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5 Healthy Snacks to Boost Your Energy

You know that special time of day when your morning coffee wears off and your blood sugar starts to tank? You’re not alone. That afternoon slump is a real issue for a lot of people. Fortunately, it’s nothing a well-balanced snack can’t fix. Here are five snack ideas that will help refresh your mind and boost your productivity.   

 

Fancy Banana  

Smear some peanut butter on a banana and sprinkle with your favorite granola or nut mixture. The result? A crunchy, creamy, snackable bite that’s high in fiber, vitamins and healthy fats.  

Why it’s our go-to: Fiber and healthy fats keep you full. Nutrients like B6 and magnesium fuel your brain and support healthy blood sugar levels. 

 

Savory Popcorn 

Create a spice mix of nutritional yeast, spirulina, garlic powder, cayenne, turmeric, salt and pepper. Toss it over prepackaged or home-popped popcorn. Yum. 

Why it’s our go-to: Popcorn is a whole grain and a great source of fiber. Nutritional yeast and spirulina add protein which make this snack even more filling and nutritious.  

 

No-Bake Date Bites 

Blend dates, almonds and dark chocolate chips in a food processor until the mixture is sticky. Roll into balls and coat with coconut. Freeze for 1-2 hours.  

Why it’s our go-to: Dates and almonds provide fiber that fills you up, and the dark chocolate packs an antioxidant rich punch. Satisfy your sweet tooth without the afternoon sugar crash.   

 

Papayacht 

Cut a papaya in half and scoop out the seeds. Load it up with Greek yogurt and top with cinnamon, honey, bee pollen and granola.  

Why it’s our go-to: Fresh fruit, creamy yogurt and crunchy granola is a perfect combo of fiber, proteins and nutrients like vitamin C and potassium.  

 

Baked Chickpeas 

Blot chickpeas, toss in olive oil and season with garlic salt & cayenne pepper. bake for about 30-40 min (mix once in between). 

Why it’s our go-to: This crunchy, salty snack is sure to satisfy. Take it on the go for an easy source of plant-based protein that is rich in fiber and iron.  

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Clean Eating for Beginners: 5 Simple Tips

Fad diets often fail because they are rigid and restrictive and following them often requires doing a complete 180 to our current routines. Clean eating is no different. Luckily, when it comes to building new habits, a little flexibility can go a long way. Take these simple tips along on your clean eating journey and you will find that starting a new diet may be easier than you thought!  

 

 1) Eat more whole foods 

Whole foods like fruits and vegetables are the obvious go-to but preparing them can be cumbersome. Try store bought popcorn, hummus, apple sauce, or peanut butter which are convenient options that are nutritionally very similar to their homemade counterparts.  

2) Cook at home.  

Taking on clean eating means you will be spending a little more time in your kitchen. This can intimidating, especially if you are used to take-out. Pre-chopped veggies and spice blends can be helpful shortcuts. Try mastering a few simple recipes that can be whipped up in 20 minutes or less. 

 Remember, the more you practice cooking, the quicker and more convenient it will become!  

3)  Explore new flavors   

Eating more whole foods can get boring if you buy the same three vegetables every week. A balance between routine and exploration can be key for sustaining clean eating long term. Try incorporating one new vegetable or cooking method in to your routine each week. You might discover a new favorite!  

4) Be mindful of your eating  

Succeeding at a new diet means will require you to turn off auto-pilot to make more conscious food choices. Instead of viewing this break from routine as a headache, embrace the mindfulness that every new diet demands. Start by planning out a few meals each week as you make your grocery list.  

5) Better Hydration 

Sodas, flavored coffee and other sugary beverages are off limits if you’re sticking to clean eating. You’ll be looking for other ways to hydrate. Flavored water, low sugar electrolyte drinks, and seltzer are all great options if you’re used to drinking more sugary beverages. 

 

About Allie 

Allie is a spin-class-teaching, triathlon-winning nutritionist who loves to help others. She has a master’s degree in nutrition and has published academic research on improving food access for underserved populations.  

Allie is just one of Persona’s team of qualified nutritionists. Do you have questions about nutrition? Reach out. Our experts would love to help. 

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How Antioxidants Can Support Your Workout

Finding your exercise motivation

Exercising is an essential part of staying healthy. Consistent exercise benefits have been studied for decades and is linked to healthy cardiovascular systems, improved muscle function, optimal cognitive processing, and a healthy weight. Many of us know we could use more exercise in our week, but finding our motivation isn’t as easy.

