the body borrows calcium from bones to maintain levels in the blood and soft tissues. Consuming adequate calcium every day helps maintain bone calcium levels and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a disorder characterized fragile bones that are prone to fracture. Yogurt, milk, cheese, and fortified soy milk or orange juice are excellent calcium sources.

As you age, your body absorbs calcium less efficiently and you need more of the mineral from food, supplements, or both. Women under the age of 50, and men ages 19 to 70, need three dairy servings (or 1000mg) to satisfy calcium needs. Women over age 50 and men over age 70 need four servings daily (or 1200mg).

Magnesium
Magnesium doesn’t generate much buzz, but it’s a nutrient workhorse. Your body relies on magnesium for more than 300 reactions that include supporting the body to make proteins, produce energy, metabolize carbohydrates, maintain normal nerve cell communication, support muscle contraction, and support a regular heart rhythm. Like calcium, magnesium contributes to bone strength; about 50% of the magnesium in your body is in bone tissue. Some scientific evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency may be a risk factor for osteoporosis after menopause. More than half of Americans (52%) don’t get the magnesium we need, probably because we don’t eat adequate amounts of plant foods such as spinach, black beans, and avocado.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A is found in everyday foods such as fortified milk and cereal, eggs, salmon, and tuna, yet over 40% of Americans don’t get enough of it on a regular basis. Vitamin A supports eye health by accumulating in the retina, which is responsible for transmitting images to the brain, and helping to make it possible to see in low light. Vitamin A is also supports immune function, as it maintains the integrity of skin, and the linings of the digestive system, urinary tract, and lungs, to help prevent germs from entering your body. In addition, vitamin A plays a role in developing and activating white blood cells, which help prevent or destroy harmful bacteria and viruses, and is necessary for reproduction.

missing_3

Vitamin C
Here’s a little known fact about Vitamin C: it helps support the formation of collagen , a structural component of blood vessels, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, bone, and skin. Vitamin C’s more well-known function is its role in immunity support – its antioxidant abilities play a role in the protection of white blood cells from damage, and vitamin C may also stimulate the production and function of white blood cells.

missing_4

Vitamin E
Almost 90% of Americans fall short of vitamin E – your “cellular bodyguard”. It functions primarily as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage due to normal daily metabolism and from exposure to pollution, UVB rays, and cigarette smoke. Vitamin E supports heart and brain health as well as immune function. Top vitamin E sources include wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, sunflower oil, and hazelnuts.

Now you know how vitamins A, C, D, and E, calcium, and magnesium support health, and how often most of us come up short for these 6 important vitamins and minerals. You’re making efforts to live healthy, and there’s always room for improvement! In addition to a balanced diet, a complete multivitamin helps you fill in gaps for these vital nutrients, along with many others, and helps you feel your best.

Find out why Centrum is right for you.

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Our Experts

5 Tips For a More Balanced Diet

12.29.2014

5 tips

In a perfect world, we would follow the suggested dietary guidelines every day, get enough physical activity and make sure each night is filled with the proper amount of restful sleep. However, our busy schedules can make it difficult to get what is needed for a healthy lifestyle, including the vitamins and minerals that support your health. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that many adults don’t get enough of six essential nutrients – vitamins A, C, D, and E, and the minerals calcium and magnesium. A more balanced eating plan, paired with a complete multivitamin, is a great strategy for increasing your intake of a variety of these vitamins and minerals. Here are some ways to help achieve a better balanced diet that can fit into your daily routines.

Include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily
When life gets busy and you’re on the run, it’s not always easy to consume the five servings of fruits and vegetables most adults need every day. Eating produce goes a long way to satisfying the suggested intakes for several vitamin and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and E. The great news is that some of your favorite fruits and vegetables may be more nutritious than you think. For example, mushrooms are the only item in the produce aisle with vitamin D, and mushrooms that have been exposed to UVB rays (the same rays that come from sunshine) have even more of this vital nutrient. Some produce, including dark green leafy vegetables, provide magnesium and calcium. Have a serving of fruits or vegetables (or both!) at every meal, and consider them for snacks, too. Fruit smoothies made with calcium filled milk or Greek yogurt are a delicious and nutritious alternative to high calorie desserts and snacks.

5_1

Eat at least two seafood meals a week
And you thought seafood was just for heart health! Seafood is a source of vitamin D, calcium (if you eat the bones of small fish, like sardines), and vitamin A – three of the six essential nutrients people often don’t get enough of from food alone. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating at least two meals containing fish weekly not only for the heart-healthy fat that fish provides, but for several other nutrients, including the vitamins and minerals that support overall health. Meals with fish don’t need to be elaborate or fussy to be beneficial. You can reap the benefits from a tuna salad sandwich made with reduced-fat mayonnaise. Top a hearty green salad with cooked canned salmon, too.

If you have fish or seafood allergies, you can get vitamin D from fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, and yogurt - foods that also contain calcium. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark green leafy vegetables supply vitamin A.

5_2

Don’t shy away from certain fatty foods
There’s no need to deprive yourself of healthy fats in the name of good health. You may think that you should avoid foods such as almonds, peanut butter, avocados, and sunflower oil, but they are all excellent or good sources of vitamin E. Surprisingly, small portions, such as an ounce of nuts or seeds, provide a substantial amount of the vitamin E you need daily. Snack on nuts instead of pretzels, chips, and cookies to include more vitamin E. Cook with modest amounts of olive and sunflower oil instead of butter.

5_3

Slim down safely
Unfortunately, cutting back on food often means eating less of an array of foods that contain important vitamins and minerals. Eliminating entire food groups, such as grains or dairy, in the name of weight control, or for any other reason, makes inadequate vitamin and mineral intake even more likely. Instead of drastic reductions, choose a reasonable calorie level and a balanced diet for gradual weight loss.

5_4

Avoid cigarettes
If you’re trying to quit, keep it up! Cigarette smoking depletes the levels of vitamin C in your bloodstream. According to the Institute of Medicine, smokers have a higher daily requirement for vitamin C. When you quit, your sense of smell and taste improves. Food will start to taste better, and chances are your diet will improve, helping you to meet your vitamin and mineral needs. Include a glass of orange juice, oranges, kiwi, or strawberries to meet your daily vitamin C needs, whether you’re a smoker or not. Surprisingly, red and green bell pepper also provide vitamin C, and are delicious raw on salads or cooked in a stir-fry.

Day to day, it may be difficult to satisfy your entire daily vitamin and mineral needs from food alone. The good news is that even when your diet comes up short, you can fill the gaps with a complete multivitamin that supplies an array of nutrients and helps support your overall health.

Find out which Centrum multivitamin is right for you by using our Find Your Centrum tool.

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