Posts tagged with "calcium"

Carolina Schneider, MS, RD in the Kitchen via Pitch Publicity NYC for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Top Supplements Vegans Need To Avoid Nutrition Gaps

Essential Supplements for First Time Vegans
By: Carolina Schneider, MS, RD, registered dietitian

Plant-based eating continues to grow in popularity, and for good reasons: It is beneficial for human health, more environmentally sustainable, and supportive of animal welfare. A well-balanced vegan diet – one that excludes all animal products – is associated with a lower risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Some of the more immediate benefits people experience when switching to a vegan diet include increased energy levels, improved digestion, reduced joint pain and menstrual cramps, and better skin appearance. 

Mind the Nutrition Gaps  

Switching to a fully vegan diet requires planning and intention, and should be done with the guidance of a health professional. If not done properly, a plant-based diet may result in nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to future health complications. With the rise in vegan food options at the grocery stores and restaurants, there has also been an increase in highly processed, “junk vegan foods” that contain little to no nutritional value. Micronutrients, which include vitamins and minerals, are essential for many body processes such as immune function, energy production, bone strength and heart health.

Although these nutrients are found in wholesome (non-processed) plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, some vitamins and minerals are less bioavailable – or more difficult for the body to absorb – when obtained from plant sources. Therefore, supplementation can be an effective and inexpensive way to prevent nutrient deficiencies. Here are the top supplements vegans should take to avoid nutrient gaps: 

Vitamin B12: for energy

Vitamin B12 is essential for energy production, nerve cell function, DNA synthesis, and red blood cell production. Vitamin B12 also plays a role in heart health as it regulates blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine – elevated homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk for heart disease. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and in more severe cases, can lead to neurological issues such as numbing of fingers and toes.

Considering that the main food sources of vitamin B12 are animal products such as meat, eggs, fish, and shellfish, supplementation is required. Although some plant-based foods such as cereals and nutritional yeast are fortified with vitamin B12, they are not reliable sources. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults, however, because the body absorbs only a small percentage of vitamin B12 from supplements, 500 mcg is recommended. Older adults should supplement with 1,000 mcg.

Aged Garlic Extract: for heart health

Aged Garlic Extract is a well-studied supplement that supports cardiovascular health. Considering that heart disease is the number-one killer in the United States, being proactive about cardiovascular health is important for everyone, regardless of their diet. The typical go-to supplement for heart health is fish oil, but since vegan diets don’t include fish, garlic supplements are your best bet! This is especially important for those with a family history of heart disease, or those consuming highly processed vegan foods such as ‘mock’ meats, frozen foods and salty snacks. These are high in saturated fats and sodium, both of which negatively impact heart health.

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) has been shown to improve heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and clogged arteries. The proprietary aging process to make AGE increases garlic’s antioxidant power, removes its strong odor, and concentrates its benefits. In short, the AGE is far more potent than raw garlic. In fact, you would have to eat up to 28 garlic cloves to get these same benefits, which is not realistic nor recommended as it can cause digestive discomfort. Kyolic Vegan Aged Garlic Extract is ideal for vegans because this formula is free from animal ingredients or byproducts. Many supplements contain animal ingredients such as gelatin (from animal skin and bones) and beeswax to

encapsulate the nutrients, so it’s important for those following a plant-based diet to read the supplement labels carefully. The health benefits of Kyolic AGE have been supported by more than 900 published scientific papers. It is also easy to consume, odorless, and leaves no aftertaste. 

Calcium: for bones and teeth

Calcium is an essential mineral responsible for bones and teeth health. This is because calcium is a major component of bones, giving them strength and structure. It also plays an important role in muscle contraction, blood clotting and regulating normal heart rhythms and nerve function. Calcium is especially important for vegans as research has indicated plant-based eaters to have weaker bones and be at a higher risk for bone fractures. 

Plant-based sources of calcium include leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds and fortified plant milk. Although some of these foods — such as kale — are excellent sources of calcium, you would have to eat 10 cups of kale to meet daily calcium requirements. Additionally, because vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, those with low vitamin D levels may not retain the calcium from food.

The RDA for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults and 1,200 mg for women age 50 and older and men age 71 and older. Because calcium is best absorbed when taken in small amounts, a 600mg calcium supplement is recommended twice per day. However, most calcium supplements are made from animal sources, so vegans should look for plant-based calcium, which is usually sourced from algae, such as red marine algae.

Vitamin D: for immune support

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that supports the immune system by enhancing the function of immune cells, which help the body fight disease and infection. Vitamin D also helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, both of which are critical for bone health. Finally, vitamin D plays a role in reducing inflammation and the risk of infection.