 

Personally, I’ve gone through many different exercise “phases” in my life. My first experience with consistent exercise as a child was forced upon me by my parents as a PE credit. I had to hike to the top of a small mountain by my house two to three times every week. I absolutely hated it. I cried, I threw fits, and questioned my parent’s sanity. I tried just about everything to make it more enjoyable including listening to music, distracting myself with mental games, and just plainly complaining until I was exhausted.

 

Over the years, though, I noticed that something magical was happening; whenever I finished my hike, I felt euphoric. My mood was radically changed after a workout. As a teenager, I only thought exercise was a means to obtain the model body I idolized (which never happened, by the way). I tried hours of plain cardio, then swapped to weightlifting, then tried aerobic dance, or kickboxing, then yoga… you get the idea. Now in my late twenties, I’m leaning into that post-exercise high I’ve enjoyed for so many years and my exercise habits are driven by my mental health. I simply start each morning with a brisk walk and top it off with light weights at home. Just enough to maintain my strength, and plenty to boost my mood.

 

No matter our exercise type, we all experience physiological stress

Whatever your reason for working out is, whether you’re training for a marathon, are a bodybuilder, a dog walker, a yogi, or just want to ease the stress of everyday life like me, there is one universal truth to exercise; the mechanics and biological processes that our bodies undergo during exercise are the same. We all have little proteins called myosin and actin that work together to contract our muscles, we all have increased blood circulation during heavy movement, and we all increase production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during our workout.1

 

When our body produces reactive oxygen species, we can take on damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA.2 Reactive oxygen species include free radicals. This isn’t to drive you away from exercise; free radical production is simply part of the normal metabolic process of living. Thankfully, our amazing body also has tools to protect us from free radicals and the nutrients that we consume are part of that antioxidant defense system. Vitamins like vitamin E and C, for example, function as antioxidants to fight damage left by free radicals.

 

The role of nutrition and defense against free radicals

A new and interesting ingredient recently highlighted for its antioxidant-rich benefits is marine phytoplankton. Marie phytoplankton is a type of microscopic marine algae. The National Ocean Service states, “Phytoplankton, also known as microalgae, are similar to terrestrial plants in that they contain chlorophyll and require sunlight in order to live and grow. Most phytoplankton are buoyant and float in the upper part of the ocean, where sunlight penetrates the water. Phytoplankton also require inorganic nutrients such as nitrates, phosphates, and sulfur which they convert into proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.”3 Phytoplankton provide food for many types of sea creatures as the base of many food webs. You may benefit from phytoplankton too, according to new data.

One human pilot trial gave participants 25mg of Oceanix™ brand marine phytoplankton for 30 days. Participants noticed benefits in peak performance, physiological response, and body composition.4 These benefits are thought to be a result from phytoplankton’s antioxidant-rich composition. Not only is phytoplankton a good source of antioxidants, but it’s also naturally clean and easy to add to your nutrition routine. You can toss it in a smoothie, sprinkle it over a salad, or take it in a supplement form. Oceanix™ is naturally derived, non-GMO, vegan, and sustainably cultivated as well.

 

Aside from supplements, you can support your post-workout recovery and performance by increasing antioxidant intake in your diet.  Try adding these top USDA tested superfoods to your routine for the best post-workout recovery5:

  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Artichokes
  • Red delicious apples
  • Pecans
  • Russet potatoes
  • Dark leafy greens

 

 

References:

  1. Cooper GM. The Cell: A Molecular Approach. 2nd edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2000. Actin, Myosin, and Cell Movement.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9961/
  2. Kawamura T, Muraoka I. Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress and the Effects of Antioxidant Intake from a Physiological Viewpoint. Antioxidants (Basel). 2018;7(9):119. Published 2018 Sep 5. doi:10.3390/antiox7090119.
  3. What are phytoplankton? National Ocean Service. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/phyto.html. Accessed September 8, 2021.
  4. Discover Marine Phytoplankton. Lonza. https://www.capsugel.com/consumer-health-nutrition-products/meet-oceanix-the-new-wave-ingredient-for-performance-nutrition. Accessed September 8, 2021.
  5. Top 20 Foods High in Antioxidants. St. Johns Health. Accessed September 8, 2021.
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Can Omega-3 Fatty Acids Improve Life Expectancy?

A recently published nutrition study set out to answer a bold question; is omega-3 fatty acid intake related to life expectancy? The complexity of answering straight-forward questions about food intake and chronic disease or death is, well…complex.

