Down in Bedrock……
As as mom of three wee ones that aren’t exactly eating the rainbow like they should be (– that is, unless they score some Fruity Pebbles from my husband (speaking of Fintstones), I decided to take a look into how essential vitamins are for us, and what certain foods (or —if necessary, supplements) are needed to get that daily dose.
At my last physical I had an extensive blood panel done to see what was what with my health. Whenever I do something “proactive” like this, I laugh to my doctors saying “I used to not care so much about living and then I had children– now I feel like I need to stick around and keep an eye on my health.” To my surprise, no doctor thinks this is as amusing as I do. Then it cuts to awkward silence for a moment and they usually scribble some alarming note in my file. (Don’t worry, just me being awk in the daytime again, folks.)
The blood panel results have been a spoon-feeding way to see exactly what I was lacking, what I needed to change, and all that good stuff. This can really ease one’s mind when they are trying to keep up with small children and/or the stresses of life. Sometimes it’s nice to be told exactly what to do when you are otherwise used to having to think and make decisions (and fight the good fight with rascals) for a household.
Thus, here’s hoping this can serve as a quick reference for keeping you on track…I just highlighted what vitamins and minerals seemed to be the most consistently recommended for us adults (and children). Because, as it turns out, vitamins are *crucial*, especially as we age. This goes for how we feel AND (ahem….) look. I always thought a generic multi vitamin was doing the trick, alas some of our bodies just flat out don’t absorb what we need. Example: mine refuses to take in vitamin D like it should, so I am on a mega powerful prescription supplement. And I’m telling you- it has made a huge difference in regards to stress management and overall energy. Would I rather be sun basking for my D? —yes, but that’s not a reality most days.
When a body is at its full vitamin potential, metabolism is revved, muscle gain and strength are peaked, fat loss and energy are higher, sleep is better and sexual performance is stronger. A non-vitamin deficient body is armed for prevention and fighting of cancer, heart attacks, stroke and other diseases. Another important note is that there is no glaring sign of lacking in the vitamin department. To know what your individual line up is, you do need to get a blood test…but it’s easy and most insurance digs it.
For the Children
Most things you read are pretty much relying on children eating a balanced diet to get their nutrients (meat, fish, fortified cereals, oatmeal, fruit, dark leafy veggies, broccoli, beans, etc.). I don’t know if this is just because researchers are too timid to offer any real advice, and everything is “disclaimed” with– “and as always check with your pediatrician”– which, I guess is never a bad idea.
However, what did remain steady is that children should have a multi-vitamin (mine has iron, some do not) and a probiotic daily– and then fish oil (omega 3) and vitamin D3 are also highly recommended. (I’ve gone into more detail on the last two a little further down.)
I know getting ANYTHING into my little people can be work on its own, so all of these things may seem intimidating. Mine like the chewable gummy vitamins and probiotics, and the vitamin D3 drops can be thrown in drinks/food or the dropper can be kind of fun and shoots right into the pie hole. Most health-minded grocery stores carry a variety of these.
As for fish oil/omega 3, we are new to this and it’s a work in progress. Mine revolted against the chewable ones I brought home, though I’ve managed to sneak in this UDIs juice (plant based, if you don’t want to do fish oil) that can be thrown into a drink or food/no taste. Trying to get the whole family on board (again, benefits a bit further below).
Side, yet important, note: Just make sure the brand you choose for any and all do not contain the following: sorbitol, carrageenan, artificial colors and flavors (especially red dye #40), aspartame and sucralose are the biggies. These are not things you want your peeps having on the reg.
Men & Women
*There is a crazy high percentage of men and women who are vitamin D deficient–like 90% in the US! Being deficient in any vitamin can be damaging. And this is no joke. Responsible sunlight is a great source to kick the body into processing vitamin D for you. Insomnia, depression, inflammation, weakened bones, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia are all related symptoms to lacking vitamin D, to name a few…
*How to get it: Fatty fish (tuna, salmon), cod oil, fortified dairy, orange juice, eggs
*Used for cognitive function (fighting dementia and Alzheimer’s), the function of your nervous system (also pins and needles sensations, etc.), the production of DNA and red blood cells, metabolism boosts and avoiding fatigue.
*How to get it: shell fish, animal products (chicken, beef), leafy green veggies, beans, citrus and melon fruit.
*Most helpful for building and keeping bones strong, fighting injury (blood clotting) and preventing heart disease (a leading cause of death for men and women).
*How to get it: green leafy vegetables (broccoli, collards and cabbage especially), some wild-caught fish and cage-free eggs
Vitamins A, C, E
*These are antioxidant vitamins that help fight cellular mutation and free radical damage, which is the underlying cause of aging and many diseases that affect the heart, eyes, skin and brain.
*How to get:
Vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, leafy greens, cantaloupe
Vitamin C: bell peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli, leafy greens, strawberries
Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, bell peppers, asparagus
Omega 3/Fish Oil
*An essential mineral coming from the oils of cold water, fatty fish. The laundry list of benefits notes assisting in memory function, managing anxiety & depression, and preventing cardio disease, cancer and arthritis…. Also said to aid in fertility and hair & skin perks.
*As for children, greatly assists in early brain development and can dramatically decrease effects of ADD and ADHD.
*How to get it: wild caught salmon, anchovies, white fish, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, eggs, fortified dairy products, and walnuts… to name a few.
*A mineral that plays a major part in utilizing vitamins in the body. A magnesium deficiency can result in leg cramps, insomnia, anxiety, muscle spasms, headaches and digestive issues/leaky gut.
*How to get it: Algae, dried seaweed (one of my new favorite snacks), nuts, seeds, leafy greens, beans
So, while you don’t need to rush to the store to begin a routine of taking 32 supplements a day (in fact, don’t do that), you may just notice a trend of what you should be ingesting; some dairy and animal products, though mostly a plant based diet. And *actually eating* the vitamins and minerals in food is a far better way to secure the benefits over any supplement, any day. (And avoid those vitamin powders and add-ins for smoothies, water, and energy drinks as they are mostly ways to hood-wink you into thinking you are getting what you need, packing caffeine and loads of sugar (sugar: insert devil horns).
Lastly, so you can do your own individual delving based on your “age in which you check the box”….
So- Yabba Dabba Doooooo eat that rainbow. And not in that Skittles kind of way.