Determined to Eat Healthier in 2020? Start Here.
Sponsored by: Nature Made®
The new year is a great time to reevaluate our healthy (or not so healthy) habits—but before we jump into a new diet, it may help to focus first on a few key nutrients. Our bodies rely on us to provide them with vitamins and minerals, because we can’t make them on our own. Part of committing to a new healthy habit routine means spending a little time getting to know our bodies and how we might better provide them with the support they need.
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients required for life, and yet 9 out of 10 Americans don’t consume the adequate amount of nutrients they need from food alone. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that most Americans don’t even meet their bare minimum recommended intakes for vitamins A, C, D and E. The gap was so large for vitamin D that it was identified as a “nutrient of public health concern” by the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for America (DGA).1
This isn’t great news because while vitamin D is probably best known for its ability to support bone health, it helps support muscle and immune system health too.2† Sunlight is our best source of vitamin D, but most of us aren’t exposed to the sun often enough to make the quantities we need.2 Even if you live in a sunnier location, sunscreen can reduce your ability to get enough vitamin D from the sun by more than 90%.2 A higher melanin concentration can also reduce the skin’s ability to make vitamin D from sunlight. Older adults are less efficient at both making and processing vitamin D, and both obesity and GI conditions can also inhibit or affect the body’s ability to absorb this nutrient. Nature Made® Vitamin D can be a helpful way to support your healthy diet and ensure you’re getting the right amount of this vital nutrient no matter which state you call home.
Another nutrient Americans are missing out on is vitamin C. While best known for its antioxidant properties, vitamin C also supports collagen synthesis, which is important for healthy skin.4† And yet, up to 40% of Americans do not get enough vitamin C in their diets.3
This is most likely a result of consuming less than five servings per day of fruits and vegetables, but lifestyle plays a role too. Environmental factors like smoking and pollution induce oxidative stress on the body, which expedites how quickly we use this nutrient.4 Thankfully, vitamin C is found in yummy, citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit, as well as in sweeter options like tomatoes and strawberries. Nature Made® Vitamin C can be a good addition to a healthy diet as well.
While the new year serves as a great time to reevaluate our dietary habits, our nutritional needs vary throughout our lives. Multivitamins can provide helpful quantities of the vitamins and minerals we need during specific life stages. Children’s multivitamins can support a healthy diet and fill common nutrient gaps in vitamins such as A, D and E. Women’s prenatal multivitamins can support good nutrition during pregnancy by providing extra servings of important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. Aging can suppress appetite which can lead to new kinds of nutrient gaps over age 50.5 Multivitamins designed for adults 50+ can support good dietary habits while also providing a little extra of key minerals often lacking during this time of life, such as calcium and magnesium.3† Nature Made® Kids First Multi + Omega and Prenatal Multi + Omega can both help round out a healthy diet and support the body’s need for a range of nutrients.
In addition to our nutritional needs, one last thing to consider is whether or not we’re allowing ourselves the time we need to physically and mentally recover from attaining our goals. Sleep is one greatly overlooked aspect of healthy living. In our fast-paced society, it’s tempting to brag about how busy we are or how little sleep our lives afford us, but according to the research most adults require 7–9 hours of sleep per night.6 Melatonin may not be an essential nutrient, but this hormone does help regulate sleep and wake cycles. Nature Made® Melatonin Gummies are a tasty option to help you fall asleep faster and support a restful sleep.
Our nutritional needs will vary over time and depend on what we eat (or don’t eat) in a day. Taking the time to examine your unique nutritional needs at the start of the year could help you also continue to do Wellness Your Way. After all, food fuels everything we do. And a lush, nutrient-dense meal sounds like an excellent way to kick off a new year.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” 2015 8th ed. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Accessed on September 5, 2019.
2 Oregon State University. “Vitamin D” 2017. Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information Center. Accessed on: October 9, 2019.
3 Fulgoni, VL 3rd et al, Keast DR, Bailey RL, Dwyer J. Foods, fortificants, and supplements: Where do Americans get their nutrients? J Nutr. 2011; 141 (10): 1847-1854.
4 Oregon State University. “Vitamin C” 2018. Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information Center. Accessed on: October 9, 2019.
5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020: Shifts Needed to Align with Healthy Eating Patterns.” 2015. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Accessed on: September 16, 2015.
6 Hirshkowitz, M et al, National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. 2015; 1 (1): 40–43.