 

With multiple variables at play in the determination of how long a human may live, it’s important to keep in mind that factors outside of diet alone do matter. Lifestyle choices such as exercise habits, smoking, drinking, and sleep patterns all play a role in the overall health of an individual. However, diet plays an undeniably massive role in your health and while you work on your non-diet health habits, we’re here to breakdown the latest nutrition data.

 

The breakdown

 

First, let’s start with the basics: what are omega-3 fatty acids? There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Alpha-linolenic acid can be found in commonly used plant oils like flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are often found in fish and seafood.1 Omega-3 fatty acids comprise the membranes of cells in your body and, unfortunately, cannot be made by the body on its own. For this reason, we call omega-3 fatty acids essential fatty acids.

 

Omega-3 fatty acids have multiple health benefits but are best known for their cardiovascular protection. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids are tied to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, blood clots, and inflammation. They are support the lining of the arteries to keep them shiny and smooth (yes, that is a Persona-declared scientific statement). But really, they do!2

 

New science

 

The new omega-3 fatty acid study summary published on Science Daily concluded that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood can increase life expectancy by roughly five years. According to the summary, “Researchers have found that omega-3 levels in blood erythrocytes are very good mortality risk predictors. The study used data from a long-term study group … and concludes that, ‘Having higher levels of these acids in the blood, as a result of regularly including oily fish in the diet, increases life expectancy by almost five years.”3

 

In a nutshell, omega-3 levels found in red blood cells are great predictors of mortality risk. Dr. Aleix Sala-Vila, author of the study, also notes that smoking takes about 4.7 years off life expectancy, which is the gain of life expectancy if your blood contains high levels of omega-3’s.

 

This new study monitored 2,240 people over the age of 65 for an average of eleven years, which indicates a high-quality study with plenty of data points. Dr. Sala-Vila wants to encourage the population that “it is never too late or too early to make these [dietary] changes”.3

 

How you can improve your diet

 

Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet is easy (we really mean it!). The American Heart Association recommends eating oily fish such as salmon, anchovies, or sardines twice per week.3 If salmon, anchovies, or sardines aren’t your thing, here is a list of alternative foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, including vegan options4:

 

  • Trout
  • Carp
  • Herring
  • Omega-3 fortified eggs
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnut
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Green leafy vegetables

 

If you aren’t getting enough omega-3 in your diet, or want to increase your omega-3 intake, try Persona’s Omega 3 supplement. Persona’s Omega 3 contains 500mg of marine oil per easy-to-swallow capsule. For additional inflammation support, Persona also offers Omega 3 w/BioCurc® containing 200mg of curcumin. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or have an allergy to fish, try Persona’s Vegan DHA.

References:

 

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/. Updated March 22, 2021. Accessed July 29, 2021.
  2. Omeag-3 Fatty Acids. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17290-omega-3-fatty-acids. Updated January 2, 2019. Accessed July 29, 2021.
  3. Higher levels of omega-3 acids in the blood increases life expectancy by almost five years. Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210722113004.htm. Published July 22, 2021. Accessed July 29, 2021.
  4. Omega 3 fats. Heart UK. https://www.heartuk.org.uk/low-cholesterol-foods/omega-3-fats. Accessed July 29, 2021.
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2021 Back to School Wellness Guide: An In-Depth Look

Written by Our Medical Advisory Board

Keep your family healthy as your kids head back to class

After months stuck at home, kids across the country are finally heading back to class. Busy lunchrooms, classrooms, bathrooms, and busses will expose them to pathogens old and new—just as they’re taking on the stressors that come with full-time school. And if your kids get sick, the whole household is put at risk.

So, what can parents do? It turns out: A lot. Persona’s Medical Advisory Board, a team of nine leading experts from across the U.S, have put together a list of simple steps you can take to keep your loved ones well in the face of a taxing back-to-school season.

 

No. 1 – Sleep: the miracle cure

Sleep is like a free nightly tune-up for your child’s body and mind. Disrupting that tune-up can lead to a host of problems, from memory and behavioral issues to weight gain—and it can also impair their immune system.

To keep your child’s defenses at full power, help them get a solid night’s sleep every night. That means 9-12 hours for kids 6-12, and 8-10 hours for teens—starting at a regular time (and no, “catching up” on the weekend doesn’t work perfectly). So how do you make regular sleep happen? By practicing good sleep hygiene:

  • Set a routine: regular waking time, mealtime, study time and bedtime.
  • Get moving: Help your child get plenty of exercise—outdoors if possible.
  • Hold the phones: Turn off all screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime.
  • Lights out: Create a dim, cool, soothing sleep environment.
  • Z’s only: Make the bed a place to sleep, not to work and play.
  • Ease into it: Summer skew their schedule? Shift it back in small steps.
  • Walk the walk: Model these good habits yourself!

