Sunny, Summertime, Vitamin D!

Vitamin D is one of the most important– but most elusive of all the vitamins! It is found in very few foods but is produced through Vitamin D synthesis, which occurs when ultraviolet rays from the sun hit the skin! Vitamin D is also available as a dietary supplement. Vitamin D must undergo two processes before it can be used by the body. The first occurs in the liver and the second occurs in the kidneys.

Studies have shown that Vitamin D also plays a big role in helping promote the relaxation of blood vessels. Getting enough Vitamin D in your diet can help reduce the appearance of varicose veins! Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut. It helps normalize the mineralization of bones by maintaining adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations. Vitamin D is needed to keep bones healthy by remodeling osteoblasts and osteoclasts, the cells that grow bones. Without enough Vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle or misshapen. Vitamin D prevents osteomalacia, the softening and weakening of the bones, in adults.

Although Vitamin D is crucial to good bone and vein health, very few foods contain it. The flesh of fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel is one of the best ways to introduce Vitamin D into your diet. Fish liver oils are also a great source. Almost all milk in the United States is voluntarily fortified with Vitamin D. Dietary supplements that have Vitamin D are also a good way to meet your daily intake needs.

Luckily for us, one of the best ways to get Vitamin D is by getting outside! A trip to Lake Tahoe or a hike around Reno will help most people meet at least some of the Vitamin D needs. Heading outside, making few slight adjustments to your diet, or adding some dietary supplements to your daily routine can help you meet your daily Vitamin D needs.

These great Reno hikes will get you outside and help you get your daily dose of Vitamin D:

Tom Cooke Trail

Hunter Creek Trail

Hidden Valley Country Park Trail

Peavine Peak Trail

 

 

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Vitamin Series: Vitamin C!

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is abundant in vegetables and fruits. It is a water-soluble vitamin, which is rich in iron and powerful antioxidant. It helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. It also helps boost immunity, lower levels of lead in blood, promote weight loss, reduce stress and increase energy. Vitamin C can also be beneficial in reducing the appearance of varicose veins. It contains strong antioxidants, which ensure proper dialiation of the blood vessels.

Vitamin C is one of the best vitamins to help achieve firmer skin and a younger appearance. It protects from UV rays, helps wounds heal faster, and improves the texture of the face and skin. Vitamin C also helps hair grow faster and makes hair stronger while reducing dandruff.

It’s important to ensure that you are getting enough Vitamin C in your diet. Men are recommended to intake 90 mg per day, and it is recommended for women to intake 75 mg. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, bleeding gums, leg rashes, and a weakened immune system. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious foods that contain Vitamin C. Guava, oranges, kiwi, grapefruit, and strawberries all contain Vitamin C. Peppers, kale, broccoli and Brussel sprouts are also great sounces of Vitamin C.

Try this delicious broccoli salad recipe, which will help you ‘C’ your way to better health!

Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

2 heads fresh broccoli

1 red onion

½ pound bacon

¾ cup raisins

¾ cup sliced almonds

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup white sugar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Place bacon in a deep skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Cool and crumble.
  2. Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces and cut the onion into thin bite-size slices. Combine with the bacon, raisins, your favorite nuts and mix well.
  3. To prepare the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad, let chill and serve.

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The Formula for the Perfect Green Smoothie

Smoothies are one of the best ways to take your meal with you to work, the gym or elsewhere – they are a quick solution to breakfast or a snack for people who are always on the go. One of the best ways to maximize the nutrients you get from your smoothie is to add some of your favorite greens: spinach, kale and collard greens, just to name a few!

Don’t let the thought of a green smoothie scare you, there’s a simple formula, the 60/40, that you can follow to make sure your smoothie tastes as great as it looks.

The 60/40 formula calls for 60 percent fruits to 40 percent leafy greens. We promise, you will barely even taste the greens but will reap all the incredible benefits of throwing them into your system first thing in the morning! Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, greens are a must!

Here is an easy recipe to maximize the nutrients in your smoothie while getting plenty of delicious variety in the flavor:

  • 2 Cups Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, romaine or collard greens)
  • 2 Cups of a liquid base (water, almond milk, coconut water or coconut milk)
  • 3 Cups Ripe Fruit (banana, berries, mango, peach, pear, apple or pineapple)
  • Optional: A protein boost (chia seeds, coconut oil, flax seeds, protein powder or cacao)

Be sure to blend in stages so your smoothie is, well, smooth! Start with the leafy greens and your liquid base. Be careful – juice can often add excess sugar into your smoothie. Reach for low-sugar liquid bases (like water, coconut water or almond milk). Or, cut the sugar in half by using half juice (orange, apple, etc.) and mixing with water.