Plant-based foods such as fruit juices, plant milk and cereals can be fortified with vitamin D, but these are not reliable sources. For example, you would need to drink 6.5 cups of vitamin D-fortified plain milk each day to meet the minimum daily requirement. Non-food sources of vitamin D include sunlight, which the

body is able to convert into the active form of the vitamin. However, prolonged sun exposure is associated with an increased risk for skin cancer and therefore should be limited.

Vitamin D supplementation is a much more effective way to meet daily requirements when compared to foods and sunlight. In fact, it is estimated that about 40% of the U.S. population has a vitamin D deficiency. Most vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and easy to swallow because of their small size. Although the current guideline for vitamin D is 600 IU per day, a growing body of research suggests that 2,000 IU per day is beneficial for supporting the immune system.

Beyond Supplements

Those who are interested in transitioning to plant-based eating should do it with the guidance of a registered dietitian, to ensure the diet is balanced and meets all the nutritional requirements. Consuming a nutrient-dense vegan diet that includes a variety of foods is an excellent way to improve health markers and lower the risk for disease. However, supplementation can provide a baseline for those starting on their vegan journey, helping them avoid nutrient gaps and potential risks associated with a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Biography: 

Carolina Schneider, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and founder of Hungry for Plants. She specializes in plant-based nutrition and has followed a whole-food, plant-based diet for her entire adult life. Her experience, combined with her passion and knowledge, equip her to help others better understand the nutritional benefits of food and how to incorporate them into their everyday lives. Originally from Brazil, Schneider is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish. She received degrees in journalism and public relations, which have given her the foundation to become an educator and influencer on the plant-based lifestyle. She frequently posts nutrition tips and recipes at “Carolina the Green RD” on Instagram. Schneider obtained her Master of Science degree in Nutrition & Dietetics, and is passionate about nutrition science and helping individuals improve health and wellbeing through food. 

Hungry For Plants:

INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | WEBSITE

Carolina Schneider, MS, RD:

INSTAGRAM

Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

Liming and Phosphorous Increase Cassava Yields

Cassava is a woody, edible starchy root that provides an immense number of calories, carbohydrates, vitamins B and C and essential minerals. The plant is significant particularly in developing countries in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas due to its capability to withstand challenging growing conditions. Although Cassava is essential to specific regions of the globe, it has been used as a crucial source of calories for around a billion people everywhere.

In a new research study published in Agronomy Journal, researchers in Brazil explored hypothesized options for increasing cassava yields. Researchers found that adding both calcium and phosphorous to the soils of these plants would in return increase cassava yields. These found higher yields came with no correlation to increases in cooking times.

One of the main challenges that comes with growing cassava particularly in the tropics stems from the naturally acidic soils that are accompanied by low phosphorous convenience in those regions. Phosphorous is a heavily needed nutrient in plant growth. Through a process of liming, which is essentially adding calcium carbonate to the soils, nutrients like phosphorus organically becomes more available to plants. Liming also makes the plants affected less acidic, which is vital in the growth and production of edible cassava crops.

Though much was known about the process of liming, there was still a lot to uncover about the effects of the process on cassava crops. Adalton Fernandes, co-author of the new research study, states that “It was generally believed that adding calcium to the soil could increase cassava root cooking times… we showed that liming caused minimal changes to cassava cooking times.”

Liming was found, though, to increase cassava yields in the study when in blend with phosphorous fertilizers. Without liming and phosphorus fertilizers, cassava roots weighed about 270 grams – 9.5 ounces – on average. Assessments found that at top levels of liming and phosphorous fertilization, on average the roots weighed over 350 grams – more than 12 ounces. That adds up to over a 26% increase with the accumulation of liming and phosphorus.

The study lasted over the course of two years and was conducted on an experimental farm in Botucatu, Brazil. Experimental subjects were exposed to differing rates before the cassava planting. Half of the subjects received no phosphorous fertilizers. Researchers added about 70 kilograms – converted to 155 lbs – of phosphorous fertilizer to the other subjects.

Differing features of the cassava plants were assessed based on growth with or without liming and phosphorous. These characteristics that were measured included number of roots per plant, root length, root weight and cooking times.

It was found that the addition of phosphorous increased the number of roots per plant by around 8%. Root lengths did not change substantially with liming nor phosphorous fertilization. Cassava root yields were increased by 22% with phosphorous application and 28% with liming. Cooking times increased by only 6% – less than 2 minutes – with liming. The slight increase in cooking time balances out by the large increase in yields. Fernandes states, “This small increase in cooking time is no reason for cassava farmers to not apply lime.”