No. 2 – Ease their mind

Chronic stress can weaken your immune system: It thins out your infection-fighting cells, hampers the ones that remain, curbs the signaling molecules that help your body spot invaders, and even decreases the molecules that clean up after the fight.

To keep your kids healthy, watch out for signs of stress: trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, irritability, mood changes and other red flags. If you spot them, take action to ease their minds:

  • Shake a leg: Exercise lowers your kids’ stress hormones.
  • Write it down: Writing out worries can quiet a buzzing brain.
  • Go outside: Get them out in daylight to bump their feel-good dopamine.
  • Cuddle someone! Good physical contact is a stress killer.
  • Socialize: Hanging with friends helps them unwind.
  • Take three deep breaths: It may sound silly, but it works!

 

No. 3 – Wash those hands

Germs get into your body through your eyes, nose and mouth, so keeping kids’ hands clean is key to keeping them healthy. This means teaching (and reminding) little ones to wash their hands before meals, after going to the bathroom, after blowing their nose and when they return home from school.

Make sure you show them how to do it properly: Wet their hands and apply soap, rub their hands to together vigorously for 20 seconds (front, back and between the fingers), rinse thoroughly and dry. If a favorite song helps them reach that 20-second mark, sing along! And if a good scrub isn’t possible, encourage them to use the hand sanitizer you tucked in their backpack or coat pocket.

 

No. 4 – Check those shots

Over the past year and a half, public health restrictions have caused a big drop in visits to the doctor’s office, which has in turn made families fall behind on immunization. That gap leaves us all open to old-fashioned invaders like meningitis, measles, tetanus and whooping cough.

Before your kids head back to school, check with your doctor to make sure they’re caught up on their vaccines (including that annual flu shot). We may have forgotten about those old-school illnesses, but they haven’t forgotten about us.

 

No. 5 – Fuel up at breakfast

Your parents weren’t making it up: Breakfast really is an important meal. Fueling kids up on well-balanced food sets them up for success: better memory, better test scores, better mood, healthier body weight, better overall health—and a stronger immune system.

So what makes a healthy breakfast? A mix of three things: Whole grains to charge their batteries; protein to help them feel full (and keep their blood sugar consistent), and fruits or veggies for added nutrients and fiber. Avoid sugary treats. A few ideas:

 

Fuel up at breakfast

 

No. 6 – Pack a lunch that packs a punch

No single food will optimize your child’s immune system, but a nutrient rich diet will go a long way to curbing obesity, nutrient deficiencies and other health issues over the long term.

As with breakfast, your child’s lunch should include a mix of whole grains, protein, fruits and veggies. Some of the breakfast ideas listed above would do the trick, as would whole grain wraps or sandwiches that include those three key components. Steer clear of prepackaged foods (including granola bars!), since they tend to be loaded with sugar.

If you’re looking to give their immune system a bump, throw in some citrus fruit (a good source of vitamin C), green and orange veggies (beta carotene) or berries (polyphenols), all of which help maintain their body’s defenses.

 

No. 7 – Water, water every day

Your kids need water to stay healthy. It keeps their blood flowing and gets everything to where it needs to go. If they don’t get enough, it can impact their body’s functions—including their immune system.

For young ones, thirst isn’t always a clear indicator, so how do you know they’re getting enough? Look for the signs of dehydration: fatigue, mood swings and dark urine. If you think they’re low on fluids, tuck an extra water bottle in the lunch bag and encourage them to drink water. Avoid soft drinks, fruit juice, energy drinks and other sugary liquids; they’ll do more harm than good.

 

No. 8 – Stretch those legs

The connection between exercise and immune health is still being studied, but one thing is certain: kids need to move to stay healthy—and that means at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. How do you help them hit that mark? A few pointers:

  • Choose the right place: Take kids to the park, the beach, the YMCA or another environment that makes them want to move.
  • Screen out screens: Limit TV, computers, video games and phone time to an hour a day. Use the extra time to get outside.
  • Use your weekends: Plan an outdoor activity every weekend—hiking, basketball, volleyball, mountain biking or even a trip to the zoo.
  • Ditch your wheels: Leave the car at home whenever you can and walk together to your destination.
  • Exercise as a family: Work out at the gym with your teen; play outside with your little ones.

