How To Get The Most From Calcium & Vitamin D Supplements

Staying on top of our bone health is important as we age, but not all calcium supplements are created equal. To help us understand how to properly include calcium in our diets, FabOverFifty recently sat down with Danielle Omar, integrative dietitian and healthy lifestyle coach. Danielle’s 21-day online program is structured to transform the way we eat after 50.

Why is it critical to supplement our diet with nutrients? What specifically do calcium and vitamin D do to support a woman’s long-term health?

Supplementation is beneficial for a woman today, even when she’s eating a clean diet or “real” foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible. In this case, you might think you’re getting the nutrients you need – but that’s not always the care. Here’s why:

First, our food supply isn’t as nutrient dense as it used to be, when people were eating foods produced locally. Critical vitamins and minerals lose their potency when produce travels long distances.

We spend a lot more time indoors, which prevents our bodies from accessing sunlight, which is the main source of vitamin D.

Many medications we take also can inhibit the absorption of nutrients and affect our calcium levels, including blood pressure medications, bisphosphonates, antibiotics, iron, and some seizure medications.

Calcium, which needs vitamin D for maximum absorption, is essential in maintaining optimal bone health and to help prevent osteoporosis. The calcium stores you built up don’t change after age 30. After that, it’s a challenge to maintain your bone health.

Do certain types of women need calcium and vitamin D more than others, either because of their genetics or lifestyles?

Women’s calcium needs increase with age, and when they are pregnant or nursing.  They also change when a woman is very active or training for extended periods. If you’re preparing to run a marathon, for example, you may be losing calcium through your sweat.

If you’re are on a modified diet, you may need calcium that you otherwise would get from dairy, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Additionally, people with darker skin have a harder time absorbing vitamin D from the sun because of the pigment in their skin.

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[POLL] What Do You Drink?

It’s always enlightening to learn what other women in our generation are thinking and doing. Every Thursday, FabOverFifty asks members of our community a series of simple questions about pretty complex issues (and some not so complex issues), then we report the results back to you!

This week, we’re curious about what you imbibe and how often you imbibe it!

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The Only Diet Article You Will Ever Need To Read. We Swear! [Sponsored]

What’s a woman to do?

Let’s say we’ve been eating horribly for quite a while and decide we’d better shape up, or we may not be around to enjoy everything we’ve worked so hard to attain all these years. We either run out and buy a gym membership, dash to the basement to use the treadmill that’s been gathering dust for over three years, or scour the internet to find a treadmill that’s been gathering dust in some other woman’s basement.

And, of course, we go on a strict “diet,” which means we either: A) Cut back our food intake so we’re eating practically nothing all day; B) Start the newest, greatest diet known to womankind, that every morning talk show has been touting.

If we actually have the discipline to keep exercising and eating like a bird, or sticking to the diet-of-the-moment, we probably will, indeed, shape up. We’ve done it so many times before, it’s a pretty safe bet we’ll be able to pull it off again. But will we be able to maintain a healthy weight this time? It’s another pretty safe bet we won’t. And so the next vicious cycle begins.

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OMG, I’m Exercising Again! [Sponsored]

I am spectacularly out of shape.

Ever since I decided to work from my apartment, almost three years ago, I’ve become a slave to the computer and sometimes don’t get outside until I walk the dog, around 6:30 PM.

I know I’ve got to do exercises to keep my bones, muscles and heart strong, and eat foods that provide the proper protein, vitamins and minerals, but the treadmill bores me to tears and it’s not always easy for me to get the proper nutrition during a busy day. I started to get the nutrition part under control when I heard about Ensure’s new line of Active High Protein nutrition shakes that can provide the right balance of nutrients and protein, and with great flavor. Ensure,has been addressing adult nutrition needs for over four decades, so I trust it.

But the exercise—that’s a different story. If my life was in jeopardy, I couldn’t jog my way to safety. I haven’t consistently done any exercises for my muscles and bones since I stopped yoga four years ago.

Woe is me, I thought. I’m going to wind up a shuffling old lady if I don’t get off my duff and do something.

Then an email popped up that got my attention, from Vann Duke, a trainer in L.A., who calls his business Second Half Fitness & Wellness because his clients are 50+. He wanted to advertise on FabOverFifty. Hmmm, I said to myself, as I sent back a reply: “Lets talk.” Talk we did, on Skype, and I immediately liked Vann’s style, philosophy and approach. “A woman [or man, of course] over 50 needs to embrace the idea that she has a whole second life to live,” he told me. “Look at your body, look at your lifestyle, and figure out what’s important to you, now, to operate in your life. What physical capabilities do you need to get to where you want to go?”

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Don’t Swallow Another Supplement Until You’ve Read This! [Sponsored Post]

Women can be funny creatures.

Fanatic as we may be about staying in shape, by exercising and eating intelligently, we often skip entire meals because we’re A) just too busy, B) not hungry or C) hungry, but figure it just doesn’t hurt to skip a meal now and again.

