You may be eating right and getting your exercise, but research shows that vitamins can help give the body that extra boost of health it so craves. Here are five superstar vitamins that can help you feel your best and even protect you from disease.
1. Vitamin D is like a ray of sunshine in the vitamin world, literally. Sunlight is still the easiest way for the body to release this rockstar vitamin, which has been linked to stronger bones, weight control and lower rates of breast cancer, lupus, and diabetes.
A recent study found that vitamin D deficiency was especially high among African-American children, so you might want to make sure the young'uns are getting it too.
Find it in these foods: Oily fishes (salmon, sardines), vitamin D-fortified milk, sun-dried mushrooms.
2. Calcium needs vitamin D in order for the body to better absorb it. Calcium not only helps us keep our bones, teeth and muscles in check, but also lowers blood pressure and lessens menstrual cramping.
Because many African-American women are lactose intolerant, they're at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, so get your calcium on.
Find it in these foods: Dairy, cooked collard greens, kale, cooked dandelion greens.
3. Omega-3's aka Essential Fatty Acids are great for the heart and arteries and can help keep you boost your brainpower. They can also lower cholesterol and boost serotonin levels. So come on and get happy.
Find it in these foods: Fatty fishes (salmon, tuna, sardines), walnuts, flaxseeds.
4. Iron gives your on-the-go body that extra kick of energy it needs; keeps you alert and strengthens your memory. It's also essential for maintaining healthy blood and muscles.
Find it in these foods: Spinach, soybeans, liver, blackstrap molasses.
5. Vitamin C is the sweetheart of vitamins, but be careful of only reaching for it when you feel a sniffle coming on. It not only boosts your immunity and helps your body absorb iron but also keeps your skin glowing.
Find it in these foods: Kiwi, citrus, red sweet pepper, leafy greens.
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2. Because the body digests Oats slowly they have little impact on your blood sugar - which helps you avoid the crash and burn of sugary cereals. They're also chock full of fiber - 4-5 grams per serving - and have been known to lower the risks of heart disease and diabetes.
How much? At least 3 or more ounces a day, according to USDA dietary guidelines.
3. Pomegranates are great for heart health. They're packed with folate, high in antioxidants, can lower blood pressure and protect you from certain bacteria.
How much? Eating just one pomegranate gives you 40% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C.
4. Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is a great way to curb the appetite, thanks to its ability to increase satiety. But be aware that heating olive oil can decrease its nutritional value. Tossed in a salad or veggies is always best.
How much? About 2 tablespoons a day.
5. Nuts are rich in antioxidants and packed with benefits like fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E. They're a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight obesity and diabetes.
How much? Healthy fats like those found in nuts should be about 25 to 35% of your daily intake, says the American Heart Association.