 

No. 9 – Supplement their diet 1

Persona’s immunity gummies for kids, teens & parentsYour immune system needs certain nutrients to stay strong, but it’s hard to get them all through your diet—especially if you’re low on veggies. To keep up your family’s defenses, consider enriching your diet with key supplements like vitamin C, vitamin D3, zinc, probiotics and mushroom extracts. Not sure where to start? Check out Persona’s immunity gummies for kids, teens & parents. Or better yet, talk to one of our nutritionists: It’s free!

 

References:

i Benton D, Maconie A, Williams C: The influence of the glycaemic load of breakfast on the behavior of
children in school. Physiology & Behavior 2007;92:717-724.

Ingwersen J, Defeyter M, Kennedy D, et al: A low glycaemic index breakfast cereal preferentially prevents children’s cognitive performance from declining throughout the morning. Appetite 2007;49:240-244.

Farshchi H, Taylor M, Macdonald I: Deleterious effects of omitting breakfast on insulin sensitivity and fasting lipid profiles in healthy lean women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005;81:388-396.

Mahoney C, Taylor H, Kanarek R, et al: Effect of breakfast composition on cognitive processes in elementary school children. Physiology & Behavior 2005;85:635-645.

Smith A, Clark R, Gallagher J: Breakfast cereal and caffeinated coffee: Effects on working memory, attention, mood, and cardiovascular function. Physiology & Behavior 1999;67:9-17.

Smith A, Bazzoni C, Beale J, et al: High fibre breakfast cereals reduce fatigue. Appetite 2001;37:249-250.

Smith K, Gall S, McNaughton S, et al: Skipping breakfast: Longitudinal associations with cardiometablic risk factors in the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010;92:1316-1325.

ii https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/fitness/Pages/Making-Fitness-a-Way-of-
Life.aspx

 

1 These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As with any dietary supplement, you should
advise your healthcare practitioner of the use of this product.

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Habit Stacking Can Help Build Habits Easily – 5 Nutritionists Weigh In

Is it just me or is it harder to build a habit the older we get? My inability to stop hitting the snooze button approximately 11 times every morning leads me to think, “Well, I guess the habits I have now are the only ones I will ever have for the rest of my life.” Our reliable friend science will tell you one portion of this thinking is correct, and the other is, well, a bit dramatic. It is in-fact harder to form new habits as an adult, but still possible!

 

New habits are harder to form as we age thanks to this little-terrifying-sounding-thing called synaptic pruning. Synaptic pruning is your brain’s way of making sure you can do things like take a shower, turn off lights, pour a glass of water, etc. without thinking twice (impressive!). Of course, getting really good at tasks you perform daily leaves less brain space for things you do less frequently- like remembering to send your friend a birthday card so it arrives before their actual birthday (it’s not me it’s my synapses!).

 

To summarize, we have lots of pathways in play for all our daily habits, and to solidify new habits, we need to make new pathways. This can be a lot of work for our dusty old adult brains, but we can use synaptic pruning to our advantage when we attach new behaviors onto existing ones.

 

This little trick is called habit stacking and it goes like this. Pick a new habit you’re trying to build, like taking your vitamins daily. Next, pick a behavior you already do everyday without thinking, like brushing your teeth. Now, stack em’. After you brush your teeth, take your vitamins. After you have your coffee, you meditate. After you close your laptop for the day, you put on your walking shoes. You get it. Try this exercise with a new habit you have in mind. With a little self-awareness and planning, habit stacking is an easy trick to help you become more successful in your behavior change.

 

Here are a few additional tips from our Nutritionists who know a thing or two about creating new habits.

 

Nutritionist Gina tried habit stacking to help her stick to her workouts during the pandemic.

Working out (pre-pandemic) was a social activity for me. When the pandemic hit, it was a struggle to remain active. To get back at it, I started to associate my workouts with other aspects of my day. The second I’m done with work, it’s time for a quick caffeine boost and into my workout clothes. That means no scrolling through reels, and absolutely no Netflix. Getting into my workout gear right when I’m done with work (and before feeling the tiredness kick in) helped me to follow through and stick to my exercise goals. Gina’s tip: Try linking your new habit to something already part of your daily routine.

 

Dietitian Hayley uses a different technique for getting in her workouts.

Working out in the morning helps me set my day up for success. I hop out of bed and head to the gym within 10 minutes, that way, I don’t have the time to dread the workout all day or put it off. I always lay my workout clothes out before bed and fill up my water bottle to just grab it and go in the morning. Working out in the morning helps me have a productive day. Hayley’s tip: Tackle your most daunting task first thing of the day. You won’t regret it!

 

Nutritionist Mackenzie walks us through how examining your daily routine can make all the difference!