Oh, but it does. It really does. Think about newborns and infants. They require a certain amount of milk (breast or formula) each day, in order to grow bigger and stronger. If a mother decided to simply eliminate feedings, here and there throughout the week, the baby wouldn’t get all the nutrition it needed. Of course, women over 50 don’t need to grow bigger (we sure don’t!) , but we must make certain to maintain good health and keep up our strength. When we deny our bodies the proper nutrition they need each day, it decreases our chances of doing either. So while a svelte bod may look good on the outside, it’s probably not working so well on the inside if it doesn’t get the proper vitamins and minerals, not to mention things like omega-3s fatty acids and antioxidants.

Let’s stop here, you’re saying to yourself about now. Practically every day, you read or hear about another dietary supplement that one expert or another claims you MUST take. Calcium and D3 for bones; Vitamin C for collagen; Vitamin E to fight cell damage; magnesium for energy and to help your muscles, arteries and heart to work properly. And how can something called “fatty” be good for you? One look at the packed vitamin shelves in the drugstore sends you into a tizzy, and there’s no one around to help. The shops that specialize in vitamins aren’t any better, since the salespeople try to push everything on you, having no idea what you need. What you really need, you’re convinced, is an advanced degree in nutrition to understand all the gobbledygook thrown at you from every direction.

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Sugar In The Morning, Sugar In The Evening, Sugar At Suppertime

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, and again, and again. Americans are O-B-E-S-E.

And if we don’t start guarding our children and grandchildren– not to mention ourselves– from the mountains of sugar that are added to 80 percent of America’s processed foods, they are going to get diabetes and heart disease, have strokes and live shorter lives. What’s more, added sugar is toxic to our livers. The American Heart Association recommends a daily sugar intake for women of 6 to 9 teaspoons, but our daily intake is actually 41 teaspoons.

Here’s just a sampling of the approximately 500,000 processed foods with added sugar.

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The Truth About Diet Soda

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A Must-See If You Despise Exercise

I hate exercise. I really hate exercise.

Yeah, yeah I know how important exercising is for us, especially as we age, but it’s just not my thing. I walk the dog every day (actually, I stroll with the dog), but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. I don’t drink alcohol (not even an occasional glass of wine), don’t smoke and I eat pretty well, but I’m also sure those wonderful habits aren’t a wash for the absence of aerobic and “weight-bearing” physical activity.

I usually make my way to the other side of the room when I sense an exercise evangelist approaching me. Not so with delightful Deb Horn, the first fitness professional I’ve ever encountered who has figured out exactly how to motivate women like me. And that’s a big deal. Although it’s doubtful I’m going to become an exercise fanatic anytime soon, I’ve actually started to follow Deb’s sensible program.

Deb and I made a two-minute video so I could share my experience with any of my FOFriends who would rather take a physics class than even attempt to do a pushup. If you’re one of them, do yourself a favor and watch.

xoxo

This post is sponsored by Estroven. Thanks for supporting FabOverFifty!

{Giveaway} Vitamix Professional Series Blender

If you haven’t already heard about the groundbreaking new book, Eat Like A Woman, by women’s health expert, Staness Jonekos, get over to her website right now.

While you’re there, make sure to enter her fantastic giveaway for the Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender (Value: $650+). It has a reputation for being one of the most high-performing, durable units on the market. The lucky winner can use it to whip up (literally and figuratively) the outstanding recipes in Staness’s book.

To enter to win, visit Staness’ website
and follow the instructions.

Click Here To Enter

Start Eating Like A Woman

David, the man with whom I live, eats some type of pastry every single day, acting as if it’s the last day he’ll ever be able to consume cake again. He doesn’t gain an ounce. If I ate pastries every single day, I would look like the Goodyear blimp after about a month. No joke. I would.

If this scenario rings a bell, it should. We can eat exactly the same foods as our male friends and lovers (at exactly the same times), and exercise precisely the same way as they do, but our bodies, and our minds, will react quite differently.

I am sick and tired of reading about new diets that promise to change everything, from the size and shape of our bodies to the length of our lives to the level of our happiness. If I see Dr. Oz one more time on my Facebook newsfeed, hawking yet another revolutionary diet or supplement, I will scream. Most of it is pure baloney. You know it. I know it. Even Dr. Oz knows it, I suspect.

So, what’s a woman to do?

Here’s what: Order a new book, immediately, called Eat Like A Woman (and never diet again), by health advocate, Staness Jonekos, and women’s health expert, Dr. Marjorie Jenkins.

Eat Like A Woman (and never diet again) is based on scientific studies that confirm, at last, that what we eat and how we maintain our health and fitness should reflect our physiological, psychological and biochemical constitution, which is completely different from a man’s.

As the subtitle indicates, this is absolutely not a diet book. Like no other book that concerns eating, it teaches women what to eat, why we should eat it and when we should eat it!

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