The Sunshine Vitamin

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Vitamin D — the “sunshine vitamin” — has long been valued for its ability to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, which are vital nutrients for strong bones and teeth. A fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D is produced in your skin as a response to sunlight. In recent years, ongoing research has discovered vitamin D is important in a number of other health areas:
 
• It reduces your risk of multiple sclerosis – Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006
 
• It reduces your chance of developing heart disease – Circulation, 2008
 
• It helps protect you against the possibility of developing the flu – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010
 
Now new research indicates that vitamin D may be able to add protection against type 2 diabetes and heart disease, two of the most common causes of poor health and death in the United States!
 
The research, from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was published March 19 in the journal Cell Reports. The study not only suggests that vitamin D plays an important part in preventing the inflammation that leads to type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis, it found that the behavior of cells lacking adequate vitamin D may offer new therapeutic targets for patients with those disorders.
 
Researchers studied mice that were not able to process vitamin D and found that these mice made excessive glucose, became resistant to insulin and accumulated plaque in their blood vessels. Additionally, inadequate vitamin D turned immune cells into transporters of fat, which may offer a better understanding of the link between diabetes and atherosclerosis. The findings also suggested that risks of inflammation and the onset of heart disease and diabetes may be reduced by getting enough vitamin D! So how can you be sure you’re getting your daily dose?
 
• Sunshine is the most natural way to get vitamin D, this another great reason to add a daily walk to your fitness regimen! It doesn’t take long … just a few minutes! You don’t want your skin to turn pink and begin to burn.
 
• Eat your fish. Fish, meat, eggs and dairy products are the only foods that contain natural vitamin D. Oily fish is the best source.
 
• Mushrooms are the only non-animal-source for vitamin D in food, so if you’re veggie or vegan, mushrooms are an important food for you.
 
Be sure you get enough vitamin D … it’s another step toward a sunny future!
 
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Nutrition for the Flu and Cold Season

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
The flu season is here. Stay healthy with good nutrition; it’s important to keep your immune system healthy and ready to protect you against germs and viruses. There are specific guidelines for your nutritional regimen that will help boost your immune system.
 
• Protein. A variety of studies have demonstrated that a diet that doesn’t include high-quality protein can result in depletion of immune cells and hinder the ability of the body to make antibodies. High-quality protein sources include seafood, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds.
 
• Vitamin A. Vitamin A supports antibody function and fights infection by promoting healthy skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system. In fact, recent research found a strong connection between vitamin A deficiency and upper respiratory infections. Great sources of Vitamin A are sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, and eggs.
 
• Vitamin C. Vitamin C stimulates the formation of antibodies and boosts the immune system. A powerful antioxidant, it is vital for recovery from infection. Give your system a boost of C with citrus fruits, red bell pepper, strawberries, and tomato juice.
 
• Vitamin E. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals and may improve immune function. Include vitamin E in your diet with fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils such as sunflower or safflower oil, hazelnuts, peanut butter, or spinach.
 
• Zinc. While zinc has received a lot of attention for it’s ability to support immune function, recent studies have shown that too much can actually have a negative effect! Food, with it’s balanced makeup of different nutrients is an excellent source. Zinc is found in Swiss chard, collard greens, and both summer squash and winter squash.
 
• Glutathione. Glutathione has been called the ‘mother of all antioxidants,’ and the ‘body’s most important antioxidant.’ It is a molecule that is found in every cell. Researchers believe it not only an antioxidant, an immune system booster, and a detox agent, it can help your body repair damage from pollution, infection, drugs, poor diet, aging, and more! The good thing is, your body makes it. You can support glutatihone with garlic, onions, broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower and green tea.
 
Exercise also helps the immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, and don’t forget to drink water! It helps move white blood cells and other immune system cells through body while removing toxins from the blood. Finally, get enough sleep, Sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function, making you more vulnerable to germs and viruses, and harder for you to recover!
 
Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, exercise and get enough sleep to keep your immune system strong! It’s your body’s built-in protector!
 
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