USANA Optimizer – Vitamin D

It started off as a seasonal product to help get you through the dark winter months. But now that the summer sunshine is just around the corner, how often are you actually going to see it? If you’re like most people, not often—especially if you work in an office or never leave the house without covering yourself in sunscreen (a good idea, actually). That’s why USANA is adding our incredible Vitamin D supplement as a permanent part of our Optimizers line.

USANA’s Vitamin D supplement is the perfect complement to the Essentials, even during the summer. And if you stay indoors close to the air conditioner all season, USANA’s Vitamin D will give you 2,000 IU of maximum strength vitamin D to ensure that you get what you need in just one little tablet.

Vitamin D is important for many aspects of your health:

  • Necessary for normal bone mineralization and growth
  • Important for the maintenance of muscle strength and coordination
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Promotes robust and balanced immune function

While the winter months may be behind us now, it doesn’t mean that your body needs less of a good thing, particularly if your lifestyle keeps you indoors during much of the spring and summer. So make sure to stock up today on USANA’s Vitamins D supplement and make extra vitamin D a part of your regimen, every day for life!

Drinking It UP

Stay Hydrated

The liquids you consume have a powerful impact on your metabolism.  Some will help it, while others will make it sluggish and may even lead to unhealthy weight gain. The best drink for your body – even if you drink nothing else – is water. Water, which makes up 55-75 percent of our bodies, regulates body temperature, transports nutrients, carries waste away from cells,  protects the organs from damage, and keeps you hydrated. Water is also necessary to keep the metabolic processes functioning and helps you expel waste by adding fluid to the stool so you don’t become constipated. And, in some studies, its’ bee found that after you drink a pint of water, your metabolism revs up and burns 25 calories.

Know How Much Water You Need

The body has no provision to store water. Therefore, the amount of water lost each day must be continually replaced to maintain good health and proper body function. On average, we lost about 10 cups of water each day just through perspiration, breathing, urination, and bowel movements. This does not include hot days or days when you exercise and perspire even more. To avoid dehydration, the body needs an ongoing supply of water throughout the day; the average adult needs 8 to 12 cups of water each day. By the time you feel thirsty, you can already be on your way to becoming dehydrated. To be sure you are properly hydrated, check your urine to make sure it is diluted or clear rather than a darker yellow.

Drink Everything on the Rocks

Whenever feasible, add ice cubes to your drinks.  When you drink ice-cold beverages, your body fires up its furnace to warm the water for maximum absorption. Five or six glasses of water, with ice cubes, may burn up an extra 10 calories a day, which could add up to a pound per year.

Have a Few Cups of Java

Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, digestive tract, and your metabolism. Researchers studied a 145-pound woman who consumed 2 cups of coffee a day. They found that in the four hours after drinking the coffee, she burned an extra 50 calories. That said, adding cream and sugar will add calories and fat that will diffuse coffee’s metabolic benefits, and drinking too much coffee can be detrimental to your overall health. Drinking 1 to 2 small cups of coffee in the morning, with breakfast, is just enough to get your metabolic furnace burning.

Drink Iced Coffee

Why not kill two birds with one stone and drink your coffee with ice? This way, you get all the metabolic benefits of a normal cup of ice with an icy added boost! To make sure your ice-cold coffee is really boosting your metabolism, drink it black or with skim milk, and avoid adding sugar.

Limit Caffeine

It is important to remember that caffeine is a drug, one that is absorbed quickly in the body and can raise blood pressure, heart rate, and brain serotonin levels (low levels of serotonin cause drowsiness). Withdrawal from caffeine can cause headaches and drowsiness. The pharmacologically active dose of caffeine is defined as 200 milligrams, and the daily recommended, not-to-exceed intake level is the equivalent of 1 to 3 cups of coffee per day (139 to 147 milligrams). Too much caffeine also tricks you into thinking you don’t need more sleep. Lack of sleep can prevent your metabolism from working normally and increase the level of cortisol released, which increases hunger.

