With busy lifestyles today, it becomes challenging for adults to eat healthy on a daily basis. Eating out often and eating on the run is common in many households, and can cause deficiency of key vitamins and minerals. It has been reported that a large gap exists between recommended dietary patterns and what Americans actually eat. 77% of U.S. adults do not eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
In addition, over the last 30 years calorie intake has increased for both men and women. For good health, it is recommended for adults to eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, people of all ages benefit from moderate physical activity, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking five or more times a week.
Nutritional needs change at various stages of the lifecycle, particularly for women. In addition to a healthy, balanced diet, dietary supplements can help us meet our daily nutritional needs. A nutritional supplement regimen based on your changing lifestyle will help get you on the road to good health and well-being.
Men and Women of All Ages
In addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, a well-balanced supplement regimen for men and women can promote overall health and well-being. A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement should serve as the foundation of a supplement regimen to help meet basic nutritional needs. Additional antioxidants such as vitamins C and E offer protective benefits by helping to prevent damage to healthy cells. Supplemental calcium is recommended to ensure and adequate intake of this mineral, especially if it is lacking in the diet. Vitamin D is also important, since it necessary for the absorption of calcium.
Women age 19-50 should consider a daily multivitamin/mineral with folic acid to help meet their nutritional needs. Folic acid (400 mcg/day) is particularly important in childbearing years and is necessary before and during pregnancy to prevent brain and spinal cord defects in a developing fetus. Adequate calcium intake is important as well, since peak bone mass (genetic potential for bone) is reached in the early to mid-twenties for women. Additional antioxidants such as vitamin E and vitamin C, offer protective benefits by helping to prevent damage to healthy cells. To support urinary tract health, women 19-50 can consider supplementing with cranberry fruit extract**. Cranberry extract contains proanthocyanidins (antioxidant compounds) that may contribute to urinary tract health. Supplementing with acidophilus provides a source of healthy bacteria to help promote a healthy, balanced intestinal environment. For women of reproductive age, evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid (gamma-linolenic acid) that may help ease uncomfortable premenstrual symptoms in women. (**Note: If you are at increased risk for kidney stones, talk to your health care provider before taking cranberry extract.)
As women age, they have special nutritional needs. The aging process is accelerating past age 50, so antioxidant nutrients such as beta-carotene, selenium, vitamins C and E and CoQ10, are beneficial to a varied diet that contains high amounts of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods such as whole grains and cereals, fruits and vegetables. In addition, a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement should serve as the foundation of a nutritional supplement regimen, to help meet basic nutritional needs for women age 50+. Also at this stage of life, women will experience menopause. Bone degeneration (breakdown) escalates in the years after menopause, and calcium and vitamin D are key nutrients to help maintain bone health. In addition to receiving adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, soy isoflavones may help maintain healthy bones, support a healthy heart and may even help ease some menopause symptoms such as hot flashes/night sweats. The B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid, also play a role in heart health by helping to maintain healthy homocysteine levels. (High homocysteine in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease). A deficiency in vitamin B12 is also common in mature years. A B-complex supplement would help meet a woman's nutritional needs, and help maintain a healthy heart.
[ Note: Women on anticoagulant therapy or any medications that affect ability of blood to clot, including aspirin therapy, should talk to their health care provider before taking high dose antioxidants to avoid increased risk of bleeding. Also, women who are currently taking hormone replacement therapy should consult with their physician before adding soy supplements to your regimen. Women with breast cancer, or who are at risk for breast cancer should not take a soy isoflavone supplement without first talking to their physician. Pregnant and nursing women should not take soy isoflavone supplements. ]
A well-balanced supplement regimen in addition to a healthy lifestyle supports good health and promotes overall well-being for men today. A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement should serve as the foundation of a supplement regimen to help meet basic nutritional needs. Additional antioxidants such as vitamins C and E offer protective benefits by helping to prevent damage to healthy cells. Antioxidants also help to promote heart health and help to maintain a healthy immune system. An adequate amount of calcium ensures adequate intake of this mineral, which contributes to bone health and helps prevent osteoporosis later in life. If energy is lacking, supplementing with B vitamins, such as in a B-complex supplement, and the herb, ginseng, may also be part of a men's daily regimen to help maintain or boost energy levels.
[ Note: If individuals are on blood thinning medications (i.e. coumadin, aspirin), have high blood pressure, or are taking diuretics, they should consult with their health care practitioner before taking ginseng and/or high-dose antioxidants to avoid adverse side effects. ]
A healthy diet and well-balanced supplement regimen along with a healthy lifestyle, supports good health and promotes overall well-being for men today, especially as they age. A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement should serve as the foundation of a supplement regimen to help meet basic nutritional needs for men age 50+. Additional antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and selenium offer protective benefits by helping to prevent damage to healthy cells. Antioxidants also help to promote heart health and help to maintain a healthy immune system. Supplemental calcium contributes to bone health and helps prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D is necessary for the proper absorption of calcium and also contributes to bone health. Osteoporosis is not just for women; it is a health concern for men as they age as well. B vitamins, such as vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid are beneficial for heart health by helping to maintain healthy homocysteine levels. (High homocysteine in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease). The herb, saw palmetto, may help to protect and maintain a healthy prostate in men as they age.