An untested hypothesis that phosphorous fertilizers could lower cooking time in cassava roots was ultimately disapproved by Fernandes. Fernandes states, “we observed that phosphorus-fertilized cassava roots did not cook faster. So, phosphorus fertilization is not a recommended or viable way to reduce cooking times for cassava roots.”

Fernandes and his team are still looking to further research with differing varieties of cassava. “Will the amounts of lime and phosphorus fertilizer needed be the same for other varieties of cassava?” asks Fernandes. This poses an imperative question because varying types of cassava may have different reactions to the processes of liming and fertilization.

NB Pure illustration by Heather Skovlund (Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels) for 360 Magazine

Summer Tips for Melanoma Prevention

Protect yourself from melanoma without becoming deficient in vitamin D

By Leah Johnston, RDN

Don’t be so quick to overlook concerns around melanoma just because it’s often viewed as preventable. Melanoma is one of the most common cancers and the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, there is a conflict between how we prevent melanoma and how we ensure we are getting enough vitamin D. Sun exposure is the main source of this essential vitamin, but it’s also the primary culprit in the formation of melanoma. With May being Melanoma Awareness Month, it’s time to take notice and learn how we can protect our skin while still absorbing enough vitamin D.

The Stats

Cases of melanoma have been rising over the last few decades, especially among young adults, as it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer among people aged 25 to 29. According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, one person dies from melanoma every hour of every day. The American Cancer Society reports that the risk for getting melanoma is approximately 2.6% (1 in 38) for whites, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for Blacks, and 0.6% (1 in 167) for Hispanics. While fair skin poses a higher risk, darker complexions are also at risk.

How Melanoma forms

Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin and give skin its brown or tan color. It’s when melanocytes start to grow out of control on the skin’s top layer that cancer can develop and then spread to other parts of the body. Usually appearing as a brown or black spot or mole, melanoma is most commonly found on the chest and back for men and legs for women. It’s best not to ignore any irregular spots you may find on your skin because this cancer can also appear in other colors or patterns. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds can damage DNA in cells and significantly increase the risk of melanoma. Early detection is important for effective treatment.

Tips for melanoma prevention:

  • Use a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen all year when outdoors. This will help protect against sun damage, which can occur even when the sun might be hiding behind a cloud.
  • Limit sun exposure during the middle of the day when the UV rays are at their peak. Instead, plan outdoor time for the morning or later afternoon to lessen the risk. 
  • Opt for a spray tan over laying out by the pool. If you love to have a tan, spray tans are a safer option and will help protect the longevity of your skin.
  • Schedule annual skin exams with a dermatologist. This is especially important if you have fair skin or immediate family members who have had melanoma, such as a parent or sibling.

The importance of Vitamin D

What doesn’t vitamin D do? Known as the sunshine vitamin, the human body absorbs an inactive form of vitamin D from the sun, food, or supplements and converts it into an active form of vitamin that it can use. In its active form, vitamin D plays many roles in the body.

Bone Health: Vitamin D and calcium work together to maintain bone health and density. Calcium cannot be absorbed into bones without the help of vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency can result in bone softening, known as osteomalacia, and muscle weakness. Osteoporosis can also be associated with vitamin D deficiency due to the lack of calcium absorption. Both osteoporosis and melanoma affect older adults making it essential to couple melanoma prevention strategies with vitamin D supplementation.

Immunity: Recently, researchers have been investigating a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. While this research is still in its infancy, scientists have been finding that low vitamin D status may result in the increased severity of symptoms and higher mortality rate. More research is needed in this area.

Inflammation: Research has shown an association between vitamin D status and inflammation-related autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D also helps to regulate insulin levels for diabetes management.

Depression: People with depression are more likely to have low vitamin D levels. A 2011 study found that women who ate more foods rich in vitamin D had a lower risk of depression than women who got less vitamin D in their diets. Vitamin D has also demonstrated the ability to improve the symptoms of depression.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 15 mcg (600 IU) for most children and adults up to the age of 70, according to the National Institutes of Health. Adults who over 70 need 20 mcg (800 IU) daily.

