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These are naturally found in yogurt
and fermented foods and these bacteria
are similar to the friendly bacteria
normally found in your digestive
system. Probiotics are also available as
dietary supplements and can help in
cases of diarrhea as well as individuals
suffering from Irritable Bowel
Vitamin C
Vitamin C, indicates Safah, plays
an important role of the health and
function of immune cells, production
of collagen, among many other
properties. This antioxidant is believed
to boost your immune system and helps
boost your body’s collagen production
to help reduce wrinkles and can also
firm up and moisturize your skin.
What about Men
In an ideal world, everyone would get
all the nutrition they need from the
food they eat, tells Dr. Afshar. “But this
is wishful thinking, especially for men
as according to the USDA, men aged
31 to 50 need to eat 350 percent more
dark green vegetables and 150 percent
more fruit per day in order to meet
federal dietary guidelines,” she says
and it’s no surprise that men actually
have deficits in nearly every nutritional
category. “For this reason men should
follow the same advice above,” she
says. “In addition, men can consume
Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found
in tomatoes that may reduce the risk of
prostate cancer, according to a recent
study review.”
Older Age Group
The bones are at greatest risk in
older age-groups, especially in post-
menopausal women, tells Dr. Afshar.
And while calcium is paramount for
building and maintaining strong bones,
unfortunately, surveys show that as
we age, we consume less calcium in
our diets. Inadequate calcium intake
has been shown to increase the risk of
brittle bones and fractures, she says
and basically, the body needs calcium,
protein and vitamin D for optimal bone
Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps the body absorb
calcium, maintain bone density, and
prevent osteoporosis and Dr. Afshar
adds that recent findings suggest that
vitamin D may also protect against
some chronic diseases, including
cancer, type 1 diabetes, to autoimmune
diseases. “In older people, vitamin
D deficiency has also been linked to
increased risk of falling,” she says.
Dietary Fiber
Fiber is often overlooked but is very
important, suggests Dr. Afshar as it
helps promote healthy digestion by
moving foods through the digestive
tract. “Foods rich in fiber, including
whole grains, beans, fruits, and
vegetables, have many other health
benefits, including protecting against
heart disease,” she says and as we grow
older and less active, our digestive
systems slow down, therefore it is more
important to intake enough fiber.
Over Supplementation
Over consumption of supplements,
particularly of minerals and fat-
soluble vitamins, can build up in the
body and in fact, can be dangerous,
according to Dr. Afshar. “For example,
vitamin A supplementation can be
very useful where deficiencies exist,
but excessive consumption can lead
to nausea, irritability, anorexia via a
reduced appetite, vomiting, blurry
vision, headaches, hair loss, muscle
and abdominal pain and weakness,
drowsiness, and altered mental status,”
she says. “Provided that supplements
are taken in the amounts recommended
on the pack by the manufacturer or
retailer, and the recommended doses
are not exceeded by combining too
many different supplements, then it is
highly unlikely that supplements will
cause toxicity.” Therefore stick to a
high quality liquid multivitamin and/
or mineral product for best all-round
supplementation because it delivers
nutrients in the right balance.
Children and Supplements:
Do we need to be giving supplements
to our children? Yes, tells Safah, as kids
need nutrients to grow bones, build
muscles and for general development.
“As mentioned, our food is depleted
of nutrients which are needed to build
healthy cells in healthy humans,” he
says and suggests the following for
kids: food based multivitamin/multi
minerals, magnesium in the form of
Epsom Salt put in bath, or magnesium
oil sprayed on the skin as well, vitamin
C, vitamin D by sun exposure 10 to
15 minutes daily is ideal for kids,
probiotics especially if they have been
on antibiotics and last, but not least,
fish oil.
Apr/May 2014