Once your greens are liquid base are blended together, begin adding in your fruit and continue to blend until smooth. The fruits you add can also be frozen to make your smoothie colder and add a thickness to your consistency. If you are using fresh fruit, simply add several ice cubes instead.

The recipe above usually makes around 30 ounces of smoothie, or two servings. Any leftovers that you have can stay in your fridge for up to two days.

Good luck and happy blending!

Source: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/green-smoothie-recipe/

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B smart and take your Vitamin B’s!

The B vitamin family is made up of eight B vitamins. Also, known as Vitamin B complex which are recognized as a group. They all work together in the body as each of the B vitamins contribute to unique and different important functions. Here is a broken-down list of all 8 B Vitamins, why your body truly needs them, and most importantly, where to find them in foods you consume daily!

Thiamin: Also, known as vitamin B1, thiamin is needed to help produce cellular energy from the foods you eat, and supports normal nervous system function. In other terms Vitamin B1 helps convert food into energy. Here are some foods that are rich in vitamin B1, lentils, whole grains and pork, red meats, yeast, nuts, sunflower seeds, peas, milk, cauliflower, spinach and legumes.

Riboflavin: Also known as vitamin B3, riboflavin supports cellular energy production. In other terms Riboflavin helps you have healthy glowing skin, who doesn’t want that? Here are some foods that are rich in riboflavin, fortified cereals, milk, eggs, salmon, beef, spinach and broccoli.

Niacin: Niacin is also known as vitamin B3, and supports cellular energy production. Niacin, in the form of nicotinic acid, helps support cardiovascular health. Healthy nerves and a healthy heart are essential to feeling good. Food to eat, beef, poultry and fish as well as whole wheat bread, peanuts and lentils.

Pantothenic Acid: Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is widely available in plant and animal food sources and helps support cellular energy production in the body. Here’s some food to help you contain you’re Vitamin B5, organ meats (liver, kidney), egg yolk, whole grains, avocados, cashew nuts, peanuts, lentils, soybeans, brown rice, broccoli, and milk.

Vitamin B6Involved in over 100 cellular reactions throughout the body, vitamin B6 is instrumental in keeping various bodily functions operating at their best. Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is needed to metabolize amino acids and glycogen (the body’s storage of glucose), and is also necessary for normal nervous system function and red blood cell formation. It’s very easy to consume your Vitamin b6 for its in most of the normal food we consume everyday like, meat, poultry, eggs, bananas, fish, fortified cereal grains and cooked spinach.

Biotin: Biotin, or vitamin B7 is commonly found in foods such as, strawberries, organ meat, cheese and soybeans. Biotin has been show to support healthy hair, skin and nails. We all could use more biotin for long full hair! Biotin also supports carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.

Folic Acid: Also known as vitamin B9, folic acid is most commonly known for its role in fetal health and development as it plays a critical role in the proper development of the baby’s nervous system. This important developmental process occurs during the initial weeks of pregnancy, and so adequate folic acid intake is especially important for all women of child-bearing age. Adequate folic acid in healthful diets may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a neural tube defect. Fortified foods such as breads and cereals are good dietary sources of folic acid. Other good sources are dark green leafy vegetables such as asparagus and spinach as well as brewer’s yeast, liver, fortified orange juice, beets, dates and avocados.

Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 or cobalamin, plays a critical role in the pathways of the body that produce cellular energy.  It is also needed for DNA synthesis, proper red blood cell formation and for normal nervous system function. Individuals who follow vegan or vegetarian diets may benefit from a B12 supplement since B12 is predominantly found in foods of animal origin such as chicken, beef, fish, milk and eggs.
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Swimming Away Varicose Veins

There is no better way to beat the heat this summer than to hit the pool or fresh Tahoe waters! Swimming works almost every muscle area in the body including your legs, arms, shoulders and even your core. As a very low impact sport, swimming is a great exercise to combat natural gravity, while still strengthening both large and small muscle groups. Swimming is also among the top best cardiovascular exercises to strengthen the legs and increase your blood flow, which is one major component to combating varicose veins.

