Yay! It’s a brand new year. A chance to begin anew. I’m especially excited about getting this weak body back in shape after recovering from foot surgery. Whatever your goals this year, here are some new ideas that can help us get going in the right direction:
Consider a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement. Yes, this is controversial, as many studies have shown that multivitamins do not reduce one’s risk for heart disease, cancer or mental decline. In this age of COVID, however, a daily multivitamin supplement may give a needed boost to our immune system, according to researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (lpi.oregonstate.org).
They found that older adults who took a multivitamin/mineral supplement for three months had higher levels of vitamin C and zinc in their blood — two of many nutrients needed for strong immunity. And while these volunteers still reported the same amount of illness during this study, the participants who took the multivitamin/mineral supplement reported fewer symptoms that went away three days faster than the group that did not take the supplement.
Don’t take shortcuts to lose weight. As easy as it may sound to pop a few pills to “melt off the fat,” many over-the-counter supplements for weight loss can be down-right dangerous, according to a new warning by the US Food and Drug Administration. This agency found nearly 50 products sold on sites like Amazon and Ebay contain ingredients that pose a health risk (https://www.fda.gov/drugs/medication-health-fraud/tainted-weight-loss-products). As boring as it sounds, leaving that extra portion on the plate and moving the body more is still the best formula for losing pounds and inches.
Enjoy avocados. Yes, they are high in fat. But these creamy tree fruits are rich in healthful monounsaturated fat as well as numerous vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in dietary fiber which enhances the growth of healthful bacteria in our guts.
A recent study at the University of Illinois found that the number and diversity of good microbes increased in overweight volunteers who added avocado to one meal a day. These “good bugs” also produced changes that may have improved their ability to lose weight. A reasonable serving is about a third of a medium avocado in place of other fat in your diet.
Look for a new label of salt substitutes. Products formerly called potassium chloride can now be called “potassium salt” on food labels. This, say experts, may help us understand that potassium chloride is a good substitute for sodium chloride or salt.
Potassium can help decrease blood pressure while sodium increases it. And while we get too much sodium in our diets, we often don’t get enough potassium. Potassium salt is therefore a pretty good substitute. Caution: People with kidney disease who must follow a low potassium diet are not advised to use potassium salts.
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in California. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at to firstname.lastname@example.org.