Inside the body, calcium has a greater function than simply building and maintaining bones. Did you know that calcium is a key component to building blood vessels, and is also important to reducing symptoms and risks for Type 2 diabetics? Not only is calcium required for internal health, chronic low levels of calcium in the body are linked to depression in women, and exacerbation of pre-menstrual syndrome irritability and moods. Estrogen is related to calcium production, and some studies have shown improvement with diet and supplementation. The average recommended amount of calcium for adults is approximately 1,000 mg. per day.
Target Foods: Milk, kale, yogurt, bok choy, broccoli, okra, and almonds.
Without sufficient amounts of iron in your body, cells lose the ability to transport oxygen and build strong muscles. Not only is iron a little more difficult to acquire from dietary sources (particularly for vegans or vegetarians), but there are certain health conditions that can actually impair the absorption of iron into the body, including thalassemia, sickle cell disease, and certain types of cancer. Eating fruit with your iron supplement, or adding honey or molasses to high-iron foods can aid in absorption, according to the Iron Disorders Institute. Problems with iron deficiency are more prevalent in women than they are in men. Symptoms of low iron can include depression, fatigue and lethargy. The recommended amount of iron per day for women is 18 mg., and men should average 8 mg. per day.
Target Foods: Spinach, seafood, beef, chicken, pork and legumes. A multivitamin like Advanced Immune Defense™ can help bridge the gap between daily dietary nutrition, and the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to help stay active, energetic and healthy.
Next time you are at the doctor’s office, review your supplement needs with your primary care advisory, and share Advanced Immune Defense™ on our website, to see if our daily multivitamin is right for you.
But it’s important to remember that a sedentary lifestyle invites numerous health problems including cardiovascular diseases, obesity, bone and muscle weakness, and metabolic disturbances. Inactivity can also impair balance and affect mental health and mood. Good health requires a balance between relaxation and regular physical activity.
How do people know if they are really fit? One way would be to visit the President’s Fitness Program web site at (https://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/adult.shtml). These guidelines were originally established in 1956 by President Eisenhower, and they now have challenges for adults as well as for children. There is an online evaluation addressing four vital areas:
- Aerobic fitness
- Muscular strength and endurance
- Body composition
Whether you choose to engage in moderate exercises such as walking and swimming, or more strenuous activities like playing a game of tennis or beach volleyball, being active outdoors in hot weather puts extra stress on your body and can be dangerous if you don’t take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.
When you exercise in hot weather, your core body temperature rises, triggering dilation of the blood vessels in the skin; your body radiates more heat, you sweat, and your temperature goes down. But this takes blood from your muscles and increases your heart rate. High humidity inhibits evaporation of perspiration and body temperature goes even higher. According to the Mayo Clinic Staff at (www.mayoclinic.org), heat-related illnesses occur when
natural cooling systems fail:
- when you are exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long
- if you sweat heavily
- when you don’t drink enough fluids
Common heat-related illnesses include heat cramps (painful muscle contractions), heat syncope (lightheadedness or fainting) and heat exhaustion (body temperature as high as 104° [40 C], headache, queasy stomach, weakness, cold clammy skin). If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life threatening emergency condition that can develop when your body temperature rises above 104° (40 C). Other symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and visual disturbances. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop exercising immediately and drink fluids. Find a shady spot or wet yourself down in a cool shower or with a hose. If the symptoms persist or get worse, emergency medical attention is warranted. Remember, heat-related illnesses can be prevented by planning ahead and following these simple suggestions:
- Check the weather forecast for heat-index warnings.
- Avoid strenuous activities between noon and 3 PM, when the sun is strongest.
- Dress for the heat with light-weight, light-colored breathable fabrics. Wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Use sunscreen and re-apply every two hours.
- Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water and/or sports drinks that contain electrolytes.
It’s interesting to note that prior to the 1920s, pale skin was generally considered desirable and an indication of wealth and sophistication; parasols and large hats protected fashionable ladies from the sun. But in the early part of the 20th century, medical researchers discovered the therapeutic benefits of sunshine and vitamin D, and bronze skin became the standard for summer fashion.
Unfortunately for sun-worshipers, tanning can result in more harm than good, as a growing a body of research has revealed the negative effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Unprotected skin and hair can suffer irreparable damage, as can the eyes, from overexposure to UVA and UVB rays.
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. UVA rays are present throughout the year, even on cloudy and hazy days, and they penetrate deep into the skin causing signs of aging including wrinkles and sunspots. UVB rays, responsible for sunburns, vary in intensity, being stronger in the summer, but they can reflect off snow, so skin protection is important year round. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation may damage the skin’s DNA and produce genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancers, including the deadliest form, melanoma.
Our eyes and our hair are also at risk for damage from the sun’s radiation. Overexposure can lead to cataracts, growths on the eyelids, damage to the retina (solar retinopathy) and various types of cancer. Sun-damaged hair can be dull, dry and brittle. Here are some suggestions for protecting your skin, eyes and hair:
- Start with healthy nutrition and ample hydration.
- Use sunscreen daily. Both face and body need protection. Products should be SPF 15 or higher and guard against both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget your earlobes, the part in your hair, and your hands and feet. Look for leave-in hair conditioners, sunscreen spray for your scalp, eye creams and lip protectors.
- Wear protective clothing and accessories. A wide-brimmed hat will protect your hair and face, and UV blocking sunglasses will help to keep your eyes healthy. Some contact lenses screen out UV rays, but they shield only the parts that are covered, so it is important to use sunglasses even with your contacts. And shop carefully; don’t be fooled by high prices and dark colors. Not all sunglasses block UV rays equally. Look for those that are rated to block 99 to 100% of UV rays and screen out at least 75% of visible light.
- Remember to balance your dietary and supplement intake of antioxidants to fortify skin, hair, and nails.
- Chlorine in pools can dry out your hair.
- Some medications can make skin sunburn more easily. Ask your doctor if you need to be extra careful to avoid burning.
- Don’t smoke! In addition to cancer, lung damage and heart disease, smoking dries the skin and causes premature wrinkles.
You’re never too young or too old to take good care of your skin, eyes and hair. Always remember the sunscreen and sunglasses and remember to wear protective clothing. You might even take a tip from the fashionistas of the Victorian era, and get a stylish umbrella with UV fabric to help protect you from the sun.