Working from a desk all day can make it hard to find time to get up and move. I really wanted to increase my daily steps, so I committed to taking walks on my lunch break to get my body moving. Now, this is a daily habit that I look forward to. It has helped increase my energy, allows me to get my daily dose of Vitamin D and gets me closer to my step goals! Mackenzie’s tip: Look for patterns in your daily routine. It can help you take existing habits and create new, positive ones.

 

Dietitian Claire firmly believes in setting yourself up for success ahead of time!

Set small goals at the beginning of week and take time on 1 day to put things in place for you to be successful at that goal. When I wanted to start drinking more water, I made sure to get a 64 oz jug that I could fill up every morning and keep at my desk. Claire’s tip: plan! Think of one thing you can do to make your habit easier to accomplish, and then do that thing!

 

Nutritionist Karina relies on visual cues to help her stick to habits.

I use little written notes or post-its to remind myself to do things. When I couldn’t remember to take my vitamins, I wrote “VITAMINS” in marker on my toothbrush. It ended up being super reliable and now I take my vitamins morning and evening. Karina’s tip: Set up visual cues, an aptly placed post-it note can go a long way.  

 

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6 Reasons Your Child Might Need a Daily Vitamin Program

Every single day in my busy pediatric practice, parents ask me if their child needs a daily multivitamin, or what are the best vitamins for kids.  They are appropriately concerned about their child’s health, growth, development and well-being.  They worry that their child will miss school because of illness.  Or, sustain broken bones because they participate in a lot of sports and don’t get enough vitamin D.  Or, they notice that their child is tired, not focusing well, has a limited diet or poor appetite. There are several reasons why a multivitamin program can have a positive impact on all of the above and there are six that should be top of mind to give parents some much needed peace of mind!

 

No. 1 – They turn their nose up to fruits and vegetables – especially the dark green leafy kind.

I’m sure parents are not surprised by this! A dislike of vegetables and/or fruits is not uncommon. We all want kids to “eat a rainbow,” meaning a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables, but some will not eat anything colorful unless it is candy. The vitamins, minerals and fiber in fruits and vegetables are necessary for maintaining overall good health. If a child won’t eat them or is a very picky eater, choosing to eat only a couple fruits and vegetables, then starting a multivitamin program for kids can be key to filling nutritional gaps.

 

No. 2 – They don’t spend much time outside. 

Kids and teens are often deficient in vitamin D.  They spend a lot of time indoors and when outside, they wear sunscreen (and should). The pandemic lockdown limited kids’ outdoor activities even more. What does this mean? It means that they are probably not getting enough vitamin D, which puts them at risk for skeletal disease and various metabolic, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.  Vitamin D is made by the skin upon exposure to sunshine, and it can be obtained through diet, like vitamin D fortified milks and orange juices. If you turn to adding vitamin D fortified orange juice to your child’s diet, an added bonus is that orange juice contains vitamin C as well, so you’ll be supporting your child’s immune system too!

 

The sun is the most important natural source of vitamin D, yet sun exposure is discouraged because of the potential for the development of skin cancers and premature aging.  The best way to support your child’s health is to make sure their daily multivitamin has the proper amount of Vitamin D.

 

No. 3 – They are repeatedly under / overweight at their yearly wellness checkup.

This is something I’ve seen more of recently due to the pandemic: kids’ weights fluctuated out of their usual range.  Some gained too much weight from not eating properly.  Many were running to the pantry every hour between virtual classes at home to grab a quick – and often processed – snack  or other junk food. Couple this with staying up too late and eating into the night, and you can easily see how the pounds can stack up.  On the other hand, some kids had poor weight gain because meal routines were off schedule or they were less active, contributing to a decrease in appetite.  Either excessive weight gain or poor weight gain indicate that the proper balance of nutrients are likely lacking in the diet. Children will snack on processed snacks in small baggies a few times a day. Vitamin C and vitamin D gummy vitamins for kids may be a good and healthy substitute to at least one of those quick snacks throughout the day.

 

No. 4 – They are frequently sick with upper respiratory infections.

Kids typically get at least 6-8 respiratory infections per year, especially younger kids.  Supporting the immune system is a very important step in reducing the frequency of respiratory infections. Poor diet can impair the function of the immune system, leading to an increased chance your child will become ill.  We all need a well-balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables. These serve as good sources of vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, B vitamins, and iron, just to mention a few of the vitamins and minerals known to be important in supporting immune function.

 

No. 5 – They have a difficult time focusing.