If you are new to swimming or are looking for ways to solely use your legs in the pool, there are a few simple ways to ease into the sport of swimming. One of the best ways to work leg muscles is to use a kick board. You can rest your chest on the board while holding on to it and propelling yourself through the water using only your legs. This is a great way to build leg muscle and even your endurance to feel comfortable and confident in the pool. If you don’t have a kick board, you can hold on to the side of the pool and kick your legs backwards instead.

Another pool activity that is great to reduce development of varicose veins is to tread water. Treading water requires you to use almost every muscle in your body to keep your head above the water, making it great for improving blood flow and keeping your heart rate high. By engaging your core, using your arms slightly and using your legs to keep you afloat, not only is it a great workout, but will greatly improve your heart health and vein health over time.

If swimming isn’t your style, you can still take advantage of the benefits of the pool. The reduced pressure from the water can help make exercises that are difficult on land, like leg lifts and calf raises, a little easier. To perform leg lifts in the pool, stand in waist-deep water and slowly raise your legs backward and to the side, one at a time. Then repeat while rotating your legs consistently. For calf raises, stand in waist-deep water and slowly raise yourself onto your tip toes, then slowly return to a flat-footed position.

Performing these exercises a few times a week will can help improve the blood flow throughout your legs and reduce the appearance or future development of varicose veins. Dive into gorgeous legs this summer!

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Vitamin Series: An Overview

Welcome to the Vitamin series! Every  week, we will be outlining the details of essential vitamins, their function, details about their benefits, signs of deficiency and more! Education about your health and wellness is the number one thing you might need to make sure you are on track to live your as healthy as possible. To kick-off the vitamin series, we will begin with an overview education on vitamins as a whole and why we need them!

So, what are vitamins?

Vitamins are supplemental substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally and properly. They are truly essential to our diet and in our bodies and each vitamin of the 13 your body needs has a very specific job which we will explain as we introduce a new vitamin each week. While vitamins are available in pills and in supplement form, however, the best way to consume your vitamins is through a balanced diet, right in fruits and vegetables.

There are two kinds of vitamins: fat soluble and water soluble. While there are many difference in how each vitamins interacts in the body, this difference is a large determinant. Fat soluble vitamins are soluble in lipids (fats).  When fat soluble vitamins are consumed, they are typically absorbed in fat globules that travel through the lymphatic system of the small intestine and into general circulation throughout the body.  Unlike water soluble vitamins that are able to be excreted, once fat soluble vitamins are stored in tissue, they remain there. For this reason, consuming too high concentrations of fat soluble vitamins can cause a person to develop hypervitaminosis (too much vitamin in the body).

Water soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are carried to tissues, dissolve quickly in the body and cannot be stored. Because of this, any excess amount of water soluble vitamins is excreted.  Additionally, because they are still essential to daily function, these vitamins need to be consumed on a regular basis to maintain adequate levels within the body.

Throughout the Vitamin Series, we will detail how vitamins are absorbed, their job once released into the body, how they effect vein health and the best food sources of each. Stay tuned next week for Vitamin A!

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Curve Your Craving: Protein-Packed Brownies

four-ingredient-flourless-protein-brownies-31

Diets don’t mean depriving yourself of some of your favorite indulgences, balance is key to reaching your goals. Without a “splurge” here and there, life isn’t as delicious and definitely not as enjoyable. What is the key to balance? Making the right decisions when you can! Simple ingredient swaps can make a huge difference when trying to reach your health and weight goals. With this chocolatey, 4 ingredient brownie recipe, you’ll kick your craving without the added sugar of a typical brownie and your 2017 summer body will thank you for it! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  1. 3 medium, overripe bananas (approximately 1 cup or so)
  2. 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter or almond butter (can sub for any nut/seed or soy nut butter)
  3. 2 T – 1/4 cup cocoa powder (more = richer taste)
  4. 1-2 scoops of protein powder
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven the 350 degrees, grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl or stovetop, melt your nut butter.
  3. In a blender, food processor, or using your hands, combine the bananas, cocoa powder, protein powder and nut butter until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for around 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.
Notes
  1.  Whey protein powder not recommended – It lends itself to a gummy texture.
  2. You don’t need to blend or process all ingredients, but they lend a smoother texture.
  3. These brownies are not super sweet, as the protein powders used all had sweetener in them. Adjust accordingly if you’d like a very sweet brownie.
  4. Brownies are best kept and enjoyed refrigerated- They are also freezer friendly.

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