Tips for getting enough Vitamin D:

  • Get outside but be strategic. As previously discussed, the best time to be in the sun is in the morning or later afternoon. Plan your days to limit your exposure to the midday sun.
  • Add at least one vitamin D rich food into your daily diet. These may include fortified dairy and non-dairy beverages such as milk or orange juice, fortified cereals, salmon (wild caught contains more than farmed), sardines, and egg yolks. Wild mushrooms or those that have been treated with UV light are a good plant source of the vitamin. 
  • Take a daily Vitamin D supplement. This may be particularly important if you live in regions of the world that are further from the equator, such as the Midwest. If you struggle to remember or don’t enjoy taking pills, NB Pure has a Vitamin D3 supplement in the form of a spray for the utmost convenience.
  • Have your doctor check your vitamin D levels at least once a year. Getting an annual physical is important for your long-term health. Ask your doctor to make sure they check your vitamin D levels at that visit.

The sun may be the main reason for the increasing rates of melanoma, but it’s also our number one source of vitamin D. It is possible to protect yourself from developing melanoma and ensure that you are obtaining ample amounts of vitamin D to prevent the consequences of a deficiency.

Snack Smarts: Raise Your Nutrition IQ

By Simon Sum, DCN, RDN, ACSM-CPT, FAND, Director of North America Scientific Affairs, R&D at Herbalife Nutrition
 
The good news: nearly 90% of consumers read nutrition labels. The bad news: people don’t always understand the vital nutritional terms on labels. Nutrition IQ is critical to supporting healthy eating habits and reducing the risk of chronic disease. For example, according to The International Food Information Council Foundation, nearly two in three people have heard of nutrient density, but far fewer can explain what it means. And while many consumers now understand that protein is a vital addition to meals, they are less picky about their protein when it comes to snacking.
 
First, let’s first review why protein is critical to our daily diets. Proteins are essential macronutrients that help to maintain our immune systems and build muscle, bone, skin, and hair. Without consuming the appropriate amounts of protein, you run the risk of missing out on these essential functions. Eventually, that could lead to problems, such as a loss of muscle mass, failure to grow, weakened heart and lung function, and even early death. Available evidence indicates that it’s the quality of protein (or the protein “package”), rather than the amount of protein that likely makes a difference for our health. 
 
Nutrient density is the measure of how much nutrition you get per serving or per calorie eaten and vital to achieving a nutritious diet. When choosing between two food items with the same calorie amount, one food choice can provide your body with the protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals we need every day. In contrast, another option may provide empty calories from sugar and saturated fat with no other significant nutritional benefits.
 
Snacking often gets a bad rap because many options are loaded with sugar, saturated fat or excessive salt. And the food industry has responded to this challenge with endless “low sugar” and “low sodium” snacks – but that does not mean that the nutritional benefits are increased. The next evolution in the quest for better-than snacks has come in the form of protein labeled options. But while protein is good, not all protein snacks are created equal, and consumers may end up with a food solution that sounds healthy but is not.
 
One of the challenges with finding nutrient rich snacks is that until recently, there was no tool available for health professionals or food manufacturers to determine the nutrient density of protein snack products. Working with a team at Herbalife Nutrition, we created an index to identify the comprehensive profile of nutrient rich protein snacks. And the results were illuminating for consumers wanting to grab a bite that satisfies their hunger needs but also supports their desire for good quality protein snacks. 
 
Our study, entitled “A Modified Nutrition Rich Food Index to Assess Nutrient Density of Protein Foods and Snacks” presented at last month’s American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, demonstrated that good source protein food products are snacks with vitamins A and D, calcium, and fiber. At the same time, consumers should also look for products with a low amount of saturated fat, sugar, and sodium. As for calorie count – a healthy snack should be 100-150 calories to prevent hunger and maintain satiety before the next meal. So next time you grab a yogurt, shake, or protein bar – don’t just count calories, but also the vitamins and fiber to increase your healthy food options and raise your snacking IQ.
 

How eating habits have an impact on our oral health

Will An Apple A Day – Along With Checkups – Help Keep Tooth Decay Away?

Eating may be a necessity, but when it comes to your teeth and gums, all that munching also can lead to quite a battle raging in your mouth.

Some of those foods – especially the sugary and starchy ones – act like invading forces, feeding the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease, even as the saliva in your mouth fights back as best it can, trying to ward off the detrimental effects of the acids and enzymes.

“Tooth decay can be a problem for people of all ages – children, teenagers and adults  –  and yet it’s completely avoidable,” says Dr. Seth Newman (www.asktheorthos.com), an orthodontist and co-author with Dr. Steve Giannoutsos of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid To Ask.

Newman and Giannoutsos say that there are plenty of ways that what’s in your diet affects not just your weight, but also your teeth and gums.

“Most people know that sugar and processed snacks can lead to tooth decay, even if they don’t always avoid those foods,” Giannoutsos says. “But there are other foods that also can be troublesome, and many people may not realize that.”