All parents want to support their child’s ability to focus and pay attention on a daily basis.  Good nutrition is key to a child performing at his or her best, in school and out. If children are eating processed junk foods with high sugar content instead of nutrient-dense foods, their blood sugar swings and they lack proper nutrients so their ability to function at their best is impaired. In addition, for focus, attention, memory, and mood, it is important to consume foods that contain phosphatidylserine.  This phospholipid is a component of cell membranes and aids in cell signaling.  It also acts an antioxidant helping to reduce the effects of dangerous free radicals in the body.  It is found in organ meats like chicken liver and beef liver, eggs, white beans, and soy products.  Though it is difficult to get enough of this important nutrient, a daily supplement can augment this component of your child’s diet.

 

No. 6 – Their bowel movements (“#2s”) are hard and infrequent.

If a child passes large, hard, infrequent stools, then it is likely their diet is lacking a healthy variety of nutrients and fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics. Constipation also affects appetite which further impairs nutritional intake.  Adding a nutrient-rich, daily multivitamin program that contains inulin, a natural soluble fiber that acts as a prebiotic, will aid in the passage of stools, relieving a myriad of constipation symptoms.

 

Gummy Vitamins for Kids

All parents want to provide proper nutrition for their kids to grow and thrive, yet this is often a challenge.  Most kids do not eat perfectly every day.  The good news is that parents can relieve a significant source of their own stress and anxiety by providing their children with a natural, scientifically backed, doctor approved daily vitamin program based on the child’s health goals.  This seamlessly fills gaps in a child’s diet, and will support a healthy immune system, while also supporting mood, focus and attention, and digestion. Sometimes children will have trouble with swallowing kids vitamins in capsules. To simplify this, companies like Persona Nutrition offer vitamin C, vitamin D, and others in the form of gummy vitamins for kids. If you have a chance, check out Persona’s Immune Support Kids daily gummy packs for a combination of three vitamins, all in one daily pack. Time to get started!

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Reasons Why Iron Supplements Should be Personalized

You’ve probably heard at least something about iron in the daily foods we consume. Organizations in the United States have created advertisements for iron as early as the 1940’s with a focus on anemia. While that was a few decades ago, we’ve seen information shared in the My Pyramid campaign with the little man walking up the steps the kids in school would color in. Fun fact, that campaign was rebranded into USDA’s My Plate in 2011.

 

Iron Found in Food

Those campaigns did a great job of informing us that iron can be found in a lot of our daily foods. These include red meat, pork, seafoods, peas, and different kinds of dried fruit like apricots and raisins. In fact, just from the daily foods we eat alone, the average daily intake of iron for men is 16-18mg per day. For women over the age of 19 on the other hand, the average daily intake of iron from food comes to 12-13mg per day. From food alone, we are able to almost reach the suggested daily intake per day.

 

Supplements and Suggested Daily Iron Intake

The suggested daily intake of iron for men over the age of 18 is 8.7mg per day. While the suggested daily intake of iron for women aged 19 to 50 is 18mg per day. These may seem drastically different, but women have a higher suggested intake due to iron lost in their menstrual period. While iron deficiency is more common in women, general deficiency in iron may lead to anemia.

 

In order to maintain a healthy daily intake of iron recommended by the National Institute of Health, personalized supplements may be the path to achieve this. Most iron supplements offer 16-18mg, which places the average individual over the suggested intake. While this may seem excessive, women who get 18mg from a supplement and 13mg from food daily, still land below their upper limit and ensure they meet their daily recommended intake. Your diet may vary from day to day, so supplements are also a great way to get enough iron and not worry about tracking every bite of your diet.

 

Keeping Track of Iron Intake

Anemia surely is a concern when it comes to deficiency in iron, there are also concerns with taking iron in some cases. For example, iron can impact the 4.4% of Caucasians who have a mutation that causes hemochromatosis, iron is also highly dangerous to children who get their hands on it. Hemochromatosis is also commonly referred to as “iron overload” when your body absorbs too much iron from the food you eat and has no way of getting rid of it. It is important to note that men should not supplement with iron. With this knowledge you can move on to other questions, such as is liver good for you?

Persona and Iron

We at Persona recognize how different iron intake can be for everyone, so our Foundational Multivitamin doesn’t contain iron. But our Iron with Vitamin C contains 18mg of iron for those who need it. With our personalized approach, it all starts with our assessment. We offer recommendations for the right vitamin/supplement regimen based on your answers to our questions. Take our assessment and see if our Iron with Vitamin C is right for you! Providing the benefits of healthy blood cells*, well-tolerated for digestive comfort*, with vitamin C for enhanced absorption*.

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What Is Inulin?

By Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, and medical advisory board member for Persona Nutrition

 

You probably have heard of fiber. But have you heard of inulin? It’s worth a look, because this new kid on the nutrient block has some important health benefits.

 

Inulin is a group of carbohydrate-like substances found in a variety of foods, from garlic, onions, and leeks to bananas, artichokes, asparagus, and whole wheat. Chicory root is the richest source of inulin, so is the primary source for inulin in supplements and fortified foods. It has a creamy and sweet texture, so it is used in foods as a fat and/or sugar replacer and to improve texture. (1,2)

 

Digestive Health Benefits

The inulin story begins with gut health. Your gut environment, called the microbiome, contains a population of tens of thousands of different good and bad bacteria. The right balance is important for gut health and to protect the body from disease. The healthy bacteria are called probiotics and include lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Inulin is what the experts call a “prebiotic,” which means it is fermented in the GI tract and supports a healthy microbiome by encouraging the growth and activity of these probiotics.* For example, inulin can help relieve constipation in everyone from kids to seniors, it may reduce GI infections and inflammation. (1-8)

 

Inulin Benefits

But, that’s just the tip of the nutritional iceberg. Inulin is a soluble fiber, so it slows digestion and allows carbohydrates and sugars to be released slowly into the blood stream. This helps stabilize blood sugar and maintain normal blood sugar levels. (9) In addition, inulin improves the absorption of several nutrients, including calcium and magnesium, and may be useful in increasing bone density. (7-9) Saving the best for last – being a soluble fiber, inulin helps slow digestion, increase feelings of fullness, and suppresses appetite, so is a worthwhile addition to the diet for those trying to maintain or lose weight. (10,11) Alongside Inulin we suggest looking into what is collagen.

 

Just don’t overdo it (think, “the key to success is balance”)! Like any fiber, inulin can cause gas and bloating, especially if you jump into a fiber-rich diet too soon. If a fiber-rich diet is new to you, then drink lots of water and start with a small dose of 2 to 3 grams of inulin a day. For easy reference, Persona’s Adult Immune Support Prebiotic gummy vitamin contains 3.6 grams of inulin per day through chicory root powder. Even if you do experience some bloating or gas, the symptoms subside with use and are most common when intake is high, such as 30 grams a day. Of course, like any supplement, if you have concerns or questions about inulin fiber, always discuss them with your doctor.

 

Inulin is just one ingredient in a healthful life. You’ll stack the deck in favor of living a long and healthful life if you also pack the plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, 100% whole grains, legumes, and other unprocessed foods; fill in the nutritional gaps with a personalized supplement program designed specifically for you; exercise daily; and sleep well.

 

*The combined effect of probiotics and prebiotics is called synbiotics.

References:

  1. Niness K: Inulin and oligofructose: What are they? J Nutr 1999;129 (7 Suppl):1402S-1406S.
  2. Shoaib M, Shehzad A, Omar M, et al: Inulin: Properties, health benefits and food applications. Carbohydr Polym 2016;147:444-454.
  3. Kolida S, Tuohy K, Givson G: Prebiotic effects of inulin and oligofructose. Br J Nutr 2002;87 (suppl 2):S193-S197.
  4. Watzl B, Girrbach S, Roller M: Inulin, oligofructose and immunomodulation. Br J Nutr 2005;93 (suppl1):S49-S55.
  5. Casellas F, Borruel N, Torrejon A, et al: Oral oligofructose-enriched inulin supplementation in acute ulcerative colitis is well tolerated and associated with lowered faecal calprotectin. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2007;25:1061-1067.
  6. De Vrese M, Schrezenmier J: Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics.  Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol 2008;111:1-66.
  7. Costa G, Vasconcelos Q, Abreu G, et al: Changes in nutrient absorption in children and adolescents caused by fructans, especially fructooligosaccharides and inulin. Arch Pediatr 2020;27:166-169.
  8. Scholz-Ahrens K, Schrezenmier J: Inulin and oligofructose and mineral metabolism. J Nutr 2007;137 (suppl):2513S-2523S.
  9. Weaver C: Inulin, oligofructose and bone health. Br J Nutr 2005;93 (suppl 1):S99-S103.
  10. Chambers E, Viardot A, Psichas A, et al: Effects of targeted delivery of propionate to the human colon on appetite regulation, body weight maintenance and adiposity in overweight adults. Gut 2015;64:1744-1754.
  11. Guess N, Dornhorst A, Oliver N, et al: A randomized controlled trial: The effect of inulin on weight management and ectopic fat in subjects with prediabetes. Nutr Metal 2015;12:36.

 

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