Now that the colder temperatures are here there is still plenty of exercise to do. Perhaps a gym membership for the holidays or a new exercise CD. I still feel it is important to get out into the sun shine and allow the sun to provide us with some much needed vitamin D and some “winter” warmth. There are many parks and trails that are great for getting outside and getting some exercise. Remember even in the cold weather you need to stay hydrated and eat warming, filling foods such as whole grains. Remember eat fresh, eat whole food and eat local.
Fiber is a necessary component of any healthy diet. It is encouraged to have on average thirty grams of fiber each day, with the best sources of fiber being fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Why is fiber so important? Fiber allows for regulation of bowels, increased satiety and feelings of fullness, and also decreases your risk of certain conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. When in doubt look to add more fiber to your diet. Some of my favorite snacks including combining proteins and fiber like celery with peanut butter and sugar snap peas with hummus.
Vitamin D is an important vitamin. It is the only vitamin that can be made by humans. The benefits of vitamin D include reducing bone loss, reducing fractures, prevention of tooth loss, maintenance of a healthy immune system and important links with blood pressure and diabetes Sources of vitamin D come from exposure to sunlight, ultraviolet light, and from the food we eat such as milk, fish, Eggs and cod liver oil. Low vitamin D levels may not cause obvious physical symptoms but can lead to several medical problems including thinning of the bones (osteopenia) osteoporosis and abnormalities in other blood tests. Severe vitamin D deficiency is rarely seen in United States due to commercially fortifed milk and foods. Low levels of vitamin D however may be caused by low dietary intake, lack of sun exposure, diseases of the intestinal tract (celiac disease, Crohn’s disease), cystic fibrosis and in patients having stomach or intestinal surgery such as the gastric bypass. Checking vitamin D levels requires a simple blood test that your doctor can order. If your level is low, your doctor may recommend one of several vitamin D replacement options for you. Current recommendations for vitamin D replacement therapy vary depending on your age, level of deficiency, and coexisting medical conditions. So, ask your doctor to check her vitamin D level.