Interest in meatless diets—either vegetarianism or veganism, in which all animal products are eliminated—has surged. For example, the food-ordering company Grubhub reported a 19% increase in vegan orders last year.
Much research supports plant-based eating. However the Mayo Clinic reports that people following either diet need to ensure they get enough of the following nutrients, which are generally found in animal-based foods:
They work together to maintain strong bones. Calcium is found in dark green leafy
vegetables along with soy foods; vitamin D needs are best fulfilled via supplements,
especially if sun exposure is limited.
Vital for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism.
A quarter-teaspoon of iodized salt a day can help.
Needed for the production of hemoglobin, which allows red blood cells to carry oxygen. Found in dried beans, lentils and peas, as well as green leafy vegetables and dried fruit; consume with vitamin C for best absorption.
Support heart, eye and brain health. Found in flax seeds, soybeans and walnuts;
supplements can supply the kinds of omega-3s most usable within the body.
Needed to create red blood cells. Found in vitamin-enriched cereals,
fortified soy products and vitamin supplements.
Plays a key role in protein formation and male reproductive health.
Cheese is a good source for those who consume dairy; vegan options include beans,
nuts, wheat germ and whole grains.
Finding Nontoxic Products
Clean houses, comfortable bedding and colorful baby toys are all hallmarks of modern life.
However, this convenience comes with a cost: The hazards associated with many of the chemicals found in these items. Household toxins have been linked to health problems such as asthma, headaches and fatigue.
To help consumers make informed choices, the nonprofit organization Made Safe claims to provide “America’s first comprehensive human health-focused certification for nontoxic products across store aisles.” The group screens ingredients against its ingredient database, awarding a Made Safe seal for qualifying products. And its website offers searchable lists of approved manufacturers in several categories, including baby & child, bedding, cosmetics and household care items. madesafe.org
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Selenium/CoQ10 Heart Benefits Are Persistent
Scientists have long known that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a vitamin-like compound, and selenium, a trace mineral, are vital to cardiovascular well-being. Now, a recent study indicates that the protective effects of taking both nutrients together may last long after supplementation stops.
A research team led by faculty members at Sweden’s Linköping University analyzed results from a clinical trial in which 443 healthy Swedes between the ages of 70 and 80 had received either CoQ10 and selenium together or a placebo for four years. They were then tracked for an average of 12 years after supplementation stopped.
The cardiovascular death rate among the supplement takers was 28%, compared with nearly 39% for the placebo group—representing a risk reduction of 40%, according to results reported in the journal PLoS One.
The study results show “that the positive effects of the intervention [CoQ10/selenium supplementation] persist,” the team wrote.
In an analysis of this trial published a year ago, the group who took the supplements were also found to have higher levels of cardiac function and lower levels of a biomarker called NT-proBNP, which is a known indicator of heart failure. This analysis had been published in the International Journal of Cardiology.
CoQ10 and selenium work together by making cells more efficient, especially by protecting cells against damaging molecules called free radicals.
In addition, selenium has been linked to reductions in inflammation, a key factor in chronic disease, and in rates of coronary artery disease. It is also crucial to thyroid health and may help slow mental decline. CoQ10 is becoming a front-line therapy for heart failure, in which the heart cannot pump enough blood for the body’s needs.