If you want to make three changes today that can yield big results, you can start with something I like to call “the swap.” Here’s how it works:
- Swap out your normal breakfast for a smoothie. Smoothies are a way to pack a lot of nutrition into one quick and easy meal. If you’re wanting to add more greens into your diet or more superfoods or more healthy fats or protein, a smoothie or a shake is a simple, hassle free way to do that. Here’s one of my favorite recipes.
- Swap your bad fats for good fats. Toss out any highly refined cooking oils, such as corn and soy; fried foods that you may have stored in your freezer; and margarine or shortening. These have dangerous trans fats that create inflammation and cause heart disease. Scour labels for the words “hydrogenated fat” (another phrase for trans fat), which has finally been declared unsafe for consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Instead, stock up on good fats like avocados, extra virgin, unrefined coconut and olive oils, olives, and nuts and seeds. I also recommend swapping out conventional meat for organic and grass-fed meat, when possible.
- Swap sugars and processed carbs for plants. You probably know the obvious sugar culprits, but be aware of hidden sugars that lurk in salad dressings, processed foods, drinks and even “healthy” foods like cereals and wheat products like pasta and bread. Instead of reaching for carbs or sugary foods, fill your plates with delicious plant foods like green-leafy veggies, broccoli, peppers, bok choy, cauliflower, etc.
This simple swap technique can transform your health, but sometimes it can feel pretty isolating to take on these changes alone. That is why I also recommend finding a buddy to make these changes with you. Friend power is so much more powerful than willpower.
My Recommended Daily Supplements
Our final question comes from Chad who asks, “What vitamins or supplements, if any, should men 40 and older take to reduce cancer risk and optimize health?”
Even with a perfect diet, the combination of many things – including our depleted soils, the storage and transportation of our food, genetic alterations of traditional heirloom species, and the increased stress and nutritional demands resulting from a toxic environment – make it impossible for us to get the vitamins and minerals we need solely from the foods we eat.
Doctors used to think we got all our vitamins and minerals from food. Any extra nutrients were excreted, or worse, became toxic. But the tide is shifting. Doctors now prescribe over one billion dollars in fish oil supplements. Most cardiologists recommend folate, fish oil, and coenzyme Q10. Gastroenterologists recommend probiotics. Obstetricians have always recommended prenatal vitamins.
Emerging scientific evidence shows the importance of nutrients as essential helpers in our biochemistry and metabolism. They are the oil that greases the wheels of our metabolism. And large-scale deficiencies of nutrients in our population – including omega-3 fats, vitamin D, folate, zinc, magnesium, and iron – have been well documented in extensive government-sponsored research.
Everyone reading this blog should begin a basic supplement plan and stay on that plan for life. Here are my basic recommendations:
- High-Quality, High-Potency, Complete Multivitamin: The right multivitamin will contain all the basic vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that getting the optimal doses usually requires 2 to 6 capsules or tablets a day. Some people may have unique requirements for much higher doses that need to be prescribed by a trained nutritional or Functional Medicine physician.
- Vitamin D3: The vitamin D deficiency is epidemic, with up to 80 percent of modern day humans being deficient or suboptimal in their intake. Depending on what is in your multivitamin, I recommend taking additional vitamin D. Vitamin D3 improves metabolism by influencing more than 200 different genes that can prevent and treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome. For serious deficiencies, you may need more vitamin D, as much as 5,000 to 10,000 IU a day for 3 months or more. Do this with your doctor’s supervision, if needed.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA): These important fats improve insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol by lowering triglycerides and raising HDL, reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots and lower the risk of heart attacks. Fish oil also improves nerve function and may help prevent the nerve damage common in diabetes.
This is what I recommend for your foundation. As you get older, I recommend adding supplements that support your mitochondria such as the following:
- CoQ10 – CoQ10 has potent antioxidant properties to help support cell function, healthy blood pressure, energy production and overall cardiovascular health.
- NAC (N-acetyl Cysteine)- Fights free-radicals and is a key component of a healthy antioxidant-rich immune system, helps to chelate heavy metals and remove them from the body, and especially supportive of lung tissue.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid – Alpha Lipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals, supports liver function, boosts metabolism, enhances absorption of certain vitamins, and helps turn calories into energy in the muscles.
Connie’s comments: Women over 40 needs Vitamin Bs, Omega 3, Vit C, calcium and magnesium, melatonin, and all yellow and red colored vegetables.