Drink Green or Oolong Tea

Green tea and oolong tea contain caffeine and catechins, which have been shown to boost metabolism for approximately two hours. Researchers say drinking 2 to 4 cups of green or oolong tea throughout the day may help you burn an extra 50 calories, which can lead to a 5-pound loss over a year – without any other change in your diet. Obviously, adding sugar or cream would counteract the positive effects. Also, avoid green tea beverages that are high-fructose corn syrup, as they are loaded with sugar and not good for your metabolism.

Swap Out White Wine for Red

Red wine, in moderation, can have quite the positive impact on your health. Studies have shown that red wine may inhibit the formation of fat cells and help prevent obesity by affecting the gene SIRT1. Red wine is rich in antioxidants that can help raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol and protect against heart disease. Its antioxidants come in tow forms – flavonoids and nonflavonoids.

Limit the Amount of Alcohol You Drink

Alcohol, just like soda, is full of empty calories because it contains no nutrients that can be stored for fuel. Plus, while the body is processing alcohol through the stomach and liver, it is unable to convert elements – glucose, fatty acids, amino acids – into energy, which means more food ends up stored as fat.

Try Concord Grape Juice

If you’re looking for an alternative to red wine, with similar health benefits, try Concord grape juice. It is high in polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to increase your metabolic rate. A study found that Concord grape juice helps increase memory and improve cognitive and motor function as we age. Other studies have shown that the juice helps maintain immune function, and lowers total cholesterol and blood pressure. Remember to keep portions reasonable (4 ounces) to avoid going overboard on calories.

Avoid Soda

The normal bloodstream contains a total of 4 teaspoons of blood sugar. When you drink a can of soda, roughly 10 teaspoons of table sugar are absorbed into your bloodstream, causing your blood-sugar level to rocket to an excessive level, setting off alarms in the pancreas, and causing a large amount of insulin to come out to deal with the excess blood sugar. Some sugar is quickly ushered into the cells, including brain cells, and the rest is stored in your fat cells. When all this is done, maybe in about an hour, your blood sugar may fall dramatically and low blood sugar occurs. A drop in blood sugar causes your body to crave sweets, which are definite metabolism busters. Just say no to soda to avoid rapid swings in blood sugar and consumption of excess empty calories.

Have a Cup of Coffee or Tea Before Workouts

Even though energy drink companies tout the benefits of energy drinks before, during, or after exercise, many contain sugar, and you don’t need sugar or electrolytes to boost energy for a workout of an hour or less. Many athletes have found that drinking a cup of coffee or tea, with additional water, stimulates their metabolic rate. Try enjoying a cup of coffee or tea (about 220 mg of caffeine) prior to your exercise, and avoid high-potency caffeinated “turbo” drinks or pills. Check with your doctor if you are sensitive to caffeine. By the way, this does not mean drinking a latte or mocha containing milk and sugar. We’re talking about black coffee and tea here. And embrace water as your beverage of choice before, during, and after workouts.

Drink Kombucha

Since the Chinese Tsin Dynasty in 221 B.C., kombucha tea has been used as a health elixir. Fans claim that it is packed with organic acids that build healthy tissues and normalize blood alkalinity, probiotics that benefit your digestive system, and live enzymes that help fuel the body’s cells. It combats free radicals and has been used as a remedy for arthritis, constipation, obesity, arteriosclerosis, impotence, kidney stones, rheumatism, gout, and cancer. You can find kombucha at most health food stores.

Choose Foods Rich in Calcium

Eat Broccoli Sprouts

 Broccoli sprouts boost enzymes in the body, while detoxifying potential carcinogens. Researchers estimate that broccoli sprouts provide 10 to 100 times the power of mature broccoli to neutralize carcinogens. Doctors found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts consistently contained 20 to 50 times the amount of chemo-protective compounds found in mature broccoli heads, offering a simple, dietary means of chemically reducing cancer risk. The antioxidants found in broccoli sprouts may help boost metabolism as well as prevent several types of cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration, and stomach ulcers. They may also help reduce cholesterol levels.