He and Newman provide a few tips for making sure your diet isn’t harmful to your oral health:

Watch out for bread – and chips. Chomp down on a candy bar and you might think to yourself that you better brush soon, lest the sugar go to work on your teeth before you can head it off. But the same thought might not occur to you when you’re eating breadsticks. Yet, foods that are high in carbohydrates and starches – such as bread, chips, pasta and crackers – contribute to the plaque acid that attacks tooth enamel.

Braces come with extra concerns. Beyond the usual dental care, there are additional dietary worries to consider when you have braces. People wearing braces should avoid foods that are too hard, sticky or chewy, Newman says, such as gum, nuts, corn chips, hard taco shells, hard candy and popcorn, just to name a few.

Develop good food-choice habits. When you’re grocery shopping, always check the nutrition labels. “Selecting snacks that are low in sugar can help combat tooth decay,” Giannoutsos says. “If poor nutrition continues, your oral health will decline, potentially resulting in gum disease and tooth loss.” Fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber are a good choice for improving your oral health. Examples are apples, carrots and celery. In addition, milk, cheese and other dairy products are excellent options because of the calcium, phosphate and vitamin D they contain. Finally, drink fluoridated water as much as possible. If your tap water doesn’t include fluoride, check with your dentist for a fluoride supplement.

Ultimately, more is at stake than your teeth and gums. Left untreated, Giannoutsos and Newman say, oral-health problems can have a detrimental effect on your overall health, contributing to such conditions as heart disease and diabetes. That’s an additional reason why regular checkups – along with brushing and flossing – are so critical.

“It’s hard to resist your inner sweet tooth, so I wouldn’t say that you should never indulge in treats,” Newman says. “But when you do, brushing your teeth as quickly as possible afterwards will help decrease the risk of decay.”

About Seth Newman, DDS

Dr. Seth Newman (www.asktheorthos.com) is an orthodontist and co-author, with Dr. Steve Giannoutsos, of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid To Ask. He owns orthodontic practices in the New York City area. Dr. Newman completed his dental training at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, where he was a member of the National Dental Honor Society. He was a clinical instructor of the Invisalign system at the NYU School of Dentistry.

About  Dr. Efstathios “Steve” Giannoutsos 
Dr. Efstathios Giannoutsos, or “Dr. G.” as he is commonly called, was born in Astoria, Queens, just outside of New York City. He graduated from St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens, with high honors and a BS in Biology.  He is also the co-author with  Dr. Seth Newman of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid to Ask(www.asktheorthos.com)He completed his dental training at NYU, where he graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. He was also accepted into NYU’s highly competitive orthodontic residency program. During that time, he also discovered a passion for treating children and adults with facial deformities. Coinciding his passion, his research thesis to attain specialty certification involved children with cleft deformities.

Gift Guide × Health Conscious Foodie

(Photo credit— VeganSmart Instagram)

Each holiday is filled with homemade recipes and delicious snacks, making it a foodie’s favorite time of year. This year, instead of gifting the foodie in your life one of their favorite treats, why not step it up by introducing them to new, healthy flavors their taste buds will love. 
 
Below are some healthy picks that are sure to shake up every foodie’s holiday!

 
For the foodies who love spicy:

MINA Classic Moroccan Harissa, Shakshuka and Tagine’s spice up the flavor of your food, add nutrients to your health and easily up your cooking game. What can be used as a sauce, dip or spread, Mina Moroccan sauces are versatile in its ability to add heat to any dish, as well as make Moroccan cuisine quick and easy.


For the foodies who like a little crunch:

The newest superfood, Wine RayZyn, is a hand-harvested wine grape naturally toasted and caramelized, keeping the skin and seeds intact to provide unprecedented amounts of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants—not to mention, a delicious crunch. RayZyn can be added to all your salads, baked goods, side dishes and more!

 

 
For the trendy foodies:

Olitalia, an Italian-based and globally loved olive oil and vinegar company, is introducing their line of balsamic-based Drink Vinegar to the U.S. market just in time for the holidays. Available on Amazon and nationwide in October, Drink Vinegar helps improve metabolism, enhance digestion, serves as an excellent source of Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin B2 and B3 AND can restore your skin’s natural beauty and radiance.

 

 
For the foodies always on the go:

VeganSmart, a line of delicious, plant-based nutritional shake, with no dairy, eggs, soy, artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, preservatives, cholesterol, acesulfame-K, MSG, and zero trans-fat, is the perfect way to stay full and keep your energy up during the busy holiday season. Containing 5 different non-GMO plant based proteins, VeganSmart provides the essential amino acids for building and repairing tissue and muscle.