Did you know that today is National Vitamin Day? I honestly never knew such a thing existed until I got chosen to be a Nature Made Ambassador. On my trip to the Nature Made facilities I learned a ton of great information about vitamins. One of the most important messages that I took away from that visit was that vitamins are not meant as a substitute for healthy living. They are just designed to fill in the gaps when our nutrition and lifestyle don’t quite meet our needs. This year, I have vowed to take better care of myself and hopefully you will join me in a healthier new year! Taking good care of yourself is important and doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. In honor of Vitamin Day, here are a few tips to help you improve your overall health throughout the coming year:
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1. Drink more water: This is one I have to consciously work at every day. I tend to forget about water until I am actually thirsty. Staying hydrated helps improve digestion and keeps our skin healthy. Invest in a large water bottle and try carrying it with you to increase how much water you drink.
2. Start reading labels: The old saying about how you are what you eat has a lot of truth to it. We should try to eat as much whole, unprocessed foods as possible. When you shop, buy most of your foods from the outer periphery of the store and skip a lot of the inner isles. Fruits, veggies, low fat dairy and lean meats are all very important for your health. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient you probably don’t want to eat it!
3. Take your vitamins: Talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist about which vitamins are appropriate for your age, gender, and lifestyle. Each one of us has different nutritional needs but there are a ton of vitamins available to meet them. Nature Made has recently developed a new product called the VitaMelt that lets you take your vitamins on the go with you. VitaMelts are a line of great tasting vitamins that dissolve in your mouth – without water – and come in a small, portable package, so you can take them anytime, anywhere. They use only natural flavors like Juicy Orange, Mixed Berry, Creamy Vanilla, Honey Lemon, and Green Tea Mint. I am currently using plenty of Zinc and Vitamin C to support my immune system since my daughter has come down with some nasty viral illness.
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4. Get plenty of sleep: Our bodies do most of their repair while we are asleep at night so it is important to make sure we are well rested. Nature Made VitaMelts come in a Relax formula and a Sleep formula which can be helpful in improving your sleep habits. While it is hard to get the recommended 8 hours a night, at least try for a little more than you are getting now! As a mom, I know how hard it is too keep up with your kids’ energy levels and we can’t do it if we are tired!
5. Eat a rainbow every week. What does that mean? Basically, try to find a variety of fruits and vegetables that come in an array of vibrant colors. Red strawberries on your cereal, carrot sticks with lunch and green broccoli for dinner will be a great start. There are different nutrients in each type of fruit and vegetable so try not to limit yourself to only a few.
Vitamin Day Pledge: See Your Doctor!
6. Visit your doctor: It is hard to know exactly what you need to do to get healthy without a complete physical. Make an appointment to see your doctor to have routine bloodwork and a basic exam done. Once you get all the results back you can discuss what your own personal needs are, necessary supplements, and lifestyle changes that may be beneficial.
7. Get more exercise: You dont have to be a marathon runner to improve your health. While my husband may enjoy that type of exercise, I really DON’T! Just get out of your chair and walk for 30 minutes a day, do a few minutes of yoga, or park really far away in the parking lot to get more steps into your daily life.
8. Take a mental health day: It is hard to be healthy if we are stressed out and worried about work, kids, family, and deadlines. Sometimes it helps just to take a few minutes to pamper ourselves throughout the week. Whether your favorite form of relaxation is a bath, a book or a bike ride, remember that all work and no play makes mommy very cranky! And when mommy isn’t happy, NOBODY is happy!
9. Don’t skip meals! While it is tempting to skip a meal when we are busy, we end up tired and cranky if we do. I often end up skipping breakfast and part of my healthy pledge for this year is to STOP doing that and make time for my morning meal. Starting the day off with fruit, whole grains and a glass of milk is a great way to keep my blood sugar (and my energy level) up! Remember, vitamins only fill in the gaps in our nutrition…they cannot take the place of a healthy meal.
10. Cut back on caffeine: This one is hard for some people to do but caffeine really isn’t particularly good for us. Try to cut back slowly. My husband’s office at work uses half decaf coffee and half regular coffee when they brew their afternoon pot of joe. Cut out the sodas and switch to herbal teas that have no caffeine.
I hope these tips help you improve your health during the coming year. I would like to encourage you to join with me in making a healthy living pledge:
My Personal Healthy Pledge for 2013:
I will make time for healthy eating, even if it means getting out of bed 10 minutes early so I can cut up fresh fruit to put on cold cereal. I will add more colorful foods into my diet, along with more whole grains no matter how much my children complain. I will try hard to make time for exercise even if all I can manage to do is take the dog for a walk. I will turn off my light at night a few minutes earlier, regardless of how good a book I am reading. And most importantly, I will take my vitamins because no matter how hard I try, there will always be gaps in my nutrition, even with my best attempts at healthy living.
Nature Made® VitaMelts™ are a new “one of a kind”, enjoyable way to take your vitamins because they melt in your mouth and taste great. Discover how new Nature Made® VitaMelts™ can transform your vitamin taking experience by making it enjoyable. Visit us on NatureMade.com/VitaMelts to get a coupon.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nature Made via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nature Made.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.