Eat Spinach and Other Dark Leafy Greens

Popeye wasn’t playing around. Spinach is one of the best foods you can possibly eat. Loaded with calcium, folic acid, vitamin K, iron, vitamin C, fiber, carotenoids, lutein, and bioflavonoids, spinach is low in calories and it is a nutritional powerhouse. Other dark leafy greens like collards, Swiss chard, turnip greens, and bok choy are also excellent sources of calcium. Try adding spinach and other dark leafy greens to salads or soups, omelets or quiche, or as a replacement for iceberg or romaine lettuce on sandwiches.

Eat Kale and Other Brassica Vegetables

Loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants and rich in calcium, kale is one of the healthiest foods in the vegetable kingdom; together with its cousin, broccoli, kale offers strong protection against cancer and other diseases. Kale and other vegetables in the Brassica family contain a potent glucosinolate phytonutrient that actually boosts your body’s detoxification enzymes, clearing potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly from your body. More common members of the prestigious Brassica family of vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, mustard greens, bok choy, and broccoli rabe or rapini. With so many choices, take advantage of having at least one each day of the week.

Eat Fish with Edible Bones

When you dine on fish, you’re eating a complete protein; that is, you’re getting all of the amino acids your body requires for proper nutrition. They’re also good sources for many of the B vitamins, and fattier fishes are good for getting you’re A and D vitamins. But if you want an extra helping of calcium to help maintain your skeleton, much on fish with small, soft, edible bones such as canned anchovies, sardines, chum salmon, or jack mackerel.

Try Sardines

Sardines are packed with nutrients, including calcium, coenzyme Q10, protein, and potassium. They are particularly good sources of calcium, proving the same amount of calcium as a glass of whole milk – plus balanced amounts of vitamin D and phosphorus, needed for the effective absorption of calcium.

Keeping Up That Calcium

Consume Calcium

 Calcium is an important part of a balanced diet. That’s because calcium is not only important for strengthening bones (which is especially important because it helps prevent musculoskeletal injuries during exercise), it also regulates your blood pressure, help secrete hormones and digestive enzymes, assists directly with weight loss, regulates heart muscle function, helps boost your metabolism. One animal study even showed an increase in core temperature related to calcium consumption. Remember, when body heat rises, so does metabolic rate. Not a diary fan? Don’t worry; many foods are rich in calcium.

Choose Foods Rich in Calcium

The easiest way to stock up on your calcium needs is by eating dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. But there are many other foods that are also rich in calcium. They include dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, and collards; fish with edible bones; calcium-fortified soy milk; tofu made with calcium; shelled almonds; turnips; mustard greens; sesame seeds; blackstrap molasses; calcium-fortified cereals; and calcium-fortified orange juice.

Try Dairy

Dairy products help boost metabolism and build strong bones because of their high calcium levels. Some studies have even suggested that the calcium in dairy products may facilitate weight loss.

One such study featured three groups of obese subjects, each of whom was on a diet that would promote a weight loss of a pound a week for 24 weeks. Each group received a different amount of calcium: The lowest received 430 mg/day through their diet; the middle group receive 770 mg/day through the same diet, plus supplements; and the third group received 1,100 mg/day wholly through diet. At the end of the study, the group receiving the lowest calcium had lost nearly 15 pounds, the middle group had lost 19 pounds, and the group that ate the most calcium-rich foods had lost 24 pounds, 66 percent of which was fat from their abdominal area (as opposed to the low-calcium group which lost 19 percent of fat from their abdominal area). As you can see, it pays to include dairy in your diet.

Drink Milk

A serving of milk, especially cow’s milk, helps build strong bones by supplying the body with nearly 30 percent of its daily calcium needs and 20 percent of its phosphorus needs, as well as plenty of vitamins A, D, and K, and two of the B vitamins that are needed for heart health and energy production. If you’re lactose intolerant or are opposed to drinking cow’s milk but still want the milk you drink to have a positive impact on your metabolism, make sure your rice, soy, or almond milk is fortified with these vitamins and minerals.

Eat Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium that also provides about 9 grams of animal protein per 6-ounce serving plus vitamin B2, vitamin B12, potassium, and magnesium. One of the most beneficial aspects of yogurt comes from the use of active, good bacteria known as probiotics.

Probiotics adjust the natural balance of organisms, known as microflora, in the intestines to aid digestion. To make sure your favorite brand of yogurt contains active cultures, look for labeling that says “live and active cultures”, or for words such as Bifdus regularis, L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, or bifdobacterium.

Eat Reduced-Fat Cheese

Cheese is a great source for protein, vitamins, and minerals, but it is also high in calories and saturated fat. So, while you shouldn’t cut it out altogether, it would be wise to make a habit of choosing reduced-fat cheese, which has about 30 to 40 percent fewer calories and less fat. Try the following suggestions so you don’t overdo how fat you’re eating:

Use half of what you would normally use in recipes.

To boost flavor but reduce calories, use higher-flavor cheese sparingly: Parmesan, Romano, blue cheese, Gorgonzola, goat, feta, or extra-sharp Cheddar.

Eat cheese with lower fat alongside higher-fiber foods, such as apples, pears, whole-grain bread or crackers, or beans so you feel full faster.

Is Your Vitamin Pill Worth It or Worthless? Six Rules to Guarantee Quality

The debate gets heated when people talk about vitamins because some people really believe they work, while others really believe they just make expensive urine. But a recent study looked over thirty years of supplement studies and decided that multivitamins really can help us prevent many serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Wow, did we need to spend all that money on a study to learn that nutrients improve wellness? Of course, eating well is the best way to get your nutrients, because lab-created supplements do not capture the essence of what nature made – although some companies do a better job than others, like USANA Vitamins manufactured by USANA Health Sciences. Supplanting with vitamins is not a substitute for eating well – but it is still a good idea.

A multivitamin should be your first daily supplement. Make sure that you select the highest quality brands that you can afford. Also, there are certain things on the label that may help you decide if these products are right for you. Here are some guidelines that can streamline your decision-making:

Rule #1: Don’t buy a thousand tablets of anything for $6.99.

What exactly do you think you’ll get for that price? I hate to say it, but sometimes you do get what you pay for.

Rule #2: Choose capsules over tablets whenever you can.

Capsules are easier for your body to absorb.

Rule #3: If you have any chronic medical conditions take a lot of medications, or have gastrointestinal difficulties, choose liquids or powdered supplements.

Again, these are more easily absorbed. Of the two – liquids and powders – I think powders are better because many liquids contain preservatives.

Rule # 4: Don’t buy anything that promises to cure seventeen conditions.

Unless you’re also interested in this bridge I’d like to sell you …

Rule #5: When it comes to multivitamins, taking something is better than nothing – but multiple does are better than one.

That’s why the best multivitamins tell you on the label to take them two or three times a day. If you take a multivitamin just once a day, the effect washes out after a few hours. This is frustrating for some people, who like to just take multivitamins once in the morning – but your cells are constantly regenerating, so body really will benefit from multiple doses.

Rule #6: It’s great to buy supplements that have certification.

You can be sure that a nutraceutical company is better than the competition if they have GMP certification – that’s Good Manufacturing Practices – or even better, full certification by a governmental agency such as the Australian TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration). Check out nutrition company, like USANA Health Sciences – for USANA Vitamins certification and guarantee.

GMP is something that quality companies will pay for, but TGA certification is independent of the manufacturer and you can’t just buy it.

What adds to the confusion is USP certification. USP stands for U.S. Pharmacopeia and USP certification is fine, as are other certifying organizations, but they have a limited number of validated quality-assurance tests. In other words, testing is not necessarily comprehensive so a USP certified company many only have a few of their products actually tested. Some companies paste pretty labels onto their bottles – but the tablets inside come up short. A GMP logo to a TGA certification means a superior company by most standards.

Talk to Your Doctor If You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding will affect your metabolic rate. To support the growth of a fetus, a pregnant woman must take in more calories. Breastfeeding an infant also requires additional caloric intake. Both of these actions increase your rate of metabolism. Since these are very important physical events that require increased attention to nutrition and monitoring, please consult your doctor and ask for his or her input on what and how much you should be eating while pregnant or nursing.